I have been working on website design and SEO for long enough to see all the fads that come and go in search engine optimization. The latest ‘tricks’ and cheat’s to get your website ranking are usually fake, and if they do work – they only work for a short period of time before Google clamps down on them.

So many people are looking for a short cut to SEO, but what I have found is that the reason most people fail at getting their websites to not only rank but to drive traffic is because they fail at the basics.

What I wanted to do was take a look at some of the common mistakes and see how we can make sure our websites have the best chance of driving a flood of traffic to our sites.

1. Poor Or No Keyword Research

I am surprised by the amount of people I see optimizing their websites for and building links to trophy keywords.

If you are not sure what a ‘trophy keyword’ is, basically it is keywords that sound like they are hard to rank, but in reality are either impossible to rank for – or ones that no one is actually searching for. They are doing it because they are trying to look clever and prove a point, but I’d much rather be targeting keywords with smaller competition that people are actually searching for on a regular basis.

If you are wanting to run a successful SEO campaign, then you need to start with proper keyword research and the best way is to use a software program like Market Samurai to find out what people are searching for – and the competition you will have.

It is much easier to get a lot of traffic from a broad selection of low competition keywords than it is to focus on the number one searched phrase in your niche. Start small and work your way up to them.

2. Lack Of On Page Optimization

This happens a lot with local and small business websites. When I search Google for a business type or service, I rarely see keywords in the title tags or on their home page – and the ones that I see this on are usually ranked pretty high.

The competition for location based services is usually quite weak, and ranking on the first page (or even the top 3) can sometimes be as simple as using the basic on page optimization.

So the key things to remember are:

  • Keywords In Page Title Tags
  • Optimize (But Not Over) Page Content

Another simple thing you can do if you are a local business is to register your business with Google maps. This can instantly rank you above your competition if they are not using the service as well.

3. Give Up On Keywords Too Early

The last thing I see quite a lot is chopping and changing between keywords. People start targeting their pages to certain keywords but after a couple of months they can’t see themselves in the SERP’s so they pack up their bags and either give up or start targeting a completely different set of keywords (starting from scratch.

This is why keyword research programs (read this Market Samurai review) are so important, because they allow you to track your performace, and regularly see where you are ranking for your keywords. This provides motivation and and a measuring chart to keep you pushing towards your SEO goals.

If you can work on these three ‘problems’ that I see most people have when it comes to SEO, you should start to see a dramatic increase in the traffic to your websites – which should be the most important gauge when it comes to the effectiveness of your search engine optimization.


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