As another year beckons upon us all, digital marketers begin to tell you what to do and what not to do in the SEO industry, and it is often specific to the year we’re in, for example mistakes to avoid in digital marketing 2015. However, while all of these are all well and good, I decided to just give everyone a few basic tips of what they shouldn’t be doing in SEO regardless of what year it is, these have never been good and never will be!
Here are some tips to help you avoid what I would call some of the biggest mistakes companies make in digital marketing.
Mistake 1: False Promises
This is something that really gets my blood boiling. The amount of times a potential new client has told me that their “SEO” firm hasn’t kept their ridiculous promises. There are too many agencies out there that will do anything to get themselves a client, and promise to deliver them the moon. For example, agencies will tell clients that may not know much about our industry that after 1-3 months of SEO they will get them to the top of Google, increase traffic by 1000% and make them millions, this just isn’t possible to guarantee, no matter who you are.
My advice? Show potential clients case studies of what you have done for clients in the past, how they have grown and the work you have put in place for them in the future. Ambitions and proven results are better than false promises.
Mistake 2: Not learning
Not learning from unsuccessful tactics you have tried is stubborn and massively harmful. SEO is always evolving, just like every day life, and if you don’t learn from where you went wrong you will never do it right. For example, if you stub your toe at home on a step, you will make sure you don’t do it again, the same applies in not just our industry, but in all of them.
Split test your marketing. Just like designers do when launching a website that has had a redesign, you don’t want to push it straight out there and bamboozle your clients customers, you have to see how they compare over a period of time and then if successful, roll it out permanently. This is something I believe should be done in digital marketing. For example lets say you’ve seen a mention of you on the web from Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer, you find an email to the web master you wish to contact, and then you email them and they say no to you getting that mention turned into a link, fair enough. Don’t be afraid of asking them why not, and if it was because of the attitude of your email, if so, it’s time to make some changes. Once you have tweaked your approach to building the relationship, send it to the next web master and hope this one works, if so, great if not keep going and don’t give up. I will say make sure you always change your opening email, some people will tell you there is a one size fits all way to approach web masters and get the discussion going, but it all depends on industry (formal, informal, digital, online) and what it is that you’re contacting them for, along with your main aim from it.
Mistake 3: Not informing clients
Clients love to know what they’re actually paying for, as most business owners still don’t fully understand SEO and what it entails, and that’s fine, therefore it’s up to us to keep them informed of what we are doing and why.
Let’s put you in the clients shoes. If you were paying me’X’ amount of money a month for an SEO campaign, you’re going to want to know what is exactly being done with your money, and you will want to see actual figures, not some screenshots of stuff that mean nothing to anyone.
We keep our clients up to date with everything that has gone on in a monthly report, and we are always communicating with them during that month, when we come up with new ideas. Informing clients on what they’re paying for and how you’re helping them goes a long way in building up trust and a great reputation.
Mistake 4: Poor planning – Relying on a one size fits all marketing campaign
No two campaigns are the same, even if they’re in the same industry, they won’t be the same. You have to research the company you will be doing marketing for, and their target audience. Lets say you have two clients, one specialises in second hand cars, and the other selling running shoes, you aren’t going to be able to copy your methods for both of these clients.
Therefore you need to understand your market place, research their competitors, do they have any geographical boundaries (can they ship abroad) find out what customers respond to the most, and how they engage.
What are your overall marketing objectives? What do you and your client want to achieve as a result of your SEO and marketing efforts, and how’re you going to measure that success?
Planning shouldn’t just be done at the start of a new campaign, new planning procedures should be put into place as the business grows.
Mistake 5: Never checking for bad backlinks and penalties
Despite what people say, there are still some so called “SEOs” out there that still practice the dark arts of black hat SEO, and solely try and destroy someone’s digital marketing campaign. This is why you have to manually check just what links are pointing at you. The likes of Open Site Explore, WMT, Majestic, Linkquidator and so on can help you with your negative backlinks, and once you have found them, get your requests in to have them removed, and if all else fails simply send them off to be disavowed. Penalties can be horrible, and can make your traffic and conversions fall down dramatically – the worst thing is sometimes it’s not your fault – one of the best ways to check if this has happened is to check your website in Webmaster Tools.
Mistake 6: Don’t rely solely on new fads
Okay, so maybe not fads, but remember when Google announced that having HTTPS on your site would make “you rank better” and everyone went out and implemented this on their website. One case in particular is Buffer’s, they were hit with a penalty at the same time they moved the site over to HTTPS. I’m not saying don’t change change yours to HTTPS as it seems the bug that caused this may well now be fixed, but my point is, don’t jump on the bandwagon straight away with new techniques and fads. Continue with what you’re doing and if others are seeing success from implementing new techniques and strategies, then by all means go for it, just let all the bugs get ironed out first.
You can see the Buffer post, by Barry Schwartz, here on Search Engine Land.
There are obviously much more I could have added, but I’ve decided to leave that to you lovely people, so make sure you have your say and share your tips in the comments below. Thank you for reading.