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Our solutions are systems that deliver search results without constant effort. Set it up and let the technology do the work.

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Learn

Stay up to date with local search trends with content our experts have created to demystify SEO.

About Us

Locafy is a growing company that has been in the martech and web technology industry for over a decade. Get to know us!

How to Avoid SEO Fails

Nathalie Parent

Marketing Coordinator

Nathalie has a background in music technology and performance, and is passionate about words, poetry, and writing. She's always ready for a good game of Scrabble, or a nice cup of tea.

With so many different strategies, search engine updates, and new technologies to keep track of, SEO is a tricky beast to tame. So, let’s make it a bit easier for you. Here’s a guide to some of the most common SEO fails and how to avoid them.

How to Avoid SEO Fails
How to avoid SEO fails

1. Fail- Having multiple GBP listings

One of the biggest SEO fails is having multiple Google Business Profile listings, which confuses search engines and customers alike. Duplicate listings can happen for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your business has been around a long time and Google created a listing automatically that you didn’t notice when you went and created your own. Or maybe you switched web service providers and your information was duplicated in the process.

Whatever the case, when your business has multiple listings, Google doesn’t know which one it should prioritize, and two things can happen:

  • Google will randomly prioritize one listing over the other. Your potential customers may be shown the listing that is out of date or contains the wrong information. If Google shows each of your listings in search results at different times, your views will get split between the two, lowering their overall effectiveness in getting you found.
  • Google will decide to not show either of the listings in search results. As duplicates are considered spammy and can even fall into the black hat SEO category. If your GBP is removed from search results, it will be nearly impossible for your business to be found online, the ultimate SEO fail.

SEO fail - having multiple GMB listings

The duplicate listings above have different phone numbers, while one has reviews, and the other has directions. This will confuse customers and Google alike, lowering the SEO effectiveness of the listings.

How to Avoid this Fail

When creating your business’ GBP listing, check first that one doesn’t already exist by doing a quick Google search for your business’ name and location. If nothing turns up in results, you’re good to go ahead and create your own listing.

If a GBP listing for your business does appear, then you can simply claim it as your own. Click here to learn more about setting up your GBP, including how to claim your listing.

2. Fail- Differences between GBP location and real-life location

SEO Fail- Differences between GBP location and real-life location

It’s a major SEO fail to have your local business associated with one location on your Google Business Profile, while actually serving a different location in real life. Customers will be confused, dissatisfied, and unlikely to give your business a second chance if the address on your GBP doesn’t bring them to your business when they try to visit.

How to Avoid this Fail

Make sure that you’re setting up your Google Business Profile properly. For both a brick-and-mortar store, and service-area business, having the right address and service area on your GBP will help Google know when to show your business in search results. Keywords and locations associated with your business will actually be linked to you, allowing the right customers to find you online.

3. Fail- Not following Google E-A-T principles

Google E-A-T is an acronym for the qualities Google wants to see from websites: Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness. These qualities promote the creation of high-quality web pages which have a beneficial and helpful purpose to the real people who read them.

Not following the E-A-T principle means that you are going against Google guidelines, which will impact the amount of SEO success you can achieve. As an example, your business website would fail the Google E-A-T principles if it doesn’t credit the author of your blog, contains outdated information, or provides links to spammy or poorly-regarded websites.

SEO Fail - not following E-A-T principles

How to Avoid this Fail

Read our blog post about Google E-A-T to learn more about it, and find further information from Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines here. When you put these principles into practice and do SEO with customers instead of search engines in mind, you’ll be well rewarded. As much as you want to rank well on Google, remember that you’re doing so in order to reach real people. Choose SEO strategies and practices that reflect that.

4. Fail- Disregarding search intent

SEO Fail- Disregarding search intent

Search intent is a person’s reason for making a search online. If you create a business website, write content, and throw keywords onto each page without understanding people’s search intent, you will end up with a bunch of pages that get only a handful of views, limited activity, and that soon fall in rankings. This is because your pages might contain the right keywords, but they won’t contain the information that customers are searching for, confusing them, annoying them, and making them want to avoid your business.

How to Avoid this Fail

There are two steps in avoiding this fail: Find the right keywords to use, and understand search intent. Interested in learning more about search intent? Check out our SEO Basics: Getting Started Guide!

Finding keywords that are relevant to your business and are actually being used is possible with keyword planners. There are a few different options for tools including Google's, SemRush, or any of these top 15 keyword research tools. With these tools you can input keywords that you think people would use to find your business, and can see how many searches are actually made for them in a specified time frame.

Once you know which keywords are used, choose the best ones for your business and consider what your search intent would be if you were to use them yourself. When you understand search intent, you will be able to tailor your web content to fit the needs of the person who made the search.

Example: Here are two separate searches…

  • Mountain bike
  • Mountain bikes Saskatoon

Now for search intent:
Someone searching for Example 1. is likely trying to find general information about mountain bikes, such as how they are constructed. Someone who searches for Example 2. is actively looking in the city of Saskatoon for a mountain bike to buy, a bike repair shop, bike trails to use, or mountain bike events nearby. Why else would location matter?

SEO Fail- Disregarding search intent

A mountain bike company in Saskatoon would do well to recognize each search intent and create separate web pages optimised for each one, using the keywords. That way, when someone searches for one or the other, they find exactly what they need, and stay on the page longer. The mountain bike company, having satisfied the person’s search intent, will be a trusted resource when the person wants to move forward with a purchase.

SEO Fail- Disregarding search intent

Understanding search intent also means understanding the complexity of a customer's needs. For example, someone searching for “pickup trucks for sale” will not want to end up on a webpage that only sells 18-wheeler semi trucks. Sure, “truck” is a keyword for both vehicles, but the search intent is drastically different between a semi and a pickup truck. Your keyword usage should reflect that. Make sure that each of your webpages are optimised for the most relevant keyword only so that people landing on your page are the ones who actually want to buy from your business.

Get more details about the types of search intent and how to leverage them in our SEO Basics: Getting Started Guide!

5. Fail- Changing SEO strategies too quickly

SEO is a big time investment. It can be hard to wait around just hoping it has paid off, and it can even be a little tempting to switch things up if you don’t see results right away.

Unfortunately, making any changes to your web-presence after your SEO has been set up is a sure-fire way to ensure that your results will be limited. Your strategy won’t have time to kick in, you’ll undo any progress that has started to be made, and the money you put into the strategy will be lost

SEO Fail- Changing SEO strategies too quickly

How to Avoid this Fail

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, so be patient and follow the advice of your SEO expert. When you optimise your business’ web-presence, it takes time for people to search for your keywords, make purchases, leave reviews, and for your business to gain credibility. Let the process be for the recommended amount of time, and only switch it up if you don’t see satisfactory results after that time has passed.

If time is of the essence for your business, check out Locafy’s SEO technology and its industry-leading speeds, time to rank, and overall cost-effectiveness

6. Fail- Going too big too fast

A common SEO mistake that businesses make in their haste to see major growth is in trying to go too big too soon. This can be done by using keywords that aren’t yet relevant to their business, specific to a region outside of their geographic location, or that are in use by bigger competitors. When a small business does either of these things, they risk not showing up in search results, or showing up in search results of people who aren’t interested in their business.

How to Avoid this Fail

SEO Fail - going too big too fast

Focus on your local area first. A whopping 72% of people who go online to find local businesses will also physically visit them if they meet expectations online and are within a five mile radius. That’s a lot of customers who are ready to make a purchase, and if they can find you before your competitor, you’ll get the sale! So, you should optimise your business for your local area, making your online presence strong with keywords that will attract customers from your community and those nearby.

When local customers find your business and are satisfied by your products or services, it’s only natural that word of mouth will spread, strengthening your business’ reputation and, hopefully, customer loyalty too. This will all help to establish your business as a competitor in the market, and allow for natural growth as people from further away begin to hear about your business.

7. Fail- Forgetting about redirects

SEO sometimes comes with a need to redesign a website, or to move pages to new locations. When that’s the case, the web address (URL) that a web page was previously found at becomes empty, and a new one is assigned to the page. The SEO fail happens when you forget to redirect the old URL to the new one

SEO Fail - Forgetting about redirects

An old URL with no redirect becomes a dead end, unable to transfer users or data to the page at its new URL. The web page, though it may contain the exact same content, starts at square one, having lost all of the SEO progress, backlinks, and rankings it had previously achieved.

How to Avoid this Fail

Make sure your web page’s SEO progress is saved during URL moves by using the appropriate redirect for your needs. For example, if the URL change is a permanent one, a 301 redirect is what you need. Read all about redirects here.

Adding redirects to your webpage takes a bit of technical work, so it’s a good idea to consult your web designer before and while making changes to your website.

Conclusion

SEO is an important tool that helps you to grow your local business, so you ought to make sure that it’s done right. Consult with your SEO expert before making changes, make sure you’re not duplicating or removing essential content, and be aware of what your customers are looking for online. It will take patience and a few tweaks here and there, but your SEO can achieve success in big ways when you avoid these common SEO mistakes.

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