Starting a new website or running a small website can be really challenging. And in today’s article, I’m going to be digging into five common SEO mistakes that I see new site owners often make.
Mistake 1: Being way too ambitious with their initial projects
The first mistake that I see people make is being way too ambitious with their initial projects. They set out to conquer the world in their particular niche and in the process, they end up stretching their bandwidth way too thin and not having enough content to actually demonstrate to Google that they have the authority in their particular space. This often manifests itself when you visit a person’s website and then you see that they have 10 posts on 10 different topics. And none of them actually go deeply into a particular topic area.
It’s something in which they probably wrote about 500 to 750 words, and they hope that they would rank, but they didn’t. And so they gave up. So this is something that I commonly see as a mistake when it comes to new site owners. And I think it just comes from the fact that they just started something new so they feel like they need that to cover as many bases as possible. But as a result, they end up covering very few bases overall.
To avoid making this mistake, what I recommend you do is focus on answering the five W’s and how, when you are first creating your website. Who, what, where, when, why, and how this means all of your, about pages and informational pages around whatever product or service you’re offering before you start to dig into the content marketing side of things with a blog.
Mistake 2: Not making sure that their sitemap has been submitted and validated
The second mistake that I see people often make when they are creating new websites or just running small websites, is not making sure that their sitemap has been submitted and validated. If you don’t have a valid sitemap, then it’s really hard for search engines like Google to figure out what your site is about.
So what they’ll resort to is trying to piece together the different things of the URLs they can find, but a sitemap is super helpful because it’s essentially your guide to the search engines as to how you would like them to read your particular site. This sitemap is going to detail things like the different main folders and categories of your website, its contents, and so it’s really important that you actually submit a valid sitemap when you are going in for your indexing.
Common tip that I tell new site owners or small website owners is you want to be doing the low-hanging fruit that are right in front of you to make it as easy as possible for search engines, to understand what you’re all about. It’s by taking these small wins, that you’ll actually start to experience your own small wins. And so you want to take advantage of every single opportunity you have to make things easier for these search engines to read you.
Mistake 3: Not sticking with it long enough to actually reach a tipping point.
Third mistake that I see that new or small website owners often make when it comes to SEO is not sticking with it long enough to actually reach a tipping point. I’ve covered how long it actually takes to get SEO results, but essentially it takes anywhere from three to six months to really start seeing results from SEO. And that’s on a really fast timeline.
So this is something in which what I often see with new or small websites is I see people that will create a couple of posts they might do about 10,000 words of content. And then they’ll give up because they aren’t seeing themselves ranked in the top page of Google for what they’re actually targeting.
Sometimes you might not even start ranking until you hit 20,000 words of content, or in some cases you’re going to need a hundred thousand words of content. So it’s really important for you to play the long-term game when you are approaching things from an SEO side. This applies whether you’re in the B2B space or even in just a niche site or an affiliate site space. It’s something in which you just have to commit to actually creating enough content to create a holistic body of work around your niche.
In the case where you actually do end up creating something like a hundred thousand words of quality content, and you are still not ranking on Google, then maybe that is the time to reevaluate things. But until then, you shouldn’t give up too early when it comes to SEO.
Mistake 4: Not prioritizing interlinking
The fourth mistake that I see new or small website owners often make on the SEO side is not prioritizing interlinking. I forgot where I exactly learned this from, but essentially the person said that what they found was that three interlinks within a website was the equivalent of one external link. So what that means is that they’re really important.
And what interlinks essentially are, is their links between all the different pages on your website. They try to show the relationship between pages. So for example, if you wrote about soccer balls, then you might have a corresponding post on how to choose the best soccer ball or what makes a great soccer ball and you’ve linked to that in your overall hub page.
But essentially interlinking is great at helping Google identify what sort of topic clusters you have covered on your particular site. And what I have personally found in managing different sites of my own as well as for businesses, is that when I try to minimize as many orphan posts as possible, in other words, the posts that have no links back to them, I find in general that my key replacements improve over time.
So this is something which interlinking should be a focus of yours, especially when you were in those early days of creating your content. This is because it is way more of a pain in the butt to do this retroactively than it is to do it while you are actually progressively building your content snowball. This mistake really connects back to mistake number two and then it’s all about taking the easy wins that you can do within your side of things in your locus of control to best improve your possibility of ranking on page one.
Mistake 5: Going too broad instead of going deep enough.
The last mistake that I see people make is going too broad instead of going deep enough. So this is something in which it is much better for you to actually be really specific within your niche first, before you branch out to other topic areas and something that I often see folks do is they create a bunch of different topic pieces where they don’t have any relationship to one another.
So for example, if you’re running a hiking site, it would be far more effective for you to create a series of five to seven posts that cover everything under the sun around an absolute beginner’s guide to hiking than it would for you to cover general informational content like what is hiking, how do you go on a hike for beginners, and then how do you go on a hike for intermediate and so on. That’s not to say that you can’t eventually evolve into that side of the content end of things. But what you should first focus on is just figuring out how to fulfill the search intent of a subset of your niche.
In other words, think about the people that you’re trying to target. And then from there, create a great piece of content for just 20% of those people and make sure that that content really resonates with them before you then branch out to the next 20% of people at the next 20% of people and so on.
What you want to do is create a cluster of content that helps answer the commonly asked questions that people are often asking within a subset of your overall target audience.
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