Top 9 Shameful SEO Mistakes Made By Small Businesses

seo mistakes

SEO can be time consuming, expensive and frustrating, especially if you don’t achieve the results you expected.

It can be even more frustrating, not knowing where you are going wrong and therefore not being able to correct your campaign accordingly.

We are approached by many small businesses in various stages of SEO campaigns and see the following 9 common mistakes.

1) Unreasonable Expectations

It’s a misconception to believe that building a few links and doing a little on page SEO is enough to get your site ranking on the first page for your chosen keywords.

There are many factors that effects the time it will take to start seeing results from your SEO campaign, including the history of your domain.

Over the last few years Google has become a little smarter, making it less possible to jam websites where they don’t belong.

SEO is a marathon, if you want to see instant results you should consider a PPC campaign.

2) Not Optimising For Mobile

On April 21st 2015, Google released an update to their ranking algorithm, stating if your website wasn’t mobile friendly, you would likely see your rankings decrease and subsequently loose traffic from organic search.

If you hire the services of a web designer, you should make it clear from the start the website needs to be fully responsive.

For those of you that had your website developed a few years ago there are simple ways to check your website is mobile friendly and also convert it relatively easily and cheaply if you discover it isn’t.

3) Targeting The Wrong Keywords

This is more to keyword research than just looking at a random keyword tool and choosing some related keywords.

Keyword research is one of the main contributing factors to a successful SEO campaign.

Choosing the wrong keywords, or keywords that have almost nothing to do with your online business objectives can ultimately result in a good 6-12 months of wasted time and thousands of pounds of wasted cash.

Targeting the wrong keywords

Think outside the box when doing your keyword research, you could even steal your competitors best keywords!

4) Employing the Services Of A Bad SEO Company

If you employ the services of a bad SEO company, it’s probably going to do more harm than good.

We should know this more than most, because we are often hired to clean up the mess.

Yep, we are the guys (and gals) that are assigned the task of removing and disavowing thousands of spam links which have been built by SEO companies offering the world but delivering nothing but a huge mess!

You can normally identify a bad SEO company from the start, they are usually the ones that guarantee number one rankings, offer you free trial scams and are secretive about the methods they intend to use.

The moral of the story is do your homework before you commit to anything, bad SEO can be catastrophic for a small business relying on organic search visitors.

It also costs money to clean up backlink profiles.

5) Keyword Stuffing

keyword stuffing

Don’t you just hate it when you see evidence of keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is the practice of repeating the same words over and over again, they can be any words even “keyword stuffing”!

I’m not that bad a writer, I just wanted to prove a point.

Repeating a word or phrase repeatedly will get you noticed by Google, but not in a good way.

6) No Interlinking

Google looks favourably on a solid internal linking strategy, it’s usually a sign of good usability.

Internal links are the under rated workhorse of SEO. They’re easy to build, but often overlooked.

Take a look at Wikipedia, what do you see? A ton of internal links on each page.

Building relevant internal links on your website passes authority from one page to another, guides visitors to important sales pages and also prompts people to take action.

7) Avoiding Analytics

It’s a shame when small business owners fail to utilise all their available resources, especially when they are free and can provide an indication of what’s working and what’s not.

If you are yet to set up Google Analytics and Search Console I suggest you do.

Using these analytics tools in conjunction will allow you to set up conversion goals, provide you with data on which keywords are converting and which are bringing in the most organic traffic, helping you expand and optimise your website further.

8) Focusing On Link Quantity Over Quality

One link on a relevant, authoritative site is a lot more powerful than 10, 20 even 100 links on a lesser, weaker sites.

While quality links are generally harder to obtain, taking up more time, they are more likely to boost your rankings and also provide your website with referral traffic.

This guide on how to get backlinks will help you on your way.

9. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is a common problem for larger websites and e-commerce stores that have the same product in more than one category.

We also see duplicate content present within product descriptions, where e-commerce owners have copied those of the product manufacturer or their competitors.

Duplicate content poses a massive headache for the search engines and is therefore frowned upon.

They have to make a decision on which version to index and to retrieve for related search queries.

If you are struggling to write compelling, unique sales copy for your product descriptions we provide some ideas within an e-commerce SEO case study.

For those of you displaying duplicate content in the form of products and posts in different categories, implementing 301 redirect rules from the lower quality pages will help to clean up your site, which the search engines will reward you for.


James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

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