Believe it or not, the most critical SEO mistakes are often ones that cannot simply be \u201cfixed\u201d by an expert SEO professional. On the contrary, many SEO mistakes boil down to an underlying business decision that was made \u2014 whether it\u2019s opting to make additional investments in your website to be more SEO-friendly, vetting and choosing a great Atlanta SEO consultant, setting clear business goals for your campaign, allocating the appropriate budget and resources to meet those goals, or even making the decision to end your SEO campaign if you do not see the results you want. The point is, an SEO professional can put in the work to push your business where you want it to be, but ultimately, the efficacy of your SEO campaign depends on how you, as a key decision maker, are supporting and prioritizing those efforts. That's why we've put together this list of ten common business mistakes that can make or break the success of an SEO campaign: \t \tNot having a responsive, mobile-friendly site design \tHaving a \u201cset it and forget it\u201d mentality after launching your website \tHiring an SEO consultant that makes unrealistic promises \tSkipping the benchmarking & goal setting phase \tProducing mass amounts of thin, mediocre content \tOverlooking the importance of site architecture \tTargeting the wrong keywords \tNeglecting local SEO \tNot having a CRO strategy once users do find your site \tHalting SEO work after only a few months Wondering if your business decisions are helping or hindering your SEO efforts? Continue reading. 1. Not having a responsive, mobile-friendly site design When people think about SEO, they're often thinking about keywords, but keywords are just one thing that Google\u2019s algorithm takes into account when evaluating your site. It\u2019s also determining whether your site is easy for visitors to use. After all, Google\u2019s ultimate mission is to provide useful and usable search results to its users. With more and more people are experiencing the internet via mobile devices and voice-activated technology than ever before, it is critical that your site is responsive and mobile-friendly. Even if your content is fantastic, that doesn\u2019t mean much if the vast majority of users cannot access it. 2. Having a \u201cset it and forget it\u201d mentality after launching your website Let\u2019s imagine that after a months-long website redesign process, you\u2019ve finally launched a new website. The new design is responsive and mobile-friendly, and before launch, special care was taken to add SEO titles and meta descriptions to all of your pages. Needless to say, your SEO is in great shape! Now that you\u2019ve ticked all these boxes, you shouldn\u2019t have to worry about SEO for a while, right? It\u2019ll just be doing its thing in the background, right? Not quite. If you\u2019re looking to get the best bang for your buck from your recent website redesign, hitting the ground running with a digital marketing campaign is the best way to do it. Even if you\u2019re not ready to embark on a full-blown campaign quite yet, it\u2019s essential to at least sustain the integrity your site\u2019s on-page SEO over time. At a minimum, SEO requires ongoing maintenance to ensure you\u2019re keeping up with Google\u2019s latest algorithmic changes. This is especially critical if you find yourself updating or adding new content to your site regularly. 3. Hiring an SEO consultant that makes unrealistic promises. If an SEO consultant promises you the moon, consider that a red flag. As much as I\u2019m sure they would love to guarantee you the number one spot for a highly competitive keyword phrase, the truth is that they just can\u2019t. So what exactly should a legitimate SEO consultant promise you? Straight talk. If you have lofty goals, a good SEO consultant won\u2019t say that it\u2019s impossible to attain, but they will be realistic with you about how much time and work it will take. If you\u2019re ready to put in that time and work, a good SEO consultant will provide recommendations based on your unique goals and provide meaningful reporting and data that empowers you to make important business decisions. What else should you keep in mind when shopping around for an SEO consultant? Here are seven things to look for in an SEO company. 4. Skipping the benchmarking & goal setting phase Before you dig into any SEO work, it\u2019s critical to set some clear goals and benchmarks first. Going through this process helps you identify the gaps between how your business is performing now and how you want it to perform in the future. Most importantly, it will help you determine the return on investment you\u2019re getting for your SEO efforts at a later date. Wondering how to get started? We got you. Don\u2019t miss our step-by-step guide for benchmarking your digital marketing strategy. 5. Producing mass amounts of thin, mediocre content As with many things in life, your content creation efforts should prioritize quality over quantity. Publishing content regularly is one of the hallmarks of any great SEO strategy, but if you\u2019re churning out content so fast that the quality is beginning to suffer, it may be time to slow down. The internet is bloated with content these days, which means it takes more effort than ever to make your content rank for desired keywords. To stand out, you need to make sure you\u2019re creating high-quality SEO content. Thin, mediocre content awkwardly stuffed with keywords is just not going to cut it. So, instead of putting your money toward creating dozens of short, hastily written blogs that barely scratch the surface of your intended topic, opt to spend that same amount of time writing something more comprehensive that provides depth to your reader. 6. Overlooking the importance of site architecture The way that a site\u2019s pages are structured and linked together is known as \u201csite architecture.\u201d Your site architecture affects not only how your users navigate your site, but also how Google ranks your site. How? Well, Google\u2019s spiders rely heavily on site architecture to crawl and index pages within a website, so you could be tripping yourself up if your site architecture doesn\u2019t make sense or has too many layers. Two of the most essential best practices for optimizing your site architecture include using a \u201cflat\u201d site architecture and making sure you have an XML sitemap available for Google to crawl. Even if you have these basic best practices down, site architecture can be leveraged to optimize your search performance further (for example, as part of an SEO content cluster strategy). 7. Targeting the wrong keywords As a business owner, you may think you know what keywords you want to rank for, but unless you\u2019ve done thorough keyword research, you\u2019re just guessing. And even the most educated of guesses may result in you targeting the wrong keywords. Typically, the \u201cwrong\u201d keywords are: \tToo competitive \u2014 When starting out on your SEO journey, you may want to avoid going after \u201chigh\u201d competition keywords right off the bat. Remember that SEO is all about the long game. Shooting for lower hanging fruit at the beginning builds up your authority, which can help you go after those more competitive keywords later in the future. \tToo generic \u2014 Sure, an all-natural dog grooming business in New York City would probably love to rank well for the term \u201cdogs,\u201d but it\u2019s way too generic to be relevant for your niche. The easiest way to avoid generic keywords is by going after longtail keywords, which are highly specific keyword phrases consisting of three to five words. Because they specifically tap into the intent of a user, they are significantly easier to rank for than a one-word generic keyword. For example, that dog grooming business might find more success by going after longtail keywords like \u201cNYC dog spa\u201d or \u201cbest natural dog groomer.\u201d \tNot being searched for at all \u2014 If a longtail keyword has almost no competition, then yes, you\u2019ll probably have an easy time ranking for it. That\u2019s great, but there\u2019s one caveat to consider. A keyword with slim to none competition may mean that almost no one is searching for that keyword at all. So, if no one is even searching for a keyword, is it worth putting in the effort to rank for it? Or is it a waste of your time and resources? To make sure you\u2019re choosing the right keywords, you need to know what people are searching for, how many people are searching for it, and what your competitors are doing. You gain these insights while doing keyword research, so make sure not to skip that process. 8. Neglecting local SEO How easy is it for your customers to find your business hours or directions to your location(s)? Does this information pop up when someone searches for your business in Google or do users have to dig for it? If it\u2019s the latter, it\u2019s time to start paying attention to your local SEO (also known as local optimization). Local optimization is a branch of SEO that focuses on improving your appearance in local searches, and it\u2019s especially vital for brick-and-mortar businesses that conduct business specifically within a geographical region. For example, if you own a restaurant with really great burgers, you probably want to make sure your business shows up in Google when users in your city type \u201cbest burgers near me.\u201d There are many things you can do to optimize the local findability of your business, though the first step you should take is claiming and filling out your Google My Business listing. 9. Not having a conversion strategy once users do find your site You\u2019re putting in the hard work and seeing progress in your rankings, but how do you know if it is paying off? Well, first off, congrats on the progress, but you need to keep your eyes on the prize. Your ultimate goal isn\u2019t about getting the highest rankings. It\u2019s about converting your site visitors into serious leads, prospects, and customers. But how do you know if your SEO efforts are actually responsible for conversions? The answer is conversion rate optimization (CRO). Moz defines CRO as \u201cthe systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action \u2014 be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise. The CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, what actions they take, and what's stopping them from completing your goals.\u201d The most common way CRO is used to support your SEO is through conversion tracking, which allows you to see what conversion actions were taken by a visitor referred to your site by a search engine. Implementing conversion tracking requires that you first create a Google Tag Manager account, but once you\u2019ve done this, you can track all kindsa keyword is "wrong" of visitor actions \u2014 from contact form submissions to digital downloads. Remember, your SEO strategy is only as strong as your CRO strategy, so make sure you\u2019re not leaving this piece of the puzzle out. 10. Halting SEO work after only a few months because you don't see results you want As I've already mentioned, SEO is inherently a long game. There are two main reasons for this. First, any new content or changes you make to your site can take weeks or even months to fully reflect in search engine results. Second, SEO work is very iterative; it requires data-driven course corrections to get you to where you need to be, and that takes time. That\u2019s why it\u2019s painfully short-sighted to abandon your SEO efforts after only a few months simply because you\u2019re not immediately getting the results you want. If you\u2019re starting an SEO campaign from scratch, you\u2019ll quickly realize that so much of this work involves baby steps forward (and yes, sometimes even baby steps backward). But if you\u2019re willing to put in the time and work, those baby steps start to add up to real progress. Ready to make decisions that help your SEO? Are you interested in pursuing a new SEO campaign or maximizing an existing SEO campaign? Southern Web's SEO experts are ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services.