Kevin Marshall from SEO Shark talks about the most common SEO mistakes

Kevin Marshall

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a digital marketing tool that allows a website to enhance its visibility in the results of platforms like Google. SEO is an essential investment for almost any business that wants to market itself effectively online.

Kevin Marshall, senior SEO strategist and the managing director of leading Sydney based digital marketing firm SEO Shark, has practised the craft of search marketing for a long time has a complex understanding of what strategies are still valid and what are entirely redundant.

Kevin answered some questions about the most common strategic mistakes people make when implementing SEO.

How important is local search and when should a business invest in it?

If you run a business that has a focus on helping customers in certain geographic regions, it’s essential that you optimise for local search. For example, if you were a plumber operating in the Hunter Valley region, then the keyword ‘Hunter Valley plumber’ would be more important for you to target than just the general ‘plumber’ keyword.

This is because someone who finds your business through a local search will be far more likely to give you their custom. This is especially important in the trade service industry as most people will simply opt for the most affordable and convenient practitioner nearby.

It’s common to hear about the importance of internal linking, but what’s the correct way to do it?

Having internal links throughout your webpages is a great way to improve the internal link structure of you website and improve the user experience by making it easier for people to find things. However, many people make the SEO mistake of anchoring the link on a CTA (call to action) rather than on text that describes the link.

For example, a plumber’s FAQ (frequently asked questions) page would be better linked on text that read “frequently asked questions for plumbers” rather than simply on “click here”. While the “click here” anchor may have an equal amount of context around it, in terms of SEO it is better to have the link actually attached to your keywords.

How important is auditing your website?

Auditing your website on a routine basis is essential for keeping your SEO campaign at peak performance. It doesn’t matter how good your SEO strategy is, a clunky website is going to undermine everything else you do because customers will get fed up with trying to use it.

Make sure to check your website for duplicate content, un-optimised meta tags, dead links and poor code as often as reasonably possible. Above all, you need to provide fast and responsive browsing experience for users.

Also, make sure that your onsite content is fresh for the industry you are in. If you website is still hosting information that is inaccurate or outdated, then you’re not going to generate a lot of authority with your intended customers.

We are always warned about manipulative or ‘black hat’ SEO tactics, how dangerous are they?

The biggest mistake people make with regards to their SEO strategy is undoubtedly when they engage in unethical shortcuts that are designed to trick or manipulate search engine algorithms. A lot of people are tempted by unscrupulous practitioners who promise quick results through the use of dishonest tactics designed to artificially inflate your online relevancy.

The majority of these ‘black hat’ SEO tactics are not only unethical, but mostly ineffective. Search engines have gotten very good at identifying those sites that are trying to cheat the system and punishing them accordingly.

Being caught using one of these dodgy tactics can be an effective death sentence for your website and potentially your business as a whole. Don’t take the risk!