13 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Using SEO

The internet is a powerful tool, and it’s only getting more powerful. One of the reasons for this is SEO (search engine optimization). Countless people use Google to find what they’re looking for, and many business owners are trying to optimize their websites so that they show up in these searches. But there are many mistakes small businesses make when they try to do this themselves-and we’ll discuss some of them here! For instance:


1) Many people overlook the importance of meta descriptions when optimizing their website by themselves. Meta descriptions should be clear and concise, not too long or too short, ideally containing keywords related to the business’ niche if possible. They also need to be compelling enough that someone will want to click on them-which isn’t easy. If you’re looking for a shortcut, hire someone to write them for your website.


2) Another common mistake is trying to do too much at once when it comes to SEO. Instead, focus on one or two things-like the meta descriptions mentioned above-and try to perfect those before moving on. You can’t please everyone as far as SEO is concerned.


3) Another common mistake is focusing too much on keywords and not enough on the user experience. A website needs to be appealing, easy to navigate, and helpful in some way for a person to return, all of which means you need to make sure your website or blog has a clear purpose before publishing it. This is something that may be easier to grasp for a business with employees in their marketing, and can be done by hiring an SEO company or consultant (though you’ll still need to know the basics).


4) Many businesses neglect social media when trying to do SEO on their own. Social media pages should link back to your website, and your social media profiles should be active (you should post at least once a day). When in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of too many links back to your own website.


5) Finally-and this is important-your website needs to be up-to-date when doing SEO for yourself. The internet is a rapid-moving place, and your website needs to reflect that. If it’s not updated, or if it has broken links, etc., you need to fix those problems. Otherwise you will lose sight of the target audience and won’t be able to compete with other sites for organic search engine rankings.


6) Another common mistake is not understanding the difference between long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are phrases that contain one to three words, and they tend to be more expensive than long-tail ones. For example: “HVAC contractor” vs. “affordable HVAC contractors in Brooklyn.” Long-tail keywords are almost always better, and they don’t take too much effort.


7) Another common mistake is not utilizing the resources available to you. For instance, Google has an entire support section on SEO (https://support.google.com/webmasters), which you should take advantage of. This is one reason why it’s important to know the basics before you dive in and try to do it yourself, though there are many other resources available (for free) online.


8) The next mistake people make when trying to do SEO on their own is neglecting to leverage off-site SEO. This includes not only social media, but also things like guest blogging (which can be done on your own blog or other blogs within your industry), link building, and more.


9) Another common mistake is focusing too much on links and not enough on content. Google has gotten smarter over time about which websites are “link farms” (i.e., full of spam) and which ones aren’t. The best way to rank high in search engines is not by trying to buy as many backlinks as possible, but instead by publishing great content on an ongoing basis.


10) Another common mistake businesses make when using SEO for themselves is not building their website with mobile users in mind. Google has made changes to how it ranks websites, and one of those changes is that if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to have trouble ranking high on search engines.


11) Another common mistake people make when trying to do SEO for themselves is not taking advantage of images. In many cases, adding an image with a keyword as alt text (“alt tag”) can help with SEO (though it’s not essential; there are always exceptions to the rule).


12) Another common mistake small businesses make when they try to do SEO for themselves is by ignoring long-tail keywords. These are more specific than short-tail keywords, requiring three or more words in most cases. Instead of writing for ‘dog’, you would need to write using ‘black labrador retriever’. Long-tail keywords tend to be less competitive and easier to rank for in search engines.


13) Finally, another common mistake people make when they try to do SEO on their own is forgetting about how social media affects SEO. For instance, if your blog is mentioned on Facebook or Twitter, this can help with SEO. Other forms of social media can also affect your rankings, so it’s important to keep an eye on what people are saying about you on various platforms.





In this day and age, SEO is more challenging than ever. By avoiding these mistakes, however, you can increase your chances of ranking well in search engines while still saving money by doing it yourself!


If you enjoyed this article, please be sure to check out the other articles on this site! I cover a variety of topics related to writing/careers/marketing/small business, and I update every weekly. Thank you for reading-I hope you had a great time learning about these issues 🙂