Website Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Want to avoid the most common website marketing mistakes? Then read on.

When you first have a new website it is easy to fall into common website marketing mistakes.  We all know the situation, you buy a new toy for a child at Christmas, by the afternoon they are playing with the box, by Boxing Day it is forgotten and they have moved on.

All too often, we fall into the playing with the box trap.  We pay for a new shiny website and invest in some search engine marketing.  We sit and wait for all the big business to roll in. By the end of the second day you start to think that there is a mistake, the developer/website marketing specialist didn’t put your website on Google.  Your search for your website and your worst fears are proven, your developer and or marketing specialist didn’t publicise your website as it isn’t in the top 10.  This is the typical process for a new website owner and one of the common website marketing mistakes.

OK, you may think it is easy for me to defend your developer as I am one.  But, unless you paid for advertising space on Google or you are only searching for your company name, you won’t find your new website in the top ten.  Just a small aside here.  I am always coming across people who have paid to have some marketing carried out on their website where the marketing company informs them the campaign has been successful as they are number one in the Google listings.  Indeed they are, for their company name – as I have said countless times on this site, you should be number one on any search engine for the name of your company. Let’s face it your company name and location are unique, as such, it should be number one within any search based on the company name and location – or your business isn’t listed.

Website Marketing Mistakes

I guess the previous paragraph really constitutes as one of the common website marketing mistakes.  All too often people are satisfied with top spot in Google or other search engines for their company name and location.  However, most people don’t search for your company by name – they search by a keyword or phrase that they think will be successful in returning the product or service they want.  However, let’s consider some other common mistakes, as that one is too easy.

Duplicate Content

Calling it copying sounds a little harsh but that is exactly what it is.  Don’t fall into the trap of looking at what your competitors have to say, especially those at the top of the search listings.  It is tempting to duplicate what they say. After all, it got them to the top right?  However, most modern search engines detect duplicated content and penalise your site for copying – based on which one was first.  Also, the owner of the site you copied would be within their rights to take you to court!

Things can be a little more subtle, it is one of the more common website marketing mistakes to copy your own content across several pages.  It does speed things up if your title and description are the same across all of your pages.  However, the search engines will pick this up and rate your site lower as the title and descriptions will have nothing to do with the content of the pages you copied it too.

Wrong Title

This is one of the most common website marketing mistakes people make, they rush to get their site out there without any thought to the title of the page and sub-pages on the site.

The title should be a descriptive short sentence to summarise what the page is about (it must include the keyword or key-phrase for that page).

Field of Dreams

Just like the child in our opening discussion who received a toy and eventually gave up on it.  All too often I come across people who have built a great looking website and given up on it too soon.

This is probably the single biggest of all the website marketing mistakes people make.  The old adage “build it and they will come” doesn’t really happen in the real world.

Running a website takes work and lots of time and patience.  The reason that web marketing specialists charge so much is that there is a lot of man-hours involved in getting a website to the top of the search engine listings.

Website marketing mistakes happen all the time, but this one can be avoided and must be.  When you purchase or build a website, you must realise that you need to commit time to promoting the site to get it higher in the search engine listings.  It is a long process, a week of work can result in little or no sign that your website is moving up the listings.  Then one day, when you least expect it, your site will jump up those listings.  But only if you work at it.

Assuming Google is the only one

It is one of the most common website marketing mistakes to believe Google is the only search engine.  However, they are the most commonly used:

Google does have a massive share of the market – some 82%, but there are other search engines – Bing, Yahoo to name but a few.  Now before you purists start calling foul, I know Yahoo isn’t a search engine, but a directory!

A more important issue to note here than just assuming that Google is the only search engine, is that you must never write your website for the search engines.  This is one of the typical website marketing mistakes people new to the industry make.  Websites should always be written with your customers in mind, i.e. real people, NOT search engines.

Lack of Keywords

You have come up with a great website and want to get it seen.  You have decided that you will advertise your site based on this keyword or that key-phrase.  It is one of the easiest website marketing mistakes to make to not include your keyword or key-phrase enough times on the page.

Sadly I cannot give you the exact number of times your keyword or key-phrase should appear in your copy, as this varies from search engine to search engine.  However, it should be in the range of 3-7% of the text.  Don’t forget to include your keyword/key-phrase in the headings and ALT text of images.  Just a small note about ALT texts.  They are intended to be a description of the image to ensure that people who don’t display images (such as people with poor eyesight who use a screen reader) can understand what the image is.  Please don’t be tempted to stuff ALT tags with keywords – mention them once.

The reverse is also one of the worst website marketing mistakes – don’t stuff your page with your keywords.  Please make your website easy to read, it is too tempting to keep finding clever ways to add the keyword or key-phrase to the text.  Please make it part of the paragraph, but remember to use standard English rules when writing.  Don’t repeat the same word more than once in a paragraph!

One of the best ways of ensuring your website reads correctly is to test it against the Flesch Reading Ease Readability Formula.  It sounds, and is, complicated.  Fortunately, you can click here to test your text against the formula and read what exactly the Flesch Reading Ease Readability Formula is.

Link Spam

Google ranks your website based on how popular it is in searches.  If your site is referred to on a website considered to be an industry specialist, you will receive kudos with the search engines.  Building good quality links to your website is a great way to improve your search engine ranking.  However, Google and all other search engines will give your sites severe penalties if you have lots of links that are poor quality, this is one of the worst website marketing mistakes.  Don’t ever be tempted to accept links from websites that have nothing to do with your industry.  Worse still are the links from so-called link farms.  These sites are blacklisted by the search engines, because of this your website will also be blacklisted if it appears on those link farms or you have a link to them.

Building good quality links takes time.  A simple way to start getting quality backlinks (links from other websites) is to use a blog on your site or use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.  I know you don’t like using these sites, after all, who wants to hear what you had for breakfast!  They are, however, a great tool to get your business seen, consider using them.  Another way is to look at your competitor’s websites that are in the top ten listings, who links to them?  If you can discover who is linking to them, why not ask those companies to link to you also?  The worst that can happen is that they say no.

Flash Websites

My final look at website marketing mistakes is to consider Flash websites.  Not the ones that just simply look great, but the ones built using Adobe Flash.  Essentially a website built using Flash is just an image, a graphic.  Search engines cannot see the text contained in images (I know there have been some moves towards search engines being able to detect the text, but generally, they still have great difficulty.  Anything that is a block in the path to search engine nirvana is something that will cause a search engine to stumble and not pick up your site.

If you want a website built using Adobe Flash, you should have an HTML version available too.

I hope that this discussion to common website marketing mistakes has been useful.  Anything that is considered risky, sailing close to the wind, black-hat, should be avoided, eventually Google and the other search engines will get wise and prevent those methods and websites employing those techniques will also be prevented from achieving their original position.  Read what the search engine recommends, that has to be the best start to your ultimate goal and help you to avoid website marketing mistakes.