Common marketing mistakes: SEO and Paid Advertising
As a business owner or marketing manager, you know how important it is to stand out from the competition and build a loyal customer base. However, without the right set up and ongoing optimisation strategy, your marketing efforts could lead to wasted time, misused marketing budget, and a lack of results.
As an agency, we regularly carry out free marketing audits for prospective clients - not only does this give businesses something valuable in exchange for their time and consideration, it also shows what we would do to hit the ground running to improve results for them. Naturally, these audits are extremely insightful, and time again, we see the same mistakes that ultimately hinder the chances of businesses achieving growth and hitting their KPIs.
Today, we've shared some of the most common marketing mistakes across paid advertising and SEO and ways to avoid them.
Common Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) marketing mistakes
1. Visitor tracking problems
Like most areas of marketing, data is essential in SEO. Analysing user traffic data is vital to the success of any SEO campaign, yet many websites have a poor tracking setup.This leaves a business effectively blind to anything other than top-level information. Correctly tracking visitors and their behaviour on a website (and paying attention to search engine behaviour) generates the data that continuously shapes the SEO marketing strategy - doing this will help you drive quality organic traffic that is more likely to convert.
The Fix: Ensure that tracking is setup correctly throughout your site and that goals are firing as they should. Use a combination of tools including Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and the ‘Google Tag Assistant’ Chrome browser plugin whilst browsing your website to check that your tracking code is working. If you are unsure of how to use these tools or are considering using an agency to manage this for you, get in touch with our SEO specialists.
2. Lack of keyword optimisation
When deciding what websites to show potential customers in search results, Google will read your website a bit like a book, displaying the sites that best fit the search criteria. While there are a whole host of factors that affect what appears in SERPs (Search Engine Results pages), keywords play a huge role in this process. It is important to ensure your website contains relevant keywords based on what users are looking for in relation to your products or services.
Further reading: How do search engines work?
The Fix: Carry out appropriate keyword research for your services and target areas, ensuring the keywords are implemented properly throughout the website. This is especially important within elements such as Title Tags and H1 tags. Take care to do this in a natural way and avoid 'keyword stuffing' - this not only sounds unnatural to the reader, it can also result in Google penalising your website for poor SEO practices.
3. Thin content
Google is fundamentally a text reader, and if your web pages do not have a good volume of text, Google will struggle to determine which keywords or topic areas your website is relevant for. Thin content on a website can be negative for SEO, as Google may assume your website is low in quality and downgrade your position in SERPs. Content marketing should always be part of your wider marketing strategy.
The Fix: Ensure your web pages - including service pages and category pages - have a good amount of text content on each web page. As a general rule, aim to write more than 300 words per page. Continue to write blog posts that contain helpful content that provides value to the end user. This can also be based on keyword research to highlight common questions and areas that need more information.
4. Duplicate or irrelevant content
When it comes to SEO, quick fixes are not the answer, especially with on-site content. Content that has been copied or 'scraped' from other websites and then used on your own site is not good for SEO. Each page on your website should contain content that is as unique as possible. Google values unique and relevant content that is tied to your expertise, services and products. Don't be tempted to copy and paste, even if it's content you have written!
The Fix: Produce original content on your blog and pages going forward. You can of course repurpose marketing messages and ideas from your old content, but ensure that the majority of the copy is fresh and up to date. If you are worried that duplicate content exists on your site, use tools like Screaming Frog (free versions are available) which will scan your site for duplicated (or near-duplicated) content so you can amend and refresh as necessary.
5. Not setting clear goals
The most successful marketing campaigns are those with clear, achievable goals. How can you determine if something is working if you are not measuring it against targets or key performance indicators? Ultimately without clear outcomes in mind, you will not be able to improve on your campaigns and you will be shooting in the dark (the opposite of what marketing is all about).
The Fix: Before launching any campaign, be sure to determine what it is that you want to accomplish and why. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Generate leads? Increase sales? Establish yourself as an industry expert? Once you know what your goal is, create metrics that will help you measure your progress towards achieving it. That way, you’ll be able to track the success of your campaign and make necessary adjustments as needed.
6. Little to no quality backlinks
A backlink is a link that points to your website from another online source (i.e. an online magazine or blog that links to your website). Links from other websites help Google to grade the authority of your site for a given focus area. Authority is a key factor when search engines are deciding what websites to display in SERPs. The fewer links you have, the less authority your website tends to have.
The Fix: Links are typically acquired by either directly reaching out to a site to secure a feature (usually in the form of a blog post, which your business would provide) or through Digital PR. In both instances, the aim is to produce a piece or secure coverage that is relevant to the readership and contains a link. If your domain rating is poor, keep working on your linkbuilding strategy
Further reading: What is SEO linkbuilding?
Common Paid Advertising Marketing Mistakes
Overspending can occur when ad campaigns are not set up properly from the get-go, or when businesses use self-competitive strategies that burn through budget and yield no results. For example, many businesses bid on their own brand names, despite having a great brand reputation already, rather than bidding on keywords to target new customers and more niche audiences. This essentially means they are paying unnecessarily for clicks from existing loyal customers. Poor structure and planning can also result in overspending - many ad accounts show nearly identical campaigns that can be bundled into a single, more efficient campaign.
The Fix: Increase your budget slowly and ensure you set a maximum daily spend. More money doesn’t always mean more conversions and better performance. Test your campaigns along the way and turn off those that are underperforming while investing in those that are working well. Review what you already have campaign wise before adding new ones that may be similar to what you already have running. Consider whether or not you really need to bid on your own brand name.
2. Inaccurate conversion tracking
Conversion tracking involves more than just counting how many total site visits, leads, or sales you had through in a given period. Many businesses who run paid ads fail to look at the larger picture - how the user interacted with their ad along the conversion journey. It's not always the case of click > conversion, so understanding user behaviour more thoroughly can help you optimise your conversion funnel and better understand how well a given ad is really performing so you know which ads to focus on and how to optimise them further.
The Fix: Remember that users tend to 'shop around' and there are many factors that go into a conversion. Consider different attribution models to see how your end users behave when interacting with your ads to further optimise your conversion funnel. For example, your user may click on your ad, head to your website, look around, and choose not to convert. Later on, they may remember your business (from the ad) and visit your site directly. This is important to know to really gauge what ads are working best.
3. Unclear on what the current audience needs
User behaviour is constantly changing, including what keywords they use to search for services or products like yours. Are they looking for "best roller skates for adults", or "cheapest roller skates for adults"? Depending on what the audience is after, you need to make sure your ads fit the brief. Targeted ads based on data will perform better than blanket ads with no real strategy,
The Fix: Use the tools within Google Analytics and Google Ads to understand user behaviour. Carry out keyword research to identify gaps in demand and fill those gaps with your advertising. Consider whether you can offer additional services, or tweak your messaging to fit the needs of our audience. You should also make sure to keep your creative assets and website up to date with these trends.
4. Lack of Testing
Paid advertising campaigns provide a rich source of data that can be used for optimising and testing, yet many companies fail to take advantage of it. Running tests (i.e. A/B tests) are essential for improving click through rates and conversion rates, and without continually testing and improving your ad campaigns, you can expect to waste a lot of time and budget.
The Fix: Use tools like Google Optimise to perform tests on different advertising formats, ad copy, and calls to action to see what works best. Once you understand what resonates with your audience, tweak your campaigns to contain the best performing elements in order to drive traffic and customers.
5. Outdated Strategies
Like it or not, the platforms we advertise on are constantly changing, as are best practices on these platforms. As Google, Meta, TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms introduce changes, it's important that your ad campaigns change in line with these, otherwise you will see a big dip in your performance.
The Fix: Stay on top of trends, do your research, and if you're unsure on how to do this, seek advice from a professional marketing agency who are dedicated to keeping up with these trends and platforms to drive the best results for their clients. Keep up to speed on the latest technologies and implement them strategically to maximise your results.
Need help with your marketing campaigns?
For even experienced marketers, the common mistakes listed above can be tricky to spot and challenging to fix. The marketing world is constantly changing, as are the best marketing tactics and best practices - keeping up with it all can be a job in itself. If you feel that your marketing isn't yielding the results you are looking for, it may be time to consider a new marketing campaign or strategy.
At I-COM, our business relies on being able to market successfully through maximising the latest technologies, trends, and tools - we support a variety of businesses including ecommerce, legal, education, and recruitment in growing their market share, reaching their target audience, and increasing conversions to hit their KPIs.
Whether you are looking for a marketing agency to support you or simply are curious about what we might suggest for you, get in touch. Request a free SEO or Paid Advertising audit for your business to see what you can do to improve your marketing, including what marketing mistakes to avoid.