Top 5 SEO Mistakes Small Business Owners Make (and How to Fix Them)

Posted by Caty Zimmerman on Apr 6, 2023 8:42:00 AM

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For small businesses, having a strong online presence is critical to driving sales and revenue. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in - it's a vital component that cannot be ignored. However, many small business owners still make common SEO mistakes that can hinder their online visibility and ultimately hurt their bottom line.

Let's take a look at the top 5 SEO mistakes and how to fix them so that your small business can thrive online.

Neglecting Keyword Research

Neglecting keyword research is a mistake that can cost small businesses dearly in terms of online visibility and revenue. Keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy as it helps in identifying the search terms and phrases that people use to find businesses like yours. Without it, you'll have a hard time optimizing your website's content and ensuring that it ranks for the right keywords.

To avoid this mistake, start by using a keyword research tool to find out what your target audience is searching for. Look for high-volume and low-competition keywords that are relevant to your business and integrate them naturally into your website's content, meta tags, and URLs. By doing this, you'll give search engines a clear understanding of what your website is about and improve your chances of ranking higher in search results. Remember, keyword research is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and tweaking to stay relevant and effective.

Keyword Stuffing 

Overusing keywords is a common SEO mistake that can be tempting to small business owners who are eager to rank higher in search results. However, keyword stuffing will not only fail to achieve the desired results, but it can also harm your SEO efforts by causing search engines to penalize your website.

To avoid this mistake, it's important to use keywords naturally and strategically throughout your content. This means focusing on creating high-quality content that provides value to your readers and naturally includes your target keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing by adopting a user-centric approach to your content creation, and ensure that your keywords are relevant to the topic at hand.

In addition to using keywords naturally, it's also important to diversify the types of keywords you use. This means including long-tail keywords and variations of your main keywords to make your content more relevant and useful to searchers. By doing this, you'll not only improve your website's search engine rankings, but you'll also attract more targeted traffic to your website.

Remember, SEO is not just about ranking higher in search results - it's about providing value to your audience and establishing your business as an authority in your industry. By focusing on creating high-quality content that naturally includes relevant keywords, you'll be well on your way to achieving your SEO goals and driving more traffic and revenue for your small business.

Ignoring Local SEO

One of the most crucial steps in local SEO is claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing. This listing includes important information about your business, such as your address, phone number, hours of operation, and customer reviews. Optimizing this listing and ensuring that your business information is consistent across all online directories can significantly improve your local search rankings.

In addition to optimizing your Google My Business listing, it's important to include local keywords in your website's content and meta tags. This means incorporating location-specific phrases and terms that your target audience is searching for in your website's copy. For example, if you're a law firm in Boise, including phrases like "Boise law firm" or "lawyers in Boise" can help your website appear in local search results.

Another effective local SEO strategy is creating local content. This means creating blog posts and other content that are relevant to your local area and target audience. As another example, if you're a restaurant in Chicago, creating content about the best places to eat in Chicago or the history of the city's food scene can help you attract more local customers and improve your search rankings for similar search queries.

Don't neglect the power of local SEO - invest time and effort into optimizing your website for local search and watch as your business grows.

Neglecting Mobile Optimization

With more people accessing the internet through their mobile devices than ever before, having a website that performs well on smartphones and tablets is crucial for small businesses in order to attract, convert, and delight your customers.

Google, the world's largest search engine, recently made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor, which means that websites that aren't optimized for mobile devices will likely experience lower search rankings. This can lead to a decrease in organic traffic, which in turn can hurt your bottom line.

Another important aspect of mobile optimization is page speed. Mobile users expect websites to load quickly, and if your website takes too long to load, they'll likely bounce back to the search results and choose a competitor instead. To improve your website's page speed, you can compress images, reduce the number of HTTP requests, try to limit the use of video across your site, and more. 

One way to make sure you're optimizing your website for mobile is to use a responsive design that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes and ensures that your website loads quickly on mobile devices. 

So don't let mobile optimization fall by the wayside - invest time and effort into making your website mobile-friendly and watch as your business grows.

Not Being Patient Enough to See Results 

As a small business owner, it's important to remember that SEO is a long-term investment. While it's natural to want to see immediate results, it's important to be patient and consistent with your strategy. It can take several months, or even a year or more, to see significant improvements in your website's search engine rankings and traffic.

One way to stay on track with your SEO strategy is to create a 12-month roadmap that outlines specific tasks and goals for each month. This roadmap can help you stay focused on your SEO objectives and ensure that you're making progress each month. It can also help you communicate your SEO strategy to important stakeholders and remind them that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

In addition to creating a roadmap, it's important to monitor your website's analytics regularly to track your progress and identify areas for improvement. By staying on top of your website's performance, you can make data-driven decisions about your SEO strategy and continue to optimize your website for search engines.

Remember, SEO is not a one-time project - it's an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and optimization. But by being patient and persistent, and by implementing the strategies outlined in this post, you can significantly improve your website's search engine rankings and drive more traffic and revenue for your small business.

5 Simple SEO Tasks You Can Implement Today

  1. Keyword Research Using Free Tools
  2. Keyword Optimization on Your Main Website Pages
  3. Image Optimization 
  4. Claiming & Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile 
  5. Outlining a 12-month SEO Roadmap for Your Team to Work From


Without proper SEO, small businesses may struggle to attract new customers and generate revenue. But by avoiding common SEO mistakes and implementing the fixes outlined in this post, small business owners can significantly improve their website's search engine rankings, attract more organic traffic, and ultimately drive sales. So don't neglect your SEO strategy - invest time and effort into optimizing your website for search engines and watch as your online visibility and revenue grow.

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Caty Zimmerman

Written by Caty Zimmerman

As the Director of Client Services and Account Manager, Caty's ongoing goal is to define client delight at Tribute Media and help our clients become heroes in the eyes of their customers.