For most business owners, SEO can come off as a bit overwhelming. From creating multiple accounts in several directories, trying to respond to reviews, and retaining existing customers, business owners need to handle quite a few things at once.
Keep in mind that running into technical problems with SEO can hurt your business’s online presence. If these issues aren’t given their due attention, you might lose out on several potential customers who are trying to find your business.
It goes without saying that problems with SEO can run rampant, especially if you’re new to the business. Here’s a list of common problems that most people face with website SEO and advice about how you can solve them:
1. Creating Citations: Manual Vs Automatic
Citations or listings are business profiles that you create on online directories relevant to your business or industry. This basically involves sites like Yelp, Google My Business, your local Chamber of Commerce, Foursquare, Angie’s List, etc.
What you need to do is pretty simple: make a list of all the online directories that you need create business profiles on, and create them. You’ll have to enter accurate NAP (name, address, phone number) details of your business in the relevant fields. It normally takes anywhere between two days to a week to start seeing results from your citation building efforts. (Here’s a list of top directories compiled by Hubspot.)
Conversely, you can use a manual citation service where people are paid to do it for you, or you can opt for a citation management software. Most of these services give you a dashboard which will integrate all your directories, that is, you’ll find them all in one place. It makes it easier to make any updates to all your business profiles.
However, if you do decide to patronize a citation service, remember that not all citation services are created equal. Be sure to ask the right questions before proceeding.
2. Slow Site Speed
Site speed is something search engines use as a factor to determine ranking on SERPs. And on a more obvious note, slow site speed amounts to bad user experience. That being said, there’s an easy solution to this: Google PageSpeed Insights.
With this tool, you can measure and track your site’s performance for both mobile and desktop versions. It’ll even provide alerts when it notices pages that aren’t properly optimized. Along with this, you’ll get an actionable description of how to fix them.
3. (Unsolicited) Bad Reviews on Google
It doesn’t get any more self-explanatory than “bad reviews” when your business is growing; what’s worse are the unsolicited ones. Although this isn’t an easy task, it’s not impossible.
You can flag such reviews on Google to be further clarified and evaluated by a moderator based on some guidelines. However, you might have to wait two weeks to a month before the review gets taken down.
If this doesn’t seem to work, you can always go to the Google My Business Help support forum to make your case. Here, you’ll be able to contact a representative who can fix it for you. Better yet, try to contact your unhappy customer. It’ll be far more rewarding if you find a way to win him or her over.
4. Faulty Google My Business Verification Code
As trivial as it may seem, it’s not uncommon to face an issue with the verification PIN you receive for your Google My Business account. Here’s how you can fix it:
Ensure that your profile is set to “public” and not “private” and give it another try. In case that doesn’t work as well, you can always request for a new PIN altogether. Sometimes, it might be because you updated your NAP details. If so, make sure that your contact information is consistent with your listing.
5. Lack of Location-Specific Pages
When your website doesn’t have location-specific pages it affects your ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), especially for mobile searches. This is mostly because of neglected page titles/headers and URLs not being optimized.
This means that for location-specific pages, your title tag and URL shouldn’t contain just your business name, but also your city.
Example title tag: instead of ‘Andy’s Beer Cafe,’ make it ‘Andy’s Beer Cafe | Atlanta.’
6. Checking for duplicate content
Duplicate content can a terrible ranking factor because it can potentially put you in Google’s bad books. Worse case scenario, you’ll lose any chance you have to rank on SERPs.
7. Images and ALT Tags
With regard to on-site SEO problems, alt tags or alternative tags need to be addressed. Alt tags are added as a HTML attribute to images to describe its contents. In case a image component on your website doesn’t render well, an alt tag for image will describe its contents and its function on the page. It also contributes to reinforcing the desired keyword by helping crawlers understand the information on the page.
It is quite simple to implement this. In your HTML code, you just need to find the image component and add an alt tag to it. This is what an image source looks like:
<img src=“image.jpg” alt=“image description” title=“image tooltip”>
You can add these quite easily for you images if you have a WordPress blog.
8. Inconsistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone-number) Details
Search engines have a huge aversion towards inconsistent business contact information when it comes to ranking. If you’re not keeping details updated, you’ll be losing some valuable customers who “Google” you. These stem from either inconsistencies or duplicate listings and here’s how you can fix them:
Scour all the online directories to find and change your inconsistent information. This might involve contacting any representatives associated with the directories to validate your changes before you make them.
[Pro Tip: Type this into your search bar to easily find relevant listings:
Site:”TheDirectoryOfYourChoice.com” + “Business’ Name” OR
Site: “TheDirectoryOfYourChoice.com” + inconsistent information]
9. Optimizing Your Website for Mobile
You shouldn’t need a statistic to convince you that mobile device usage has increased exponentially over the years. But here’s one anyway: “In 2016 alone, there were more than 200 million smartphone users just in the US.”
In order to optimize your website for mobile, you need to consider site speed, site structure, page speed, title tags, meta descriptions, etc. Having a mobile responsive site even attributes to ranking higher on SERPs. You can start by checking how mobile friendly your site using Google’s tool.
10. Contact Form Isn't Converting
If you’re using landing pages, I’m sure you’ve noticed that filling contact forms isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And you’d be absolutely right. According to Formisimo, only 49% of 1.5 million visitors who see a form fill it out. Out of the 49%, only 16% actually complete it.
The answer lies in optimizing your contact form to make it more compelling to users. Here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure that your form is super simple. Stick to what you need: name, email address, and if absolutely necessary ask for their phone number. As a rule of thumb, don’t exceed five fields.
- Give your CTA copy ample consideration before you pick something as generic as “Submit.”
- A/B test different aspects of your form design including color, position, size, required fields and copy. Always measure your output to gauge what works better for you.
Honestly, it goes without saying that these ten common SEO problems you might face on a daily basis are a segment of the larger SEO picture. There will always be other walls springing up that you’ll need to figure out how to climb.
Let us know in the comments about any other problems you’re facing or even ones you have fixed.