SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is aimed at providing the best online experience for the user; targeting their needs and providing them with the best, most relevant results.

Search engines like Google continue to change the goalposts constantly to keep companies on their toes, so that the best ones for the user appear in the organic search.

However, companies often try to second guess or manipulate their SEO to improve their rankings. Here are the worst mistakes small businesses often make to try to make themselves appear higher:

Top 5 Mistakes SMEs Make in SEO

Making decisions based on no empirical data:

There are a number of theories out there on SEO, but you can’t be too careful of taking on what other people say without checking your own data. Be wary of reading forums and taking advice from people you don’t know before looking at any empirical data – this will tell you in black and white how it is. It’s the safest and most sensible way of targeting your SEO campaign.

Disregarding social:

Fall into the category of thinking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are just for tinkering with now and again or using for leisure in your own spare time? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. These are just a handful of the social networks available for you to use as a tool to help drive traffic to your website. Posting regular, useful updates on there can help you reach a whole new audience and make more customers aware of your services, plus help with customer services and brand management.

SEE ALSO: 5 Most Important Things To Do After Publishing a New Blog Post

Low quality backlinks:

Obtaining backlinks which are not from a relevant or trusted source, don’t include any keyword variations, are mostly paid for, on a page with PageRank or are easily acquired will usually make for low quality backlinks. This means that you won’t be creating quality SEO campaigns for your company, and this is a big mistake indeed.

Long-term, you want to have clearly defined goals and high quality backlinks. For example, if you get a backlink from a site that dishes links out easily as part of your strategy, it is worth noting that your competitors and anybody else will be getting them easily too. This therefore reduces the quality of the link, which search engines will recognise. This means that the harder it is to get a link, the most value it will give to you and your rankings.

SEE ALSO:  High PR Do-Follow Forum List of 2013 for Building Quality Backlinks

Not writing keywords as they appear in search:

Matt Cutts stated at the start of the year in a published video that one of the biggest mistakes in SEO was not including the right words on the page. He advised thinking about how people are searching for them, such as ‘how high is Mount Everest?’ rather than ‘Mount Everest height’. Other popular searches will include terms such as ‘how do’, ‘why’ and ‘best’, for example.

Not thinking enough about good quality content:

Any self-respecting SEO Strategist or Executive will agree that as the landscape of SEO has changed, content has become a more important component to the point where it is before link-building in terms of prioritization. The quality and relevance of the content to the reader should come first.

Thinking about the content will mean that you naturally create more focused and natural , which people will get more value from and therefore share more. Search engines like Google will recognize this and are more likely to reward your rankings as a result.

Just by reading these points and focusing on them more in your Search Engine Optimisation Campaign, you should see an improvement in the quality of your referrals and, with a bit of luck, your rankings too.

However, it is a longer-term strategy that will benefit your customers and your brand, so stick at it!

SEE ALSO:  5 Most Important SEO Ranking Factors For 2013