003 – The Most Common SEO Mistakes That Small Business Owners Make

Small business owners and entrepreneurs often do their own SEO and much to their dismay they don’t know what went wrong. Today we cover the most common mistakes that small business owners make on their SEO and how to avoid it.  This podcast was inspired by Semrush’s infographic after researching X million websites.

Below is the infographic that inspired the show, for technical SEO mistakes that small business owners make. 

SEO Mistakes Business Owners Make - SEMRUSH

4rd Marketing Podcast Shownotes

  • 404’s – A 404 means “File not found” for a page.  In simple terms there’s a link somewhere on your site that’s pointed to a page that doesn’t exist.  The most common culprit is a misspelled link (we even did this) or a renamed page.
  • Sitemap – Many entrepreneurs don’t really even think about this one, especially if they have a Yoast plugin.   However, according to SEMRUSH, there’s a good percentage of business owners that are making the mistake of not doing this.
  • URL Structure – We see this alot with company provided sites for franchisees and/or service professional (like insurance or real estate agent websites).  The sites often can be dynamic (which means more or less that they are created when the user requests them vs when a bot crawls them).   In addition, having super long urls is a no-no.
  • Duplicate Content – The penalties around duplicate content are over-hyped in my opinion, but ultimately this is still a problem.  I can’t count how many pest control or locksmith companies have 100’s of duplicate pages simply to try to target a zip code or city.  Each page should be unique.  If you struggle with ideas on that please listen to episode 2 about Blog Topics or episode 1 regarding how to be unique, when Google is control.
  • Low Content – This is the most common problem on the net in my opinion.  Even our show notes suffer from this.  With any piece of content with a limited number of words Google thinks that the content isn’t in-depth enough, so how could it possible be good?   If you’re trying to rank a page, you need content.
    Examples of the Meta Description and Title
  • Meta Description – The only “meta” that is worth a business owner’s time.  The meta description often puts the words on Google search results.  As in the above image, if you don’t “define” it then Google will grab the first thing it comes across.  If you use an SEO plugin for this you could get duplicate meta descriptions which are not good either.
  • Title –  This is the “title” of your post or page.  Keep in mind that going too long can often result in Google shortening it.  It’s also a missed opportunity to try to get more clicks from your users.
  • Pagespeed – How many years will this still be a thing that is hammered in.  However, there are many business owners that grab images off the internet or gigantic images like those found at Unsplash and they don’t take the time to optimize them.   Page speed is a big deal and it’s worth it to get a plugin (if you’re on wordpress like ShortPixel).  Read our post about essential wordpress plugins for more info.

We also covered SEO in-depth, here’s a table of contents.

  1. SEO Fundamentals – Site Architecture & Structure
  2. SEO 101 Part 1 – 9 Keys To SEO Success
  3. SEO 102 Part 2 – 9 Keys To SEO Success
  4. How to Build Backlinks For SEO – 9 Effective Link Building Strategies
  5. 3 FREE Keys To Keyword Research For SEO
  6. SEO FAQs


Picture of Joshua Jarvis

Joshua Jarvis

Joshua has started and sold several businesses over 15 years. Recently he left a 15-year career in real estate as a business owner to pursue my dream of writing and helping business owners grow their own dream.

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