5 Most Common Organic Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are lots of easy-to-fall-into SEO traps, but knowing how to avoid common marketing mistakes is the key to retaining your rankings and keeping your website ahead of the curve. So, what are the mistakes that could be holding your rankings back, and how can you fix them?

common marketing mistakes - The Brains
November 17, 2022
10 mins to read
common marketing mistakes - The Brains

We’re a leading SEO agency and commonly see a number of the same issues popping up in campaigns when clients join us. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the top mistakes marketers make, ranging from clickbait to social media post frequency, and explain why they’re bad and how you can get around them.

Are there mistakes in marketing?

We always talk about how marketing is a blend of educated guesses with a sprinkling of fortune, and that still rings true, but there are such things as mistakes; and we’re not talking about a campaign idea that simply didn’t work out.

SEO and organic marketing conforms to industry best practices and standards, which means that although a large part of the sector is creative, a good chunk of it is based on predictable elements and informed data. Think algorithms, Google updates, social media terms of use, etc. If you fail to adhere to the basic operating standards of organic marketing, either because you don’t know about them or you willingly disregard them, you’ll step into mistake territory. For organic marketing, this can be costly in every sense of the word.

common marketing mistakes - The Brains

How important is organic marketing?

Why are organic marketing mistakes costly? Well, organic marketing dominates the marketing sector as a whole, with 53% of website traffic coming from organic search, and organic search drives 10x more traffic to a website than organic social media (which still drives a high volume in itself). Source: Hypervisibility

As it stands, organic marketing is still more profitable than paid marketing, and it costs a lot less to do. This makes it imperative that you understand the nuances of organic marketing to ensure you don’t make avoidable yet costly mistakes.

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Organic marketing mistakes to avoid

Without further ado, here are five of the most common organic marketing mistakes we routinely see businesses make, and how you can work to avoid them and streamline your approach to ensure it’s robust and profitable.

1. Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a rogue SEO tactic that most marketers know to be ineffective, but is something that continues to be common practice largely due to confusion around what keyword stuffing is in SEO. 

Back in the day, Google was fairly basic and its ranking factors were simple in nature. Keywords have always been a ranking factor, and early doors, the more keywords you put in your content, the higher you ranked on SERPs. 

This led to content creators pumping their content full of keywords and keyword variations. If they didn’t make sense, they would simply list the keywords in a paragraph and make the text the same colour as the page background. Users couldn’t see the nonsensical paragraph, but Google could, and Google ranked the page accordingly. 

Since the days of basic SEO, Google has made its ranking factors far more sophisticated. In 2003 it launched the Florida update which mostly targeted spam links, but had a mild effect on keyword stuffing. Then, in 2011, the Panda update came along which really started to crack down on ‘thin’ content with no real value, i.e., hidden paragraphs of keyword variations. This is when we first saw keyword stuffing get the boot from Google, but it didn’t go out the window completely. You could still get away with a fair bit without penalty.

The Hummingbird update launched in 2013 which allowed conversational search, meaning natural language was promoted over robotic language, i.e., keywords. That being said, keyword stuffing still happens, but nowadays, it’s mostly done as a mistake. 

Google is precious about keywords and really doesn’t like a lot of them, but you need just enough to rank. So, how to avoid keyword stuffing? Ideally, you want one keyphrase in your title, URL, meta description, and a subheading. Any more than this runs the risk of being ‘spammy’, but it’s this trap that all too many fall into. Remember, less is more when it comes to keywords. 

2. Plagiarism

In the same way Google hates keyword stuffing, it also really doesn’t like plagiarised content. This is when you copy and paste something from someone else and pass it off as your own, without credit, or if you write something that is worded very similarly to something else. Not only do you risk a copyright strike from the original author if you’re caught, but you can tank your rankings, too. 

Google always tries to show the most relevant results on SERPs, meaning if your content is stolen from elsewhere but their site indexed the copy first and is generally more relevant for the search query, your site will get booted from the SERPs. 

It’s sometimes very easy to mistakenly write similar content to someone else, and Google recognises this, but if you’re actively copying and pasting information without citing your source, this is plagiarism and it’s not okay. 

It’s worth keeping in mind that plagiarism works both ways – someone can steal all your content and pass it off as their own, too. You likely wouldn’t be happy about this, so don’t do it to other people, if only to protect your reliability, relevancy, and rankings. Unique content is rewarded, so make sure you have a team of good copywriters who can produce just this, and avoid using content spinning software or cheap online services that more than likely rip off other people’s content.

3. Posting on social media too much

Away from organic content, let’s look at social media. It dominates the market and is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. It has the power to propel businesses to national and even international recognition, but only if it’s done right. 

One mistake a lot of businesses make is treating their business’ social media page like their personal social media page in that they will post all the time, or post personal opinions that don’t relate to their business. For example, some businesses post multiple times a day. This isn’t ideal, especially across some platforms, like LinkedIn. 

There’s no set formula for how often you should post on social media as a business, but the general consensus is that you should aim for between three and five times a week, so roughly once a day or every other day. You could get away with more than this on Twitter due to the nature of the platform, and you can still post stories on Instagram to drum up interest and carry on the conversation, but any more than this on Facebook or LinkedIn won’t work and could look spammy. 

When people feel like all you’re doing is going for a hard sell, clogging up their feed with multiple posts every day, or pushing a personal opinion/narrative, they’re more likely to unfollow your page. This is damaging to your organic strategy overall because when you have something interesting to push, like a new product or a sale, people will simply scroll on by. 

With this in mind, make sure you don’t post too much or get involved in anything political or controversial that could alienate some of your followers.

4. Clickbait titles

Back to content, and we’re looking at clickbait titles. This is something that has dominated the news (largely because news corporations often use clickbait titles), but it’s becoming increasingly more prominent in the organic SEO sphere. You’ve probably gathered by now that Google has a real thing about content. It wants good, reliable content, but it also wants content that matches up with the title that’s attached to it. 

How often do you click on something because the title sounds interesting, only to find the content isn’t really related to the title, or your question is answered in the very last paragraph? Annoying, right? Google thinks so, and that’s why content such as this is heavily penalised in SERPs. If you’re guilty of going after a high search volume title and answering everything but the query itself in your article, don’t expect to rank very highly, if at all. 

When coming up with content, make sure you’re able to answer the question and relate the article back to the title. Also, make sure to answer the query as early on as possible, otherwise people will get bored and click off, increasing your bounce rates and reducing the authority and trust of your site.

5. Not defining KPIs or tracking the right data

Finally, we have KPIs. All too often we see businesses devise organic marketing strategies without any defined KPIs in place. We also see them come up with KPIs mid-way through their campaigns, often skewed in a way that favours the data they’ve collected. 

Not only does this create a wonky set of data that doesn’t really mean anything, but it also means you’re able to reliably determine whether you’re making any progress. Rather than seeing what happens when you start publishing content, set out your KPIs beforehand and use them to inform your strategy. Collect weekly results from Google Analytics or any other metrics tool you use, and start doing month-on-month reports to see if your strategy is effective. 

If it’s not working, you can change tack and try something new, giving you the best shot at running a successful campaign. On this, it’s also important to note that not every strategy will work. There will be times when your data is in the red rather than the green, either because of seasonal changes, changing consumer habits, or simply because the strategy you’ve implemented isn’t resonating with your audience like you hoped. In this case, drill down as to why it’s not working and change your approach. A/B testing is a good way to prevent this.

Final thoughts

Organic marketing is no mean feat. The goal posts are frequently changing and the rules around what is rewarded and what is frowned upon routinely change, but as a whole, the above are solid pillars on what to avoid if you’re going to succeed organically. 

If you need help with your organic marketing strategy, The Brains is on-hand. We can provide high quality, professional SEO copywriting services and SEO campaign advice, so speak to us today to learn more.

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