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10 SEO Mistakes Private Investigators Should Avoid

  • August 11, 2011
  • by Staff
  • Marketing
private investigator SEO mistakesYour investigation firm’s website can be one of your greatest assets, but it loses a lot of value if it is unpopular with search engines. Google and other search engines are the main online entities that direct people to your site, so you need to make sure that the search engine optimization (SEO) tactics you use don’t negatively impact your search rankings.

Take a look at this list of 10 common SEO mistakes that private investigators and others make, and maybe you’ll find a couple of areas in which you can improve.

1. Not studying SEO basics
Whether you’re trying to optimize your website on your own or employing a company to do it, you should gain a solid understanding of SEO and its importance. There are good and bad ways to optimize for search engines, and it would serve you well to be able to tell the difference.

2. Targeting the wrong keywords
One common keyword mistake is trying to optimize for really general terms like “investigator” or “investigation” instead of being very specific. When you optimize for these general terms, you are competing with thousands or millions of other sites and are less likely to see positive results. Use keyword research to identify more precise words you should be targeting, such as “Los Angeles private investigator.” This focused approach will have greater impact on drawing potential customers to your site.

3. Failing to optimize locally
Search engines want to show people results that are as local as possible. If someone searches for investigators in Denver, Google prominently displays Denver investigation agencies. This means that your SEO strategy needs to include optimizing for keywords such as Denver investigators” and “Denver investigations.” To read more about local search, read Ranking in Google Places for Process Servers and Investigators.

4. Stuffing your site with too many keywords
Keywords, like many things, are best in moderation. If you try to overload your website with keywords, the search engines will lose some interest and possibly lower your ranking. As long as your content flows naturally for readers and includes keywords in moderation, you’re in good shape.

5. Not optimizing title tags
The title tag is the series of words you see at the top of your browser. Placing keywords in the title tag is a hugely important component of SEO, so ideally your title tag will contain investigator-specific keywords as well as your agency’s location. Many websites still have “XYZ Intelligence” in the title tag, which tells search engines little about your site’s purpose.

6. Trading or buying links from dubious sources
Many people will tell you that they can get thousands of links to your website (a good thing for SEO) for a price. However, many of these link-building services are either scams, or they use practices that can actually damage your SEO ranking. Instead of placing your trust in these questionable link peddlers, you should either research best practices for building your own links or work with a reputable company.

7. Trying to fool the search engines
Companies like Google pay their brainiac staff members well to write complex algorithms that sniff out attempts to fool their search engines. In other words, don’t waste your time trying. Historically, people have tried things such as including keywords in white or light-gray text, hoping that search engines would recognize the keywords while website visitors remained unaware. This and other sneaky techniques are called black-hat SEO, and they can get you blacklisted from search engines.

8. Not differentiating the content on your pages
Make sure each page of your website has unique content, title tags and meta descriptions (the descriptive text you see in search results under links). It’s a turn-off for search engines when they come across a site where every page is very similar.

9. Not fixing broken links
Search engines don’t like broken links and neither do your site visitors. This is an easy fix - just make sure that all links on your site go to the appropriate destination instead of an error screen.

10. Not blogging
Blogging is actually optional, but it’s beneficial. The more unique and relevant content you have on your website, the more impressed search engines will be. Another benefit of blogging is that if you write client-focused content, potential clients will come to your site for investigation information.

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