In the SEO industry, changes happen thick and fast. You need to stay updated about the changes to ensure that your search ranking is not affected negatively. The biggest problem that you can face while doing SEO is the myths that keep floating around. It makes it difficult to know which one to believe and which one to not. But here we present to you 21 mistakes that you may or may not be doing but are definitely contribute to the fall in the ranking of websites.
Here is a list of mistakes that you can use as a reference to check your website. Find out if it passes this test or not. Once you have gone through this list, you will be ready to make a few changes to your website:
When it comes to KEYWORDS:
Mistake 1: Don’t Target Competitive Keyword
When you come to the world of keywords targeting, you need to play it smart to be effective. The top keywords in every domain are owned by the big companies/organizations. There is little chance that you can rank even within the first 5 pages for generic keywords with high search volumes. Instead, the wise thing to do is target low-volume and long-tail keywords.
Mistake 2: Choosing the Wrong Keywords
When it comes to targeting keywords, you must know what your users are searching for. There can often be a difference between how you define your products/services and the way your users are searching for your products/services. Often, what happens is that terms you consider correct might mean something completely different for other people. Using tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Google Trends, SmartSERP keyword tracker tool will help you bridge the gap.
Mistake 3: Practicing Keyword Stuffing
Till a few years ago, the number one technique used to rank higher was to stuff your content with keywords. Today, not only does that not work but will definitely harm your search rankings. Search engines are now quick to detect spammy content and penalize it. With the use of Semantics, search engines can now judge the quality of content without needing to refer to the keywords used. So your job is only to create quality content and not risking penalties by stuffing keywords.
When it comes to CONTENT:
Mistake 1: Publishing Duplicate Content
The internet is a beautiful place. But one of the worst problems it brings with it is making people lazy. Now one search can get you tons of information. So content creators often resort to rewriting or blindly copying content from reputed websites. There are also softwares that can ‘redo’ or ‘spin’ content for you so that it looks original. But you cannot escape the scrutiny of the powerful search algorithms today. So it’s better to invest in original content that will help you in the long run.
Mistake 2: Creating Content That’s Not Focused on Your Keywords
Let’s say that you have chosen few keywords that you want to rank for. Now you are ready to create content for it. This is a place where a lot of websites fail miserably. They are unable to ensure that their content focuses on the keywords they wish to rank for. Search engines are rank websites in the order in which they are able to satisfy the needs of the users. So if your content is unable to correspond and answer the needs of the user, it will not rank well at all.
Mistake 3: No Consistent Publishing Plan
Everyone in the SEO world knows the importance of producing content and they do it in large quantities. But when it comes to publishing, there is often no fixed schedule. You may not know it, but it affects your search ranking. When you publish your content consistently, lets say at the same time each day, the search engine can recognize that you are an authoritative site and this results in increase in traffic to your website. The trick is to stick to the plan and post at the exact intervals.
Mistake 4: Writing Short Blog Posts
Long posts or short posts? Are you in a dilemma? Well, what many company blogs do is post short blogs on a regular basis. While, they maintain consistency, these posts don’t actually fall in the category of great posts. They are just done for the sake of it. Great content needs good research and time invested in it. A 500 word post doesn’t educate or satisfy a reader in any way. Search engines will consider your webpage as low quality when it comes to SEO rankings.
When it comes to INDEXING:
Mistake 1: Taking Title & Meta Tags Lightly
When it comes to entering your website, users do it when they are able to trust your Title and Meta tags. We cannot emphasize its importance. If it is done correctly, you can see an immediate spike in the traffic visiting your website. Also, ALT tags can play an important role in search bots understanding the content on your page. So make sure all the ALT tags are titles correctly so that, there is no hurdles in indexing the pages successfully.
Mistake 2: Automating Tags
You have 60 characters to make an impression on the user and convince them to visit your website. The worst thing you can do is automating your title and meta tags. What you should do is thorough keyword analysis before your decide what you want to mention in your title and meta tags. Using tools like Google Adwords and SmartSERP you can start optimizing your title and meta tags and see the change in your rankings for good.
When it comes to LINK-BUILDING:
Mistake 1: Repetitive Anchor Text
Don’t keep using the same Anchor text like ‘Click Here’, instead use different options on different pages. Search engines see it as spammy to use the same anchor text everywhere on the site. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to SEO. When you link to external sites, you need to ensure that you only link to websites that have a great reputation and a good ranking. Also, don’t forget to link back to sites that have links to your site. It increases traffic to your website.
Mistake 2: Not using Internal Links
It is a fact that, internal links are good for your ranking. It signals to the search engine that you have a lot of content under a particular domain. But, don’t make the mistake of simply adding internal links that don’t match the topic. It is better to go back to your older posts and add internal links to the newer posts. Also, add a section under your page that says, ‘Related Posts’. This will add a lot of credibility and authority to your website.
Mistake 3: Buying Links in Bulk
It is always a risk to indulge in black hat practices like buying links from questionable websites. When you participate in link exchanges and farms, search engine bots are able to detect your linking patterns to penalize you. It is okay to post your website links in forums, blog comments and online communities. But, if you do it excessively, it will immediately alert the search engines and bring your ranking down.
Mistake 4: Building Incoming Links Rapidly
Link-building is one of the major drivers to push your website up in the search rankings. But, you cannot approach it in a haphazard manner. When you rush in and start getting a number of backlinks within a short time, suspicion rises automatically. The search engine needs to see that you have got your links ethically. Go slow, it is always better to avoid a penalty that way.
When it comes to USER EXPERIENCE:
Mistake 1: Not Mobile-Friendly
Users who come to your website, need to access their information in a simple manner. They will not like to go around struggling to figure out the way to access information on your website and this is especially true when it comes to mobile devices. It is made very clear by Google and other search engines that a website that is not website-friendly will lead to a lower ranking. If your website is not mobile-friendly, then go ahead and implement it now.
Mistake 2: Slow Loading Webpage and 404
In the age of speed, not one user will forgive you for having a slow website. Every element of your web page needs to be optimized for the highest page speed possible. For mobile, the way ahead is to implement Accelerated Mobile Pages update. It is simple to understand that a faster website will lead to higher ranking and that will lead to higher traffic, more page views and sales. Also, there is no excuse to have a 404 page show up, but it is the biggest SEO blunder out there.
Mistake 3: Ignoring the User’s needs
Google and other major search engines have said repeatedly that their goal is to ensure maximum customer satisfaction which is only possible by providing a great user experience. This will only happen when your website has all the bases covered when it comes to security of your website, using Adobe Flash and clumsy website design. It is important to remember that your website has no chances of ranking higher if these points are not kept in mind.
When it comes to SOCIAL MEDIA:
Mistake 1: Negligible Social Media Activity
Everyone out there uses social media to promote their website and its content. But the question is how much are they benefited. Now, there is a consensus in the SEO industry that social media success affects SEO ranking plus brings in a lot of traffic to the website. You cannot restrict yourself to any one platform, you need to go out there and find out where your users are and what they need, so that you can start engaging with them regularly.
Mistake 2: Not Using Influencers to Promote your Content
Social Media is connected to SEO in a very powerful manner. It cannot be ignored at any cost. But it is important to have a relationship with social media influencers and celebrities. Once your content is shared by them it has a stamp of credibility that is noticed by search engines and also your audience. So just sharing on social media platforms is not enough, it is important to amplify its reach by building relationships with the influential social media persons in your domain.
When it comes to ANALYTICS:
Mistake 1: No Priority for Analytics
Tracking your progress is important when it comes to Search engine optimization. You cannot take the risk of ignoring the numbers that are right in front of you. It is important that you are constantly analyzing your optimization efforts and experiment further. You need to use Google Webmaster tools or Google Analytics for this. You can review your website’ performance and understand the impact of your strategies and make changes if required.
Mistake 2: You are not a Google verified author
When it comes to the users clicking on your website link on the SERP, they must have liked something about your Title Tag/Meta Tag or trusted the ranking you have. The more trustworthy you appear, the more number of people will visit your website. One of the best ways to do that is make use of the authorship feature that Google+ has. All you have to do is have a complete Google+ profile and your picture will show up in the search results adding to your credibility.
Mistake 3: Not Registered with Google and Bing Webmaster Tools
No one in the SEO industry is able to correctly pinpoint the problems with a website without looking at the analytics. They are crucial to the growth of any website. Moreover, Google and Bing have webmaster tools that have made statistics simple for even beginner users. So, if you don’t register to them, not only are you missing out on a great resource but could miss out on numerous opportunities to improve your website ranking.
There are always some simple mistakes that we are making that drag down our rankings. We hope this list would have helped you become conscious of the mistakes you are making and its impact on your search rankings. SEO is a slow process and you need to maintain patience to gain its benefits in the long term.
Never resort to ‘Black Hat’ methods for the short term benefit. It will only lead to penalties that will spoil all the good work you have done on your website. Stay updated with all the happenings in the SEO world and ensure that your website provides a great experience for the users.
Subscribe to the SmartSERP blog and share your thoughts in the comments below.