If you’re trying to increase traffic to a website or blog to draw more attention to your organization or business endeavors, the chances are that you’ve been thinking a lot about search engine optimization (SEO).
It’s easy to learn about what you should be doing with it, but what should you avoid? This article looks at some common pitfalls.
12 SEO Mistakes & How To Avoid It
1# Poor Keywording
Like many other things in business, SEO should begin with research. There’s lots of great data already online so this isn’t difficult or expensive to do.
Try to identify groups of keywords related to specific subjects that are relevant to what you do. Blend the most popular ones, which your rivals will also be using, with some less commonly searched phrases which can potentially give your site niche appeal.
2# Keyword Stuffing
In the early days of SEO, sites routinely introduced articles with blatant lists of keywords or inserted so many keywords into their content that it was jarring to read – people put up with it only because it was so commonplace.
Search engines quickly started penalizing sites for it. Today you shouldn’t use a specific keyword more than once every 250 words, though it’s okay to use similar ones in a way that feels natural to read.
3# Lacking quality content
Building a site that really appeals to search engines isn’t just about attracting them directly – it’s about producing the kind of quality content that persuades other people to link to you. This is just as important to a successful ranking-raising project as key-wording.
If you can’t write it yourself, consider featuring guest posts or investing in some professionally produced material – and don’t forget to promote it to the right people.
4# Lacking Focus
Search engines are most attracted to articles that focus strongly on particular topics. They don’t just look at your keywords, but at lots of other terms they’ve identified as being associated with them.
This means that it’s better to produce short articles on single topics than it is to cover multiple topics in a single piece, which mashes very different keywords together and reduces the overall value of the piece.
5# Not Filling in all the Fields
It’s amazing the lengths some people will go to get the content on a page right only to turn around and ignore the other fields. Actually filling out the meta tag and keyword fields does a huge amount to boost a page’s visibility.
Don’t make the mistake of just listing keywords in the meta tag – instead, build them into a grammatical sentence, making it as close to the maximum character count as you can.
6# Duplicating Content
When you’re just starting out with a new site, and you want to build it up quickly, it can be tempting to arrange to copy content from other sites, or even to plagiarize it.
This is very bad for your search engine rankings, it will be spotted quickly, and you could face a ranking penalty.
It’s okay to quote from other sites, but don’t use more than two lines and make sure they’re properly attributed, ideally with a link to the source.
9# Poor Linking
Something else that search engines pay attention to is the quality of outgoing links from your site. The expectation is that if a page is a quality resource, then it will only link to other quality resources.
The best way to make sure you do this – as search engines see it – is simply to give priority to other sites with high rankings. Government and academic sites and high profile news publications are a good choice.
10# Considering the Job Done
To remain successful, sites need to be kept up to date. Keeping track of your analytics will help you to identify what’s working and what’s not. If you find that you’re struggling to reach your target customers, there are professional solutions available.
Wolverine Solutions Group designs targeted campaigns and can help you take a fresh look at what you’re doing in both the content and promotion of material on your site or social media.
11# Not Going Local
Search engines love geographically-focused content, so if your business is focused on a local area – even if it’s a whole state – using lots of keywords relevant to that area will increase your rankings.
The great thing about this approach is that, at the same time, it will make your site more visible in very specific searches and make locally-based visitors feel more positive about what you’re doing because you’re a neighbor.
12# Ignoring Human Readers
With so many other things to focus on, it’s probably not surprising that some people overlook the most important thing of all – the people visiting the site.
If your SEO is getting in the way of readability, or if it means that the pieces you publish are almost identical, they won’t stick around for long.
The good news is that search engines and humans are increasingly looking for the same things in written content so it’s getting easier to please both.
This may seem like a lot to take in but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that most of it is common sense. Sharpening up your approach to SEO will really pay dividends.
Author: Eain Johnson