9 SEO Mistakes that you should avoid
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to making your presence known online. Even then, you must always strive to stick to the confines of good SEO ethic by understanding the basic principles. This is especially important when it comes to content marketing because failure to observe these principles can lead to penalties that will not only ruin your rankings but also take time to recover from. One of the common strategic errors that you can make as a website owner is assuming that SEO strategies are all about keyword rankings. Although it is important, there is much more to a viable SEO strategy than just keyword rankings.
This article will examine 9 SEO mistakes that you must avoid in order to maximize your visibility online. In order for your site to withstand the ever changing Google algorithm, you must avoid these nine mistakes and be a trusted source of quality content in the crowded online space. These are not necessarily black hat SEO techniques but SEO mistakes that are lesser known. It is important to keep in mind that while some of them are acceptable in other perspectives, they are not considered among best practices in SEO.
Besides these nine that we are about to look at in detail, there are many other SEO tactics that must be avoided if you are to make a difference online. Here are the 9 SEO mistakes that you are bound to make during your search engine optimization process.
- Failure to optimize Meta tags and title tags– The Meta tags and title tags provide a preview or brief description of a given page. That is, the information that you can expect to find on the page. Therefore, if they are not optimized then the search engines get confused. As such, there is need for different Meta descriptions and title tags for all the pages of the website. Tags often make ranking on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) easier while the description will help you stand out from the competition.
- Duplicate content – This is one of the popular SEO problems that many people are not usually aware about. When you have content that is identical to other web pages, search engines will find this and the consequence is having the pages blocked. The solution to this is quite simple. You may opt to use canonical URLS indicating the originality or set up 301 redirects from duplicate content pages on to the page with the original content in instances where the content is reused more than once.
- Lack of quality content – It is every website owner’s desire to have content that will match queries from search engines. Even then, the quality of the content must be given priority because if the quality of the content is bad then the SEO efforts will be in vain. It is important to have in place a smart content strategy and have your audience in mind when crafting your content. This will ensure that your content is written in a tone and level that suits your target audience.
Visitors and search engine spiders like fresh content. Therefore, you will also need to ensure that your website content is updated on a regular basis. This is one sure way of having dynamic content so that when search engine spiders crawl the site, as they consistently do, they can prompt high search engine rankings as well as return visitors.
Refrain from taking a back seat when it comes to content creation. SEO is a continuous effort hence always work towards keeping your site active by giving your visitors a reason to come back. Where possible, have a schedule for when you will have a new post up and this should be on a regular basis. The bottom line is that search engines will not notice you if your website content is not updated regularly.
- Failure to have a mobile optimized site – A lot of search engine activities today are linked to mobile devices. As such, it is advisable to have a site that is designed for mobile devices. Mobile friendly websites often have labels that make it easier for users to find them. Moreover, they promote seamless user experience on your site across different devices and platforms. Creating a mobile friendly site is not difficult yet it is quite profitable.
- Absence of a site Map– It is crucial to have a site map yet this SEO mistake is committed by thousands of website owners. Site maps make browsing through the site, indexing and crawling by the spiders easy. An XML map is a good option owing to its systematic file listing of URLs on the website which is quite useful for crawling. They then determine whether to index or crawl the page. The site map must be up to date.
- Lack of keyword research– Many people who claim to optimize a site are not SEO professionals. Thus, they end up promoting keywords that are of no value to the site they are optimizing. Choosing the appropriate keywords before using them on your site or content is very important if you are to attract visitors and search engine spiders. Wrong keywords often result in missed opportunities and less traffic owing to poor SERP rankings. Therefore, ensure that you do a thorough keyword research and let the findings guide your SEO efforts. This is a sure way of incorporating the right keywords in your SEO strategy.
You can research on the keywords that your target audience is using with the help of tools like Google trends or by simply typing words in the search box and looking at the list of suggestions that will be populated automatically. Soolve.com is another free tool that you can use to see auto complete results from various search engines.
- Buying or using paid links– Although this may seem right, it is worth noting that Google made recent changes to its algorithm and these changes affected the paid links strategy. In fact, the changes meant automatic death to this strategy. As a result, search engines give more weight to natural links as opposed to paid links while the paid links strategy is seen as a violation to search engine rules. Hence, you need to focus more on creating great quality content that will help you garner natural links because it is quality back links that matter. Most importantly, stay clear of purchasing shoddy links because Google will discover and apply strict disciplinary action causing your site to suffer poor ranking. Remember, restoring your site to its former glory after a penalty is no mean feat.
- Using a flash website– Flash based websites are good in terms of appealing to visitors and ease of navigation. However, they are not recommended for SEO purposes because they are not SEO friendly. Flash sites are usually not readable by search engines meaning that web spiders cannot crawl and scour through the content that is carried in the flash. You will do well to avoid flash content on your website and instead incorporate a HTML alternative or simply get your site optimized for mobile devices.
- Restrictive search engine use– This is another common SEO mistake that many people make albeit unknowingly. That is, you fall in the trap of optimizing your content as well as website layout for Google search engine alone while not paying attention to the other search engines like Yahoo, Bing etc. Focusing on Google is beneficial to your site but you need to keep in mind that Internet users across the world have different preferences for search engines. If you are targeting global reach, you will need to optimize your site for all the search engines in order to achieve maximum impact.
If you have been committing any of the 9 SEO mistakes discussed above, do not fret. It is never too late to make things right. All you will need to do is correct the areas where you have fallen short and also avoid other mistakes that may have a negative impact on your site. If you are already facing a penalty, you need to realize that it is not the end of your site. Go back and find the cause of the penalty and work towards reversing the effect by abiding with the SEO principles that are acceptable.
Most importantly, work on boosting your SEO without being overwhelmed. Remember, you cannot get everything done in one day. Optimizing your website for search engines is a process that must be executed step by step for maximum effectiveness. Therefore, do not confine yourself to the 9 SEO mistakes discussed above rather, go an extra mile and research on the many other possible mistakes that you may be committing. Ultimately, you will do well to let SEO professionals to handle this function for you because you will benefit from their experience and vast knowledge on search engine optimization. This is an addition to being guaranteed of the desired results for your SEO strategy.