If you want your website to rank well in the search engines, it’s essential to avoid SEO mistakes that could be preventing you from achieving success. The wrong search engine optimization strategies can actually harm your site. In fact, you are probably better off doing nothing at all than doing SEO the wrong way. It can be confusing to keep up with and interpret Google’s frequent updates. To help you avoid making catastrophic mistakes in this area, here are the five biggest SEO mistakes you should make sure you aren’t making.
Low Quality Backlinks
Backlinks have long been considered the most important aspect of off-page SEO. This is still the case, despite some rumors that Google is gradually starting to emphasize other factors. Links can either help or harm your site, depending on their source and quality. Google began cracking down on what it considers to be low quality links several years ago. With the Penguin and Panda updates, this crackdown became especially severe, causing many sites to drop drastically in the rankings.
You should avoid links that are sold in bulk at low prices. These are almost certainly low quality links that are likely to get your site penalized. You should also be careful about links from sites that have no relevance to your own. Links from well respected sites that are relevant to your niche can still be very helpful for SEO. Other types of links, however, should be approached with caution.
Overusing Keywords and Anchor Text
Keyword stuffing is a practice that involves using the same keywords repeatedly for SEO purposes. Google considers this a red flag and is likely to penalize your site if you do this. This is something to avoid in all of your content, whether on your site or anything you publish externally to link to your site. The best way around keyword stuffing is to think of diverse words and terms that can be substituted for your main keyword. This is beneficial in that it allows you to rank for a greater number of terms. That’s why it’s always good to research long tail keywords, ones that are less common than the more popular terms.
You also have to be careful about using the same anchor text over and over again in the same content. This should also be varied so it doesn’t look like you are linking to certain terms for SEO purposes. Google favors content that looks as natural as possible. It’s therefore best not to do anything that makes it look like you are overtly trying to optimize words or anchor text.
Overlooking On-Site SEO
Many newcomers to SEO focus exclusively on off-site factors. To be clear, this means backlinks and other elements that involve sites other than your own. On-site factors are ones that are directly related to your own website. Such factors play an increasing role in the way your site ranks. The following are some of the most important on-site factors for SEO.
Internal linking is one of the most important on-site SEO factors. This involves linking pages and posts on your site. When you create a new post or page, think about existing content on your site that you could link to. This is not only good for SEO, it gives visitors a reason to visit other pages on your site. It also helps keep older content on your site popular.
Page loading speed is another on-site issue that Google is increasingly using to rank sites. You should test your site on multiple devices and browsers to make sure that pages load quickly.
Your pages and posts should have keyword rich permalinks. If your page and post URLs have numbers or random characters in them, you should change your settings to make permalinks more SEO friendly.
When creating content to be published on your site, you can increase its importance and authority by using outbound links. Linking to a variety of authority sites helps the search engines recognize the importance of your site.
Focusing Only on Google
While Google is the dominant search engine, it’s not the only one that people use. Bing and Yahoo have a smaller but still significant share of the market. In fact, almost 30% of all searches are done with search engines other than Google.
It doesn’t take much time or effort to register your site with Bing, Yahoo and some smaller search engines. This can help your ranking on these search engines and bring you additional traffic. It’s never a good idea to focus exclusively on one source for traffic, even one as big as Google.
Not Optimizing Images and Videos
If you’ve been keeping up with latest trends on the web, you know that images and videos have gotten extremely popular in the last few years. This means, first of all, that you should be using these to get more traffic. In addition to placing images and videos on your own site, you can place them on social media and other third party sites that can be linked with your site.
You should also make sure that you properly optimize all of your visual content. While search engines cannot pick up visual data directly, they do look for labels and descriptions attached to your images and videos. Always consider the titles and descriptions of your pictures, photos and videos. These should be optimized using keywords the same way you would optimize a blog post or article. Video sites such as YouTube allow you to publish long descriptions, which gives you a chance to include lots of keywords.
These are some of the most serious and most common SEO mistakes that are made by beginners and even some experienced bloggers, webmasters and online marketers. While it can be challenging to keep up with the latest search engine algorithms, it’s important to have an understanding of what helps or harms your website’s ranking. If you avoid these basic mistakes, you have a better chance to improve your results.