The Year Looking Back
The Top Ten SEO Mistakes I Have Observed
Since SEO can be quite complex and is always evolving it is easy for website owners and manager to make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are due to misconceptions. Sometimes they are perhaps due just to ignorance.
The good news is that they are often corrected easily enough.
Here are the top ten SEO mistakes I saw in 2014.
1. Expecting Fast SEO Results
When launching a brand new website, it is quite a common misconception that one’s SEO efforts will take effect immediately. However, a site’s history is also taken into account, for which the new site will have none. A new site has no history so it has no domain authority.
Therefore, if you are the owner of a new website you should engage in some link building activity to bolster the visibility of your new website for the first few months until your on-site SEO activity start to show results.
In addition, link building is an important part of achieving search position so to have a program that produces links on a regular basis is also good practice.
2. Using a Cheap SEO Service
Cheap and quick SEO solutions are usually provided by companies that charge you and then cannot produce the results.
Popular methods by these cheap services are:
- Keyword stuffing (where a certain keyword is nonsensically repeated in the content as many times as possible)
- Meta Tag Stuffing (the same as the above only using the meta tag field)
Before engaging an SEO service or agency, be aware of the strategies and technique that they will use. If it seems too quick and easy, it may be an effort that does not produce results.
Also, be wary of a SEO Service that claims they can get you to the #1 spot. Conduct a good interview to understand their philosophy before handing over your credit card.
3. Inviting the SEO Consultant at the End of the Party
Your website SEO should not be an afterthought where you slap on the SEO after the website is built.
SEO should be a key consideration for any new website project. A proper SEO approach needs to be integrated into the entire project. You need to have keywords set up properly in your page URLs, Title Tags, Description Tags and the H Tags of your Content. It also is a good idea to have some imagery and to properly set up images from a SEO perspective.
Your SEO consultant should have a SEO checklist up-front (before doing any work) and be willing to share this with you – ask for it.
4. Not Budgeting for SEO Activity
Engaging in SEO is free in practice as there is no media spend involved and showing up on search engine results is complimentary. However, there is a fair bit of effort involved in making sure that your site is set up for multiple SEO strategies. You need to have multiple strategies for it to rank highly on the search results page in a competitive market.
Define a budget for search positioning as search positioning needs to be part of your marketing.
5. Skipping the Keyword Brainstorming Activity
It is too easy to learn the important keywords before even starting the website design. However, it is a common mistake to skip this vital step.
Use the Google Adword Keyword Tool and Google Trends to gain significant insights into the keywords people are using to find your products or services.
This is really an up-front activity and I see far too often people doing this as an afterthought. This is a fundamental mistake.
Once you have defined your primary keyword set then define a content marketing plan that is based on these keywords.
6. Nothing Fresh
I see too many examples of people getting a site up and then concluding that “they finally got that website thing done”. This is not a best practice. Your website is not a static piece of marketing that once done is done. No way!
A website and blog is dynamic. It is fluid. It evolves and changes just as your market changes.
Keep you site fresh with new, interesting and valuable content. To do this is good for your brand, good for your search position and therefore good for your business.
7. Skinny Content
Google has a ranking algorithm which is called Panda. The Google Panda is always on the lookout for page content that is too thin or too light. Google wants to see depth of content. It wants to present pages to its search customers that are rich in content. It wants to delight its search customers with an impressive array of pages with deep and wonderful content.
If your site does not have depth of content then don’t expect to be presented high in the search results if your competitors have this depth. The sites with depth will out-perform the skinny ones.
8. Not Using Redirects
I have seen many websites that are launched without any consideration for the site that was there before. Many website owners contract with a designer/developer and launch a new site with no regard for all the old pages Google had already indexed.
Google looks bad when it presents a page, at your domain, that no longer exists because that page does not exist on the new site (but did on the old one). If Google sees that you have a new site and that many of the old pages no longer exist without a proper redirect then Google may (and often does) penalize the site.
This means that the new site takes a big hit in search performance for no good reason.
A 301 redirect is the proper way to do this as it indicates to both browsers and search engines that the page has moved permanently. This 301 redirect will also carry any link weighting from the original page to the new URL.
9. Confusing PPC (Pay per Click) with SEO
Not being aware that a key competitor may be bidding on your company name in PPC. If you see this then you may also want to bid on your name even though you may have the top position in the organic search results. Even if you have the top position for your name you will be positioned below the Google PPC results as Google typically places 2 ads above the organic results.
In the event that both you and your competitor bid on your brand term, your ad will more likely get displayed over theirs as you have more relevancy. Sometimes you may want to bid on your name or branded phrases to be placed above your competition in the PPC area of the search results.
10. No Website!
A business today without a website is making a big mistake. People do not take a business seriously if they do not have a website or perhaps only a facebook page. A business needs a center of content and a website and blog serves this purpose.
It may seem funny to see this listed as a mistake but a business without a website will not be presented properly in search – therefore, it is certainly a mistake.
By correcting these avoidable SEO mistakes, you can better optimize your brand’s SEO strategy to ensure you are seen and heard. Subscribe to the SEO Notebook to learn more about content marketing and search engine optimization. The “subscribe to field” is at the top right section of this page (right below the search function). Go back to [footer_backtotop text=”Top”]