The road to SEO success is fraught with pitfalls, dead ends and potentially lethal mistakes that can kill your website in the process. Since SEO is so long term, any mistakes you make now might take months to reverse and get your SEO back on the right track.
And while it’s not impossible, it’s very hard to recover quickly from a search engine penalty. Here are 6 SEO mistakes you want to avoid making as you execute your SEO campaign.
Top 6 SEO Mistakes
1. Targeting keywords based on search volume.
When choosing which keywords to incorporate into your content and online marketing, it’s important to remember that search volume alone isn’t the most important thing. You want to target keywords that:
- Accurately reflect the content on each page
- Takes the intent of your visitors into account. When someone searches for “apple” are they looking for information about the fruit or do they want to buy an iPod? If you own an apple orchard “apple” makes sense, and has an immense search volume, but “apple picking” would probably be a better choice and send more targeted traffic to your site.
2. Choosing quantity over quality in link building.
With the Google Penguin update that went live in April, the need for a clean and natural link profile has become more important than ever. Yes, links are the bread and butter of SEO but having more links doesn’t mean anything if they aren’t good quality.
- Stay away from unrelated sites, link exchanges, bad neighborhoods and other low-quality link sources (no matter how tempting or easy it is to get a link there) and focus on building quality links from relevant sources. 20 great links is much more valuable in the long run than 100 spammy links that could get your site in trouble.
3. Only creating promotional content.
The majority of your content marketing efforts should be focused on creating educational content that is designed to teach and inform your target audience. You want to become a valuable resource for your customers, and educational content is what helps build your reputation as an industry expert.
- While promotional content is fine every once and a while, I always recommend you keep promotional content to about 10% of your overall content marketing efforts.
4. Trying to “beat” the algorithm.
There is no secret formula to SEO success. There is no set number of links, keywords or webpages that is going to magically improve your website’s SERP ranking overnight—so stop looking for a way to beat the algorithm! Sites that try to beat the system are usually the ones that end up getting whacked with a penalty.
- In my experience, as long as you focus on creating the best possible user experience, building your brand long-term and stick to your white hat SEO campaign, you’ll be much more successful in the long run than any site that’s trying to stay one step ahead of the algorithm. You’ll sleep at lot better at night too, knowing that any algorithm updates are likely to help your site and not penalize it.
5. Copying everything your online competition is doing.
While a competitive link audit is a great way to see how your site is stacking up the competition, you don’t want to become an SEO copycat. Use your competitive link audit to find new link sources, but don’t think that your link profile has to become a carbon copy of your competitor’s in order for you to succeed. You want to make your website stands out from the pack, which means you have to build links that your competition doesn’t have.
6. Failing to leverage social media networks to their fullest.
The search engines are taking social signals into account when determining where your website falls in the SERPs. This means that every time a piece of your content is shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and so forth, it becomes more important in the eyes of the search engines. Creating content is only the first step, you have to promote it!
- Social networks thrive on fresh content, so make sure you are keeping your profiles up to date with new content on a consistent basis. Social media marketing is a great way to connect with your audience, build links and drive traffic to your website.
These are only a few of the SEO mistakes I see site owners make time and time again. Remember, the search engines can’t determine what you intended to do, they can only measure what you’ve done! Make sure you aren’t making any of these mistakes with your SEO.
Photo credit: dotsauce.com
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, an SEO company in Boston, Massachusetts. With nearly 13 years of SEO experience, Nick Stamoulis share his knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog, hosting SEO training classes and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.
Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org