SEO problems are some of the easiest to miss because SEO best practices are constantly changing. Black hat SEO tactics have always been something to avoid—keyword stuffing, doorway pages, link farming—but there are still little mistakes that Webmasters, even the most advanced, are making (and aren’t talking as much about). To make matters even worse, when you make SEO mistakes it can sometimes be a long road to recovery. Your best bet, therefore, is being aware of some of these little slipups in order to speed up your SEO success.
6 SEO Mistakes to Recognize and Avoid
Below are some of the most common SEO mistakes that Webmasters are still making:
Your website isn’t crawlable by Google bots.
It’s incredibly important that Google and other search engines can index your websiteif you want to show up on a SERP. However, Google cannot index your website if the bots cannot crawl your website. You could have the greatest content in the world and the coolest website design, but Google isn’t going to see it and include it in their results if it isn’t crawlable. The worst part is that some Webmasters continue to work hard at SEO and are patiently waiting for results without realizing that their website can’t be crawled.
You can make sure your website is crawlable by visiting your Google Webmaster Tools account to see the last time your site was crawled. If it wasn’t crawled, you may need to create a new XML sitemap. You can learn more about Google indexing here.
Over optimization of pages.
This is one of the most common traps that Webmasters fall into because SEO is pushed so hard. You want to make sure you’re optimizing all of your pages, and so you end up going overboard. A few common ways people end up over optimizing:
- Using too many keywords on a page. You want to focus on quality content now and ignore keyword density.
- Adding in too many internal links. A few are great for your navigation, but too many can seem spammy because it actually makes it harder to read for your readers.
- Including unnatural keywords. This is simply another way of keyword stuffing just gone about in a different way. You may not go back and stuff in keywords, but using unnatural language is just as bad in the eyes of Google.
Making some of these mistakes will actually work against you as opposed to for you, so it’s better to put writing for your readers first and optimization second.
Not thinking about search queries when publishing content on a page.
You always want to make sure you’re writing unique and relevant content for your readers frequently, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think about the words and phrases you put on your pages. Many Webmasters focus on keywords and keyword research, which is great, but it’s important to also consider how someone might search for that content. For example, if you are a site that focuses on facts or science, include a few questions in your content because that is most likely how people will search for your content.
Hiring a poor SEO agency.
If you don’t know a lot about SEO, it’s easy to hire an SEO agency that is using a few black hat tactics. Unfortunately, there are many companies out there that simply make promises and are still using (and teaching you) outdated strategies that will only dig your website into a hole in the future. For example, any SEO agency that guarantees rankings is poor quality because SEO is so unpredictable.
Ignoring Google resources.
This isn’t a mistake so much as a very strong recommendation. If you’re not using the resources Google has provided for you then you are missing out on learning opportunities as well as different tools that can help your SEO succeed. Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are necessities, but don’t forget about the Google blog, Webmaster forums, Matt Cutts videos, and other SEO conferences where Google offers advice.
There are quite a few different mistakes you can make when it comes to backlinking. By now most Webmasters know not to build backlinks from spammy websites or with keyword-rich anchor text (it should be natural), but there are still other backlink mistakes being made:
- Building too many from one source. It’s true that a large variety of backlinks isn’t as important as it used to be (you want quality, not quantity), but if you’re only building backlinks to one source this can be considered over-optimization.
- Building too many in one day. This simply isn’t natural. There isn’t a set number of backlinks you’re “allowed” to have per day, but more than 10 or 20 will raise red flags.
- Building backlinks to only one page of your website. You want to make sure you are diversifying the backlinks that you’re building. Link back to content on your website that is relevant as opposed to always linking to your homepage or a page you’re trying to improve in the rankings.
In the end, it’s these smaller mistakes that are going to get you frustrated. If you’re using black hat tactics you probably aren’t taking your SEO too seriously, but these mistakes can happen to an honest Webmaster trying to improve rankings. In other words, the sooner you can understand the common mistakes with SEO, the sooner you can clean up your strategy and start seeing results.
You can visit this video from Head of Google Webspam Matt Cutts that discusses some of the most common mistakes that he saw back in 2013, a few of which are mentioned above.
Do you know of any more common SEO mistakes? Let us know in the comment section below.