Anyone who’s ever owned or been responsible for the operation of a website knows how important SEO is. Very occasionally, a company might be famous or well-known enough for people to come straight to their site automatically without searching for alternatives. Amazon is one of those companies. Apple is probably another. Unless you’re Apple or Amazon, you’re probably going to need to compete with other companies operating within your industry for search ranking results to attract customers. That means you have to get your SEO strategy right.
Unfortunately, not enough people understand what good SEO strategy looks like. They know some of the terminologies, and they get the basic idea, but they don’t know how to put it all together and turn it into a workable plan. In other cases, they might not be aware of changes in Google’s algorithms, which have affected the way that pages are ranked by the search engine. It’s for those people – and for those who run websites managed by them – that we’d put together this article about common SEO mistakes.
We’re not here to shame or embarrass you. The reason these mistakes appear here is that they’re common, and if you’re guilty of them, then so are many other people. We list them here to highlight them so you don’t continue to make them in the future, and in the hope that people who are new to the idea of creating SEO content never make them in the first place.
Feeding Content Onto Your Page From Elsewhere
This is one of the most common mistakes that webmasters make, and it comes from an idea that’s badly out of date. At one point in the distant past, one of the factors that Google judged your website on was how much ‘new’ content appears on it. That’s still a factor, but Google is a lot smarter about what does and doesn’t constitute ‘new’ content these days. They don’t like duplicated or plagiarized content, and that means the macro that’s dumping content onto your blog page from elsewhere is doing more harm than good. Take the time to create original content. Writing original copy slowly is better than producing duplicated content quickly.
Linking To Low-Quality Websites
It’s true that Google would prefer you to include some links in your content, and those links should be both internal and external. When you’re linking to an external website, though, it should be a website of good standing, and considered to be ‘high authority.’ This means that blindly linking to as many external websites as you can think of will cost you in terms of SEO ranking, and doubly so if you use the same text on the links repeatedly. Two or three links her one thousand words ought to be all you need, and make sure the hyperlinks and relevant to the linked content.
Not Using Meta Tags
Meta tags matter. We know we just gave you a warning about duplicated content, but we feel like we need to say this again. Meta tags matter, and they’re as relevant to SEO right now as they ever have been in the past. When Google – or any other search engine you might want to think about – crawls across the content you’ve created, the meta tag is a vital piece of information that it tries to scrape. If it doesn’t get that vital scrap of information, the final position of your entire website might be compromised. Your meta tags should tell Google what your page is about and what it contains. It doesn’t need to be extensive, and you don’t need dozens of them, but include a few. Don’t forget to include a description, too.
While we’re talking about tags, remember to tag your images. Search engines can’t tell what an image is in the same way that a human pair of eyes can, but you can tell them by including an alt tag. If the alt tag and the meta tag are consistent, Google will conclude that your entire page is likely to be consistent.
Picking The Wrong Keywords
The wrong word in the wrong place can lead to a disaster. That statement is mostly true of politics, but it could just as easily apply to SEO. When you select keywords, remember you’re not choosing the words you’d like your customers to use to find you. You’re targeting the words they’re using to try to find services like yours right now, and long-tail keywords are a huge part of the strategy. Look at the way that online slots websites attempt to differentiate themselves if you want an example. There are so many of them now that any brand new website targeting the keywords ‘online slots’ would be doomed to failure, so instead, they use words around the same concept. Some of them specialize in online games like Pragmatic slots that can be played on mobile phones, so they target that aspect. Some online slots websites can be paid for using cryptocurrency, so that informs the keyword strategy, too. Google has tools available that help you to identify ideal keywords. Fail to use those tools at your peril.
Using Keywords Too Often
Your battle with keywords doesn’t come to an end when you’ve identified the perfect words to target. That’s just the start of the battle! Now that you know what those keywords are, you have to weave them into your original content seamlessly without making them appear forced – and you have to use them sparingly. Rattling off the same word or group of words every few sentences as if they were being fired from a machine gun will register as spam, and Google won’t rank pages it considers to be full of spam. The word to focus on here is ‘natural.’ The words should appear as often as they would in a normal conversation. If they show up with any more frequency than that, you’re probably ‘stuffing’ your piece full of keywords, and that won’t help you.
We’ve written quite a lot here, but we could summarize most of this advice into two ideas; be natural and be original. Get that right, and use the correct keywords while you’re doing it, and you’re already halfway there. Oh, and don’t forget those meta tags and image tags!