5 Common SEO Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
by Ryan Ragland
5 Common SEO Mistakes – And How To Avoid Them
Common SEO Mistakes are, well, common. To quote the late, great, Winston Churchhill, Search Engine Optimization is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”… Okay, so maybe he wasn’t talking about SEO when he said that, he was talking about Russia’s intentions in 1939, but still, I’m pretty confident that if he were alive today and involved in the SEO world, he’d repurpose his words to describe how we all feel deep down inside.
SEO is a constantly evolving game of trying to rank higher in organic Search Engine Results Pages (or SERPs) by optimizing on-page and off-page indicators that let the search engines know what you do and help them match your website to a search query. Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s not. One simple mistake can tank your rankings for a keyword literally overnight. Fortunately for you, we’ve been kicking butt at SEO for years, and now we’ve decided to make you a quick list of the top 5 SEO mistakes we see people make, and how you can avoid them. So, without further ado, here’s a list that comes from the blood, sweat, tears, and countless beers I’ve been through in my years as an SEO:
Common SEO Mistake Number 5: Ignoring The User Experience
A common theme you will find across the net is that that number one SEO industry inside secret is that content is king when it comes to search engine optimization. If you want to rank highly for any number of keywords, you need to pump out a constant barrage of high value and quality content around a given keyword. While this is very important, too many would-be SEOs and small business owners going it alone focus solely on creating content, when the fact of the matter is you can publish a zillion pieces of content around a keyword and still fail to rank any of it, because you forgot about user experience.
Google has stated over and over that their number one priority is to provide the best user experience for the masses. Your site and content will never rank if it doesn’t meet Google’s acceptable standards for user experience. Here’s what you can do:
- In today’s day and age, time is money, and users don’t want to wait for a site to load. They will hit the back button and spend a few more minutes looking for what they are searching for before they wait 8 seconds for your page to load. Your page needs to be fast to rank. The good news is that Google makes it easy for you to test your page speed with the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool here, and they even offer you tips on how to speed it up.
Improve Mobile Responsiveness
- Mobile is king. Everyone has a device in their pocket ready and waiting for their next search. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly and responsive, your rankings and traffic will suffer. It’s not all doom and gloom, once again Google comes in clutch with a free tool for you to check your mobile-friendliness here.
Adobe Flash Kills SEO Ranking
- If your site still uses Adobe Flash (an outdated technology to deliver rich multimedia content that doesn’t work well on mobile and is difficult to index) then your rankings will drop in a flash (pun very much intended). If you have flash on your website, get with a reputable web developer and replace it with newer technologies like HTML5/CSS3.
Secure Your Website
- This is one is a no-brainer. SECURE YOUR WEBSITE. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, you’re pretty much done before you started. No one is going to want to go past Google’s giant red warning saying your site is not secure. Contact your web host and buy an SSL.
Common SEO Mistake Number 4: Keyword Stuffing
Hey turkey, save the stuffing for the bird! Back in the old wild-wild-west days of SEO, black hat SEOs used to stuff tons of keywords on a page like they were stuffing clowns in a VW Beetle. Not only does it not work anymore, but it’s also still considered “black hat” and can get your website penalized or even banned by Google and the like. And don’t think you won’t get caught, you should know that the search engines’ bots have gotten really good identifying keyword stuffing, and they will find you, and they will end you. (in my best Liam Neeson voice.) Instead, invest time and effort in creating valuable and relevant content around your target keyword(s).
Common SEO Mistake Number 3: Not Doing Keyword Research
One of the most common SEO mistakes I’ve seen over the years is focusing on the wrong keywords or failing to do keyword research at all. Many companies spend gobs of money and time on trying to rank for keywords that: a) they think people are looking for; or b) are insanely difficult to rank for. You need to build your keyword strategy on sound analytics, not just guesses and what you think you’d search for, educated or not.
An SEO expert can select keywords that will generate the most searches with the least competition for you, as well as look for keyword synonyms, competitor brands and related topics that your customers may be researching. Here at RedSix Digital, we’ve built our own keyword research and SEO analytics tool for us and our clients, but there are tons out there ranging in price from uber expensive to free-ninety-free. Even the big guys have one, try Google’s Free Keyword Planner Tool here. (note this is located in Google Ads, you’ll need an account to log in, and is focused more on PPC than SEO. Even so, it’s free and a good place to start.)
Common SEO Mistake Number 2: Not Staying Up To Date With SEO Changes
Search Engines are constantly evolving and making changes to their algorithms to better serve the needs of their users and to catch people using black hat SEO schemes and tactics to inflate their rankings. Keeping on top of Search Engine Algorithm changes will help ensure that your strategy and SEO tactics will help, not hurt your page. The best way to keep yourself up to date on algorithm changes is to follow and subscribe to industry blogs and industry insider’s twitter accounts. You can subscribe to our SEO blog here and get notified about changes, or check out others like the Moz Blog or Search Engine Journal. If you don’t have the time or patience to keep up on it all, I definitely recommend that you hire someone to keep up on it for you.
And the Number 1 Common SEO Mistake is:
Doing Your Own SEO!
This isn’t a sales pitch, and if you’re an SEO pro, this one isn’t for you. This is for the business owner who is trying to do it all himself. SEO is a full-time job that requires constant monitoring, updating, and strategizing, not to mention the technical skills to implement some of the more difficult SEO strategies. Many business owners think they can go it alone and still manage their business, however, the truth is that they simply can not.
Professional SEOs stay up on top of changes and trends and know from experience what works and what does not. At the end of the day, it’s all about return on investment. If I buy a golf club, I assure you I will get very little, if any, return on investment (just ask my golfing buddies); but a golf club in the hands of a pro, like Tiger Woods, is worth over a billion dollars. Sure, doing your own SEO can be fun and even kind of exciting, but it’s not going to make you any real money at the end of the day. You wouldn’t extract your own tooth, would you? Of course not, you’d pay a specialist. Invest in your business and hire a pro. You can thank me later.
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