Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O) is a critical part of any online success. If you design and write content for your website having some kind of knowledge on the basic SEO best practices and the common SEO mistakes to avoid at all costs will help you evade penalization by Google.
SEO is particularly great for small businesses that don’t have huge marketing budgets to get their niche business off the ground.
As a business owner/blogger who is looking at growing their online presence, your main focus should be on increasing your search rankings on Google. There is no denying that search is driving the internet if people are looking for information about a particular product or service they’re probably going to start by searching for it online.
Now I will be honest traffic generation is a tedious process, I’m even trying to figure it out myself, but it helps if you have a passion for what you do and you’re constantly generating high-quality content for your readers.
Having an SEO strategy for your blog or website is the first step to achieving higher rankings and ultimately driving massive organic traffic.
If you’re just starting out and you’re finding it a little overwhelming to learn all there is to know about SEO, a great place to start would be to know what to NOT to do.
There are common SEO no no’s that every blogger should know, in this article I will cover ten common ones.
1. Duplicate Content
Duplicate Content is content that appears on the internet more than once. Let’s take this article as an example, if the content for this article exists on the internet word for word, it will be considered to be duplicate content.
The reason why duplicate content will hurt your SEO is because Google’s algorithm cannot tell which of the two pieces of content is the original one.
As bloggers, we tend to do this a lot through guest posts. We can get tempted to share our best pieces of content with an authority website in the hope that we will drive traffic back to our own website.
While that may work for a brief period Google will penalize you and if you continue doing it over and over again your website will be flagged meaning it won’t even appear on search. You seriously don’t’ want that.
Repetitiveness should also be avoided, don’t write about the same thing over and over again, this will lead to traffic losses and make you suffer in your rankings. Even though to some people they may not consider this to be “Duplicate Content” it lowers the quality of your content.
The more original your posts are, the higher they’re gonna rank in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s)
2. Copying Content
Might seem obvious right? I mean who would do this!?
Not only is copying embarrassing, it’s also considered plagiarism. By definition copying content is literally copy and pasting content from one website to your own website, as for images it would be to Right Click and Save As. Both of these are forms of copying and are subject to very strict penalties.
If you don’t already know this, ALL content that is published online is covered by copyright laws.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the website you are copying from is, Google’s algorithm will detect this the minute you do it and your domain will instantly be flagged.
Don’t destroy your online reputation by copying someone else’s content, the relationship you have with your readers is built on TRUST so don’t ruin it.
Fortunately, there are lots of tools in the market that you can use to check for plagiarism, I use Plagiarism Detect.
3. Low-Quality Content
I read a minimum of fifteen blog posts every day, mostly to keep me up to date. The worst type of material you would ever want to read is low-quality content. At the end of it you feel wasted because they add absolutely no value to your day or your life.
So what outlines content to be “Low Quality”?
- Automatically generated content: This type of content is generated programmatically and is targeted for certain keywords
- Affiliate Programs: These are pages that are filled with affiliate links and that add little or no value to the readers in terms of original/ valuable content
- Content from other sources such as low-quality guest posts
- Doorway pages: These are sites that are specifically created to rank highly for specific search queries.
Google’s webmaster guidelines advices you create websites that have original content and that are primarily designed to add value to readers.
My slogan for Content Generation has always been if you’re gonna do it, then do it right.
4. Inconsistent Content
As a blogger I understand the value of continuously updating my website. I do this in the hopes that Google will consider my site worthy of ranking in the SERP’s. This has always been my goal.
When you post consistently Google will recognize you as an authority in your niche.
Content plays a major role in building a relationship with your readers, and they generally want you to provide them with high-quality content consistently.
Updating your blog once every month doesn’t do you any good, preferably you should post a minimum of once a week. This way your readers will know when to expect your blog posts.
Consistent content is key to improving your #SEO.
5. Not Allowing Your Site To Be Crawled.
Matt Cutts, Head of search spam at Google describes that one of the biggest mistakes people make when creating their websites is not allowing search engines to index their websites.
If you’re using WordPress here’s how to make sure you website is crawled. If you want more details, you can read about them in Webmaster Tools Help.
6. Page Titles
Your page’s title is one of the most important On Page SEO best practices. Each of your page’s title should be unique and should contain the main keywords for your content.
Unique page titles allow Google’s algorithm to return the most relevant content in search.
If you are using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress I would recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin this plugin will help you in your creation of unique titles for your website.
Make sure you keep your page titles short; the required length is 40 characters slightly more but not less.
7. Meta Descriptions
Every piece of content that you post online MUST have Meta Descriptions.
Meta Descriptions are short paragraphs that are used in the SERP’s to describe your content to searchers online letting them know exactly what the given page contains.
It’s important to note that Google announced in September of 2009 that neither meta descriptions nor meta keywords factor into Google’s ranking algorithms for web search. However, it is important to write compelling descriptions in order to entice a searcher to want to click on your links.
It is best to keep meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters. Just as with Titles avoid duplicating Meta Descriptions.
Your meta descriptions should contain the keywords for your content.
Keep in mind that when your content is shared on social media sites such as Facebook, often times use the page’s description tag.
8. Keyword Stuffing
Avoid Keyword Stuffing or else you will get seriously penalized.
Keyword Stuffing is an SEO technique in which a web page is loaded with keywords in the meta tags or in content of a web page. Keyword stuffing may lead to a website being banned or penalized in search ranking on major search engines either temporarily or permanently.
This is considered a Black Hat SEO technique the key is to use keyword intelligently throughout your text.
Here a simple guide to achieving a fully optimized page.
9. Not Self-Hosting Your Website/ Blog
Self-Hosting your website on platforms such as WordPress is one of the best things you can ever do for your SEO.
Avoid free hosting services such as Blogger, here are some of the reasons why:
- Free services limit the functionality and options for your site such that there is no access to SEO plugins
- Free services limit how much you can customize the look and feel of the site
- Free services might not offer the kind of metrics and analytics you need to see what’s working
CMS platforms such as WordPress give you access to hundreds of plugins, extensions and themes that will provide you with superior SEO results without causing a migraine.
Finally, after all is said and done you need a way to measure your website’s data in order to see if your SEO efforts are actually working.
Monitoring for words and key phrases that convert will guide you to know what type of content resonates well with your audience.
You can monitor statistics on a week to week basis as a start in order to get a good understanding of what type of content is driving traffic to your website. Set conversion goals and adjust accordingly.
Analytics help you to know exactly what areas of your site are not doing well, what type of content doesn’t do well helping you make informed decisions on the direction your website needs to take.
Over To You,
There are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO. You just have to get it right the first time otherwise you may never have a second chance at redemption.
Here’s the thing, If you want the top spot on the SERP’s then you simply go to earn it!
Google’s head of search spam Matt Cutts states that one of the biggest SEO mistakes is NOT using webmaster resources and learning about how Google works and what SEO is about.
Bottom line, take time for yourself and your business and learn all about SEO.
Have you made any of the SEO mistakes mentioned above? How did you go about resolving them? Know any other SEO mistakes that I haven’t mentioned?
As always I would love to hear from you.
Please do leave a comment below.