Search engine optimization has always been a business of finesse, and several recent changes to Google's search algorithm have rendered old methods obsolete or even harmful. For every strategy that improves a website's ranking, there are ten more that will cause it to drop. Knowing how to identify and correct those mistakes is what separates successful Internet marketers from the many failures. Thankfully, very few of these punishments are permanent, and most can be remedied with minimal effort. These are five of the most common SEO mistakes, and how to fix them.
Using Keywords Ineffectively
Sprinkling effective keywords into Web content is the basis for all SEO. It lets Google and other search engines pick out the main idea of any page, and determine which search terms best match it. For years, less scrupulous marketers would stuff their articles full of random keywords in order to boost their rankings. Google caught on to this, however, and now a site with a high keyword density will drop like a stone on the search results page. When working with Google's algorithm much more refined algorithm, it's best for marketers to focus on informative, helpful content and let the keywords insert themselves naturally.
Covering a Wide Range of Topics
Although keyword stuffing is frowned upon, websites should be restricted to a single niche. If, for example, a site is focused on raising poultry, there shouldn't be another section dedicated to making model trains. Doing so will confuse the search engine and lessen the potency of other SEO methods. Discussing different aspects of a niche, such as the similarities between housing ducks and turkeys, is fine, but unrelated articles should be relegated to a separate site geared toward their own subject. That new website can then be used to bring in its own traffic and income without sacrificing the performance of the first.
Using Low-Quality Backlinks
Similar to keyword stuffing, backlinking was once a much-abused but extremely important part of SEO. Google and most other search engines believe that the amount of links pointing to a website is a good indicator of its value to a community and searchers. A well-placed link from a guest post on a reputable blog can raise the profile of any website. Links that come from spammy websites or content mills, on the other hand, are likely to lower rankings.
Keeping Standard URLs
This is a very common mistake that can be fixed in just a few minutes on most site platforms. A page's URL, or Web address, can be set up to display in many different ways. The most advantageous for SEO purposes is to have the URL structure reflect the title of the page. Not only does this help Google's algorithm classify a page, but it also gives searchers an idea of the page's content if the results were unclear.
Showing Too Many Advertisements
Advertising is a major part of many Internet marketers' business plans, and when every ad represents possible income it's easy to be tempted into plastering them across each available pixel. Unfortunately, nothing will turn off both Google and individuals faster than an overly-commercialized page. Relying on a few well-placed blocks is much more profitable and will also improve bounce rates and reader retention for almost every website.
Follow these guidelines to ensure you aren’t making these common SEO mistakes. If you’re looking to get more traffic and a higher ranking online for your business, filling out our free search engine optimization quote will bring you one step closer.