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Search Engine Optimization is vital to any successful online campaign. An SEO expert usually identifies ways and employs various kinds of tactics to optimize your website for a higher position in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Therefore, your online marketing strategy should include SEO and it should be implemented correctly.
“60% of companies report that their SEO and content strategy are integrated” ~DigitalMarketing
Online marketers spend much time trying to make sense of SEO. They are hard-pressed by everything from complicated terms to rigorous rules and to updates and algorithms.
Then, they rush off to do keyword research and optimize everything to gain rapid growth in search results disregarding terms and conditions and embrace inevitable penalties.
SEO is one of those strategies that you can implement right away, but to master it, you need patience and time. SEO practices constantly evolve, and so SEO can be quite complicated.
It’s fairly common for digital marketers, bloggers, and sites to make mistakes.
So, if you’re a beginner, or just someone who is trying to find out what went wrong, I compiled a list of don’ts and mistakes you should completely avoid for a successful SEO campaign.
- Not Hiring an SEO Expert – SEO requires up-to-date knowledge of the updates and current trends, strategies, and algorithm changes. Many digital marketers learn the basics and opt to optimize search engine campaigns on their own with ineffective and black-hat SEO techniques and this results in being penalized Google. Experienced, professional SEO experts stay updated on all the latest trends and tweaks Google makes. And, they also know what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t hire an SEO expert, the outcomes could prove expensive and problematic for your site.
- Dofollow Links While Writing a Product Review – Google has noticed the black hat systems already of getting paid links to ask the webmaster to review and place the link on the content. Google knows what you are talking about on your blog and who you are linking to.On a recent blog; Google clearly stated that any do-follow link on your product review will harm your site ranking. And suggested us to use Nofollow link to products or affiliates while reviewing these on our site.
- Buying Links – many webmaster resort to buying links for a short-term boost when their websites are gaining a foothold. Buying links serves as an effort to manipulate SERPs(result pages). But, therein lies the complication. Paid links are subject to monitoring by Google’s search engine experts. So, you’re still buying links, you’re taking a huge gamble.
- Duplicate Content – many bloggers feed the same content by changing a few similar keywords. For instance: ‘how to make money online’ and ‘ways to make money from home’. This is nearly duplicate content since the components of both of these articles are quite similar. Copying contents from other websites is another aggressive duplicate content examples which have been strictly abandoned by Google. Duplicate content doesn’t add value to your site and Google considers your site less useful. Google wants to see what ways your site is assisting your viewers and how they can solve their problems.
- Excessive Reciprocal Links – a reciprocal link is built when two webmasters generate a hyperlink directing to each other’s website.This agreement could be a result of granting visitors a chance to view both sites based on relevance. There’s nothing wrong with swapping links. You can attach links to your website for additional information. However, exchanging links profusely could be regarded as a manipulation tactic. Especially, non-relevant reciprocal links that aren’t related to your niche could get your site penalized.
- Excessive Focus on Links – Backlinks is vital to any website’s ranking success. Your site’s number of backlinks determines the position you stand to achieve in the search results. So, a higher number of backlinking rates is imperative for a better position. However, chasing after only links will definitely not improve your site’s success. Backlinks are just one of over 200 metrics that are used to crawl and rank your blog. Besides PageRank, you should also focus on analytics, relevancy, content quality, ROI, etc.
- Not Tidying Up <Title> Tags – title tags highlight a concise description of the content on your page. The <title> tags describe your page. And, search engines associate huge value to the tag’s content. Beginner bloggers usually insert too many words as the <title> tag that ends up the confusing viewer and eventually fails to describe the content. So, consider curating your title tags before publishing the content. Use tools like Buzzsumo to find out appropriate phrases and terms for the tag and optimize it accordingly.
- Excessive H1 Tags – it is one of the header tags that are collectively used to distinguish between headings and subheadings. The H1 tag helps search engines understand what the content deals with. Overuse of the H1 tag could be regarded as a manipulating attempt to increase Google’s listing with keywords.
- Anchor Texts – as soon as Google announced its first Penguin update in 2012, it’s become a gamble to use exact match anchor texts in SEO. If you abuse anchor whether it is intentional or not, you can receive a penalty for over-optimization. A study conducted by Moz found that using only a few exact matches anchored links can get you a better ranking where a proper anchor text variations are present.
- Not Building a Link Profile – Neil Patel suggests that building a strong link profile is one of the most important SEO ranking factors. So, instead of targeting single or certain pages to rank on Google, start building your link profile. Use Google Webmasters account to perform a link evaluation.
- Backlinks from Sites with a Different Language – if your website is scripted in a certain language, but you’re getting links from websites written in a different language, then it could get you a penalty. It’s a bit unfair, isn’t it? You generated links no matter what the sources are. However, Google wants you to design your website targeting a certain audience and use their language to communicate.
- Using a Non-Responsive Site – more and more Google’s preparing their policies and ranking factors focusing on mobile users. The responsiveness of a website is one of Google’s top-ranking factors in 2016.”61% of marketers use responsive web design as part of their mobile SEO strategy.” ~RegalixIt shows us that sites optimized for mobile phones perform better in SERPs than those that aren’t optimized.So, you need to optimize your site in a way that can respond to mobile phone users. A responsive website can increase your overall site performance and conversion rates.
- Cramming Many Keywords into Content – a strong keyword strategy is the bedrock of a higher SEO result. But, a very high keyword density can relegate your site’s ranking. Google will penalize you if they find out you stuffed your content with too many keywords. And, the malpractice also leads to poor user experience as your viewers will find out that your content doesn’t add value.
- Poor User Experience (UI) – Google takes your strategy to improve users’ experience into consideration. If your users do not find your site useful, then it will lead to a bad user experience that the user may even regret visiting your site. Poor user experience will devalue your SEO efforts. So, prepare your site in a way that it is useful, easy to navigate, and helpful. Check your pages on Google Analytics and find the Bounce Rate of each page. Take care of the pages which have a higher bounce rate and optimize them right now.
- Excessive Focus on Looks rather than Content – many marketers are obsessed over the looks of their sites that they spend too much time designing and over-glossing it. They eventually fail to focus on developing high-quality content. Yes, the attractive design adds a layer of the visual layer. But, stuffing too many graphics, sounds and images slow down a site’s loading speed. This hinders search engine crawlers scanning your site at a faster rate. Keep your site as simple as possible. Focus on your content more!
- Ignoring Search Engine Guidelines – any other time you could just agree with terms and conditions without reading them fully. However, with an SEO campaign, you’ll have to read and study the guidelines offered by search engines for a better outcome. Learning the ropes before tweaking your site as per your strategy ensures you’re abiding by search engines’ conditions. Google may abruptly change its algorithms. So, understanding the webmasters guidelines provided by Google prevents you from applying a method that could now be seen as a violation of Google’s policies.
- Overlooking Social Elements – many digital marketers overlook the importance of having a social media strategy. According to Digital Marketing research, social media signals have an influence on search ranking. Having a social media strategy can boost your site’s visibility and ranking. Maintain a strong social presence by sharing your content on various media of social networking.
“76% of marketers use social media to support and boost SEO.” ~Regalix
- Using Hidden Links & Content – hidden links raise suspicion. All the links on your should easily be accessible and visible. Use a different color to highlight the links than your background and existing text color. Having a color similar to the page background conceals your links. The same goes for hidden content. There are shady tactics involving disguising content on a page and changing text to suit the theme or keyword strategy. Avoid using hidden links and content. Check the whole Google Webmaster Guidelines here and make sure your site doesn’t practice any of them.
- Throwing Affiliate Links Everywhere – masking affiliate links with redirects, throwing them here and there is a no-no. A high number of affiliate links can devalue your SEO strategy.
- Opting for a Quick and Cheap Fix – many SEO services have cheap services offered that guarantee fast solutions. However, they do so flouting major search engine guidelines. Among ever-evolving search engines, there is always something new to learn in terms of SEO practices. So, make sure your optimization vocabulary is up-to-date and prefer an SEO service that offers quality and effective solutions for your SEO campaign.
- Links From Site Widgets or Footers – Google has been very strict with the websites that got links from the Widgets and Site Footers.
If your link is not relevant and un-natural; Google will catch you and give you a manual action penalty which Google clearly mentioned on their blog.
- Not Indexing Backlinks – You may have a good amount of backlinks built already. But you see, none of the links have been indexed on Google. What would be the results of such huge efforts? Nothing at all. So, index your backlinks to let Google know how much authority your pages have.
Bottom Line – SEO success cannot be achieved overnight. Knowing the latest SEO tactics and mistakes is vital to keep your website healthy and competitive.
In order to succeed, you should always perform good SEO practices and avoid shady ones. So, make sure you go through the don’ts listed above and avoid them completely.