For a beginner, SEO can be a very complex topic. Even people with experience may struggle to understand the hundreds of factors that go into a search engine algorithm. While there is no guaranteed way to rank a site, there are certain rules that should always be adhered to. The following mistakes are all likely to harm your SEO efforts, leading to reduced rankings and even the possibility of a serious penalty.
Keyword research is important to SEO, but you need to avoid stuffing these keywords into your content in an unnatural fashion. Your content should be created for readers rather than trying to hit a keyword quota.
Confusing URL Structure
Some URLs use random number and letter sequences, particularly in the case of ecommerce sites. Make your URLs clear, so the search engines understand what your pages are about. A clear URL helps with SEO, while also assisting your readers in their searches.
Avoid using duplicate content across your site. Duplicate content is sometimes found in text blocks that appear on every page, while category and tag pages often duplicate a post. You can block these unimportant pages from being indexed by the search engines.
There is a greater emphasis on quality content, with manual reviews and improved algorithms able to identify poor quality content. If you are not a good writer, outsource the work to ensure you don’t undo all your good SEO work.
Slow Loading Time
If your pages take a long time to load, expect to face problems in achieving a high ranking. Slow loading causes a poor user experience, leading to a high bounce rate. Loading issues can be resolved by fixing bad coding, buying better hosting, or using a cache plugin.
Too Many Ads
More ads will usually result in more profit, but there is a point when it will damage your search engine position. If a visitor has to struggle to find your content amidst all the ads, search engines will regard this as a poor experience and penalize you for this.
Not Optimized for Mobile
Mobile browsing is increasing in popularity each year, so your site needs to take this into account. Search engines have made it clear that mobile is a vital factor in SEO, so make sure your site is configured for mobile devices. You can use a responsive design to cater to all types of phones, tablets, and desktops.
Limited Anchor Text
Anchor text has always been important to SEO, but it is now very easy to damage your rankings from over-optimization. Anchor text needs to appear natural, so your main keywords must be limited. A natural anchor text profile will include various niche terms, brand names, URLs, and generic link text.
Links from Low-Quality Sites
In the past, quantity could often take precedence over quality when it came to ranking a site. However, low-quality links can now be extremely damaging to your search position. A large number of links from bad sites can cause many problems, with a difficult recovery job required to regain your rankings.
Links from Irrelevant Sites
Relevancy can become increasingly important, so avoid too many sites that are irrelevant to your niche. Your link profile should largely contain relevant sites and broader platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
Ignoring Social Media
While the extent social media plays on SEO is debated, it is increasingly important to be active across these platforms. Social media can provide powerful backlinks, trust, and authority, so you should dedicate some regular time to updating and engaging followers.
Buying links is frowned on by the search engines, but it can sometimes help with rankings in the short-term. The fact that purchased links can be effective makes the practice complicated, so you really need to use your own discretion. In most cases, though, extended used of purchased links will eventually be discovered and penalized.
Inconsistency is a common mistake in the SEO world. People may get some initial results, but they often get complacent and move onto other projects. SEO requires a consistent schedule, with a lack of effort suggesting to the search engines that your site has lost popularity.
Using Limited Backlink Sources
As with your anchor text, backlink sources also need to be broad in their scope. A large number of links from the same few sources can appear suspicious, so ensure you use a number of sources, including directories, authority blogs, press releases, social media, and video sites.
Not Building Relationships
SEO is constantly changing, so your relationships are important for sustained success. If you work with a blog owner on a quality guest post, make sure to keep this relationship active into the future. Your relationships will constantly bring up new opportunities for backlinks, content sharing, and social media recommendations.
While there is no certain way to rank a site for every keyword, avoiding these mistakes will put you in the best position for success. SEO is far simpler than it is often portrayed, but the constant flood of information usually confuses people. Stick to a proven plan, avoid the typical mistakes, and stay consistent in your efforts.