The 5 Biggest SEO Mistakes

From link building to on-page optimization to identifying the right keywords, developing and executing an SEO strategy can prove to be a huge challenge. Unfortunately, when it comes to SEO, the margin of error is pretty slim. If you make a mistake, it can push your site down in the rankings significantly, which means lost visibility and lost revenue. Therefore, it is important that you know what you’re doing.

Are you making one of these fatal flaws when it comes to SEO? To ensure your strategy isn’t doing more harm than good, be sure to check out the five biggest SEO mistakes. 

1. You Assume Your Content Will Get Links on Its Own.

There is no denying it: Producing great content is expensive. It takes time, resources, and funds. Many companies assume that if they make that kind of investment into content, it should basically get links on its own without any further work. The harsh reality is this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want links, you absolutely need to work for them.

“There will always be examples of amazing content that ranks without any intentional optimization. However, that's the exception and not the rule,” John Rampton cautions in Forbes. “It's always possible for your content to get links without any additional effort on your part. However, more often this strategy (or lack of a strategy) will result in 90% of your content sitting stagnant on your site.”

The bottom line? SEO isn’t just about producing great content. In order to maximize your rankings, you need to promote your content. That means investing in link-building strategies. Of course, it’s tempting to scrimp on content promotion activities, like link building, when you’re on a tight budget, especially if you’ve already poured a ton into getting great content on your site. However, when you invest in content and not promotion tactics, you’re actually hurting your ROI. The more visible your content is, the higher your ROI will be, meaning you will get more bang for your buck.

2. You Have Duplicate Content on Your Site.

When most people think of duplicate content, they think of content that has been plagiarized or “spun.” However, when people make the mistake of duplicating content, they’ve rarely done so intentionally. In fact, many of the times people are totally unaware that they have duplicate content on their site. They may end up with a penalty for having duplicate content without even having a clue why.

“The problem is, duplicate content usually isn’t a result of intentional plagiarism or copying, but rather an indexation error, such as Google indexing both http:// and https:// versions of your page as separate instances. These often go beneath your notice, but should be corrected as soon as possible,” Jayson Demers explained in Forbes. It’s a good idea to use a tool like Copyscape or Siteliner to scan your website for any duplicate content issues and any subsequent penalties. 

3. Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly.

When businesses assume they don’t need a mobile website or can’t afford to design one, it’s a huge blunder. These days, you simply can’t afford not to have a mobile website. More and more people are surfing the internet using their mobiles devices, so if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are most likely losing out on traffic.

Secondly, and equally importantly, Google will take into consideration how mobile friendly a site is when ranking it. Because more and more users are searching via mobile devices, Google is increasingly invested in ensuring its users are connected with sites and search results that are conducive to mobile. Mobile search will only become more important, so now is the time to get a mobile-friendly site up and running if you haven’t already done so.

4. You’re Stuffing Your Content with Keywords.  

This is one of the oldest mistakes in the book and also one of the riskiest. If Google catches you stuffing your content, you could very well get slapped with a Google penalty, which would be bad news for your website. The line between optimization and stuffing isn’t always completely clear, however, which is why some many people make this mistake. The key is to target a particular keyword without going overboard. Ideally, you will want to keep keyword density around 1 percent.

“While Google does want a piece of content to have a clear keyword that it's targeting, the over-usage of that keyword can raise red flags. In effect, this makes your article look spammy. As soon as things start sounding forced and you're having to stuff those keywords into your content, you've spelled your own demise,” RL Adams explained in Forbes. “Don't make this common SEO mistake. No matter what anyone tells you, you do not want your content to come across as unnatural or forced.”

Google’s technology around keywords has evolved considerably over the course of the past decade. It now has specially designed technology, known as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), to pick up on similarities in phrases used. This means you don’t need to use the exact keyword you’re targeting for over and over. Rather, you can use similar or related words, and Google will still get the idea.

5. You Aren’t Using Google’s Tools.

Google is rooting for your success, not your failure. The algorithm designers want you to have a great site that ranks well – they aren’t necessarily out to punish you with penalties. In addition, to help you succeed, Google pretty much hands you all of the information that you need to build a site that its algorithms will love and even offers an impressive suite of free Webmaster Tools. You can use these tools to check your site anywhere, anytime, and you can use them to diagnose any issues on your site. For example, you can check for any crawl issues or duplicate content. You can also see if Google has sent you any kinds of warnings or suggestion about your site.

Google is offering these free tools that help you to avoid major blunders and boost your rankings, so it’s a huge mistake not to use them! They are, after all, incredibly useful and completely free! If you aren’t already using Google’s diagnostic tools, now is the time to start. 

In conclusion, it’s important to note that no one has the perfect SEO strategy. SEO is complex and multifaceted, and even the professionals make mistakes every now and again. However, when it comes to developing and executing your SEO strategy you need to take sufficient care to avoid serious blunders. A slipup here and there isn’t going to be catastrophic to your rankings. However, a fatal flaw – whether it’s duplicate content or keyword stuffing – could very well land you with a Google penalty, which could do serious damage to your SEO rankings. Always make sure you’re double-checking things to avoid these kinds of mistakes. In addition, you may need to consider bringing in a professional for some expert advice. Reach out to 10twelve today.