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For years, SEO’s have learnt from making mistakes. Sometimes they’re small mistakes that don’t really have too much of an impact, and sometimes they’re large mistakes that can cost them a client or even one of their own websites. While it is true that you have to learn from mistakes, there are some that you just shouldn’t be making in this day and age, especially not if you call yourself an SEO. Surprisingly though, there are actually a lot of people still making these mistakes and if you’re relying on the internet for SEO information, you need to be careful what you choose to believe.
The truth is that there is no magic SEO formula and what might be a mistake for one website might be perfect for another, but here are some of the top SEO mistakes that people still seem to be making.
#1 – Wrong Keyword Selection
This is surprisingly one of the biggest and most common mistakes that a lot of “SEO’s” make. Keywords are the absolute base of your SEO campaign, without these, you will get nowhere. When you start optimising your website, you will be optimising for a particular set of keywords that you believe people will be typing in when they are looking to find your product or service, or blog or whatever.
The problem comes when you don’t give enough thought to these keywords. Keyword analysis should be the most important part of your SEO campaign so make sure you spend a good amount of time on it. A lot of people still choose keywords that are far too competitive and that will be extremely hard for a new site to rank for. Competitive keywords are good in the long run, but if you’re only targeting keywords that are super competitive, you aren’t going to get anywhere fast.
A lot of people also choose keywords that don’t have enough search volume to matter. We’re talking keywords with 200 searches a month. If these are your main keywords and not keywords that you’re targeting with a blog post that took you 10 minutes to write, you’re doing something wrong. You need to target keywords with a good monthly search volume but also, that are not too competitive. This is where the good SEO’s are separated from the not-so-good.
You can use tools like Google Keyword Tool to help you on your quest.
#2 – Anchor Text Over-Optimisation
For years, you have needed two things to rank well online; first, you need good content and second, you need good links. For a long time as well, anchor text links were all the rage. This means that if you were targeting the keyword “plumbing company” you would get links that had the words “plumbing company” in the anchor text.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is still a good tactic and in order to maintain your position for competitive keywords, you are going to need to get some of these links. However, Google is also looking for your link profile to look natural, so if you have 99% of your links with the anchor text “plumbing company”, Google is going to be able to see that you’re trying to manipulate the search results. Think about it, if your links were natural, what are the chances that every single link would have the exact same anchor text; almost none.
So, while you still need to use these kinds of links, you need to ensure that you don’t overuse them and that they are also extremely high quality.
#3 – Too Many Ads
Again, this is something that no-one likes to see on a website and this is something that Google now recognises. If you are placing too many ads on your website above the fold, and sometimes even below the fold, then Google is likely going to take this into account when it comes to your ranking. The reason; people don’t like visiting a website that is plastered with ads, it doesn’t make for a very good user experience.
So what should you do? Place no ads on your website and make no money? Of course not, just do it sparingly. Think about the placement of your ads and whether or not it is likely reducing the user experience on your site. Strangely, I think that some ads will actually improve user experience. If you are advertising a product that is getting a high click through rate, then you know, your visitors were interested in what you had to advertise.
#4 – Using Social Media Wrong!
Ok, this is one that I find particularly annoying because it doesn’t make sense. The reason that Google wants you to have social media profiles is because this is going to allow you to share content with your audience and allow you to maintain a personal relationship with clients and your customers. It also means that you care about your business if you are regularly updating these channels with QUALITY content.
However, as with everything in the world of SEO, some people get this all wrong. They see that Pinterest allows you a dofollow link on your profile so they make an account, put a nice link there and leave it to rot. Why would you do this? Pinterest, when used correctly can bring in heaps of traffic, as with any social network.
Another mistake people make here is using too many social networks. Yes, I did say too many! You need to limit your social networking to probably 2, 3 or perhaps 4 main ones. Any more than this, and you won’t have enough time to manage them effectively, rendering all of them useless. My advice, focus on Facebook and Twitter for most businesses, with perhaps something like Pinterest, StumbleUpon or LinkedIn thrown in.
Basically, it’s all about common sense. Never let something you read on the internet overcome common sense but the fact of the matter is that when its related to SEO, if common sense says that it doesn’t make sense, it likely doesn’t. Someone could write about a new tactic for getting 1000’s of links but if it sounds spammy and like something that Google will likely clamp down on sooner or later, it likely is.