January 19, 2017 / Featured, SEO 101, SEO Advanced Practices

It is true that even an SEO expert will admit that things change at such a pace that occasionally they make mistakes or miss something.  Search engine optimization is a complicated business with constant changes due to algorithms put in place by Google and co.  But there are some common mistakes that many businesses make that can have a negative effect on their SEO and are relatively easy to repair.

Ignoring analytics

Most of us will admit we have an idea in our heads and sometimes won’t let it go.  We want to write about this topic or launch this product.  So great, go with it.  But afterwards, don’t forget to check the analytics to see what is working and what isn’t.  There are lots of ways to do this from the free Google Analytics to more complex, specialist software, but ignore that data at your peril – you could be wasting time and effort on a dead end.

Keyword stuffing

There are still people out there who think you need to mention a keyword loads during an article or website page for it to rank – when I say loads I mean sticking to a solution of 3 – 5% keyword density for example.  When in an 800-word post this can be a lot, 40 times in fact when working on 5%!

Google uses something called Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI that is a big part of the Hummingbird update, and this means it can understand variations of your keywords without the need to repeat them over and over again.  The important part is placing them strategically and ensuring your content is completely natural – don’t focus on percentages or number of mentions.

Forgetting local search

For some businesses, local search isn’t so important, but if you have a physical presence, a shop, a new site or want to sell to local customers, then you need to give all the right signals to allow Google to include you in local pack listings.  Important factors are things like having the NAP (Name, Address & Phone) in place, ensuring it matches what’s on your website, so I would recommend you have your company name, address and number sitewide on the footer. Get a Google verified business page setup, create a Facebook page that displays your NAP. Then do some local directory citations, make sure these are directories that are in your country, I have noticed a difference when doing this, and of course the same NAP that appears on your website.

Ignoring behind the scenes stuff

Unless you are proficient in SEO, it can be easy to forget the behind the scenes stuff but these elements are crucial to getting good SEO results.  Simple things such as ensuring each page has a unique title and is descriptive, as well as being certain that meta descriptions are accurate and specific to each page are two that anyone can do.  Alt tags on images is another that helps point those search engine bots to what the content of the page is about. Remember, the alt tags are for screen readers, so be accurate, don’t spam them with an irrelevant keyword.

Poor quality content

For some, it can be easy to lose focus on quality just to focus on quantity regarding content, but this will do you no favors regarding SEO.  Duplicate content, poorly written or filled with bad grammar, such articles won’t do you any favors with the search engines.  There are lots of software to help with this including built-in checks through WordPress or standalone products such as Grammarly, which I use and can recommend.  It ensures your grammar is good and your spelling is excellent.

Poor website loading speeds

While we all know that websites need to be quick, some may not realize that this is an SEO factor.  A good loading speed offers a better experience for the customer but also helps rank well in search engine results..  Alongside this should be the adaptability to view the website on other devices such as mobiles and tablets – known as mobile friendly versions. Run a Google page speed insight test and a Pingdom page speed test. Look at the results and fix what you can. If you have a substandard host, then this process can be a little tricky. If you want something that has an excellent server cache system that can improve your page speed plus good support & reliable servers, then I would suggest you try a company called Siteground.

Low Quality Links

There are lots of positive to gain from links but if they are done wrong, they can also be a negative factor. Outbound links need to be good quality and link to authority sites, though I like to review links based on their Majestic trust flow.  Don’t fall for the temptation to buy links to your site as these are rare quality and when you link out, use good quality sites.

Sites which take a little effort to get a post on can offer little in return. Review the website you want to get links from, using tools such as ahref.com,  gather the contact details and start building relationships via outreach. Find a pitch angle for your content to get places on other website. For link outreach, tools such as Buzzstream and Pitchbox are great and will keep you organized.

Internal and External Interlinking

Internal & external Interlinking is very important. Internally try to use different anchors to link from one article to another.  So, if the article is about web design, don’t use the word ‘web design’ to link to the service page every time. Think something longer tailed to start with, a term related to web design, but not so direct. Though what is key is to help the user first and foremost, so don’t link to any internal pages that don’t help the post or the person reading it. When linking to external resources link to pages that backup what you are saying, which intern they are about the subject matter you are posting about.

Starting an SEO Campaign.

For the exception of you starting an SEO campaign with a new domain, I would first advise that you check the backlink profile. It’s so important to have a clean, healthy backlink profile, so I would suggest you review this via tools such as ahref.com and Majestic. Assuming the site has links pointing to it one red flag for me is if when reviewing via Majestic, the trust flow is low and the citation flow is high then this could be a good indication to run a link detox. This will identify bad links, and you can then disavow any via the webmaster tool. A clean backlink profile will protect your website for any Google Penguin updates so make such you monitors this regularly.

Paul Gordon (author)

Freelance SEO Expert, with over 15 years experience in digital marketing. And for a b2b marketing, I recommend Agency Inc.

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