Optimising your website so that it conforms to the best practices of SEO is an essential task in today’s digital marketing world. It is estimated that 80% or more of your traffic can be directed to your site through search engines. It is also true that the higher your rank, the more traffic that will be generated for your site.
Realising this, many businesses attempt to use black-hat or grey-hat SEO techniques to raise their rank. The problem with this is that while it may temporarily raise your rank, Google can quickly detect sites using these techniques and ban you from the search rankings altogether. Therefore, you should stay clear of any slightly unethical SEO tactics.
Yet not all black hat strategies are intentionally implemented and sometimes SEO decisions, which aren’t unethical, are made which can harm your search engine rank.
So, what are these SEO mistakes that can damage the profile of your website?
1. Keyword Stuffing
Keywords have been an important part of search engine ranking for a long time. That is why many businesses attempt to include keywords at a frequency that is unnatural in website copy.
This is one of the first unethical actions Google looks for. It considers any website that is keyword stuffing to be cheating the system, or at least trying to. The search engine will then rank that site low on the search results.
Keyword stuffing can also make the copy of the website read poorly. If your readers can’t understand what you have written because too many keywords are included; they aren’t going to buy from your site either.
Therefore, while you may have a high page rank for a short time, conversions could be low and eventually your rank will fall drastically.
2. Broken Links
These are hyperlinks that no longer direct the visitor to the intended destination. This could be because the URL for the other site has changed or is no longer available.
Broken links naturally occur and are something that you can’t always be blamed for. However, Google and users don’t like them and not only can it earn you a bad reputation with your readers, it can damage your ranking as well.
To avoid this, you can use tools that can detect broken links on your site and perform regularly maintenance. This may mean finding other sites that contain similar content or editing your original content to recognise the changes made.
3. Duplicate Copy
This is where you copy content from another place on your website or other site. While this may seem like a great idea, especially if the other site is ranking well, it can damage your reputation online.
Google does check for duplicate content and unless you can prove you are the original owner of the content, the search engine will penalise you for the copyright infringement.
4. Optimised Images
Images are an important part of your online content. They can convey emotions, ideas and encourage interactions with your audience. However, they are also memory intensive, especially if they are not optimised.
You should ensure your images are high quality, but that does not necessarily mean they have to be big. Have your images in jpeg format as this takes far less memory than png or other formats.
In addition, ensure you have optimised your images so they contain the keyword in all the tags (title, description, caption and alternate text). This way you can boost your search engine rank and it looks more professional to your visitors.
5. Non Unique Title Tags Or Meta Descriptions
Many websites fail to consider the impact that the page title and meta descriptions can have on their search rankings. Many content management systems (like Drupal and Joomla) will auto-generate the title tag for your page. However, these might not be optimised to be read by the search engine crawlers and properly indexed.
Similarly, you should ensure your pages’ meta descriptions are unique for each page. Ensure each meta contains the keyword at least once, twice is better but only if you can naturally fit it into the short text space. It should also be informative and tell the reader what the page is about.
The meta description is hard because you’ve only got 160 characters to write the summary, but those used to creating Twitter updates will be ideal for this task.
6. Too Many Links To And From Irrelevant Sites
Link farms are one of the prime concerns for search engines. They use to be considered a good way to gain rank on search engines. However, link farms got a bad reputation because they were essentially spam sites that had little useful content on them.
Google took steps to reduce their prominence on the search rankings, but this didn’t stop them from raising the ranks of other sites.
That was until the Penguin and Panda updates. Now, not only are link farms being penalised by search engines, those receiving traffic from them as well are being hurt in rankings.
7. Optimising Your Site Around A Common Keyword
Sometimes businesses want their pages to rank well for keywords that are fairly common (i.e. business, accounting, leadership, etc). However, there are so many businesses, journals and information sites (about.com and Wikipedia for example) that it would be almost impossible to compete with them and get a top spot.
Instead, look for high search but low competition keywords and focus your efforts on optimising your site on those keywords. That way you can improve your ranking, gain traffic and generate relevant leads.
8. Not Starting SEO Before The Website Has Been Built
One of the biggest mistakes website owners make is to start building their SEO after they have created and published their website.
While some may think this is logical, it can delay the results of the hard work, giving you a significant period of time when your business is unable to generate traffic through search engines.
Start your SEO strategy from the moment you start to create your website and you will see the benefits quickly.
Search engine optimisation is an important online marketing activity. Without the right tactics you will lose significant amounts of traffic, leads and revenue.
Therefore, you want the right tactics that will give your website a long lasting prominent position on Google and other search engines. Use the advice above to avoid many SEO mistakes that will prevent you from achieving that and see the increase in traffic you can achieve.