First of all, I’m well aware it’s only April. However, I’m also aware that there are so many companies that trust their SEO efforts to unqualified people or companies. Don’t worry, if you’re one of them, I wont beat up on you in this article… I’ll let your “page 10 rankings” do that.
What I will do though, is give you an idea of the Top Five SEO Mistakes of 2013… So Far.
Before we dive into that… Let me first off start by putting to rest some of the most common “misunderstandings” we hear every day, when it comes to search engine optimization.
“The more traffic my website gets, the higher it will be in search engines….” Not true, plain and simple. The fact is, your website probably wont get much traffic at all, until you achieve high search engine rankings.
“The more people ‘Google’ my website, the better it is for my rankings, and I’ll show up at the top….” Ummmm, what? That makes about as much sense as me saying if I stare at my coffee cup, the coffee will brew itself.
The biggest thing to keep in mind, is that the best performing websites, are websites that haven’t forgotten about the end-user. Creating and optimizing your website for its users, is what will ultimately bring the best results… with a little tweaking of course.
Everyday, we have the opportunity to analyze websites, and provide a report to the website owner, with suggestions/recommendations on how to improve their website’s performance in the major search engines. Here are just a few of the most common search engine optimization mistakes we’ve been finding lately.
1. Over-thinking… Over Optimizing.
You’ve scoured the internet looking for the best SEO advice, and followed tips involving “high keyword density” and external links… You used a specific system, thinking it was the way to achieve and sustain high search engine rankings. And after you achieved top rankings, you labelled yourself an SEO expert… Until your rankings fell towards page 10, after just a few months. The reality is, you over-optimized… You over-thought it. If you’re stuffing keywords in where they don’t belong, and spending too much of your time on links, instead of create compelling content, you’re going to find yourself with a website that simply doesn’t perform. Keep it simple, build for the end-user.
2. When it Comes to Links… Mix it up!
Building links has long been considered very important in the search engine optimization world. And anyone who knows anything about SEO, knows that anchor-text plays a massive role in that. Anchor text is the actual text displayed in your links. Many SEO’ers make the mistake of creating too many links with just one keyword/searchphrase. This used to be an effective way to achieve higher rankings… Now it’s just bad business. You can find yourself penalized in the major search engines for this practice. Building a diversified “link portfolio” is a very good start in developing a strong SEO foundation. For example, instead of just using “Toronto Hotel” in your links, try mixing in variations such as: Toronto Accommodations, Downtown Toronto Hotel Room, GTA Hotel, GTA Accommodations etc… Don’t quote me on these words, I just spit-balled them. I’m sure there are plenty of better performing terms to choose from.
3. Link Building: It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint.
Another important thing to remember in the link building process, is to take your time. Focus your efforts on building quality links, not throwing them up anywhere that will take them. Quality posts, press material and relevant websites hold much more value these days.
4. Website Hierarchy: Take the Time to Plan
When you’re developing or re-developing your website, spending some quality time on the hierarchy of your website is important. The “tree-like” structure of your website plays a significant role in the manner in which search engines crawl and index your pages/content. Think of it this way… The deeper you go into your website, the more topic-focused the page(s) should be. And if you have content scattered all of your website, in a sloppy structure… you’re in trouble. Take the time to plan, you’ll be glad you did.
5. Focus on More than Just Link Building
As discussed above, link building has long been considered to be very important… But if you spend all your time on building links, you’re spending a lot of time wasting time. For 10 years I’ve said the same thing, and it’s continued to prove extremely effective when optimizing websites for search engines. Create quality content, that engages your audience. Meaningful content, that is found to be useful/relevant to your visitors will often translate into higher rankings in search engines… Not because you’re a master SEO’er… but because at the end of the day, content is king!
The final thing I can probably suggest is that nobody is an SEO expert…. Because to be an expert, you have to know something that nobody else or very few people know. Search engine optimization doesn’t have a proven formula, Google makes sure of that. There are simply a set of techniques marketers have been using that Google encourages. That’s why the most important factor is to ALWAYS build for the end-user. Compelling content always wins.