SEO has been reinvented post panda & penguin. The SEO tips & tricks in this personalization age are targeted more towards humans than search engine crawlers. SEO techniques which would have increased your traffic earlier, can know make your site disappear from the search results. So, it’s very important to ensure that your website’s basic structure is in place and is in compliance with the update Google webmaster guidelines.
SEO is not a rocket science. So, before you strategize to optimize your website, you need to review it for the most common SEO mistakes that you already might be making. Here are a few ways to self-audit your website for common yet deadly SEO mistakes.
1. Focusing on Wrong Keywords
Keyword research is still the most important part of a SEO strategy. It’s all about marketing for the right audience. Analytics and keyword tools are your friends here. Keep a check on which keywords are driving traffic to your site and optimize them. For example, if you have a fashion site, you might discover that “fashion guide” does not work for you, even though it has the keyword “fashion”, while “style guide” works like a delight.
2. Stuffing Keywords in Your Content
Keyword stuffing has been considered unethical even post Panda & Penguin. But was been used by SEO experts to game the search engines for keyword ranking. Flooding your content with keywords isn’t a good idea. Humanize your content for real users rather than for search engines. Plus now you can be penalized by Google for keyword stuffing.
If your site has multiple pages that target the same keyword, get rid of them immediately or implement canonical tags to indicate original content to the search engines. Don’t duplicate your content. Google Panda has affected few sites at the keyword level for scraping the content.
TIP: If you are targeting a number of keywords, create a separate page for each keyword, but don’t spread yourself too thin.
3. Too Many Broken Links or Dead Ends
Broken links are links to pages that do not exist anymore. It’s natural for every website to accumulate this type of links that do not work. It won’t just be annoying to your visitors, but these ‘404 error pages’ can also act as a stop sign for search engine spiders. They can downgrade your site’s ranking in search engines. As a website owner it is important for you to find and remove them on a continuous basis.
4. Not Properly Optimizing Images
Adding images, infographics and other multimedia assets to your articles is a great way to create value added content. Images also increase the time spent on a website. However, if you are not using alt and title tags with image-related keywords, they are not going to boost your ranking in the search engines as search engine won’t be able to recognize images. To make search engine spiders understand your image, you can use alt tag and title tag, that describe the images. For example Google comes across the following image.
Humans can easily see that it’s an image of a phone, but search engines can’t recognize it. They will know that there’s an image because of the HTML <img> tag, but the only information they have about it is the URL. However, you can help search engines in understanding images via the alt-attribute and a good file name.
5. Emphasis on Link Quantity Over Quality
“Websites don’t link to other websites. People point to other people’s work.” – Lyndon Antcliff.
Links is equal to trust in SEO ranking factors. Generating low quality back links to your site isn’t going to help. It’s about quality over quantity. Place your focus on getting valuable back links from high authority sites then going for getting links in bulk. Google +1s reportedly has a highest correlation with Page Authority post panda.
Bad or unrelated links can hurt your reputation. For example getting a link from a domain that is not relevant to your site or getting a link from a low quality site.
Matt Cutts says, “The objective is not to make your links appear natural; the objective is your links are natural.”
6. Wrong Use of Anchor Text
Anchor text usage post the recent Google updates boils down to link diversity. Building links to your website on the same keywords can harm your reputation in search engines. Some bloggers in an attempt to rank higher uses the same anchor text too many times. Using same keyword again and again can make search engines suspicious and it can affect the well being of your site adversely. For example, don’t overdo links for your home page or use the same keyword combination everywhere.
Infact, in guest posting too, authors are staying away from using same anchor text links as SEO experts are abusing the guest posting approach to build links.
7. Not Updating Your Website Content Regularly
Google indexes your website every time you add new content in it; if you are not updating it regularly Google will ignore you. Google Caffeine update in the past has earlier indicated that Google loves fresh content. And, Google have been constantly working to improve realtime search results. You may have noticed that Google even shows up social media updates in its search results.
Infact, ‘Query Deserved Freshness’ is a content ranking factor that dates back to 2007. As a rule of thumb, you should add around 25% pages to your website every year.
Updating content is also important from the point of view of your visitors, as it will give them a reason to come back to your site. Think from this point of view, will you be interested in reading the same magazine over and over again? In the similar manner your visitors won’t be interested in reading the same content again and again.
8. Non Descriptive Titles Tags
Title tags has always been one of the most important on-page SEO elements. Title tags tell the search engines what your webpage is all about. Title tags appear at the top of your web page HTML inside the < head> area.
You might have noticed a one line description with every website name in the search engine results, that’s title tag. It’s very important to create perfect title tags as it affects your website in so many areas. Fixing your title tags with your primary keywords and phrases can quickly result in appreciable differences in your search engine score, but surprisingly, it still has been overlooked by webmasters and site owners.
9. Non Descriptive URLs
Search engine uses URLs of your post to index your content. If your URLs aren’t optimized properly, indexing will become difficult. Create URLs which describes your post and contains relevant keywords to reveal context. For example, if your keyword is most expensive wedding dresses a URL like www.myblog.com/p100 doesn’t explain anything. But a URL like www.myblog.com/worlds-top-5-most-expensive-wedding-dresses/ determines the topic of a web page effectively. Clean and descriptive URLs are good from the point of view of users as well as search engines.
10. Hiring a SEO Agency
Simply hiring a SEO agency can do you more harm than good. SEO has evolved to include a whole range of services including content marketing. And those SEO agencies who have failed to evolve to realize the importance of internet marketing besides content creation, can’t place a site at the top of the engines.
The pace of change is so fast and dynamic, it is very important to gauge who is keeping up and who is lagging behind. Small business which were earlier dependent on specialist providers now need to engage their audience around their content. Social signals now plays a major role in affecting your search engine rankings.
Finally, the success of any website in this content driven world depends on good quality content. SEO is all about generating value added content, but a site with clear navigation and site structure is easy to discover. So, a technical assessment of your website should be done sooner than later.