You know that 81% of people perform an online search before making a purchase and that 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search results. You know you need SEO. You just don’t know how to use SEO. And you certainly don’t know how to tell if your SEO is actually working. You know it’s doing something (maybe?) but you’re not entirely sure.
Chances are, if you’re doing SEO without any sense of which way is up, you’re probably making key SEO mistakes that are killing your rankings in the SERPs. Here are three common mistakes that websites make when trying to rank on the almighty Google.
You know you should be link building. You just don’t know how. So you buy some links figuring that they’ll work just fine. There’s a problem with this. Buying backlinks is a classic black hat SEO tactic and it’s not going to do much other than possibly get you blacklisted by Google.
Ignore what an agency tells you. If they’re selling links, they’re doing black hat SEO. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines expressly state that buying or selling links that pass PageRank, including exchanging money or posts in exchange for links, is considered a link scheme. Anyone caught in a link scheme will be banned.
You could also be buying links from websites that Google deems a “bad neighborhood”. Associating with these bad neighborhoods is a sure way to get removed from Google listings.
Hint: Google’s algorithm is getting smarter all the time. If you cheat the system, they will find out.
Ranking for the Wrong Keywords
Another cardinal sin of SEO is ranking for the wrong keywords. Think of it this way: If you’re ranking for Chihuahua products and you sell lawnmowers, there’s something seriously wrong with this picture. While that’s an extreme case, it’s usually subtler than that. If you’re ranking for cake recipes but you’re a bakery that doesn’t actually post cake recipes online, you’re still ranking for the wrong keyword. You may get traffic to your website, but it’s the wrong traffic and you’ll start to notice your bounce rate increasing as visitors come and immediately leave your site knowing they came to the wrong place.
You’re also committing this cardinal sin if you go for keywords that are too general to help you. For example, if you’re a small rental car business and you’re trying to rank for “rental car,” you’re dreaming way too big.
Neglecting Awesome Content
Finally, if you already know content is king, why are you failing to write awesome content? If you didn’t know content is king, congratulations — you learned something new today.
Google is a business. Specifically, they’re a business that aims to answer every random question that their customers can come up with. So, how are you going to rank higher on Google? By answering questions relevant to your business in the most complete, accurate manner possible. You do this by writing long-form informative content. And while you are trying to get Google’s attention, keep in mind that a human has to read your content for it to help your SEO, so don’t stuff it with keywords — write in a manner that’s easy for your visitor to read.
See Some SEO Mistakes?
No worries. It’s not the end of your website as you know it. The best place to start is understanding SEO. If you don’t know your SEO from your elbow, this article is a good place to start. If you’re still lost on the difference between a keyword and a meta tag, bringing on an SEO agency can help get your site back up to speed and help you avoid SEO mistakes. Not sure where to start? Read these five tips for choosing an agency.