1. Not Focusing on Content for Human Readers
Despite the fact that ranking parameters have advanced enormously since the earliest days of SEO, many people still think that they can get away with writing shoddy content that won’t interest anyone and making up for the deficiency by stuffing it completely with keywords that they think the search bots will go wild over.
Nope; not true at all anymore, particularly with Google, the mother of all search engines. These days, especially after the last year and a half of nearly constant algorithm changes to their page ranking procedures during search queries, the people at Google are far more interested in rewarding pages that focus on human readers and offer as much genuine, informative and high value content to their readers. A website whose text and other content is thin, copied, poorly written or stuffed with an unnatural keyword density not only won’t rank highly, it will actually suffer thanks to the much more stringent and intelligent search algorithms that are now in effect.
You have to deliver value, quality and freshness with your content if you want to have well optimized content; keep the keywords to a normal looking quantity, use them where needed to legitimately describe.
2. Failing to Thoroughly Research Keywords
Funny how, just after talking about overdoing the keyword use in mistake 1, we now mention incomplete keyword research as the second mistake. But, that’s how it is. While overusing keywords is a big SEO mistake, it’s also just as big of a mistake to not take full advantage of the diverse niche keywords you could have on your site’s content wherever they have a natural position to fill.
As a DIY SEO campaigner, you’re going to want to stick with a natural looking, genuinely descriptive use of keywords, but as part of a well done SEO campaign strategy, you need to thoroughly research your online niche to find the most highly relevant keywords, keyphrases and long tail keywords (keywords that are very relevant but much less searched for than your main words). By creating such a list, you can then strategically use the best, most relevant possible words in your content, Meta descriptions, image attributes and other on-site text bodies. This in turn will eventually give you a decent or even great search query rank for exactly the people that are closest to your target audience -the visitors most likely to convert into sales.
3. Getting started with Black Hat Tactics
Again, a very common mistake amongst site owners who are just getting to know SEO strategy; starting off your efforts with outdated information and either unintentionally or deliberately trying out black hat search spam tactics in the hope that you will get quick results and find yourself ranking highly on Google search in just a few days instead of the weeks or months a high ranking might normally take to achieve.
However tempting this is, avoid it! Educate yourself on the clear differences between white hat and black hat SEO and stick to the former. Provide value, get your readers to naturally share your content; build links organically by cultivating relationships with other owners of quality websites and build a strong long term ranking that isn’t subject to detection and sudden deranking because it was caught spamming backlinks across the internet, manipulating its pages with secret keyword lists or building a link profile by buying the links off of content farm and link farm sites.
4. Forgetting about Structural Optimization
As a newbie, you might find yourself getting so caught up in building links back to your site with other websites, social network SEO campaigns and Content development that you forget about one fundamental fact: Google, other search engines and human visitors will not like what they’ve found if your site itself is badly organized.
As part of an on-page SEO policy that includes well developed content, images that have been tagged with descriptive HTML tags and well written URL titles you also need to make sure that your site itself is cleanly coded, free of errors and easy to navigate. Make sure that all of your pages connect easily and that your readers (as well as the search bots) can find all of your important content without having to hunt for it. Also, avoid excessive use of flash; not only is it deeply annoying when it freezes someone’s computer, it’s also invisible to search engine spiders, meaning it won’t help your optimization much.
5. Inconsistent SEO management
SEO campaigns are not one time affairs or even short-term projects, they require constant effort. Optimizing your site will include tactics that you can do just once and forget about them (such as programming your site on clean SEO friendly code) but for the most part, a successful optimization effort is a long term job that will continue for as long as your site is up and running.
You should never stop adding fresh, interesting new content through a blog or article archive; you need to optimize any new images, videos or pages you add to your site and you need to regularly work at creating new backlinks to your pages by promoting them to other website owners or offering to guest post elsewhere so that you can include links back to your site in your articles.
You should also concentrate on consistently engaging your audience so that they trust you, respect your work and keep coming back to it.
About the author: Carl Petoskey has written for the tech industry for over a decade. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him covering Comcast business internet offers or working on his homemade sailboat that he hopes to have in the water by January.