5 Common SEO Mistakes to Ditch in 2017
Whether you believe in the old adage of “new year, new you” or not, January is the ideal time to wipe the slate clean and start some new habits, and that includes whatever you have planned for SEO.
Many minor business mistakes can be dismissed with a wry grimace and a self-effacing comment or two, but SEO is a different beast altogether. Goofing up your optimization affects important things like page ranking and site visibility – in other words, the stuff that helps drive business.
Vow to avoid these five common SEO mistakes and you might just have stumbled onto a New Year’s resolution or two that you can actually stick to.
1. Keyword Stuffing
Yes, once upon a time you could kind of fool Google into thinking you were the ultimate source for online gaming by creating pages at your domain that featured little more than the phrase “online gaming” over and over and over again. Not only is that extremely irritating for your audience, Google now recognizes that supreme annoyance of keyword stuffing and its algorithms will ding you massively if you attempt to game the system in that way.
2. Broken Links
Peppering your site with both internal and external backlinks is both helpful to your readers and a useful SEO technique, but that all changes swiftly when those links are broken. Sometimes a piece of content goes missing or perhaps a site moves domains and the permalink goes caput. Whatever the reason, these road-to-nowhere links should be spotted and either updated/corrected or removed altogether.
3. Buying Links
Even worse than broken links is the practice of buying links. There are plenty of shady SEO firms that will promise you high rankings thanks to something like “hundreds of links on our network of sites.” Danger danger! While a good SEO firm can do wonders for your site’s positioning on search engines such as Google, those same search engines generally view pay-for-play links as spammy, harmful, and a great reason to drop your ranking like it’s last year’s shredded jeans trend.
4. Using Generic Anchor Text
When you embed a hyperlink in your online content, the words you attach that link to are referred to as the “anchor text.” So for instance, if we said you’d find lots of information on the homepage for Chair 10 Marketing, the words in blue – “Chair 10 Marketing” – are your anchor text. While Google doesn’t divulge all of its ranking criteria, experts have discovered that link relevancy is a major component in how your site’s value is determined. Generic anchor text such as “click here” or “our products” don’t work nearly as well as “SEO services” or “reputation management products.”
5. Copying Content (Even Your Own)
Back when you were in middle school, copying someone else’s paper may have gotten you anything from a light rap on the knuckles to detention. Google might not hate plagiarism as much as your seventh-grade teacher but it does emphasize uniqueness, something duplicate content directly contradicts.
Why are duplicates so icky?
- Multiple copies of identical (or very similar) content adds nothing to the grand user experience
- It’s difficult for Google to determine which copy/version to index
- Duplicate content might well be filtered out of search results, leaving you with nothing
Every year you promise yourself that you’re going to lose weight, drink less, work out more, or give up caffeine (why?!). This time, promise yourself – and Google – that you’ll SEO your way to a better business. That’s a goal worth keeping.