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6 Common SEO Mistakes

Search engine optimization can largely influence the level of traffic your website receives. While good SEO can provide websites with a steady stream of clients, poor SEO may mean that few people ever know your website exists! To help you make the most SEO-friendly website possible, here are six of the most common SEO mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Thin content
Good content marketing is central to effective SEO. While having very little text may sometimes be a beautiful design strategy, it tends to be counterproductive for your SEO. Search engines rely on your website’s text content to know what your website is about and which searches should return your website as a result. Search engines are not (yet) able to interpret images and videos with sufficient consistency to inform search results. Therefore, you need to create substantial quantities of well written content to provide search engines with as much information about your website as you can. Although you don’t want to overwhelm website visitors with too much text, from an SEO perspective, less isn’t always more.

2. Shady link building
One of the most important factors in SEO are backlinks. This refers to websites that link to your website. As a very general rule, the more websites that link to your website, the higher your search rankings are likely to be. Some websites attempt to dupe the system by using link exchanges and other online tools to gain very large numbers of backlinks. However, search engines now penalize websites that have a considerable amount of backlinks that appear to be artificial. Few websites manage to attain high search rankings through manipulation of this kind, and those that do tend to be hit with a lasting SEO penalty. A smaller number of high quality backlinks (such as links from high-traffic, trusted websites) has a much larger, positive impact on SEO rankings than a plethora of low quality backlinks.

3. Not writing a blog
Blog post creation can be something of a chore. However, when blogging is done the right way, it can do wonders for SEO and conversions on a website. Blogs are often extremely useful for an effective keyword strategy, allowing you to include the keywords you need in your content without it seeming artificial.

A blog can be a source of backlinks. If you offer guest posts to other websites that link back to your website, this can be very useful in creating the quality backlink profile you need.

Blogs also have benefits that go beyond SEO. If you use your blog to inform customers about your business and your industry, you can position yourself as an authority, which increases customers’ perception of trust. This makes them more likely to remember your website and utilize your services.

4. Not targeting the right keywords
Good SEO is based on careful keyword targeting. There are many free tools that can help you come up with a list of target keywords to start with. The most popular of these is Google’s Keyword Planner or Bing’s Keyword Tool, either of which can be used with a free account. These tools can tell you how many people search for a keyword over any given time period. Refer to your list regularly when you create content in order to ensure you include the keywords you are targeting.

Google’s algorithm penalizes what is called ‘keyword stuffing’ – written content that seems artificially full of keywords. However, there is still plenty of scope to include keywords in your content. The best written content manages to include plenty of keywords while sounding natural.

Adapt your keyword usage over time to reflect your experience. For example, if your website sells carpet cleaning machines and your analytics show that visitors who found your website through searching for ‘carpet cleaning supplies’ spend twice as much on average as those who search for ‘carpet cleaning equipment’, you should consider including more references to ‘carpet cleaning supplies’ on your website.

5. Not updating the website’s content regularly
Search engines reward websites that update their content on a regular basis, and those that do not tend to fall in search rankings. The easiest way to update your content frequently without having to redesign your website is to write a blog.

6. Broken links
Search engines see non-functioning links as a red flag. If your website contains links that do not work, your search ranking will fall. Given that broken links can make your website appear unprofessional, they can also cause problems in terms of user experience. Free tools such as Xenu Link Sleuth can check your website for broken links and alert you to any that need to be fixed.

SEO is an immensely complicated field, and the rules are constantly changing. While these simple tips can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes people make, working with a professional ensures your website’s SEO rankings are grown not on the basis of simply getting found, but through best practices and a rich knowledge of the industry cultivated through years of experience. If you’re looking at your website and are feeling a little sickly about its rankings, Simply Design can help! It’s about helping other people, and consequently, search engines, find the things they’re looking for.