SEO has changed and will continue to do so with every passing day. But you’re a smart site owner and you’re keeping up-to-date with the latest Google updates, aren’t you? You’ve cleaned up your low quality backlinks which took about a month or so and now you’re focusing on building a natural link profile for your site. It seems like you’re doing everything by the book but, are you really? Could the almighty Google penalise your site in a future update because of a simple error?
There are so many things you can do wrong when optimising your site, but there are few common and silly mistakes that you can easily avoid making. So, let’s have a look at five huge SEO mistakes that you might be making:
1 – There’s nothing to read
The problem: You have your web page filled with images or flash animations and no actual text for search engines to index. Search engine spiders can’t read text that’s included in images or Flash animations, so be sure to use them sparingly. If spiders find no text to index, then you won’t be able to attract much traffic from searches.
The solution: Use plain text on your website and try to refrain from using too much Flash or too many images on your site. Sure, Flash makes your site look fancy but search engine spiders won’t see that. Actually, they won’t see anything at all which will result very poor rankings.
2 – Confusing optimization and keyword stuffing
The problem: Stuffing your content with keywords will do more harm than good. The content should be your number one priority, not keywords. One of the biggest mistakes people make is focusing too much on what they think is SEO and too little on quality content that people want to read.
Attractive and useful content will generate links because people will want to share it. This is more valuable than saturating your site’s content with keywords and keyword variations. Artificial content will not only be considered useless by your own visitors but also by search engines.
The solution: To optimise your page’s content correctly you will need to include your main keywords in the title of the page, in the URL, in the H1, in the ALT (the alternative text for images used on the page) and also in the first and last paragraph. In other words, include your main keywords and keyword variations in key places and not all over the place.
3 – Going overboard with paid links
The problem: Buying links was a common SEO technique back in 2000 but now Google doesn’t like it and will penalise your site if you’re found to be using this strategy.
These links can hurt your site when:
You’re overdoing it and buying too many.
They’re irrelevant, spammy and stuffed with keywords without providing any quality content.
They link to sites that are considered spammy.
They’re low quality with link exchange in the sidebar and a crowded footer.
Remember – Google is getting better and better at detecting activity which violates it Webmaster Guidelines, so if you buy links you could be in for a rankings penalty.
The solution: As long as you’re not buying links in bulk and at random, you can get some good results. Remember, the key is moderation and quality, not quantity. However, it’s important to remember this tactic will always carry risks.
4 – Duplicate content
The problem: Why would you take the effort to get a site up and running and then spoil your hard work by copying content from other sites? Make no mistake, Google will detect what you’re doing and your rankings will suffer considerably. Yes, creating fresh and unique content can be a hassle, but being a copycat is not the solution.
The solution: Make some time to create original content that is interesting and worth sharing but also optimised so search engines can index it easily. If you don’t have the time to do your own writing, then just pay someone to do it. There are so many freelance SEO copywriters out there just waiting for an opportunity to create awesome content for your site.
5- Empty image alt attribute
The problem: As mentioned above, search engine spiders can’t index images just as they can’t index Flash animations. You can live without Flash animations, but images are an important element on your site. So what can you do to have your images indexed?
The solution: Always use the alt attribute to describe your image and sell web crawlers what your image is about.
By avoiding these basic mistakes, you can help ensure you have a solid platform which you can build on with more advanced SEO techniques – the ones which will help you rise up the rankings.
Written by Alex Gavril, an exprienced blogger and SEO expert who is part of the Webfusion.co.uk team.