Search engine optimization blunders and worst practices

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Have you ever made a mistake that cost you money? Never underestimate the impact of search engine optimization blunders. Poorly executed SEO can cause havoc on your site, and in the worst case it can bankrupt your business!

Something like 50%–80% of your total website visits are usually organic. The majority of your direct traffic is also actually purely organic by nature. This means that the a sudden drop can potentially have a very significant impact, and recovering from mistakes can take a very long time. Here are some classic examples of the worst mistakes you can make:

Poorly executed technical SEO

It’s important to vigorously address potentially dangerous technical SEO issues early on, which is why ongoing SEO is needed to avoid costly mistakes. Do not rely on SEO optimization tools or leave Google optimization to people with little experience and knowledge.

Symptoms of from poorly executed technical SEO include:

  • Manual actions issued by Google. Google staff monitor websites and inform you of bad SEO.
  • Sudden drops in Google rankings. This one can be a real hassle to fix for most companies, and it will cost you. If you do not actively monitor changes to Google’s algorithms, you cannot adjust to the new SEO landscape fast enough, leading to drops in rankings and overall visibility.
  • Your site may not be visible on search engines at all. Yes, this happens more often than you realize. Recovery from this can be very costly and painful.

Not taking SEO into account when building a new website

The main reason SEO consultants have been, and will forever be, in high demand is because the SEO is often ignored when building a new website, and companies hire us to come to the rescue. This is a major issue because after a site goes live, it’s harder to make the necessary adjustments like optimizing different sites for the right keywords. Also, implementing URL redirections and other technical SEO changes can be a major hassle.

Poorly executed or no onpage optimization

Onpage optimization is one of the easiest tasks in SEO. However, basic mistakes are made with alarming frequency:

  • Not optimizing for the right keywords: main, theme, long tail
  • Over-optimizing or even keyword stuffing (keyword density should be below 3%)
  • Not focusing on the user experience on mobile and other devices
  • Not using titles and metadata in the correct way

These mistakes all have the same effect: you lose valuable traffic.

Copied content

Copied content will generally always have poorer rankings compared to original content. Try to create unique and engaging content that can rank high on search engines. Search engines do not know which content to include in the search results, and sometimes your copied content may not be visible at all.
The main impact of this is in the lost opportunity compared to doing things the right way.

Poor off-page presence

Do you have a plan? If you don’t know what to do when planning your online presence, you will most certainly run into trouble. You should reach out to people and get links, reviews and other content. Build infographics and wikis.

Spammy link building

Penguin is Google’s algorithm for checking hyperlink profiles. It is quite sophisticated and will most probably notice any attempts at spammy link building. There are ways to successfully build links, but it requires skill. Here’s a few definite don’ts:
– Don’t pay people for links to your site (in virtual currency or otherwise)
– Don’t use the same anchor text in links over and over again (the part of a link that’s seen by the user)
– Don’t generate too many inorganic links (added by you) in too short a timeframe

The process of recovering from a Google penalty arising from spammy linking can take time. First, you have to list all the spammy links using an SEO tool and submit them to Google. Then you have to wait for Google’s response. You often also have to wait weeks, or even months, for Google to refresh their data.

A smart way to approach this is by actively monitoring your link building and organic linking. Gather a comprehensive link profile and check it for potentially unnatural link patterns. Pay attention to link quality and proactively submit bad links for removal.

What? I need links?

A website doesn’t just magically appear at the top of search results (not since 2007, anyway). Just making content doesn’t guarantee you a top 10 spot in the Google rankings – no matter how great your content is. Try to keep links as organic as possible, but leverage any opportunity for smart link building and offsite content creation.

Not understanding the importance of social media

Social media and SEO complement each other, and good social media usually leads to good visibility on Google (mainly based on the high level of user experience great social media content has). Build your social media presence as well.

No active reputation management

Nobody is following the reputation of your business. It’s usually a good idea to monitor the reviews of your products and services. This in turn can affect SEO: bad reviews are visible on Google.

Not acting early enough to avoid the degeneration of SEO

Many common SEO mistakes fall into this category. Some companies do not even know that anything is wrong because they don’t actively monitor organic visibility. “SEO” is not in their vocabulary: their online presence is mainly only about paid advertising and social media, etc. The concepts of organic brand vs non-brand traffic are alien to them.

Search engine optimization is a long process and often involves making technical or other structural changes to the website. There is nothing wrong with paid advertising or other inbound strategies, but if you don’t also pay attention to improving organic traffic, you’re going to miss out on some big opportunities.

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