Nobody denies that SEO is a complex field. You’ve got thousands of rules to stick to, and you have to always stay up-to-date with Google’s algorithm updates — which are many, quite frequent, and tend to require a complete redesign of your current SEO strategy.
It makes sense that fresh-faced marketers make mistakes given their obvious lack of experience — but not surprisingly, SEO veterans make them too! As a matter of fact, many expert SEOs screw things up every now and then, although not intentionally. It happens to all of us, right?
Here is a complete list of SEO mistakes that marketers still make today — and that you shouldn’t make!
Pointing All Links to the Homepage
You’ve heard it before — the more links point to your website, the more authority you’ll get, and the higher you’ll rank in search engines. But your website isn’t limited to your homepage only, although that’s where your sales funnel starts. It’s even worse when your client specifically asks you to point all links to the homepage. Doing this is not only a mistake, but also a bad strategy. Why? First, just think about the huge number of other websites — many of them with a stronger online presence — that are doing the exact same thing. Pointing all links to the homepage will probably get you ranked on page 10th… if you’re lucky!
It’s important to link to internal pages so you can spread link equity across them, and not concentrate all the ‘juice’ on just one page. When users land on your homepage, they’ll have to spend time navigating your site to get the information they’re looking for. If you link to an internal page, they’ll be already there, ready to take action. One more benefit of spreading link equity: you can get more value for your other pages, and rank higher in search results.
Not Seeing the Value of a Blog
It’s common for marketers to see blogging as a low-value SEO tactic. After all, with millions of other sites, and probably just as many blogs, what’s the chance that users will access yours? This often leads to an inconsistent content marketing strategy — one that will ultimately impact your rankings, traffic, and sales.
The truth is, blogging is one of the most valuable SEO techniques to use these days. In the first place, it helps you publish lots of good content that your audience is looking for — leveraged correctly, this content will get your site ranked on page one. Secondly, consistent blogging means you’re updating your website regularly, meaning that you’re adding another page once a month, week, or even day! That literally tells Google: “Hey, look at us! We’re working really hard here, so come and check us out!”And guess what? That’s what Google will do — it will check your website more frequently to crawl and index new pages. If your content is good, and people love it, then those pages could be ranking at the top of SERPs. Pretty cool, huh?
Stopping Link Building After Hitting Page One
One thing every marketer should always remember is that a SEO campaign never really ends; it merely changes its focus for a while. As an SEO, it’s your job to consistently update the campaign as trends change. Once you’ve hit the first page, things can get even more difficult given the number of competitors working hard to top you off. Sure, you’ve done a great job, so give yourself a pat on the shoulder, grab a beer, eat a pizza, take a few screenshots, and get back to work. You’re going to need a good strategy to stay on page one, otherwise you risk getting downgraded.
Keep building links, increasing your social signals, and posting quality content. Remember that there will always be companies battling for a spot on page one, so you must work off your butt to stay there.
Not Optimising for Local Search
Have you ever thought about optimising your client’s website for local search? No? Then you’re missing out! Brick-and-mortar companies that serve a particular geographical area can get their website ranked on the first page by optimising their site for local search. If you have a law firm in the London area, it makes sense to optimise your website for keywords such as “London attorney,” “attorney in London,” and “[specialty] attorney in London” (based on your specialty).
Also, submitting your website to local business directories like Google My Business and Yelp, and getting user reviews will boost your visibility within search results. By doing this, you’ll drastically reduce the number of companies you’re competing with. Simply put, you stand a better chance at getting on page one for local searches — how does that sound? Even if users don’t include a city name in their query, Google can easily pick up their location and display results based on it — so either way, you’ll get at the top!
Not Using Branded Anchor Text
Google loves anchor texts that are diverse — and rightly so, since they look natural. One of the biggest mistakes that marketers still make is overlooking branded anchor texts — in other words, anchor texts that contain your company name, website URL, or your own name. For example, if you link to Dell’s homepage with the anchor text “Dell,” you’ve just created a branded anchor text. You’ll probably ask — but you said I shouldn’t be linking to the homepage, so how will that help me? It will — if you take advantage of the opportunity to use a branded anchor text when it’s most appropriate, and when it comes up naturally in the context. If you create a branded anchor text for a particular internal page, that’s perfectly fine.
Are you guilty of any of these SEO mistakes? If yes, then stop — now. Google is unforgiving, and if you accidentally violate any of their guidelines, your website is doomed. Even if you don’t, these mistakes will keep you from getting the results you’re after — and that’s going to destroy what you’ve tried to build thus far.
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.