Marketers need to understand that SEO methods are constantly evolving. This is due to various updates and developments to search engines and online traffic guidelines; so you can imagine how hard it is to rank appropriately if you’re still using outdated SEO techniques! Some businesses can actually dig themselves in a ditch trying to keep up with SEO demands if they are being too short-sighted.
It doesn’t need to be that complicated, though.
Being well-versed in the practice of the SEO landscape is one of the best habits that you can pick up on when growing a website. It’s the ultimate method to drive organic traffic to your site and increase sales –especially when it concerns boosting your search engine rank.
How does SEO make you money?
There are going to be hundreds of methods to drive traffic to your site. Not all of them are going to rake in the profits and show you how to make real money online. Quite similarly, you have an infinite number of ways to make money on the side, but only a select few will benefit your rankings. SEO is the common solution to both of these efforts –by bringing in more audiences with high purchase intent that would eventually make purchase-related decisions.
With constant + strong contributions to your SEO plan, your brand also has the ability to dethrone competitors from the top rankings. Focusing on the long run will make it absolutely possible for you to gain traffic from your competitors’ demographics. That is, once you’re trusted and recommended more by search engines.
You’re going to want to stay ahead of the game when it comes to SEO and focus on the things that matter. Therefore, here are 7 dangerous mistakes to completely avoid when you’re upping your SEO game.
1. Duplicate content
When it comes to SEO, duplicate content is one of the worst things that you can do. Duplicate content means that your website basically has the same/similar content appearing in more than a webpage, or worse – other websites. You’ll be penalizing your own website from posting plagiarized content so that’s a huge no-no. This significantly hurts your chances at increasing your SERP ranking. When a search engine realizes that you have duplicate content, it doesn’t know which page to index – and this will confuse Google and users with related queries surrounding your duplicate content.
What You Should Be Doing:
Spring cleaning your content. If you have loads of duplicate content, you’re going to want to either completely revamp the text, or combine those pages into one better resource. For instance, if you have different an article with the theme of ‘How to Choose Colors for Your Bedroom’ and one that goes “Colors to Avoid for Your Bedroom’ –it might just be better combining those two into a long-form piece of content than to risk duplicate content. Double checking duplicate content can be done easily through tools like Grammarly and SmallSEOTools.
‘rel=canonical’ tags on original webpages. In a nutshell, ‘rel=canonical’ tags are a command for these search engines. It’s one way to tell the search engines that this particular URL just represents the master copy of another webpage. You can easily apply a canonical code through a link tag to the head of an HTML. For example, to assign company ABC with a canonical tag would look something like this: –
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.abc.com” />
WordPress is a content management site that makes canonical tags pretty easy to arrange. A simple plugin like the Yoast SEO tool also provides you options to view and attach rel=canonicals to web pages that you’d want to refer back to!
2. Overlooking page titles, meta descriptions image alt texts
Optimizing your website content isn’t just magically achieved once you sprinkle keywords in your articles. Appropriate title tags and meta descriptions are both also a necessary practice that should be adopted! Overlooking them is a huge mistake for your SEO ranking. As mentioned previously, Yoast SEO is a tool that can really make this super easy for you.
Little details such as the image tags are also commonly looked over when designing a website. Alt text is a method of telling Google what the image represents and is a fantastic real estate that can really boost your SEO efforts. Not making ALT text and ALT tags a habit will confuse search engines if they eventually crawl your website –and not understanding what an image is about will eventually hurt the performance of your site.
What You Should Do:
There are no exceptions –stop compromising on the quality of your titles and meta! Each and every webpage on your site should have a unique title. Plus, it’s not solely just for SEO purposes. Your posts might eventually be shared as Facebook links, tweets and bookmarked too. Keep your titles grammatically pitch-perfect, short and sweet. Again, Grammarly is your best friend.
Meta descriptions can range anywhere from 140-160 characters to make a good one. A good meta description will tease people into clicking on to your search engine listing, which improves click-through rates -ultimately increasing your search engine rankings. Remember, these provide value to your consumers and can build consumer engagement –so work on making them as persuasive as possible.
Need more help doubling your blog traffic overnight? We’ve got your back. Here’s the master list that breaks it down.
When adding an image to a page, make sure to always use descriptive ALT texts. Image SEO is one commonly overlooked factor in SEO, don’t make the same mistakes. In this context, it really doesn’t matter how attractive your images are or how much work you put into them; if you don’t nudge search engines in the right away and command a presence. Make it simple and natural. Avoid keyword stuffing too!
3. Not optimizing the right keywords
It’s a big waste when hopeful marketers out there understand the importance of keywords, but fail to completely take advantage of its practices.
Also, why the rush trying to cram in as many high-traffic keywords as possible? If you’re a new website just starting out especially, high-traffic keywords are an uphill battle –and you will almost never rank for those in this lifetime.
What You Should Do:
It’s 100% fine to capitalize on long-tail keywords.
A lot of traffic can be redirected to your blog from there. Long-tail keywords are basically search queries with two or more words in them. Something like “how to start an online business” is considered a long-tail keyword and would be easier to rank for. On the other hand, “online business” is not –and would be far, far harder for a beginner website to rank.
Avoid thinking that you have to immediately go after the big guns in your niche. Instead, start small. When you see traffic increase for your website over time, build up from there!
The best ways to do this is with the help of keyword research tools that are based on long-tail queries. True to its name, LongTail Pro is an absolute master at its game. It’s also affordable for small businesses that are looking for some profitable long tail keywords and highly targeted traffic through SEO.
4. Not fixing broken pages and checking backlinks
You definitely want to never have a broken page for your website. Especially if they already have backlinks pointing back to them through other webpages. That’s a huge waste.
Although it does tend to happen every once in a while, 404 error codes are highly despised by search engines. If Google’s crawler especially, finds your broken page –it considers that effort as time wasted. When this becomes a habit, your SEO ranking can significantly be kicked back because Google’s just way too upset with you to bother crawling your websites anymore.
Here, you can have tons of backlinks by your own pages and other websites, but it simply won’t matter. A total waste of time and resource.
So why do broken pages occur? You would get 404 errors if you delete a page that has been previously linked or if someone misspells your URL.
What You Should Do:
Although you won’t be able to control it when someone enters a misspelt URL –there are a lot of things to do about broken pages.
The 404 error checker plugin for chrome is great at what it does. This broken link checker immediately scans your webpages to detect broken links –and then works to report back to you once it’s done.
Another nifty tool to check up on the quality, growth, decline and overall progress of your backlinks is the Ahrefs Backlink Checker. A website should organically change and webmasters like yourselves may find it hard to keep track, and the smallest change in your URL will result in you losing a backlink from one of your important blog posts or page. You want to minimize that with 301 redirects.
To help you keep track of your links, Ahrefs is a top gun when it comes to all things SEO and optimizing your content –so you’ll know you’re in good hands. They have the second largest link databases in the world – only trumped by Google.
If you’re looking for more ways to generate tons of traffic, check out this everything you need to know about free and paid online marketing channels course on Udemy.
5. Poor load times (Image size optimization, CDN, and browser caching for poor load times)
SEO aside, everyone generally wants their website to look cool. Structure, layout, pictures, videos, infographics and the like would increase a website’s overall professional feel –and have it appeal to consumers. Pretty straightforward right?
Not so much.
When you’re pumping your website full of graphic-rich content, you might be at risk of overloading your website and risking slow load times. If your website is not going to load in .05 seconds or less –the probability of consumers leaving your site in frustration skyrockets.
So why is this so detrimental for your website? Every time a consumer is redirected/visits your page, Google and other search engines take track of how long they stay. Shorter visit times = search engines thinking that the result shown was not relevant for the audiences’ needs.
Poor load times are not directly connected with SEO efforts. If your website is dangerously slow, however, it makes the job of search engines all that much harder to crawl your website and…you guessed it. Kick back your rankings all the way to the bottom of the bunch. Good load times also improve tons of user metrics like time on page, reduces bounce rate.
My vape business experienced a 6x increase in revenue from reducing the page load from 4 seconds to 1 second.
What You Should Do:
Fortunately, there are hundreds of ways to shorten load times. We’ve narrowed it down to three really good ones;
- Detecting poorly written code is essential to prevent further mishaps with your website’s load. On the other hand, too many front-loading plugins should also be chucked to the corner if you find that your website frequently lags and fails to load efficiently. For this very reason, it’s essential to have a powerful web hosting service that is ready to solve each individual concern you have.
Hosting services like WPX Hosting and is definitely right on top of its game! If WPX hosting is a little bit out of your budget, you can also consider something like BlueHost – which is another critically acclaimed hosting service. Again, WordPress works best with most hosting sites in terms of accessibility and skill. Before any of that, you can check the load times of your existing website through software like Pingdom & GTMetrix as well.
- Image Optimization – You don’t have to compromise on the rich visual aspect of your website in order to reduce load times! If you think graphics are slowing down your website, -and instead of deleting them entirely- you can always losslessly compress them for the web.
First, work towards sourcing images and other graphics on stock sites such as Creative Market. They usually offer images of different resolutions as well; so start from the lowest if you don’t want to clog up your website. If you need to compress an existing image, free online tools like compressor.io or Kraken.io also come in handy.
- Content delivery networks (CDN) guarantee the best routing options to improve your website’s speed and overall performance. CDN reduces issues of latency, website lag and also maximize the bandwidth for your audiences. Of course, CDN works best for websites with high traffic.
If you want to invest in a stable CDN, a good place to start would be brands like MaxCDN, CloudFlare and Akamai. (P/S: WPX Hosting comes with free optimized CDN and caching installed right off the bat. We have so much faith in them that the HUSTLR website is also hosted here.)
All things considered, investing your efforts directly and indirectly into SEO is one of the best things you can do for your website. What a whole lot of marketers and content managers need to realize is –that SEO isn’t a game plan that works only through one or two methods.
In fact, it is a culmination of methods A through Z. That is if you want to see real and consistent results. Stick to a good content marketing and SEO process structure, give the search engines a couple of months and watch your SEO efforts practically help you make money from home.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.