Rookie SEO mistakes

Whether you’re completely new to the world of search engine optimization or who have been in the industry for a while but haven’t kept up with the times, you may be unknowingly committing SEO sins. These basic rookie mistakes can cause all your hard work to go to waste, so be sure to catch and correct them as early as possible.

Rookie 101 Mistakes

1. Keyword Stuffing

This is a classic mistake that almost all new SEO rookies make, especially by those who have no copy writing background but are too cheap to hire an experienced writer. Using targeted keywords is important for SEO and for bringing the right visitors to your website, but stuffing your content with too many keywords—repeated too many times—can cause your rankings to plummet.

Cramming keywords into your copy will annoy both search engines as well as human readers. First-generation Google may have fallen for this trick, but this is no longer the case. Search engines are now much smarter. The key is to use keywords naturally. If you have zero web content writing background, hire a writer.

2. Being Too ‘Link Happy’

Overenthusiastic rookies also make the mistake of building any and all links they possibly can, without regard for quality. Remember: More is not always better. While it’s true that having more inbound links correlates with higher rankings and domain authority, the quality and diversity of your linking sources are also important. A handful of links from great websites are worth more than thousands of links from low-quality spam directories.

3. Forgetting About Internal Links

Some SEO rookies are afraid that Google will frown upon them if they link to their own content. This is a myth. Linking to pages on your own website—as long as you do it properly and naturally—can actually improve rankings. Internal linking can help search engines efficiently crawl your site. Human users also love to be directed to relevant sources. Effective internal linking can reduce the amount of clicks visitors have to make to access other parts of your site. By improving site structure and the relationship between your pages, it can also make your domain more authoritative (just look at Wikipedia).

The key is to focus on your most important pages and link those pages to related content, such as blog posts. Don’t just link randomly—there has to be a logical connection between the pages.

4. Forgetting to Optimize New Pages

You may need to add new pages on a regular basis, such as when you introduce new products and services. Don’t get lazy and forget to optimize those additions! Write a strong and unique title and meta description for it. Make sure that the page is functioning and loading properly. Include that page in your sitemap. And finally, build internal links pointing to it.

5. Forgetting to Clean Up When Removing Old Pages

If you’re getting rid of old pages, you also need to update your sitemap. Remove the old links from view so that users do not click on them, or set up 301 redirects to guide search engine bots as well as your visitors to the new pages.

6. Writing for Google

Newbie tent to get caught up in pleasing search engine spiders that they forget all about the humans who will be visiting the website. Tags, keywords, and contextual phrasing are all extremely important if you want Google to understand your website, but never prioritize them to the point of sacrificing the meaning and relevance of your content. Writing purely to please search engines is never a good idea. Doing this won’t help you attract likes, shares and links.

7. Neglecting User Experience

SEO goes beyond just publishing content and getting links. It also involves ensuring that people who visit your site have a great experience while browsing. They need to be able to find exactly what they want and navigate your pages intuitively. Experience factors to watch include site speed, mobile readiness, site security, and navigation.

8. Failing to Update

SEO rookies tend to spend months creating user-friendly and optimized websites-and then forget all about updating it. This is a mistake that can cause your rankings to suffer. SEO is an ongoing campaign that involves making sure that the site is updated and active. It’s not enough to publish a handful of blog posts—you need to schedule regular posting and stick to it. Search engines won’t notice your site if you don’t constantly update your content.

Advanced Rookie Mistakes

1. Not Continuing to Learn

So your websites are ranking well and online sales are on the up. Think you know everything? Wrong. Google can change its algorithms on a whim and cause your rank to nose-dive overnight. The SEO efforts that pushed your site to the SERPs in 2015 may no longer be as effective tomorrow. Without continuing education, you can easily lose your edge.

This is why the best SEO practitioners never stop learning. After all, search engine optimization is a technical discipline that is dynamic and ever changing. If someone asked you what you know about the latest algorithm change and you can’t give a definite answer, then you are failing to keep up with the changes. It’s time to get back into the game.

Make it a habit to read authoritative SEO websites and forums such as Google Webmaster Central, Search Engine Land, and Moz. Keep an open mind and realize that no—you don’t know it all. It’s perfectly okay to ask questions.

2. Failing to Measure Results

The only way to assess if your SEO campaign is working is to measure results and analyze performance. Numbers are also essential in making strategic decisions and shaping direction. Be sure to take snapshots throughout the campaign so you can use them to interpret results in the future applications.

Implementing an SEO strategy can be likened to losing weight. You have to weigh yourself and take note of that number, and then build a strategy to shed the extra pounds you want to lose. You of course continue to regularly weigh yourself to ensure that you are on the right path, and that the strategy is working. If you aren’t losing weight, you re-strategize.

The same is true for SEO. It’s important that you determine your starting point and keep track of the campaign’s progress along the way. Without solid metrics, how will you find out if your SEO strategies are indeed giving you the results you want? Sure, your ranking might improve, but if there is no way to pinpoint exactly what improved and identify what caused those improvements, you won’t have a clear direction going forward.

Without metrics, you will also find it harder to understand what is causing poor performance—and what you need to do to address them head-on. You might end up trying the same strategy over and over because you don’t know that it’s not working. When you measure your progress or lack thereof, you can more quickly decide if it’s time to abandon a tactic and try something else. This will help you save time and money.

3. Disregarding Social Media

Some advanced SEO specialists are guilty of focusing too much on traditional optimization and neglecting to build social media presence for their clients. Here’s the cold and hard truth: Social media is here to stay. If people don’t see your site on Facebook and Twitter, they start to its credibility. The best way to kick off a social media campaign is to simply share the optimized materials from your website. By sharing your content, you help search engines and human users find it. Having a solid social media presence can also boost brand awareness.

4. Wasting Time on Social Media

On the other end of the stick are SEO practitioners who spend too much time on social media platforms—even those that do not give them decent ROI. This can drain resources and may be a source of frustration. You see, different social media platforms cater to different audiences. Some are used mostly by teens, while others—most notably Facebook and Pinterest—are used by people in their mid-20’s and older. Which demographic do you want to connect with? Identify your market and concentrate on platforms that cater to that group. This is the best way to maximise your ROI.

5. Letting Broken Links Stay Broken

Search engines hate being interrupted while they crawl your website. If you are not fixing broken links, you are making a huge mistake. Broken links also annoy users who don’t appreciate clicking on links only to be taken to a 404 page. So do your website a favor and ensure that it has exactly ZERO broken links. Consider this task a part of good housekeeping and keeping your site updated and active.

The rookie SEO mistakes enumerated above are not just made by newbies—even seasoned pros sometimes commit them. SEO is not an easy line of work, after all. But don’t worry, With experience, forethought, and hard work, you can steer clear of these mistakes. Forget about trying to learn all the optimization tricks that never work in the long run. Concentrate on building an SEO campaign with a solid foundation. This means ensuring that all the basics are in place and that there are no significant errors. Keep tabs on key metrics and document the campaign’s development. Don’t be afraid to push forward, but always review your work.

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