SE Uh-Oh: 8 Common and Costly SEO Mistakes

by GuestBlogStar on December 20, 2012

The world of SEO can be both complex and frustrating at times, and more than one person has probably uttered “uh oh” after realizing they’ve made one of any number of these mistakes. SE Uh-Ohs occur more frequently than you might assume, so to avoid  uttering these words yourself, here is a quick list of 8 common mistakes to avoid.  

Missing Title and Meta Descriptions

Quite often you run across websites that for many of their pages, they are missing meta titles and descriptions. A website’s meta title is very important for notifying search engine bots as to what that specific page is about. You want to keep the meta titles under 60 characters in length, and only write in what that page is specifically about. You also don’t want to use the same titles for different pages, as you will be dinged for having duplicate pages.

Meta descriptions can also be dinged for duplicate content, so keeping everything unique, — including meta titles –  will help avoid any troubles in the future. Meta descriptions are also often confused as being another area where you can stuff in keywords. But meta descriptions are mainly used as a sort of ad for websites when they come up in search results. It’s worthwhile perhaps to throw a single keyword in. Though if you stuff keywords, you will not only be dinged by search engines for this, but when you come up for people in their search results, they will not click on your link because the description will appear spammy.

Duplicate Site Content

If your website has the same content on different pages, you will no doubt be penalized for duplicate site content. Search engines reward those that are unique, informative, and entertaining. Essentially, websites that provide real value to those who enter there are favored more highly. We’ve discussed duplicate content for meta titles and descriptions, which are just as important. But if you have exact match content on different pages, there is no doubt your site is going to suffer with the search engines — there may even be penalties for it — but certainly you reduce the number of pages that can be shown in search results.

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Improper Use Of Keywords

Knowing the proper keywords for a specific website is paramount if you want it to rank well. There are essentially three things to consider when figuring out on which keywords to focus.       

Don’t Narrowly Focus Keywords: More often than not, a website has a ton of keywords they can chase after. You want to avoid limiting the number you target as there may well be many for which you can rank well.

Don’t Broadly Focus Keywords: You don’t want to go overboard on the number of keywords you focus. Obviously the more your attention is spread out, the less focus you can give each one. You need to find a balance. As a rule of thumb, try to focus on a dozen or so important keywords and once you’ve ranked well enough, introduce a few more. You can slowly build up a proper ranking for all chosen keywords, which in the end will provide better results.

Don’t Focus On The Wrong Keywords: There is a lot of effort that has to be put forth in SEO in all areas that there is no need wasting time and energy focusing on the wrong keywords. Common mistakes can include confusing keywords, such as “wallpaper.” Does wallpaper refer to what you put on walls, or what you put as the image to your desktop background? Or perhaps you’ve found that you rank number 1 in search results for “Super Awesome Keyword Phrase Inserted Here.” Long tailed keywords, or keyword phrases such as these are generally easy to rank high. But that’s simply because  there’ s no competition for it, and the reason for that is no one searches for it. Don’t waste your time ranking for keywords that no one searches for, as you will not find any beneficial results coming from it.

Thinking SEO Is A One Time Fix

SEO is not, and will never be a quick fix for websites. SEO takes both time and patience. The other thing to consider is that it is a continual race, where you compete against every other site on the web that deals in the same things. So once you stop doing SEO, it’s not so much you’re losing any value you’ve gained as much as it is other websites are surpassing you. So remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Link Abuse

The community of sites on the Internet is almost the same as real life. There are sites, just as there are people, that you would rather not be known to associate with. Reasons include them either being disreputable, scandalous, sleazy, or any other unfavorable description. If your link profile contains questionable sites, that you are either linking to, or are linking to you, search engines will penalize you for being associated with them.

Stale Site Content

You always want fresh and new content to be added to your site. Search engines favor those whose sites are up-to-date, informative, unique, authoritative, and follow good SEO principles. Updating your site with new content at least once a week is recommended. Also, perhaps every 3-4 months, check your keywords to ensure that nothing new needs to be targeted, or something old needs to be forgotten.

Stolen Content

Again, search engines don’t want duplicate content on the Internet. So stealing, scraping, altering, or copying content from another site and adding to your own will no doubt get you penalized. Theft is theft, even on the Internet. Though, there may not be an “Internet police,” search engines definitely have their own Gestapo, and they are very, very good at their job.

Not Analyzing Site Analytics

Perhaps the most important thing for anyone doing SEO is to study your traffic analytics;  don’t just look at them and think that’s enough. It’s a common mistake to look and see all the numbers and jump to various conclusions about what needs to be done. But unless you look into what caused those numbers, you are not going to understand the course of action to take.

For example, you may see that over a time period your sites traffic may have fallen off. Now this can be due to countless factors such as losing keyword ranking, an ineffective CPC campaign, being dinged by search engines for duplicate content, or any other number of things. Unless you understand why the site traffic reduced, you won’t know what to do. So analyze, analyze, analyze. It is well beyond being important, it is utterly necessary.

The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece, you can follow me on twitter @CustParadigm. If you are in need of Magento SEO for your site, be sure to visit CustomerParadigm.com.

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