Want to be at the top of every search engine ranking? We all do, don’t we? But getting there is not always easy, since we need to be careful of SEO pitfalls to avoid Google downranking.
Apart from the intense competition, there is also the not-so-small factor of getting SEO right, and somehow it seems that no matter how well you plan your SEO strategy, you just goof up somewhere!
Well, there is good SEO. And then there is the extremely bad SEO that can do you more harm than good.
Interestingly, the bad SEO isn’t just about black hat SEO – some legitimate white hat SEO techniques may get you on the bad side of the big G.
Here are the 10 biggest SEO mistakes or SEO traps you need to avoid in your SEO strategies if you are to survive and ensure better rank in SERPs.
SEO Pitfalls to Avoid Google Downranking
SEO Pitfalls #1 Cluttering With Meta Data
While there are some claims that your Meta data still has a huge bearing on your website’s ranking, the fact is that if there are any positive effects, these are negligible.
Due to major SEO updates, SEO has gone beyond depending only on Meta data. So if you’re religiously including all your meta keywords, your competition gets to see all your best long tail keywords and change their strategy to beat you.
This is certainly not information you ought to be giving away for free, especially when it doesn’t help you in the first place!
SEO Pitfalls #2 To Buy or Not To Buy Links?
While Google’s John Mueller stated in February 2015 that link building is unnatural and should be avoided for clean SEO, this has now been clarified –
“Google now states that it’s okay to buy, sell or exchange links as long as you don’t violate its Webmaster Guidelines or Google SEO guidelines.”
So review the updated guidelines and also review your present link building strategy to make sure you’re not inadvertently breaking the rules and getting penalized.
SEO Pitfalls #3 Not Updating Broken Links
Visitors hate landing on a site where the page they’re looking for isn’t there anymore.
Apart from losing visitors, Google is constantly crawling your website, and will penalize you for broken links because it implies outdated information and lack of care in updating your site.
So ensure that you constantly monitor your website and keep your links updated so that Google’s crawlers don’t raise any red flags on your site.
SEO Pitfalls #4 Using Unnatural Outbound Links
Shortly thereafter, they began to manually penalize webmasters who continued to use unnatural outbound links.
So to avoid being penalized and getting down ranked, focus on your off-page SEO as well and keep a tab on all of your links and remove any that violate Google’s ‘reminders’, which are in reality, veiled warnings.
SEO Pitfalls #5 Abusing Anchor Texts
Since we’re talking about links, let’s spend a while with anchor texts. Google’s Penguin update made it much riskier to use exact anchor texts for SEO.
Even unintentional abuse of anchor texts can get you penalized, not for bad optimization strategies alone, but also for over optimization!
So avoid this one of the many on page SEO mistakes and limit your anchor texts per post to between 5 or 10, as well as use a wide range of texts and keywords.
SEO Pitfalls #6 Writing for Search Engines
While SEO is all about Search Engine Optimization, writing for search engines alone will get you down ranked!
Search engines are smart these days – they know that for every slap on the wrist, there are unscrupulous webmasters who try to stay a step ahead and spin content.
Now though, search engines take the human factor too into consideration and use your pages’ bounce rate as one of their ranking factors.
If you’ve written invaluable, spun or keyword stuffed content just to attract search engines, people are obviously not going to stay on your site and will leave the moment your miserable content hits them.
Google will then know that your site is mediocre and will down rank your pages. So make every post meaningful, use images, videos and optimized text that is human and search engine friendly.
SEO Pitfalls #7 Using Interstitial Ads
You start reading an interesting post, and then all of a sudden there is a prompt to install the site’s app, or another ad that blocks most of what you’re reading.
Sounds familiar? Well, Google has decided that it is soon starting to penalize mobile sites that have interstitial ads.
These ads are downright annoying and block out content until a tiny “close” button is found (and if you have fat fingers you will inadvertently click the ad instead!).
If you’re still using interstitial ads on your site, remove them or be ready to lose your status of being mobile friendly!
SEO Pitfalls #8 Unfriendly Mobile Design
Speaking of being mobile friendly, your site is now ranked on how well it has been optimized for mobile devices.
Since the number of mobile users is growing by the day, we are all set to soon see a time when desktops and laptops are less used and most people prefer to access the internet conveniently on a mobile device.
This being the case, take extra care so that your site is completely mobile friendly.
Look out for:
- Links that are too close together
- Extremely small text
- Pages where you have to scroll horizontally to read text
SEO Pitfalls #9 Poor User Experience
Google cares about people and the experience they have when they visit your website.
Search engines carefully ‘watch’ to see how users interact with yours site and devalue you if there is even the smallest sign of bad user experience.
If users don’t stay on your site for long or prefer to opt for material from other sites, it certainly does say a lot about user experience.
Apart from content, if your site is hard to navigate and you’ve focused so much on fancy effects that they block out ease of use, users are going to be very unhappy.
So keep your content easy to navigate and keep updating it constantly and you’ll avoid being penalized.
SEO Pitfalls #10 Bad Page Load Time
You may have the highest quality optimized content, the best mobile site and you may follow Google’s instructions to the letter – however, if your site takes ages to load, all of your efforts are in vain.
If you’re a reputed name in the online world, prospective readers may try to refresh the page a couple of times or stick around a bit.
However, most will just close the loading page and move on to your competition. Since page load time adversely affects conversions and potential traffic, a slow loading page will be down ranked.
Having looked through these 10 common SEO mistakes or SEO errors, spend a while looking through your website to ensure you’re above these.
This will keep you on the right side of Google and draw visitors to your site in hoards!