Adam is a seasoned Toronto SEO pro with over 15 years experience managing high level SEO campaigns. He has seen a lot of common mistakes being made over and over. Today, we’ll go over the most common three mistakes that people make.
Learning to do search engine optimization can be a fun process, but it can also be filled with a lot of trial and error. This is because if we all knew exactly how to become #1 on Google for whatever we want, we’d all do it. The bottom line is Google gives us guidelines on best practices but from there we need to read between the lines and figure the rest out by ourselves. While a lot of people might choose to follow Google’s guidelines and do nothing else hoping for the best, the rest of us who do this professional and have bills to pay, need to take matters into our own hands with a little more aggression than Google might encourage.
Now because we’re not entirely sure what can end up getting us in trouble as opposed to what can make us our fortune, it often times can be nerve wracking trying to come up with the perfect strategy. This even more so if you’re doing client work where your pay cheque would be instantly yanked if you were to get your client a penalty. Even worse knowing you have effected your clients livelihood after they had trusted you to help them improve their business.
That’s why you should be clearly aware of the most common errors SEOs make which can have disastrous affects on their SEO campaigns. If you’re sure to never make the following errors, you’ll be able to avoid most disasters and stick to a more even keel line of operation.
Make Sure Your Site Is Indexible
Lots of SEOs make changes to their sites Robots.txt or .htaccess files without knowing what they’re doing and they end up blocking Google and other search engines from crawling and indexing their site. The effects of this can be disastrous as Google can drop a website from it’s index and if that’s the case it will no longer rank any where for any keyword. You can avoid this mistake by familiarizing yourself on the basics of a Robots.txt file and .htaccess files to understand them more fluently. A lot of people think SEO is not technical on any level and they don’t need to know anything about programming or design, and that can be true in some cases but by educating yourself on the basics of very simple concepts you can avoid major (and costly) mistakes altogether, well worth it!
Changing the URL structure of the site.
Have you ever taken a look at a website just to realize how ugly the url structure is? It’s very tempting to just come up with a completely new structure and apply wholesale changes to a site, eager to see the fruits of your labor. This, however, can be a very costly mistake if not done properly. You can cause your site, or your client’s site, to lose all current rankings. What’s more is that if you’ve also made site changes, it can cause Google to take a long time (in some cases up to 30 days) to re-index the new pages and even then they may consider the new page to be a different page altogether and for it to lose it’s rankings. Google does offer guidelines for url structure which should be adhered to if you’re building out a new site, however if it’s an existing site and you’re looking to re-do the url structure, you need to setup 301 redirects from the old urls to the new urls to make indexing and understanding of the new site as seamless as possible. Google pays a lot of attention to the on site metrics like time spent on site, bounce rate, etc so if your site has been ranking well, you don’t want Google to think that the new page is a completely different page. You want to carry over your metrics to the new page and by setting up redirects you can be sure of it.
Outsourcing Link Building to Unscrupulous Types
Link building can be boring, or downright tedious and those emails you get saying 10000s of backlinks for just a couple of bucks can sound tempting, but they’re one of the biggest mistakes you can make. When it comes to link building, you either need to create a buffer between your site and low quality links or stick to the old adage of “quality over quantity”. A good example of that would be blog comments, a lot of people tend to have a negative opinion of blog comments these days saying that they carry little to no value. However if you look at the top rankings sites in competitive niches and their backlink portfolios, one thing they almost all have in common is blog comments. The real key to using blog comments is to do it manually. Find articles/entries that are directly relevant to the niche. Read the article, contribute to the conversation if there is one, if not, make a useful comment to either add or as a follow up question. Don’t fall for the “$5 for 1000 blog comments” because that will do more harm than good.
By avoiding the above errors you can make sure you’re not falling victim to some of the most common SEO mistakes that rookies make. If you have other common SEO errors that you think should be included in this list, please use the contact page to get in touch and let me know your thoughts.