If you run any kind of business with an online presence, you have probably heard of the word “SEO.” Chances are that you are implementing a good number of SEO practices to boost your search rankings as well. Indeed, without proper Search Engine Optimization, an online business would simply find itself lost and sidelined amidst competition. Just as the “must do’s” of SEO are essential to the success of a business, there are certain “do not’s” that one must keep in mind so as to not make an SEO faux pas. And here they are, in no particular order.
Mistake 1: Not Researching Keywords Thoroughly Enough
Keywords form the basis of SEO and the way the world uses the internet at large. No matter how much content you pump into your website or how often you update it, it will not yield much traffic unless it is fortified with relevant and “high-result” keywords.
Mistake 2: Utilizing Localization in Keyword Usage
A common mistake that many web-owners make is to use their or their company’s name as a keyword. This obviously does not help in any way because users are seldom looking for an individual or company – they are looking for products and services in their area. So, instead, of using “ABC Photographers”, try using something like “wedding photographer, Ontario.” Also, if you have a local business, don’t forget geotagging – this will help you reach the targeted customer base more effectively.
Mistake 3: Taking Title Tags And Meta Descriptions For Granted
Adding title tags and meta descriptions to each post may seem trivial, even redundant, to some web owners but you’d be surprised to know how much these little additions can help towards garnering traffic and good search-engine rankings. Spend a little more effort in creating meta descriptions (read: relevant keyword phrases and attractive blurbs) and watch your rankings soar.
Mistake 4: Offering Poorly Written Content To Visitors
Yes, keywords are important – no one can deny that, but do you think a visitor is likely to stay on if your content is some gibberish stuffed with keywords and keyphrases? Make sure your content is simple, interesting, valuable and up-to-date. Secondly, write for people, not for search engines. Remember, they are the ones who are going to bring you business! A well-designed and organized website also helps SEO and improves the website’s rankings. While optimizing your website, do keep in mind that texts embedded in flash or pictures are usually not picked up by crawlers, so add keywords where they count.
Mistake 5: Resorting To Black Hat SEO Techniques
It is human nature to want faster and “instant” results, and that prompts many a website owner to resort to unethical practices such as buying links, stuffing keywords and using invisible texts. While this may help you gain some exposure in the beginning, you will find it hard to sustain the numbers in the longer run, which will eventually cause your rankings to plummet. In the SEO rule book, slow and steady always wins the race. Therefore, keep your focus on strong, relevant content, link building and establishing credibility in the digital world instead of wasting your energy on shortcuts and unethical practices.
If you want to get great search engine rankings you have to rank for the right keywords. It’s so important because when you don’t rank for them you are leaving money on the table. Why should your competitors get a constant stream of traffic from Google each month while you get nothing? Why should their bank account fill up with easy money while yours stays empty?
I hope you’re prepared to attack some juicy keywords, but first you need to know where to find them. You can’t always rely on software to give you all the answers. There is nothing wrong with using keyword research software, but we’re going to look at a few others techniques that will give you great results. Use these straight away and you will start getting the rankings you deserve.
The bottom of Google
This is a sneaky little trick you might not know about, but you should because it works great. Go onto Google and type in any keyword you want to rank for. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see a list of related search terms other people are searching for. Just go and write an article using each of these keywords and Google will realize your site is one they should send people to.
Type a few words out
This one has been around for a while, but some people still don’t know about it which is a shame. When you start typing something out in Google it will finish your sentence for you. These are great keywords to rank for because people are obviously typing them out when they search for something. You can be sitting at the top of the rankings waiting to give them the answer they’re looking for.
Spy on your competitors
If you want to copy your competitors it’s easy enough. Just click to look at the page source when you’re on their website and if they’ve told the search engines what they’re trying to rank for you will know about it. Don’t worry if there aren’t any keywords there because you can still find out by looking at any page on their site. Just look for the words or phrases that are repeated a lot.
Look on forums
If someone is asking a question on a forum, do you know what that means? They would probably type the exact same question into Google, plus if they want to know the answer to a specific question I bet a lot of other people would too. Just go around forums and look at the kind of language people use. You will know what they search for and you can rank for those keywords easily.
You won’t be able to use this technique in every industry, but you can write about things that hit the headlines. If there is an event you will be able to rank for it easily because nobody will have built any backlinks for it yet. If a new buzzword becomes popular in your industry you can try to rank for it before everyone else does. This will send a lot of traffic to your site and you can turn them into regular readers.
Many people have a mini-meltdown the moment they realize their website has been penalized by Google. After putting so much of your time, effort and money into something, it’s very easy to feel as though the world is shattering beneath your feet. Penalties happen to the most careful, successful webmasters so try not to beat yourself up too much. This experience is one of many that is going to help your site reach even greater heights, although that fact may be difficult to see in this confusing time.
Everyone Makes Mistakes
As much as we hate admitting we were wrong, mistakes happen to the best of us. Maybe you didn’t realize you were trading links with websites that had a low PR or who took part in black hat techniques. You know the saying ‘You are who you hang out with?’ Search engines live by this motto. If a high percentage of the people promoting your site aren’t exactly good references, it can bring down the quality of your website. The same can be said when you choose to guest post on other company blogs that have negative reputations.
Removing the harmful links and promotion is one way to go about upping your rating once again and so is spending more time on these aspects of your website in the future. Rushing through anything isn’t generally going to get you the results you desire. In order to go far, you need to work hard. While it may not feel like it at the time, Google is a forgiving engine. They don’t expect perfection 100% of the time but they would like to see you working on fixing the mistakes you’ve made.
You’re Not a Repeat Offender
If you aren’t being penalized for the 2nd, 3rd or 5th time for something then you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Once you find the errors of your ways, show you care enough to make positive changes and nicely request that your site be reconsidered and you have nothing to worry about. There is a good chance your site won’t be reconsidered for a handful of months which will hurt your business but the good news is: this gives you plenty of time to make sure your site is more than just up to par and gives you additional time to read up on Google’s latest updates.
Looking on the Bright Side
When you’re punished, it’s hard to see the good through the dark clouds looming above your head but by being penalized, you will definitely know what to look out for in the future. Did you know what others post on your site can directly affect your reputation and ranking? If you aren’t doing so already, make sure to delete duplicate content or posts that appear ‘spammy’. This may be the right time to incorporate a guidelines page to your site so your members know what to expect. If moderation isn’t enough to keep up with things, then you may want to have everything posted requiring approval, at least until members reach a certain status so they’ve gained your trust.
Being a successful businessman (or woman), is not a single skill. Rather, being a success in business is down to a number of different skills, each of which are crucial in helping you to steer your organization into the stratosphere. This applies to the SEO business of course as well, where it’s highly important to always have a contingency. It’s not good enough to just be good at writing articles and getting them published on other sites – you also need to be good at predicting what the next algorithm change is going to be and at imagining the worst case scenarios so that your business is future-proof and resilient. This is particularly important in SEO of course because of the rapid rate at which it changes. So if you want to make sure that your career in optimization is stable and that you aren’t at risk, read on to learn how to protect yourself.
Scenario One: Google Updates Their Algorithm
Imagine Google suddenly announces that it’s changing its algorithms tomorrow and that the primary method you’ve been relying on to rank is no longer going to work. Your site is doomed to drop onto the tenth page, unless you have a back-up plan.
What you should do then is to make sure that your optimization technique doesn’t rely too heavily on a single concept. In other words, you should 100% rely on submitting guests posts and nor should you 100% rely on article directories. By spreading your bets and creating a varied links profile, nothing will be able to take you down in a single go and you’ll have lots of strategies to fall back on once your primary one has abandoned you.
Scenario Two: Your Clients Leave You
If you make your money from providing SEO services to clients, then you are somewhat reliant on those clients sticking around. If they go and get their services from another provider, then that will leave you with no reliable income stream. And that’s a problem.
Your backup plan then should consider where you are going to get more clients from (ODesk, eLance, your list of contacts…), and how you will make money in the meantime. Perhaps through optimising and monetising sites of your own?
Scenario Three: AdSense is No Longer a Viable Option
If your site relies on making money from AdSense, then you might well find yourself in a spot of bother should your AdSense account be closed inexplicably. The solution here is to have more methods of monetisation that you can revert back to. For instance, you could always sell a product of your own and place ads for that on your site instead, or you could try out one of the competitors.
Scenario Four: ‘SEO’ Dies
Many sites have hailed the death of SEO, but in reality the statistics suggest it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Nevertheless, it still doesn’t hurt to have a plan for how you’d survive a Googlepocalypse.
The best way to do this would be to explain to your existing clients how the ‘nature of SEO has changed’ (optimization of a sort will always exist) and to make sure that you have other skills under your belt to offer them. Web design for instance, or perhaps social media marketing?
Diversify now, plan ahead now, and continually develop yourself. That way you and your business will be ready for anything.
I spend most of my time working online and earning a living through writing, designing and doing SEO. When I’m not doing these things though often I’ll be working out and lifting weights down the gym which I have always found to be a great way to boost self-esteem, improve health and also just burn off some steam after a tough day. Interestingly though, more and more lately I find myself noticing similarities between these two activities. While the actual process may be very different (there is little that you need to lift doing SEO), the attitudes and the secrets to success are actually very similar. Let’s look at some of the lessons you can take from SEO and apply to getting into shape.
Many people trying to get into shape will come to me and ask and me to write training programs, which as a rule I will do happily. What frustrates me though is that over 50% of the time these people won’t bother to follow any of the advice I have carefully set out for them. Instead they’ll do it half-heartedly once or twice and then decide they’re too busy or too tired or some similar nonsense.
The point is, that succeeding in bodybuilding isn’t really about the minutiae of your training program – it’s just about doing one and sticking at it. Pretty much any routine that involves exertion is going to be good for you but you’re only going to see any results if you do it day in and day out for several months at least.
The same goes for SEO. So many people I know have attempted to create a successful website only to post two articles and get bored. Perhaps they come back to it every now and again, but never do they start to post regularly enough to build up any kind of readership or impress Google at all.
A Means to An End
So where does this problem come from? In both cases it comes from the fact that people see these things as a means to an end. With bodybuilding the end is big muscles, and with SEO the end is web success. In each scenario there is no interest in the actual process – people don’t want to post lots of articles and they don’t want to lift lots of weights. It’s no wonder then that they can’t stay dedicated and that they get bored.
If you want to succeed in either of these fields, then you need to see the activities as ends in themselves and you need to concentrate on the process not the outcome. When you write an SEO goal it should not be to get to the top of a particular SERP as that’s not directly within your control, your goal should be to submit X amount of posts a week and to build X amount of high quality links. SEO should be the focus and a tool for helping you build your site and get more people to read your content. Don’t think about the money or the success – if you focus on taking each step at a time then those things will come.