10 Biggest SEO Mistakes in 2017 – A Nerd’s World Style
SEO is a word that I guarantee you have heard a million times on the Internet. Everyone claims to be an expert when it comes to SEO, but very few people have ever actually accomplished anything.
First, you’re probably wondering, what is SEO. It stands for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it is the act of optimizing your website for search engines.
Like any form of optimization, there are good and bad ways of going about it.
My goal with this post is to show you 10 ways that people hurt their SEO efforts and end up on Google’s blacklist.
It might seem attractive at first to try and rank for the highest traffic keywords.
DO NOT DO THIS!
If your website is new, you will not be able to rank for these keywords against more established websites and businesses. You simply have not yet built enough credibility in the eyes of Google.
A lot of websites make the mistake of trying to rank for prime keywords like best lawyer, best restaurant, best marketing company, best web design company, and other top keywords.
Long-tail keywords are your best friend and they are some of the easiest keywords to rank for. If you are training for a marathon, you don’t start with the Boston Marathon, you start will smaller runs and work your way up. SEO follows the same rules.
If you try and rank for high traffic keywords right away, you will waste your time and money.
My clients often ask me to help them rank for these types of keywords and tell me they are willing to throw tens of thousands at the project. It doesn’t matter how much money you have; your website isn’t credible enough to rank for them early on.
Start small and work your way up.
Header tags, known as H tags in the world of web design, are one of the many tools that tell Google what your website is about.
If you want to optimize your website, you have to have H1 and H2 tags that naturally use the keywords you are trying to rank for.
This doesn’t mean that you should stuff the keywords in all of your header tags.
Whether we like it or not, users interact with header tags and your H1 tag is often used to make the ever-important first impression.
When you search a term on Google, the first thing you see are page titles and descriptions.
What would you choose?
A search result that has an attractive title and a compelling description or one that was clearly auto-generated or copy and pasted?
Google is one of the biggest companies on the planet. You cannot fool them, so don’t try. Too many people think they can throw up a quick website and autogenerate titles and descriptions.
You WILL get caught doing this and Google WILL penalize you. Take the time to write out unique page titles and descriptions. If you don’t want to, hire someone to do it for you.
Don’t make a bad first impression with low quality page titles and descriptions.
There are many tools out there to help you at least achieve a passing grade when it comes to SEO. If you run a WordPress website, I recommend you look at Yoast. It will help you create page titles and descriptions that are the proper length.
Remember, your page titles and descriptions need to be enticing. They are the first thing most people will see. If they aren’t filled out properly, people won’t know what your page is about and they won’t care to find out.
For A Nerd’s World, I like to use titles that showcase our expertise and experience, like “#1,” “Number One”, “The Best,” and other similar titles.
Anchor text is an area where a lot of websites could improve.
What is anchor text?
Anchor text is when you hyperlink specific words in a text.
Here’s the problem…
Most websites put anchor text over useless phrases like “click here,” “free quote,” “learn more,” and other forgettable terms.
REPEAT AFTER ME. Your anchor text MUST include keywords. If you aren’t using anchor text to highlight your keywords, you aren’t doing it right.
Anchor text is an easy way for you to showcase external content and to create valuable internal links to keep an individual on your website.
Years ago, keyword stuffing worked. Today, it will land you on Google’s blacklist.
Black hat SEO is bad and you shouldn’t engage in it if you care about your website.
I have so many clients that approach me and ask me why their websites aren’t ranking.
Here’s what I tell them.
If you are trying to rank for specific keywords, you have to use them naturally. You can’t jam them in, it doesn’t work and your content will read horribly.
What sounds better to you?
“Smyth’s Apple Orchard has been selling delicious red apples to individuals in Toronto and the GTA for many years. We take pride what we grow and we work hard to grow the finest apples in the region.”
“Smyth’s Apple Orchard grows red apples. For years, we have been growing red apples. We provide Toronto and the GTA with delicious red apples. If you want some of our red apples, visit our red apple orchard today.
This isn’t rocket science.
Google favors content that is both useful and natural. Don’t keyword stuff. It doesn’t work and you will get caught.
I’m not knocking Fiverr. There are some really great designer and services available on it. Purchasing 10,000 backlinks isn’t one of them.
Let me explain…
Google loves credible backlinks. A backlink from a major authority can do a lot of good for your website. Think of backlinks like positive reviews or upvotes, if you get enough of them, Google will see your website as being useful on a specific subject.
Some business owners learn this and instantly think, more is better.
10,000 useless backlinks are useless. They do not help your website. In fact, they do more damage than good.
If you purchase 10,000 backlinks from Fiverr, you are wasting your money, obtaining useless backlinks, and putting yourself at risk of being penalized by Google. Penalization is a death sentence and something that you do not want to experience.
Do not turn to black hat SEO, it doesn’t work anymore and it can be nearly impossible to overcome the consequences of engaging in this type of behavior.
A simple website and useful content used to be enough. Not anymore.
Google now cares about the user experience, the structure of your website, and how your users interact with it.
Having a poorly constructed website will result in higher bounce rates. Like Big Brother, Google is always watching and they will lower the rank of your website if your users are bouncing off of your pages.
Here’s what you need to do…
Good website architecture is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this.
The Robot.txt file sounds a lot cooler than it is. Still, don’t let that distract from how important it is.
When Google crawls the Internet to fill the search results, it doesn’t rely on humans to do this. Your website gets crawled by Google’s spiders and they interact with your robot.txt file to get a feel for how you want your website to be seen.
What’s the bottom line?
If you don’t have a robot.txt file, Google will make assumptions about your website and crawl it accordingly. This is really bad if you have specific errors that you have fixed, or if you want certain pages to not be indexed.
It is really easy to create a robot.txt file, there are many WordPress plugins and websites that will help you do this in seconds.
You don’t have to be a numbers guy to appreciate statistics. Yes, website statistics can seem intimidating, but they don’t have to be.
Here are 3 of my favorite stats:
Even better, Google Analytics is free. You really have no reason to not make use of these statistics.
One of the best ways to learn about statistics is to A/B Test.
Don’t stress, A/B testing isn’t that scary. In the world of advertising, A/B testing is when you run two different ads at the same time.
An A/B test for a restaurant may run two similar ads, but one uses a picture with copywriting while the other uses a video. At the end of the campaign, you can track the stats for the ads and see which one performed better.
In the end, you can use stats to build on strategies that are working, and refine or scrap advertisements that didn’t work.
If you care about your SEO and Google rank, you have to use statistics to help you increase the quality of your content, the user experience of your website, and the overall value that you are getting from advertising.
Don’t expect to rank number one in a month. SEO isn’t magic, it takes time.
Here me out…
Think of ranking on Google like going to the gym. You have to be dedicated and stick to your plan. Like working out, you will not see instant results. After all, you can’t expect to have huge muscles if you only lift weights for one month.
Treat your SEO like going to the gym, like training for a marathon, or like any skill that you want to master. You must:
It doesn’t matter how big your budget is, SEO takes time. Do not buy into the get rich quick SEO schemes that litter the Internet, they are lies and they do not work.
SEO Is a Process
Follow the tips I laid out in this article and you will already be ahead of most businesses when it comes to SEO.
Remember, to succeed in SEO you must:
A Nerd’s World didn’t rank for top web design keywords overnight. It took years of hard work. I hustled, I built websites, established my company’s reputation, and worked hard to provide a better web design experience to my clients. I never cut corners, I never engaged in black hat SEO, and I never tried to take the easy way out.
Still a bit lost when it comes to SEO? Contact us or come and drop into one of our four physical locations in Toronto, we’d love to chat and help you develop an SEO strategy that works for your business.
If it worked for me, it can work for you.
Chris A. Hughes