There are plenty of people who start to invest in SEO once they get excited by its prospects and the goals that it can achieve. However, over time they feel that they are not being able to achieve their desired goals and the monetary investment eventually have an increasing toll on their pockets. If you are one of those who have been losing money on SEO but deriving little to no results, you should definitely stop for a while and check the things that you are doing wrong. “Negative SEO” is a very common practice nowadays and it involves making mistakes that can seriously impact your SEO strategy in a negative way. Negative SEO is basically the dark counterpart of normal SEO and it takes place when your keyword research and back linking efforts injure your website and business instead of benefitting you.
So negative SEO is really not something that you want to be a part of and invest your money and time with it. If you think that you are accidentally hurting your SEO efforts, you should immediately stop and check what is wrong with your SEO strategy.
Here are the 12 common mistakes that you might make with your SEO strategy and which you should avoid at all costs.
Mistake #1: Choosing wrong keywords
Choosing wrong keywords for targeting is one of the major mistakes that you can when you are working on your SEO strategy. Although you might actually think that finding the wrong keywords for your SEO project would be rather difficult, you could not be more wrong. To make sure that you get the right keywords, you must first understand your audience, assess the keywords that they are looking for in Google and target those keywords. However, if you are looking to make sure that your SEO strategy really succeeds, you should also understand the various subtle nuances that are associated with each keyword. For instance, searches like “buy shoes now” and “shoes for sale” can indicate totally different motivations for the customer. So it is your task to interpret the aims and goals of the searcher. While “buy shoes now” can indicate the action of buying shoes, the keyword “shoes for sale” can actually indicate the task of browsing through shoes.
Ahrefs is one of the tools that you can use for helping with your keyword research process. You can use this procedure when you are trying to determine the right keywords for your project to target:
- Identifying keywords
- Checking keywords
- Checking the competition
- Re-checking keywords
By checking your keywords multiple times, you can be sure of the fact that you are not wasting your time and money on wrong keywords.
The effectiveness of your SEO strategy is going to depend heavily on the keywords that you choose.
Once you have figured out the right keywords for your project and understand the intentions behind them, you should start working on the LSI keywords to target throughout your content so that it can rank even faster.
The LSI keywords are basically the suggestions presented at the bottom portion of the Google results pages.
So if you can target right keywords for your business and include the LSI keywords, you can avoid making the very common mistake of going for the wrong keywords and the wrong people.
Mistake #2: Keyword stuffing in your website
Keywords are the most important components of your SEO campaigns as they help you to find and cater to your target customers.However, if you put in too many keywords in your content then your SEO campaign is certainly going to backfire on you.
Keyword stuffing is basically a process in which you include a large number of target match keywords within your content while adversely affecting the quality of your content.
Keyword stuffing not only negatively impacts the overall quality of your website content but they also serious hurt your SERP rankings.
Google heavily penalizes people who attempt to improve the ranking of their website with incessant keyword stuffing.
So you should definitely avoid this method at all costs. Instead, you should include keywords at a moderate pace all over your content.
Never include your target keywords to such a degree that it adversely affects the quality of your content.
Mistake #3: Ignoring title tags and meta descriptions
Many business owners believe that simply by placing some well chosen keywords within their website content they can improve the ranking of their websites. However, the reality is far from it. The truth is that SEO takes a lot of work and SEO strategies that is actually effective requires even more work. Among the factors that are going to have a major impact on the SEO strategy of your site is definitely meta description and the title tag.
Therefore you should optimize the meta description and the title tag for each and every page on your business website so that they rank for right keywords on Google.
However, you may ask what are meta descriptions and title tags, and how can they be optimized for improving page authorityand rankings?
Firstly, the meta description and title tag inform searchers regarding what your site’s content is all about. In other words, they encourage the searchers to click on your website.
Therefore the content that you create for your meta description and title tag is going to have a great influence on whether people are going to click on your website or not. In fact, it is going to impact your overall rankings. Google will also crawl your meta description and title tag for keywords which will define the topic that the remaining of your site content is about to discuss.
Google then puts the content to its appropriate audience so that they may benefit from it.
Therefore unless you optimize your meta description and title tag properly by adding keywords and prompting the audience to click to your website, you are actually missing out on the benefits offered by a potent SEO strategy.
Mistake #4: Irrelevant internal linking
As a site owner, you must already know about the vital significance of building links for your website.Building backlinks, internal links, and outbound links is a great way for increasing the SEO authority of your web pagesas well as the general authority of your business website as a whole.
However, you can obtain these benefits only if you build the links correctly.
Putting completely irrelevant or unnecessary links within your content is not going to help your SEO rankings.
While you may want to increase internal links to your website and reduce your bounce rate, you should never focus on creating content that eventually ends up appearing like some Wikipedia page.
If you use links that are irrelevant or unnecessary to the general content of the web page that they are on, they are going to adverse affect your SEO rankings.
You should particularly ensure that the specific anchor text that you are using for links in content perfectly corresponds to the topic actually discussed in the page you are linking to.
So to make sure that the link is relevant to your business you should see to it that it is in line with the content presented in your website.
Unless you do so, it will only hurt the authority of the page.
In short, make it a point to always include the internal links within your content. However, do not go overboard with that.
Make sure that you only use links that are in line with the content of your website as well as specific place that it is linked to.
Mistake #5: Having a slow website
Although you may not realize this at first, but your domain authority can be significantly hampered by a slow website.
This is due to the fact that most people are likely to simply bounce off your business website in case it takes a sufficiently long while to load. Google will also take into account your website speed when deciding on SEO results.
The test displays the crucial importance of milliseconds while deciding on Google ranking.
However, you must check the speed of your website as it can make or break your SEO strategy. This is something that you can do with the help of the GTmetrix tool. Remember, the faster is your website, the greater is its chances of achieving SEO success. While your website can never be too fast, it should not be too slow either.
Slow loading websites naturally annoy your users which in turn gives your website a bad repute. This can have a negative impact in your website SEO strategy.
Mistake #6: Ignoring analytics
Analytics form a vital part of any SEO strategy and it can help you to detect the issues in case your SEO campaigns are not able to produce the desired results. When your SEO strategy is working perfectly, you hardly need to have a look at analytics. You should instead focus your money and time on maintaining the momentum. However, when things go awry, analytics can prove to be your best friend. Analytics can provide you with real time report on how your SEO strategy is functioning and assist you in diagnosing any issues that might exist. Therefore Google Analytics is the best tool that you can find for measuring all kinds of behavioral data for your website.
According to experienced marketers, here are the most crucial goals that should be a part of your SEO strategy.
- Traffic generation
- Search rankings
- Lead conversion
- Brand awareness
- Sales revenue
- Return on investment
- Market expansion
In order to break this down even further, here are some questions that you can ask when analyzing data.
- How many people are bouncing?
- What is my ranking for the target keywords that I am using?
- Which of the keywords are generating maximum leads, traffic and conversions?
Finally, you should the most important question: How can you enhance your SEO strategy keeping all of this in mind?
By paying close attention to analytics, you can come up with a result driven SEO strategy.
Mistake #7: Ignoring content quality
There has been a longstanding debate in the SEO community about whether you should focus on content quantity or content quality. A large number of SEO professionals argue that having high content quantity is more important than improving content quality. On the other hand, there are also those who believe that content quality is the most important thing.
As with majority of the arguments, the real truth lies somewhere in middle of the two options.
As most SEO experts would tell you, it is always better to focus on quality than quantity.
Publishing limited quantities of high-quality content is never going to hurt your rankings.
While it might not actually improve SEO rankings quickly had you been posting them more often, having excellent quality content in your site will greatly minimize the risks of damaging your SEO strategy.
However, if your SEO strategy errs too much on quantity, it can severely hurt your SEO rankings.
If you create poor quality content or link to various spammy websites, your SEO rankings can diminish quickly even if you started out pretty well.
Therefore it is always better to maintain a balance between these two.
You should ask yourself that how many content pieces you can create while maintaining the highest level of quality.
Based on your capacity to blend the both, you should produce content that can work to enhance your business prospects.
Mistake #8: Not optimizing content subheadings
When you are creating content for your website which you are looking to rank effectively on Google, you should optimize your subheadings along with the main content itself.
The subheadings that you use for your content will be studied by Google while determining what the content of your website is actually about.
The subheadings that you use for your content are going to explain in greater detail about the topic that is to be discussed in details within the website.
For instance, you can have a look at the various subheadings used within a post.
Segment your list
List segmentation is an important component of SEO strategy. It involves putting your email subscribers list into the categories depending on their general behavior. For instance, if there are numerous people within your email list who have not yet opened many of the past emails, then you need to segment them to prevent them from inactivity. On the other hand, if another group of people are going through all the emails, then they should be segmented properly for an upsell. Therefore the emails that are sent by you to the people present within your list will contain content specific to their general behavior. While not every email marketing tool comes with its own segmenting option, it is always better to use this option to enhance your email marketing scope.
Do not get involved in spamming
Make sure that your emails are not marked as spam. Typically, most marketers make the common mistake of either not including all of the subheadings or that they are not really specific enough to assist with on-page SEO goals. Google always scans your content to decide where your site should be placed in the search results and in the process, it also analyses your headings as well as subheadings.
Mistake #9: Using cheap or free website hosting
It is always tempting to look through online search results and find a free or cheap website hosting service to link your website’s domain name with it. You may think that the host of your website is hardly an important consideration and it can be performed by anyone.
However, the truth is that website hosting is not that simple.
If you are using free or cheap website hosting service, then there is a high chance that you are inadvertently hurting the domain authority of your site.
Basically it is associated with the IP address that you use for hosting your website.
Typically, the first 3 sets of the numbers in an IP address are identical. In such cases, the websites are always related.
When such a situation occurs, Googlewill put both the websites in relationship to one another and let domain authority of a website impact that of the other.
While it is not a bad thing in case you decide in advance which of the websites you are in relationship with, with cheap or free hosting, the website host is going to lump together the domain for your business with thousands of various other domains which they host on same IP address. This means that all of these websites are going to impact the SEO rankings of your website which will make you lose control over your domain.
Due to this reason, it is always better to spend some money when you are looking to find a reliable host for your website. You can also opt for private hosting.
Mistake #10: Not using the alt tags for the images
One of the aspects of SEO which many marketers overlook is the Google “images” tab.
When a user searches through “images” tab, he or she can find images posted on your site provided that you optimize all of them for SEO.
Unless you do so, everyone else who has optimized their images is going to have an edge over your images.
Leveraging SEO for images is a rather simple process. You need to simply add alt text as well as a file title for each and every image present on your website.
These two tools will provide Google with the information regarding what your images are all about.
Just include keywords that you are looking to target. Google can then effectively rank you for the image searches that are useful to the audience.
Once you do this, if someone is looking to use the image in your site in their content, they can easily link their content back to your business website.
In other words, you can generate backlinks for your site with only a little bit of extra work.
Mistake #11: Not removing or fixing broken links
When you are creating additional content for your site, there is an increased possibility of being affected by broken links. This is due to the changes that happen in your websites and also those of others.
However, when people actually delete some web page without your prior knowledge, you create a broken link when you create a link for that page.
Having too much of broken links in your website informs Google that you are not really keeping your site regularly updated. This can have an adverse effect on the SEO of your site.
Therefore the best thing to do in such cases is seeking out broken links regularly and removing them or fixing them as soon as possible.
You can use Broken Link Checker or some other plugin when you are using WordPress for hosting your site. Make sure that you mend any broken links so that they do not damage your SEO strategy.
Mistake #12: Writing short content
In many cases, coming up with a short content is the easiest to do. It is faster, convenient and takes less time.
However, it also ranks worse than most of the long content.
It has been seen that content that is typically ranked in 20th position also come with more than 850 words. Most of the top-ranking content websites are around 1150 words.
Therefore you should devote more time in creating top quality longer content. While this might seem to be more work, it is eventually going to pay off for you.
In order to determine the ideal word count that you must achieve for your content, you should ask yourself the length of content that you can write while maintaining a very high level of quality.
Never compromise on quality in order to create a long content as it will then hurt your SEO in a more critical way.
While you might wish that SEO strategy was much easier and involve less work, the truth is that it actually takes a lot of effort in creating content and websites that enjoy high ranking. You should steer clear of all the common SEO mistakes that you might make which can inadvertently undermine your SEO rankings. You should stay away from keyword stuffing, choosing wrong keywords, making use of irrelevant internal links or ignoring title tags and meta descriptions. Also, do not ignore content quality or analytics and make sure that your site has optimum speed. You should also optimize the content subheadings and stay away from cheap website hosting.