Despite the large amount of information online about how to rank a website safely using Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it’s amazing how many websites are making simple mistakes that are costing them dearly. While there are over 200 different factors that go into how Google ranks a website, some are more heavily weighed than others. You can focus on as many of those factors as you want but if you make these following 10 mistakes it won’t matter: if there’s any competition at all your website’s rankings with sink like a stone.
Mistake #1: Spam with massive backlinks
There was a time where the sheer number of backlinks you managed to get pointing to your website was the single biggest overriding factor in whether or not you were at the top of the search engine rankings. Those days are long done. If you get caught mass producing keyword anchored backlinks to your website you might get a big ratings boost for one or two weeks, but then your website is going to be penalized big time and possibly even blacklisted.
Mistake #2: Use keyword anchored backlinks
One or two of these showing up is fine. With a much larger website in a niche that might even be expected. However Google is smart enough to know what your website is about and using a lot of keyword anchored backlinks is seen as gaming the system, and gaming the system is going to get your website rankings beat down.
Mistake #3: Have the same meta tags for every page
While meta tags don’t help you get ranked, having the same ones copy and pasted on every page will get you penalized. It’s a great way to nullify all of your other SEO efforts using a minimal of efforts. Don’t fall for this trap.
Mistake #4: Use poorly written content
Google has said content is king for years, even before that was 100% true. If this is their mantra, and they want it to be true, then the best way to screw up your website is to do the opposite. Using poorly written content is one of the most sure-fire ways to sabotage all other SEO efforts. This doesn’t just mean bad grammar or English as a second language syntax, but also copied content, “fluff” that doesn’t really say anything, or extremely boring and listless writing. All of these factors matter!
Mistake #5: Don’t bother to upgrade to a mobile-friendly website
Don’t want to rank? Don’t have a mobile-friendly website. Aside from the fact that over half of all searches are now online, Google has made it abundantly clear they expect every website that makes front page rankings to have a mobile version. This can be a separate mobile-specific version of a website or a responsive theme that automatically changes what the website looks like depending on the device being used.
Ignoring this part of ranking is the perfect way to make sure that your website never does.
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Mistake #6: Not claiming your online listings
This is an especially effective way to make sure a small business website never gets found. Local SEO has different ranking factors, and not letting any of the search engines you know a local business exists is the perfect way to make sure that website listing stays buried.
Mistake #7: Refuse to link internally
Linking blog posts and web pages to one another within your website (aka internal linking) is a huge benefit to SEO practices and helps search engines know what you think each page should be ranking for. As long as your website is in good standing, internal linking is extremely powerful. Ignoring its benefits is about as passively self-destructive an SEO strategy as you can get.
Mistake #8: Keyword stuffing
There was a time when having 3-6% keyword density of the same two or three keywords over and over again was seen as a good thing. That time was called 2004. One of the fastest ways to now make sure that you don’t rank for the keywords you want to rank for is to stuff your content with them. Keep it below 2% and use a lot of synonyms instead if you want to see good results.
Mistake #9: Linking out to bad neighborhoods
Receiving links from “bad neighborhoods” (gambling websites, adult websites, spam websites, etc.) is a commonly known way to get slapped in the search engine rankings, but the same goes true if your website links out to a website that is in those categories, or even connects (links out) to many websites in the same area. If you want to avoid sinking your website then you need to pay attention to how this works going in both directions.
Mistake #10: Copy someone else
Plagiarized work is unacceptable online, just like it was in English class in high school. Copying other people’s content even once or twice on your website is a sure fire way of making sure none of the pages rank for any of their target keywords.
Make any of these ten mistakes and you can watch your website begin to sink like a stone. No matter what other techniques you are using, these 10 mistakes are absolute SEO killers and if you want to rank, you need to avoid them at all costs!