Here at Jemsu, we have worked through all levels of SEO insanity, and as a full-time SEO specialists we’ve seen quite a bit, one might even say it all. In truth, SEO can be a confusing pursuit especially to the uninitiated. There’s plenty of misinformation and conflicting info floating out there and making sense of it all, let alone implementing it can be daunting. So, to help you avoid some common SEO pitfalls our team has put their heads together this week to bring you some of the most common and often the most disastrous mistakes you can make when putting together your SEO strategy.
- Creating Spammy Links
Links and link building are arguably still one of the most powerful aspects of SEO out there today. However, the way that the SEO world views and uses links has changed drastically over the last few years. In a Pre-Penguin world, links were enough to rank a website. It didn’t matter what sort of links or how relevant they may be, Search Engines took more of a “gravy” approach. The more gravy the better and let’s be honest, you can never have too much gravy.
Rather fortunately, Google decided to tighten up their policy about link building and it’s no longer possible to ride the gravy wave to the top. Instead, link building is more about quality and relevancy than quantity. The people who have built thousands and thousands of low-quality backlinks now find themselves in a miserable situation. In essence poor linkbuildig is like digging a hole and burying yourself in it at the same time. If your link-building strategy catches you a penalty, you’re looking at worst case scenario, working to undo the links that have run afoul of Google. This is a time consuming process and even when undertaken properly can still take months to get you back under Google’s grace. Bad Linking, don’t even think about it.
- Over Optimizing
Over optimization is an overly poor optimization strategy, which optimizers, should be overly cautious to optimize for during the optimization optimizing phase of SEO.
If that last sentence made you cringe, you should be well on your way to understanding the problem of over-optimization. We’ve come across many a website whose sole downfall in SEO is the inability to cut down on their keyword density.
People and Google are fairly smart. Neither need a list of every product and service you offer repeated 10 times over and over again to make the correlation that a hardware store might sell nails. You also probably wouldn’t enjoy going into a hardware store and asking what sort of nails they had in, only to receive a 30 minutes soliloquy on every product and product number of every nail in the store. Rather good service would ask what the purpose of the nails is for and maybe perhaps how long it needed to be. Simply put, you don’t need to cram information down Google and The User’s throat. Give them a sensible store layout and a bit of guidance and they can take the rest from there. Write for people and not for Google and the rankings will follow.
- Poor Site Structure
Since we’re still on an analogy kick, let’s talk about Site Structure like city planning. It doesn’t really matter how big your site is, so long as the way it’s planned and structured is optimized. Some of the biggest cities on earth, much like the biggest websites have been planned to accommodate basic functions. Namely they’ve chosen a structure that makes sense. Some cities make zoning rules to ensure that certain business are organized into districts. Some ensure that roads are efficiently mapped, making sure that people are able to get from point A to point B in a quick and sensible manner.
Very few people like to live in a city with poor planning. So too do very few users enjoy visiting a site with a miserable structure. Google may not be able to understand the layout of your site or may find it so ungainly that it chooses to rank it unnaturally low. They key here is simple planning, are your deep pages laid out in a sensible hierarchy? Do they all serve a function? Are users able to get where they want quickly and efficiently? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, congratulations you have a great site structure. If you answered no, give us a call.
- Poor or Absent Local SEO Strategy
Good Local SEO isn’t that tough. We’ve seen plenty of established businesses with plenty of citations and reviews rank quite well locally. Ideally speaking, a good local marketing strategy will also yield fruit on the local results. However, we’ve seen wires get crossed especially with multi-location business and businesses that have moved in the past and have not properly managed the switch. Simply put, a good local listing comes down to unified citations (think yellowpages listings) that have the correct Name, Address, Phone Number, and URL for your business). Making sure you have as many correct and unified citations as possible sends good trust factors to Google that it can display your business to viewers and believe that it is providing them with accurate and relevant information. Put in your work to assure consistency or you might find your business off the face of the map.
- Poor Website Alignment
At Jemsu, we fully believe that fully aligning your website to target specific keywords is a powerful first step in your SEO campaign.
This effectively boils down to a few simple yet crucial things
Title Tag: Are your most important keywords in the title tag?
Meta: Are your keywords reflected in your meta description?
Headers: do your headers, h1 h2 etc follow the groundwork laid by the title tag?
Content: Does your content and/or deep pages follow this to down alignment process.
Without this your site is not properly aligned. You are not sending the best signals to Google to signify what your page is about and Google may not rank you properly as a result