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January 19, 2015

How to Address the Most Common SEO Mistakes

SEO Targeting
Photo Credit: Augur Marketing via flickr

The wild world of SEO is a tough space to keep tabs on. Thanks to Google’s ever-changing algorithms, marketers have to stay on their toes to keep rankings secure and to honor each new set of rules and regulations. Because of this organic scenario, many folks are unknowingly committing grave SEO sins and significantly harming their potential reach.

Here are the most prominent SEO blunders. If you’re making any of these mistakes, make it your number one priority to address these first before you proceed with any other SEO efforts.

Mistake #1: Trusting the Wrong Source

Understand that there are still a lot of folks practicing black hat SEO, which is essentially tactics that try to game the system. If you really want your efforts to be worthwhile, avoid any of these sneaky attempts like the plague. Google is too formidable a force to take on in this arena; you’re not going to win by trying to fool their search bots. Since there are still plenty of folks who believe you can game the system, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about how to do SEO properly. Make sure you’re taking advice from a trusted source.

Mistake #2: Assuming Your CMS Automatically Covers SEO

A lot of folks assume that tools like WordPress and Joomla automatically take SEO into consideration with all their templates. This is simply not true. While every major content management system (CMS) has plugins and templates that specialize in assisting with SEO, they must be properly setup to give you benefit.

A popular plugin like Yoast needs to be installed and correctly configured. You’ll need to take the time to select custom titles and descriptions for each page, generate an XML site map, ensure your URLs are appropriately customized, and many other logistics for your SEO foundation. Missing even one of these components can have enough of an affect to hurt your bottom line, so take the time to set these up properly.

Mistake #3: Believe the Gossip Train

This falls in line with the warning in the first tip; people are very reactionary on the web to SEO changes, and in many cases, they are flat out wrong. For example, social signals are still not a major component to SEO rankings. Things like Facebook Likes will not substantially increase your SEO; in fact, they may arguably have zero impact. Yet many blogs would have you believe otherwise. So why do they exist? Because folks make a business out of convincing people they need more social followers, and they ofen point to sites that want you to buy fans. This never, ever works. The number of your followers isn’t important; the engagement is. That takes organic work in building a real audience that cares about your content. So, know the source of any SEO information, and be wary if they lead you to any short-cut schemes.

Mistake #4: Duplicating Your Content

While many things remain mysterious in the Google algorithms, we know for sure those bots despise duplicate content. If you have the same content on more than one page of your site, you will be penalized. If you have a need to use the same content in two places, make sure to add no-follow tags to all but the original source of the info. Avoid duplicate content at all costs – that’s your safest bet.

Mistake #5: A Dismal Website

Your SEO really begins and ends with a great website. If you have little to no text, blogs, or meat to your site, it will never achieve a high ranking. A great website includes a usable, intuitive design, coupled with very clear and focused language on what you are offering to your viewers. If a human being doesn’t have a good experience on your site, a bot won’t either.

Mistake #6: No Awareness of Your Target Audience

If you haven’t spent significant time studying your core demographic, you’re missing a huge chance to be a leader in your niche. If you don’t really know who is responding best to your content and offerings, you need to find out. Survey your database, reach out to your customers on social networks; whatever you have to do to learn everything you can about them, do it. Almost every hugely successful marketing plan starts with a keen awareness on who it is for.

The same goes for your website. You should design it with two main goals in mind, and they are completely essential to any successful site:

  • The site must clearly honor and articulate your brand identity
  • It should be built with the end user in mind; this includes great overall usability and best practices, as well as tailored content that meets the needs of your customers

The overall message about SEO blunders is simple: Know yourself, know your audience, and know the source of any information you use. Follow the rules that leaders like Google and Bing have set forth, and let consistent and epic content lead the way to your success. Even if you just adopt a policy to never make any of the above mistakes, you are well on your way to an effective SEO campaign.

What other mistakes have you made in the SEO arena?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile

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