Friday the 13th has been mostly associated with freak incidents, superstitions and unexplainable and unfortunate events. But doing your own SEO means you already have felt such freaky things happening round the year. Right from sudden changes in the site’s ranking to a mysteriously updated algorithm SEO does frighten you at times.
Call it luck or a bad luck that search engines these days are smarter and quickly pick up trails of latest SEO ploys resulting in the demoting of websites like anything. So to honour Friday the 13th let us ensure that there is no bad luck that will come to you by using the most common SEO pitfalls.
The following 13 SEO mistakes are the ones that should be totally avoided in all cases:
Ranking solely cannot depict the success rate of SEO
You should not rely on merely the ranking of your website to judge the SEO campaign’s success as it can be quite misleading. Understand that search engines are more personalized these days and Google uses about 200 unique signals in their algorithm to rank sites and keep updating the same. Such factors make it unnerving and thought-provoking to focus solely on your site’s ranking.
So how do you evaluate how successful the SEO is? By looking at the ranking with relation to helpful metrics.
Some metrics that can help evaluate SEO are as follows:
- Organic Traffic: you will need to measure and ensure that non-paid traffic is on the rise and decreases from major search engines.
- Organic Revenue: this revenue is generated on the online store if the user accesses the site as a non-branded visit. (a non-branded visit is when someone reaches the site via specific keyword rather than looking for your company name.)
- Multi-Channel Funnels: This fundamental helps in better understanding of the buying process. This feature can be used to determine how users interact with search engines before they make a purchase. For example, some visitor may visit your site via Google, leave your site for competitor’s sites and later return to make a purchase.
- Traffic sources: you will need to figure which sites are sending most traffic to your site and which sites are sending the most visitors that do convert into sales.
Don’t depend on just one traffic source
Depending on only one traffic source is a bad bet and a chance you should avoid taking. Instead, look to diversify your traffic sources. Social media platforms, industry directories and advertising sources like Ad Words can help in SEO when it comes to targeted traffic. Once these different sources are incorporated in the marketing do make sure that you track what sources are leading to the most traffic and sales.
Limit optimization of incoming links with keyword rich anchor text
Sometimes adding more than required can be a bad thing especially when it is about optimizing the anchor text that leads to your site. Try to add fresh ideas and variety into the linking strategy especially when it comes to press releases. For example, for a site that sells DVDs online has five sites linked to it all links shouldn’t simple say “Buy Online DVDs”. This can even violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and you will be left out of favour in terms of SEO.
Have interesting content on the website
Hook the incoming visitors for longer times and return to them by updating the website with rich content that contains interesting copies, useful videos, amazing photos (which can be utilized further with the Alt attribute tag), podcasts and other such media. It is even likely that they will reference your site, keep linked to your content and trust your brand.
Additionally amazing content may help capture “informational searchers”, which means people who keep looking for information instead of making a purchase. When there is quality content that engages them at a high rate means your business is seen as an expertise one.
Don’t keep duplicate content
Google doesn’t like to see the same thing popping up twice (or more than once). Ensure that the content doesn’t have multiple copies that are in hiding somewhere in the website. This even includes having duplicate web copy, title tags, Meta descriptions and URLs.
Log in to your Google Webmaster Tools account to check for duplicate content using Search Appearance> HTML improvements. To resolve duplicate content and URL issues a canonical Meta tag can be added too.
Take Google Analytics seriously
Google Analytics can be one of the most helpful tools that can be used to judge how well your SEO campaign is performing. Apart from all the necessary basic metrics it also has e-commerce tracking scripts which allows store owners to figure out how much revenue is generated from organic traffic. In this way you can determine if the organic traffic is converted well and can point out pages that might need some additional optimization.
Don’t give easy accessibility of your site to unfriendly SEO URLs
Keyword rich URLs were very important once upon a time but search engines no longer pay much attention to them lately. But the URLs can still play a role by enhancing the relevance of the page. If you are looking to optimize your URL don’t forget to add 301 redirects for older URLs to 301 to the newly optimized URLs. (For Volusion store owners this happens automatically.)
Don’t avoid Google+ and authorship
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Google lets Google+ influence search results strongly. Utilize this knowledge by creating and building credibility through a personal Google+ profile and tying it to your content with Google authorship.
Some advantages of Google+ authorship are:
- Help followers, potential customers and fans find sites where active publication of content takes place.
- To search and network with other authors in your industry for more business opportunities.
- Increasing fan base by using the Hash tags on Google+. For example, someone looking into SEO can click on the #seo Hash tag in Google+ and they will be displayed with other content tagged under #seo.
- Increasing the content’s visibility in comparison to your competitors on Google. Google gives priority to high quality content that is tied up to a credible Google+ account increasing the visibility of the site and boost potential traffic.
Avoid purchasing or acquiring spammy links
Google is getting better day by day when it comes to detecting spam and if you are caught associated with such a spammy domain the penalty is quite much. Such sites that are linked to spam will perform worse than they did before and in worst cases may completely disappear from Google’s search results.
So the question is what kind of sites should you look for earning links to your domain? Sites that follow strict editorial guidelines, sites that have easy access for contacting the webmaster and sites which carry relevant content pertaining to your industry are the most likely ones to look for and reach out.
Target different keywords on multiple pages
Keyword research is a tricky business and it is a good idea to target different keywords across your website. It may so happen that upon using same keywords on multiple pages can cause internal page competition resulting in duplication which can put a hole in the websites SEO growth.
To avoid such mistakes ensure that you have three to five unique keywords that can be used to optimize per page. Extra more keywords than that can risk the dilution of the page’s relevance.
Don’t settle with the manufacturer’s product description
Don’t depend on just the manufacturer’s product description especially when you can write a unique one. This originality in the product description can make your site stand out and increase online visibility. It will also set your product apart from competition and give an added opportunity to play around with variable keywords as well.
When penning down the unique product description employ useful content, videos and charts. Additional audio and visual content can help build a better business by engaging your customers furthermore.
Don’t sell the same product on duplicate sites
When it comes to online stores that sell the exact same product owned by you will not serve you well. This is a practice some webmasters may employ to build link network and boost the relevance of the site. Remember the point about what happens to a site when there are duplicate contents of the same? Sites that sell the same product may face worse issues than the former.
Penalties for such sites are quite heavy and it may even take months for your site to recover. Instead look to develop business and building the SEO value of one store which sells a particular set of goods. For multiple stores owned by you make sure that each site has a unique niche set of products sold under it.
Do remember to revisit the SEO efforts
SEO comes with efforts that need a long time investment. This means that at brief intervals you should review and revisit your strategy and find ways to improve to achieve better SEO goals.
Keep a tab on your SEO efforts by checking KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) on regular basis. KPIs include all the goals that you need to achieve with the SEO efforts undertaken by you. For example, a KPI can be about increasing revenue from non-branded organic traffic. You can use Google Analytics to set up reports and alerts for the items you wish to track on a regular basis. If you have your own SEO team or looking for one go for transparency in the form of useful performance reports.
By avoiding these 13 dreadful mistakes you can boost your store’s site to success. Additionally it is important that the bad SEO tactics be pointed and exposed out. If you know of any more SEO mistakes that can be harmful and people should be aware of please share them down in the comments below.
Video Infographics for SEO and Traffic Generation