It’s easy to forget sometimes that too many links are bad for your website when starting out. You just bought your website, you’ve done the necessary research on which keywords you plan on ranking for and you’re ready to start building links with the expectation of rising in the SERPs, raking in traffic, sales, and smiling all the way to the bank. That isn’t usually the case. In this post, I plan on outlining several mistakes rookie SEO’s make when starting out, and how to avoid them.
I know how tempting it is to target the higher volume search terms, but that isn’t your goal as a new website owner. Targeting the more difficult search terms will require a lot of work from you; in light of this, you should be opting to target the lower volume search terms. Think of it this way. What is better: Ranking on Page 8 for a keyword with 30,000 searches a month (example: “SEO Mistakes”), not gaining any clicks through to your website at all, or ranking on Page 1 for a keyword with 300 searches a month (example: “What mistakes to avoid in SEO”), resulting in a few clicks through to your website per day? Yeah, the latter. Especially since you can target multiple low search volume terms at once.
Picking your keywords isn’t all about ranking for the big search terms. It’s about ranking for the search terms you will actually be able to rank for.
- Duplicate Content
A few years ago it was possible to rank with duplicate content on your website. That is not the case anymore, as Google has caught on to and now penalizes (for lack of a better word) you for duplicate content on your website. While not as large as problem as other mistakes in the list, this will cause problems for you down the line. It’s best to get in to a habit of posting unique content.
- Title tags, Meta Description, On Page Optimization
This is still a very common problem to this very day. A lot of website owners seem to forget that every page and post on their website must be unique. Take our website as an example. My name is Mark Jukov, therefore I have my name in the title of our homepage, which is perfectly fine. However, each and every post and page has their own unique Title and Description that correlate with what exactly you’re writing about.
My name is Mark Jukov. I’ve been doing SEO and Internet Marketing since 2007. If you want experienced opinions from someone who’s been in the game for almost a decade; this blog is for you!
Using these social bookmarking methods – you’ll have more traffic and higher rankings than ever before. Easy to follow. Perfect for any webmaster.
See? Unique. That doesn’t mean you can over optimize however, as Google will likely catch on to what you’re doing. Including your keyword in your Title and Description are of course key to ranking for said search term, however, dropping the keyword too many times on the page is counted as keyword stuffing and you will end up penalized.
- Quality vs. Quantity
The age old battle of quality vs. quantity. Should you be writing posts every single day? By all means, if you have the ability to, go right ahead. Before doing so however, make sure to verify a few things: Are you posting for the sake of getting another blog post posted or are you posting something that your readers actually want to read? Posting frequently is all well and good, however, your goal should be writing quality content. 1 single quality article will rank better and provide more information to your readers than 10 poorly written articles. Some people may believe that posting a large volume of articles is beneficial however, your goal isn’t to try and rank for as many search terms as possible. Your goal is to provide unique content that will generate new subscribers that are willing to continue coming back to your website.
People aren’t going to want to come back for thin, duplicate, poorly written content that doesn’t offer anything to them. Especially when there are so many other good, well written blogs out there that they could be going to instead of yours.
The goal is to connect with the reader, and you do that by writing quality content.
- Internal Linking
While you may not think it, interlinking your own pages is a key part of On Page SEO. Take every opportunity to interlink your articles to not only drive traffic to other, less popular articles, but also to keep users on your website longer. The longer a user stays on your website, the higher the chance of them acting on one of your calls-to-action.
- Social Media
Social media is one of the largest and fastest ways of growing your userbase. Not only that, but it also provides you a way of keeping your readers updated. While social media as a ranking factor is a heavily debated subject, it is beyond a doubt one of the best ways of generating real, targeted traffic to each and every article.
You don’t need to be active on too many. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are the important ones.
Start off by following the leaders in your industry. Follow users that are interested in subjects you’re writing about. Engage those users and help them out. Being helpful on social media while starting out is a fine way of establishing your first footing in the industry. Not only that, but it could lead to a new possible follower on said platform!
- Anchor Text
One of the most common and probably most damaging mistake people make is over optimizing their anchor text. Let me give you an example.
You want to rank for “Fun dog toys”. What does the average new website owner do? They go around making backlinks for the term “Fun dog toys”. Good. Great, even. You need to. What you also need to do however is remember that the exact keyword you’re trying to rank for should only be a percentage of total anchor texts. Let me elaborate a little further.
“Fun dog toys”
“Fun dog toys for your dog”
“Dog toys that are fun”
“Toys your dog will enjoy”
Mix it up. The goal here is to rank for your main keyword, but to also make sure that most of the anchor text is not your actual keyword. Anchor text diversity is one of the keys to ranking without accumulating a penalty. You should be using exact keywords, keyword variations, raw URLs, generic text (such as “click here”), images. Make sure to keep your anchor text real. No website has 50% of its anchor text being a single keyword (unless it’s its name.)
- Link Quality vs. Link Quantity
Like the quality vs. quantity area above, we know it’s easy to go out and buy a metric ton of low quality backlinks pointed at your website. Don’t. Do not buy high volume backlinks if you want your website to stand any test of time. The goal when creating backlinks is to get links from websites in the same niche as you. Links in the same niche from websites ranked for terms you don’t rank for are far more beneficial to you then 100, even 1,000 forum posts, social bookmarks, or directory links. Not only will the real blog post/comment drive real, targeted traffic to your own blog, but Google trusts their website enough to rank them. Gaining authority backlinks is significantly superior to high quantity low quality backlinks, and I will be doing a case study of that in the near future.
- Website Theme and Loading Speed
Nowadays loading speed is a factor in ranking your website. If your website loads too slowly it’ll not only drive people away, increasing your bounce rate, but people will likely close out of your website before even seeing the content! Nobody wants to wait all day for your website to load so why should you make them? The key to having a faster website is a good host, (the one we use and recommend is Traffic Planet Hosting), and a good theme (a fantastic premium WordPress theme creator is MyThemeShop, where we got this amazing theme from.)
These are some of the most common SEO mistakes I’ve personally seen made. There are countless others I could add, and I may add in the future (or in a more recent post!) It is up to you to avoid these mistakes as they will drag you down and hinder your progress.
Have you ever made any of these mistakes yourself? Know of any other common mistakes that we’ve missed? Let us know. 🙂