SEO can be a tricky business, as there are so many different practices to understand. Unfortunately, many companies are guilty of accidentally using bad practices when running campaigns. Here are ten of the worst things you can do when dealing with SEO – hopefully, you will learn to avoid them!
10 Bad SEO Practices
1. Spamming links
Link building is a crucial part of off-page SEO. It helps you build a network of links back to a site, showing search engines that you’re a trusted source. The worst thing to do is spam links to your site everywhere. If you do this, you’ll be blacklisted!
2. Not researching keywords
SEO basically revolves around keywords as you need to know what people will search when looking for your website. Not researching the right keywords can cause you to rank in the wrong searches, wasting time and money. Most quality SEO services offer keyword research as a standard offering.
3. Targeting the wrong audience
Similarly, you can be guilty of targeting the wrong audience. Again, you’ll appear in the wrong searches and have the wrong people on your site. Your SEO might generate traffic, but it won’t convert.
4. Duplicating content
Keeping your website updated with content is good for SEO. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t duplicate content found elsewhere on the web – or already on your website. Search engines will figure it out, and you’ll end up receiving a rankings penalty.
5. Not having a mobile-friendly website
Mobile SEO is arguably more important than traditional SEO. A few years ago, Google split its mobile and desktop searches into two different categories. Now, when people search on mobile devices, they will see results that are more suitable for these devices. In essence, you need a mobile-friendly site to actually show up in these results. Not having one can be catastrophic as you miss out on all the mobile traffic.
6. Forgetting meta descriptions
When you look at search results, you will see a couple of sentences below the website link. This is known as the meta description, and it is very important for SEO. Effectively, it tells the search engine a bit more about the web page and what it contains. It’s also a chance to include more keywords, further improving your search ranking. Forgetting to create meta descriptions is a big mistake.
7. Keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing refers to an old SEO tactic where you’d simply list as many target keywords as possible in your content. The idea was that it helped you improve your ranking because you kept including the keywords. Nowadays, this won’t work at all. In fact, keyword stuffing should be avoided as it will have a negative effect on your SEO. Don’t go overboard with your target keywords – you only need them once or twice per every few hundred words.
8. Hiding text
Another classic SEO tactic was to include cloaked text on your pages. Here, you could basically put loads of keywords, only they appeared hidden to the user. In essence, it was seen as a way to keyword stuff without ruining the website content. Google picked up on this, and it is now bad practice. So, make sure you don’t hide text on your website!
9. Having too many outgoing links
Outgoing links can help your website, but they need to be done with the ‘nofollow’ tag. If you have too many links without this tag, it looks like you’re just farming links. Search engines flag this up and you will get penalized in the rankings. Any quality SEO services will help you understand this in more detail, ensuring that all your outbound links are set up correctly.
10. Having a slow and non-user-friendly website
Finally, the biggest SEO mistake is that your website is not friendly to users. Search engines value the UX over almost anything else nowadays. A lot of what we’ve spoken about will contribute to the user experience, but there are a couple of things that haven’t been mentioned. Mainly, the speed of your website – if it loads in over 4 seconds, most users will leave. Search engines won’t direct people to a slow website as they want users to have the best experience possible. The same goes for websites that are constantly crashing or are just hard to use. You need a user-friendly site to achieve good SEO.
There you have it, the ten biggest SEO mistakes you can make right now. Obviously, the purpose of this post is to let you know what you shouldn’t do. There are tips littered though out the piece as well, which will help you figure out the best SEO practices.