Taking shortcuts is definitely not the best idea when it comes to search engine optimization; and often times in other areas of business. Often, in an effort to save money or time, individuals shortchange themselves and end up negatively impacting SEO. Why is this?
Because they become victims of the following seven SEO pitfalls. You’ll notice that all seven of the pitfalls either involve an aspect of user experience or the way that search engines rank a site. These are both equally important aspects of SEO that you should consider when optimizing your site.
Pitfall #1: Not doing keyword research. The main goal of search engines is to return the most relevant information in response to a query, while keeping in mind the search intent of the user. It is probable that, without doing the proper research, you will either use less effective keywords or keywords that are difficult to rank for. With what effect?
Your search engine rankings will likely suffer, since your site may not be placed prominently or shown as relevant to your target audience.
Pitfall #2: Keyword cannibalization. As previously stated, search engines want to display only the most relevant search results. One of the ways that relevant pages are identified is by the keywords that they contain. While keywords are necessary, unbalanced use of them could be detrimental.
For example, if you use the same keyword repeatedly on several pages of your site, how will a search engine be able to determine the best page to show in search results? By essentially leaving the choice up to search engines, visitors to your site may not receive the information they are looking for. And if they are not willing to explore your site any further, they may simply move on to one of your competitors.
Pitfall #3: Slow page loading time. Simply put, if pages load slowly, site visitors will not wait. Why would they, when they can likely find another site with the information they need that will load in a reasonable amount of time? At the end of the day, SEO is not just about increasing traffic to your site, but about making conversions, selling products, and growing your customer base and target audience. If pages on your site load too slowly due to large image files, unnecessary plugins and lots of redirects, visitors will never turn into customers and your business will suffer for it.
Pitfall #4: Having bad backlinks. If your site is linked to pages and sites that search engines determine are irrelevant or spammy, your site runs the risk of being considered irrelevant and spammy itself. If your website is linked to sites that are not credible, your site may also be considered less than authoritative.
While link building is very important, it is equally important that the links are good and relevant.
Pitfall #5: Producing low quality content. How visitors to your website interact with your site, as well as how long they stick around, has a large impact on where you rank on page 1 of most search engines. If visitors have a tendency to quickly leave the site, or “bounce”, search engines like Google will assume that the content found there is not necessarily helpful or relevant; which results in them ranking your site lower in the search results or not ranking your website at all. The opposite is true if visitors linger on a site, visiting several different pages.
So, if you produce content that is not informative or helpful for your specific audience, not only will those people recognize it, but search engines will as well.
Pitfall #6: Using black hat techniques. These methods often go against search engine guidelines and usually backfire. Even when things such as link buying and keyword stuffing do work, they don’t work for long. Search engines are continually developing new algorithms that allow them to detect these methods and render them ineffective.
In an effort to improve SEO, using black hat methods can actually have the exact opposite effect.
Pitfall #7: No CTA’s. Your website can be super informative, really helpful, and easy to use. However, all of that means very little if there are no calls to action. Your goal is to get those in your audience to contact you, to inquire, to purchase your product or service. Without giving site visitors the nudge to do these things, they won’t take action.
Avoid These Pitfalls
After a careful examination of your site, perhaps using an SEO checker or getting an audit performed on your overall search engine optimization strategy… you can identify and fix problem areas. By considering not just the technical aspects of SEO, but also user experience, you can greatly improve your search engine rankings.
This was not an exhaustive list of every pitfall you might encounter when trying to do SEO on a budget, but these are some of the most common. If there are any that we’ve missed that you like to comment on or ask about… we want to know. Nomvo!