Many site owners think taking shortcuts or skipping certain steps won’t impact their SEO results. Intentional or not, shortcuts, mistakes, and skipping steps will impact SERP ranking; not to mention, you may face a Google penalty, which can take months or years to overcome. You’re better off avoiding these mistakes from the very start. These are 13 of the stupidest things you can do in SEO, short of off the grid mistakes like deleting your whole site or something.
1. Buy Links from Blog Networks
Purchasing blog network links is a great way to catch Google’s attention, but not in a good way. You’ll be penalized by Google, and finding your way back into Google’s good graces takes time and hard work to regain your ranking. As tempting as it may be, buying links from blog networks just isn’t worth the end result. They will catch you.
2. Build too Much Anchor Text
There’s such a thing as having too many anchor text links. You need a good balance using a variety of topic specific keywords as an anchor text, while avoiding the use of the same keywords more than once. If you go over a certain percentage of the keyword anchor text linking to your site you will be kicked out of Google for that term.
3. Use Automated Linking Tools for Your Site
Automated linking tools like SE Nuke can wreak havoc on your ranking if used incorrectly. Don’t fall into the trap of nuking your site with automated backlinks, in hopes of getting higher rankings Instead, use the tools for backlink discovery to find high quality sites with the potential to backlink. With an appealing site, you’ll achieve backlinks from high-quality sites without having to pay for a spammy automated link tool.
4. Never Checking Webmaster Tools
You’re essentially walking around in the dark if you don‘t check Webmaster Tools. You need to check Webmaster Tools to monitor your site’s health, traffic data, and optimization information to make necessary adjustments to keep an SEO campaign running smoothly.
5. Lacking an XML, Image, and Video Sitemap
Without an XML site map, search engine crawlers aren’t able to accurately determine recently updated or new pages. Google also recommends submitting image and video site maps to alert crawlers to the images and videos on your site for proper indexing.
6. Don’t Blog or Create Fresh Content
A stagnant website is pointless because website visitors won’t have a reason to return to your site if your blog or content never change. Plus, search engines reward sites that are updated often with fresh content and it’ll help track changes to your site’s performance.
7. No Mobile-Friendly Site
Google takes mobile user experience very seriously when ranking sites. If your website doesn’t support mobile device use or has errors with mobile functions, Google will knock your ranking down a few notches and you’re going to lose potential sales.
8. Lack of Focus on Usability and Conversions
An increase in conversions will occur when usability is improved. By not taking the time to focus on usability, you’re losing conversions and potential sales. Consider usability testing to fix issues and improve the user experience. Consider tools like Google Content Experiments, Crazy Egg, Optimizely, Google In-Page Analytics and setting up conversion funnels.
9. Keyword Stuffing
Google considers keyword stuffing as an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking. Google recommends writing content to sound as natural as possible and to avoid using any type of repetitive words or phrases.
10. Only Targeting Big Money Keywords and Ignoring Long-Tail
There’s a misconception that “money keywords” will pay your bills while long-tail are a waste of time. It’s best to use a targeted long-tail keyword strategies along with your efforts for the bigger keywords. They aren’t as competitive as money keywords, so you’ll have a better chance of landing the number one spot.
11. Duplicate Content on Multiple Pages
Google hates duplicate content, including blog posts, website content, page titles and meta descriptions. Always create unique, high quality content for every page on your website to keep Google happy and your website visitors stocked with the information they crave.
12. Rely on SEO for All of Your Traffic
There are many aspects involved in achieving and maintaining high online visibility. Nowadays, SEO alone won’t get the job done. You need social marketing and PPC advertising integrated into your SEO efforts, which will result in a higher ranking.
13. Skip the Benefits of Social Media
With millions of active users on social media platforms every day, you have no choice but to utilize social media if you want to compete in today’s world. Social media’s important for attracting and engaging customers. Plus, Google weighs social media as a ranking factor. Without an active social media presence, your ranking will suffer.
There are lots of stupid things you can do in SEO. But I see these 13 things happen often. Stay away from them, you will be happy you did.