Call the SEO police! Some people are committing search marketing crimes which are holding back the rankings of their websites.
Here are our top seven SEO offences – make sure you don’t fall foul of them:
- Stale content.
Google and other search engines love fresh content – and so do your followers on social media. Simple re-sharing the same content over and over again won’t help your SEO at all. In fact, not creating good, fresh content for your blog or website will see your website fall in search rankings. If you want to be on the front page of Google, good quality, regular, fresh content is a must to help drive traffic to your website. Don’t be tempted to ‘lift’ content from other sources – Google hates that. Its algorithms pick that up quickly. Use a tool like Copyscape to ensure your content is between 80% and 100% original.
- Stuffing keywords.
We’ve all seen websites and blogs which were just lists of dentists in Wales, dentists in South Wales, dentists in Cardiff, and dentists in Roath. It’s a real turn-off for readers. Thankfully, most people have now cottoned onto the fact this sort of content is penalised by search engines. They’re looking for good quality content, and keyword stuffing smacks of low-quality, filler content. Your blogs and website content should flow organically and make page viewers convert to customers.
- Ignoring mobile.
The tipping point for mobile internet use came last year – now, more people access the web from mobile devices than from laptops or desktop computers. You now ignore it at your peril. You need a mobile-friendly website, either a separate site or a responsive site which is easily accessible from both mobile and desktop devices. If you don’t, you’ll turn off a large number of potential visitors to your site – who are, of course, potential customers.
- Trying to monetise your site too early.
They call it the sales ‘funnel’ for a reason. It should have a wide top and gradually draw your prospects into their decision-making process when it comes to making a purchase. Pitch your sale too near the top of that funnel, and you’ll lose people. For example, putting out tweets or Facebook posts which simply say ‘buy my stuff’ will turn people off. Putting out social media posts which are helpful, and which direct people to your website, get them to move to the next stage of your sales funnel without turning them off.
- Buying backlinks.
This is a minefield. Search engines tend to frown on bought links – links from other websites into your own site. They particularly frown on ‘link farms’, websites set up specifically to include links purchased by other people. Those farms often earn those who buy links on them penalties – hitting the SEO the links were bought to help improve. Instead, search engines want people to develop links organically and the crawlers look for good quality sites referring to your website. A link from a government, professional body, or trade association website is an excellent backlink for you.
- Failing to disavow dodgy links.
Google has decided that some websites are too ‘spammy’ for its algorithms and will penalise links from them to your website. Generally, those sites are ‘link farms’ or something similar. Once you have a link on such a site, even if you haven’t bought it, your SEO will start to be affected. You could ask that site to take down the link. If they refuse or ignore your request, what you have to do is go through the search engine’s process to ‘disavow’ the link. See Google’s tools for webmasters here for how to do it: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2648487?hl=en.
Once you notify Google you’re doing so, that should stop your SEO being hit by the link. It’s worth keeping a note of all of the backlinks into your site. You can use a backlink checker tool like https://monitorbacklinks.com/seo-tools/free-backlink-checker.
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