Search engine optimization (SEO) is incredibly important for any digital marketing strategy. You can throw thousands of dollars to get an ad on the front page of google results, but unless you’re just buying time for your organic position to move to the top, you’ll always be stuck spending more and more as competition moves in. We talk about a lot of good SEO practices here, but what about the bad ones? Google is very serious about how their rules are followed and one wrong move can result in a penalty for your domain, which is near impossible to come back from. This is nothing to be terribly worried about, mind you. If you’re keeping things on the up and up, keeping your visitors from bouncing, and monitoring your analytics for any changes, you’ll be fine, but here are a few ways you can avoid having something go wrong with your search positioning.
10 Ways To Mess Up Your SEO:
You need verified, real data that your target market is using your chosen keywords. This cannot be based on guesses.
Amateur Web Design
A professional site will be easy to navigate and keep visitors engaged. Poor on-page and SEO setup, lack of proper coding, and overall not doing the appropriate research into user experience (UX) and site architecture will be a big problem, not just for Google, but for your users as well.
Preventing Search Engine Access
Inadvertently preventing search engines from crawling your site will lead to no visibility at all. This may seem like a no-brainer, but WordPress developers are notorious for forgetting to uncheck that box before launch!
Neglecting the Technical Stuff
Domain and page canonicalization, domain configuration, server setup and much more can cost a site visibility by search engines.
Content Your Target Audience Doesn’t Care About
Writing only for search engines rather than your visitors might get you to the top, but it won’t keep people coming back or clicking through. Google is savvy to this tactic and will rank you down pretty quickly.
Failing to Track Data and Improve
Tracking data and making improvements based on your analytics and testing is essential for a long-term strategy.
Having duplicate content spread across the web (both on and off your site) is seen as “gaming the system” and can lead to an SEO penalty. Make sure if you are duplicating (maybe across blog platforms), you are letting search engines know.
Lots of Spam Links
Having less links from high authority sites are much more effective than a page of spam links. Plus, consider your reputation – wouldn’t you want to recommend the best site to send your users to?
Slow Page Load Time
Pages should not take more than few seconds to load or your visitors will click away. Google has a lot of fantastic tools inside Webmaster Tools, but anyone can test their site with their speed test tool. Here is some great information from Kissmetrics about page speed that everyone needs to read.
Not Taking Accessibility Seriously
Just like any other page engagement metric, if you are keeping any segment of your users from being able to properly interact with your site, search engines will rank you lower than those who take user needs into consideration.