SEO tips

What are the most common SEO mistakes?

You’ve done everything you can to make your site rank but nothing is happening. You ask yourself why. What are the most common SEO mistakes, and how do you fix them?

Too often I get clients asking me what’s wrong with their website. There’s a sense of paranoia around SEO. People think Google is out to get them because they don’t spend money on AdWords. Then they buy search terms only to find out it makes no difference to their rankings. I don’t for a minute believe that Google extorts anyone for money. The company is way beyond the need for any such nefarious tactics – yet some website owners believe it to be true. So I run a quick analysis of their website and tend to find the same common SEO mistakes – time and time again.

Common SEO mistakes

This list of common SEO mistakes is based on what SEO companies do – not the website owners. SEO requires a particular multi-layered skill set that very few SEO providers can deliver. SEO is not just about content. It not just about links, and it’s not just about technical expertise. SEO requires the sum total of skills in order to achieve high search engine rankings.

Top 3 most common SEO mistakes

You may cringe at first, after reading the following, but then you will know. Then you will be armed with the knowledge you need to get you website ranking once again – or for the first time. So let’s begin…

1. Buying low-quality links

I’ll be the first to put my hand up on this one. Out of ego I made the decision to buy 50 links from a link builder on the sub-continent. I was enjoying a friendly competition with a friend and SEO colleague in a race to the top for a specific search term. I was two spots below him so I made the reactive decision to throw some links at the page to overtake him. The Google web crawlers quickly pounced on my folly, and my site was immediately punished – severely. I then had to go through the process of disavowing those links, but not before I had them removed. My site bounced back, but only after I worked hard on my content. Here’s what that looked like…

Common SEO Mistakes - low-quality links
Google Webmaster Tools graph after Penguin recovery

2. Don’t try and game Google

I speak to a lot of SEO “experts” – it would have to be the most secretive profession out there. Very few are willing to share their secrets about how they get client sites to rank, but they are big on singing their own praises. They say they’ve found a loophole in how Google works and that they are getting great results, Then, more often than not, a couple of weeks later Google releases an algorithm update and all of a sudden those client rankings have plummeted. Those soon-to-be past clients are already looking for another SEO provider.

Don’t GAME Google, okay? Sooner or later you will get punished. It’s inevitable!

3. Create quality content – don’t duplicate it

You think to yourself, I’ll just Google the term I want to rank for, click the first link, and rewrite that piece of content in my own style. What do you think that will do to your site? That’ll be okay, right?Wrong! Just don’t do it. Either write from your your own mind or do the research. It one of THE most common SEO mistakes. Search algorithms are written by some of the smartest minds in the world, and can pick up on even the slightest bit of duplication.

What is the most important tip you will ever read about SEO?

Read Google Webmaster guidelines. These guidelines are parameters you should always stay within when doing SEO. Don’t ever go outside of these parameters – just don’t. You’ll thank me in the long run.