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TOP 7 Critical SEO Mistakes to Avoid

It’s not really possible to talk about websites, blogs and e-commerce sites without mentioning SEO – Search Engine Optimization .

SEO is the fuel needed for website owners to truly boost their digital platforms.  It’s unfortunate, therefore, when bloggers, institutions, and business people fail to use SEO the right way.  Here are some tips to maximize your SEO efforts and some crucial mistakes to avoid.  A few are old, but still inexcusably being implemented today – avoid them at all costs.  There is one or two within the “growth driven design” that should be addressed before you even build page 1 of your website.  Check it out!

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SEO and Sources of Website Traffic

In order to understand SEO mistakes that are pulling websites down in terms of ranking, it’s important to understand Internet traffic. This will help you to identify gaps that you must fill if your website is to remain relevant, competitive and profitable, especially by attracting traffic that will allow you to dominate in your niche market.

Off-Page SEO: Social Media now drives nearly 40% of inbound trafficClick To Tweet

Running a business on the Internet is similar to managing conventional enterprises. This is because everyone wants to have a larger market share than their competitors. For Internet-based ventures, being ranked on the first page of a search engine is a huge indicator of progress. This is what makes SEO not just a necessity, but a mandatory practice.

  • Website traffic comes in a variety of ways. Organic traffic refers to a situation in which people visit your site after searching for a term (Google or Bing search) related to what you deal with. In most cases, such people will click on your site because it appears among the first results of a search engine. This is KING of all types traffic.  Referral traffic or PPC (pay-per-click) is great and fast.  But, organic traffic, done correctly is then FREE; (after initial investment.)
  • Visitors can also reach your website by typing directly into a browser, which means they know the site’s address, perhaps after previous visits or a solid professional branding strategy. When this happens, it proves your website now has loyal followers and many referrals. This does not happen overnight. Branding your website to become a household name can take months or even years.
  • Inbound links, otherwise known as backlinks, are also crucial sources of web traffic. These are visitors who are directed to your website from other sites through backlinks. When this happens, it implies that your site is popular or has content worth sharing. It is an indicator that you have a solid reputation. You may also be regarded as an expert in a specific niche.

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  • Social media is also an important source of traffic to your website. Social Media Marketing has become a HUGE new source of inbound referral traffic. Reputable firms and personalities have all jumped on the social media bandwagon, especially Facebook and Twitter. These open communication forums provide fertile ground for you to interact with existing and potential clients.
  • All these kinds of traffic are bound together through SEO. Your online business will succeed (or fail) depending on how you deal with both on-page and off-page SEO. The former entails having top-notch content, the right HTML configuration, and a well-structured website.
  • Off-page SEO deals with inbound links, social media presence, and the trust people have in you and your website. It is estimated that social media contributes close to 40% of all traffic to a site. Trust me here, you gotta understand that staying consistently active and continuing to provide quality content is crucial! Also, don’t forget about engagement and relationship building.

SEO is Mandatory for Optimal Performance

By now, it should be obvious to everyone that there are no real “Hacks” to a successful Internet business. Despite the word ‘Hack’ being somewhat of a  common buzzword in Internet and geek circles. There is a LOT of SEO work to be done to ensure your site performs the expected role. Without SEO, your online business is as good as dead.

The irony, though, is that even when people know what SEO is and how to do it, they either don’t do it well or they ignore crucial aspects that come to haunt them and their businesses later.  SEO is a serious business and needs the respect it deserves!

With SEO, if you just 'play', you will PAY!Click To Tweet

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The following are 7 critical SEO mistakes that you must avoid if you are really serious about making decent money online:

  1. Overstuffing Keywords

Ask most Internet users what they know about keywords and the majority will give you totally bogus answers. Even though they use these terms to search for information on respective engines they are not aware what a keyword or keyword research is.

A smaller majority, especially webmasters and some freelance writers, are informed and just might have a pretty good idea. What this group of people understands is that website copy must have keywords in order to be ranked highly on search engines. No one can argue with that fact.

What most of them do not understand, though, is that it’s not the number of keywords used that matters, but the quality of these terms and the content and overall RELEVANCE in general. Don’t repeat the keyword over and over again in a terribly disjointed and unnatural way.

If you fall into the keyword stuffing pit, scattering them all over your copy, you are committing a serious SEO crime and the search engine police will bust you for it. Sure, in the past search engines gave high props to content that had keywords densley popuplated thoughout the content. However, the latest search algorithms were changed once it was realized that people were publishing very low-quality content as long as it had the required keywords.

The game has changed today, in two ways. First, the emphasis is on unique content that has value and relevant to readers. Secondly, and this is not good news for some, while Google will still rank your site way below the leaders,  Google search updates such as Panda and Penguin will blacklist your content for keyword stuffing.

If you are not an expert in SEO, and most website owners are not, it’s important that you consider hiring someone skilled SEO mastery. They are many writers and writing services that can thoroughly scrutinize your website, rewrite content and ensure that what you offer your readers is SEO friendly.

Falling short with your SEO strategy will mean your content won’t rank for organic search; especially for an e-commerce website. Your website traffic will definitely suffer and buyer revenue will plummet. You will be forced out of business and the idea of starting the website in the first place will be trashed. In essence, the time for you begin thinking about keyword density for high rankings is gone.

  1. Too Little or Crappy Content

Another serious mistake that plagues SEO practices today is offering inadequate content or having no content marketing strategy at all. Alongside keyword stuffing, this very serious oversight that is causing loss of business to e-commerce ventures. Google and other search engines have evolved.

As mentioned, content must be valuable to the intended user for as site to be ranked highly. The reality is that brief content is often not packed with anything worth taking home. Previously, a 300-word keyword stuffed article was enough for a website to get decent rankings. Not anymore.  Your content should likely include two to four times that amount and dense with solid, actionable advice, tips or intriguing insight.

Search engines are constantly crawling the Internet to identify sites that have robust, engaging content, the type that is not necessarily packed with keywords, but which will attract visitors and provide relevant information. Such content is often shared on social media or through outbound links.  Make your content share-worthy!

Neil Patel, the guru of content marketing, presents the following graph to support his assertion on the importance of detailed quality content in influencing website rankings:

eo-and-content-marketing-for-influence

It is common practice in SEO today to write long articles, accompanied by diagrams, pictures, statistics and other forms of “visual content.”  These articles may also contain videos that explain the content in detail. By the time the reader is through with an article, he or she will be fully satisfied with the worth of the copy, graphics or other forms of interactive content.

Closely related to the idea of keywords, these types of articles have long-tail keywords. These are search terms that are three or more words longer. The advantage with these terms is that they capture more of what the person searching the web wanted as opposed to a single word or two terms. Long-tail keyword research has created an all-new angle on keyword research.

In addition, it is not just enough to publish a long and detailed article. SEO demands that you publish content on your page regularly. Whether it is a blog, entertainment website, a corporate website or even e-commerce platform, search engines seek out the publishing of content on a consistent basis.

As you can see, it’s imperative to carry out adequate research on your topic in order to have enough content to write a relatively decent and detailed article. If you want to set yourself apart from your competitors online, you’ll need to go above and beyond with your content marketing.  When Content Marketing and SEO are able to find a harmonious balance, they can be a powerhouse for the search engines and your bottom-line revenue.

  1. Duplicated Content

This is a mistake you should never be caught committing if you are serious about doing business on the internet. It is an insult to your readers to know that you didn’t actually take the time to create unique, valuable content. How do you expect your followers to feel when you give them what they have read elsewhere?

Plagiarism is the cardinal sin of the Internet and of writing. It is true that there are thousands of other writers who deal with the same issues as you. E-commerce sites selling similar products as yours are not in short supply. That said, you have no excuse, whatsoever, to steal the content of other people and present it as your own.

Search engines will toss your site in the basement of the search results pages and may even blacklist you. If you want to survive and thrive on the internet, you must learn how to effectively create new articles and content material. Plagiarism goes beyond copying entire content to rewriting it. Luckily enough for internet users, algorithms can detect same content written in different words.

Content Marketing SEO Website Traffic

If you are running an e-commerce website, you need to be very careful not to use the same words your manufacturer or supplier uses for the same products. For every item you are selling, you must create unique content. As I mentioned before, search engines have evolved and simply paraphrasing isn’t going to cut it.

If you have a corporate website or blog, it would be better to write a unique article rather than create outbound links to another piece one that you consider helpful in another site. Additionally, you might want to consider how you can revive your old archaic webpages. Give it a new title. Introduce another angle. Make sure it is fresh. Use software like CopyScape to ensure that whatever you are uploading on your site is fresh stuff.

In essence, there are three inherent dangers of duplicate content on your site. The first, and most important, is that you will lose your visitors in droves. Secondly, you will be ranked way below your competitors in organic searches. Lastly, you might be sued or blacklisted for plagiarism. It’s your call.

  1. Failure to Optimize Social Network Link Juice

We live in the era of social media. These days, everyone has a portable device of some kind that allows them to share video, photo, print and audio files. Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and the like are gradually replacing mainstream media as sources of news and entertainment.

One of the greatest mistake you can make in your SEO campaign is to ignore or underutilize social media. These forums are the new battleground for marketers. Everything your sell will eventually be discussed in some social forum. Whatever the participants in such a platform will agree about your products will have a powerful impact on how they deal with your site and products.

You must provide backlinks from your social media page to your site. The more backlinks you have from these platforms, the higher the ranking of your site.  There must also be a clear way from your site to these platforms for your readers to share your content. Remember the modern consumer is not bound by space. That’s why you are serving him or her online. They cannot offer face-to-face feedback, the way it happens in brick-and-mortar stores.

You need to have a presence in the grapevines of social media. Listen to the feedback your products and services get from people using these platforms and spreading the word. Don’t be delusional, though, and fall into some false sense of security thinking that all the feedback will be positive. The good thing is that you learn more about your services from negative as opposed to positive feedback.  There is always room for improvement.

However, social media doesn’t work alone. There must be quality content on your website. Readers must get adequate information and answers from your site. Stuffing keywords and writing crappy content won’t help. In fact, it’s from social media that you will realize whether your content was solid and “share-worthy”.

Your website must, therefore, be integrated with social media in order to generate information that will help you improve what you are offering.  For WordPress users, we highly recommend the Social Warfare plugin we use here:

Social Media Marketing

It keeps track of your social shares and provides readers with the new “social proof” that your content and media is worthy to be talked about and shared with family and friends.

Social media can rocket many new sites to stardom in their respective niches.  The more others are talking about your products and services, the more transactions you’re going to see on that monthly bank statement. Keep in mind that the contemporary modern consumer dictates where marketers and manufacturers should go and what products should be offered. Social media is the vehicle to make this happen in a huge way.

  1. Lack of or ZERO SEO Investment

It’s really sad that some business owners consider SEO as an additional unnecessary cost as opposed to an investment. What many people forget is that transacting business on the internet is different from normal entrepreneurship in several ways. As noted earlier, SEO drives online business – the fuel to the fire.

Many managers and business owners of new websites are excited to invest in products they intend to sell online and to invest in other aspects of their business at the expense of SEO. They seem to justify this by thinking about the high quality of the product and not how it’s conveyed to the public via the mechanisms behind website presentation and search rankings.

Some online businesses have no marketing plans. Others manage to get visitors to their sites, but only a tiny number of visitors as opposed to the mass amounts of potential buyers that they are losing out on. Money is instead invested in methods that do not convert visitors to sales and profits.

There are some powerfully helpful analytics tools available to help determine where your traffic is originating from.  This enables business owners to capitalize on traffic that is working for them (results in sales) and stop wasting money on marketing that is useless. This is one of the similarities that conventional and online businesses have in common.  If you rent a billboard on a highly-trafficked roadside and it’s working, you’ll keep that billboard. If it’s useless and not increasing your sales revenue, you’ll drop it in a heartbeat.  There’s no point in wasting money on low-traffic and terrible advertising.

If you are serious about a growth-driven online business, you must budget for SEO. And, you’ll do this well before launching the actual webpages themselves. Don’t put the “cart before the horse” and launch an online presence without proper preparation, a solid search engine strategy and content marketing strategy.  You’ll come out of the gate already behind the 8-ball.

Further, while debatable, the amount set aside for SEO should be significant. The more time and effort in your SEO and content strategy, in the beginning, the faster you’ll reach your online sales goals. Why not invest this money in SEO and boost your sales?  Investing in SEO is investing in your future.

Investing in SEO is Investing in Your Future SuccessClick To Tweet

The following diagram indicates that most industries spend only a small percentage of their revenues on online marketing.

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  1. Pretending to be an Expert in SEO

There is nothing as bad as an amateur trying to be an expert without any real SEO training, skills, and experience. This is especially true of those firms that do not invest adequately in SEO and consider it an unnecessary cost. It is an epic mistake you should avoid by all means.

I’m sure you know way more than me about YOUR business and there’s no doubt that you know the ins and outs of your industry. You can likely explain to a customer how well a product works and how it will solve a specific problem. After all, you have been in this industry for so many years and you know what the customer is looking for, I hope.

And, I’m sure there is a dizzying number of aspects about your industry that would make me feel totally inept.  You may even own a dozen locations of a certain franchise organization.  Awesome!  You, then know full well what you have to have to ensure products are available when the customers need them. The quality of what you see is also an important responsibility; perhaps even branding and product placement.

The day-to-day running of the business is in your fully capable hands. You need to supervise employees and pay them at the right time. You have bills to pay both at corporate and personal levels. Tax returns have to be filed. If you are a parent and / or a spouse, there are mouths to feed and egos to placate.

Why then do you want to micro-manage the SEO consultant? With your busy schedule, do you think you can manage SEO on a Do It Yourself (DIY) basis? Now that you have hired an expert, you need to sit down and watch him or her do what you are paying for. Sticking around and giving instructions that are not implementable does not work well for you, the SEO expert and your business.

Don’t commit the mistake of being a jack of all trades. Give your suggestions on what you want for your website. Listen, too, to what the experts believe should be done. Cooperate with your consultant and watch your online business transiting from redundancy to profitability.

  1. Lack of Integration within Departmental Resources for SEO (Growth Driven Strategy)

Leadership is a crucial function of any organization or business environment. The ability of the leader to see the bigger picture is very important. While working in departments, sections and units can result in efficient productive work, collegiality is mandatory if the overall goal is to be achieved.

It is within this context that another grave SEO mistake occurs. E-commerce firms have various functions, mostly manned by different individuals or teams. The work of the owner of the business is to ensure that products are availed in time, the payment system is working, customer queries are responded to as soon as possible and so on.

For SEO experts, all the information on how each department works is needed when configuring and managing the website. It must be clear what the link is between public relations, production, marketing, social media and the ranking of the firm on search engines.

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Customer or product management information systems, for example, cannot be developed without thinking about the SEO strategy. Any system that integrates all organizational subsystems must be developed with the entire organization in mind.

Different pages on a website, which are updated by the respective departments, must not contravene what the others present. As observed before, the SEO expert must be given leeway to create a common strategy of reaching customers online. The manager or owner of the business must ensure that all other units cooperate during the process.

Organizations that have a lot of bureaucracy and lack of clear reporting mechanisms often make the work of an SEO expert problematic. It should be clear to all organizational players and departments that the SEO consultant is carrying out an important exercise and that everybody should offer their support and input when needed.

In essence, avoid a situation whereby the organizational structure becomes a stumbling block to SEO implementation. Let the leader show the way to all other participants. More importantly, give the person implementing SEO strategies the space, time and peace of mind to execute his or her job.  Create a strategic project manager to help the entire organization create a growth-driven Internet powerhouse.  This type of growth strategy is a bit more complex than the traditional web design, but has proven to be much more effective.

Implementing SEO is Crucial and Requires Upfront Investment 

In essence, SEO is an important function and practice in e-commerce and a general successful web presence. However, many mistakes are often committed in relation to on-page and off-page SEO. The best solution is to set aside and adequate budget, hire an expert and give him / her / the SEO team to help you envision the perfect balance of SEO and content marketing strategies that can vault your business way ahead of the competition.

Content Marketing with Influencer Outreach

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  1. Richa

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