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Top 11 SEO mistakes to avoid

With the many updates Google has done in the last years, you just can’t afford to make mistakes. They will cost you traffic and of course money.

Many SEOs keep using the same old techniques all over again, and wonder why they are not ranking well in search engines. Let’s take a look at the most frequent SEO mistakes, and how you can avoid them.

1. Over optimize your anchor texts

This is by far the most common problem repeated by many online marketers. They still think that in order to rank high, you have to get hundreds of backlinks using the same anchor text.

If your website has backlinks with a lot of rich anchor texts, most likely your rankings and traffic will drop. You have to rotate and mix your keywords to make it look natural. If people will want to link to your website, most often they will use your company name.

How you should use anchor texts on your backlinks

When you build backlinks to your website, try to use your brand name 80% of the times, and your rich anchor texts only 20%. Use different combinations of your brand name, like:

  • Yourwebsite.com

  • Yourwebsite

  • Your Website

  • Your Website.com

  • www.yourwebsite.com

Example of over optimized anchor texts

When you do a search on Google for “parenting tips”, the website betterparenting.com is nowhere to be found in the first 10 pages.

search on google

If you do the same search on Yahoo, the website is ranked 2nd, on the first page.

search on yahoo

Without a doubt, the website is penalized by Google. Let’s dig deeper and find the reason.

From the Monitor Backlinks report below, we can see that the website has over optimized the keywords “parenting” and “parenting tips”.

over optimized keywords

If we search even more, with Ahrefs, we can see that the most common words used as anchor texts are “parenting” with 40% and “tips” with 14%. So without a doubt, the website is penalized by the Google Penguin update, but it’s still ranking in Yahoo.

anchor texts

Conclusion about anchor texts

Don’t over optimize your main keywords because your website will be penalized, and your rankings will drop.

2. Build too many links to your homepage

No website in the world will look natural if it has links only to the homepage. If you are serious about SEO and you want results, remember that your goal is to make the backlinks profile look as natural as possible.

Many online marketers get too excited about ranking their homepage, and they forget to build backlinks to other pages. Instead of building hundreds of links to your homepage, you should split these links to your blog posts, as well.

This is one of the most important factors Google considers when ranking websites. Let’s check BetterParenting.com again.

too many links to homepage

Can you see a pattern? 530 links to the homepage, and the 2nd most linked page has only 7 links. It’s like calling Google and telling them that all you care about is your homepage.

This is a major mistake many SEO experts are still doing.

3. Writing useless and thin content

When people will land on your website, most of the time they will be looking to find a solution to their problem. Your website must have the right answer. Nobody likes useless pages with thin content, and neither does Google.

There are endless discussions about the posting length. Many say that the articles should have at least 500 words, but I think different. When you start to write a post, your goal should be to provide as much value as possible. If you have reached your goal after 1000 words, then that’s how long the post should be. If not, keep writing.

If your goal is to reach 500 words, then it’s impossible to write quality content.

Wikipedia ranks on top of the search engines because they provide long, and detailed articles. Most of these have at least 2000 words.

4. Not keeping track of your backlinks

Links are still the most important factor to rank in search engines, and they will probably still be for at least a few years. This is why it’s vital to check your backlinks, and find which ones provide value. Once identified, try to replicate those links.

A lot of SEOs concentrate their efforts on building backlinks, and they forget to analyze the links that they currently have.

Here are some benefits of tracking your backlinks:

  • Identify the best backlinks and replicate them

  • Know what links drive the most traffic

  • You know when somebody is placing a link to your website

  • Be informed if your competitors are starting a negative SEO campaign against your website

To keep track of your backlinks, you can use our SEO tool.

monitorbacklinks

5. Build too many backlinks in a short period of time

You don’t need to build too many backlinks to your website in order to rank well. What matters is the quality of your backlinks.

Some still think the number of backlinks is very important, but that’s not the case at all. Instead of trying to get hundreds of spammy links, better concentrate your efforts on getting links from authoritative domains in your niche.

If you have a new website and suddenly 100 websites will decide to link to you, it will raise a flag to Google that you are doing something wrong. Keep in mind that “natural” is the word that should define your backlinks profile.

6. Too many ads on your pages

Google tends to penalize websites that have many ads above the fold. Try to keep your website clean. Don’t use annoying pop-ups that can increase your bounce rate.

Even if your CTR might be lower, your user experience is much more important.

7. Website speed

Yes, websites that load fast rank better. Most of the users expect a website to load in 2 seconds. Don’t use unnecessary plugins or scripts that can slow your website.

You can use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to analyze your website. Another great tool you can use to analyze your website speed is PingDom Tools.

8. Ignoring ON-page SEO

ON-Page SEO is at least as important as your backlinks. This is how you can tell Google what your content is about. When you want to do SEO, always start with this ahead of everything.

These are the most important ON-page factors:

  • SEO friendly URLs

  • Title tags, Meta tags and Descriptions

  • Add your main keywords in the first 100 words, but don’t exaggerate

  • Include your main keywords in an H1 tag

  • Long content. Write at least 1000 words / post.

  • Keyword research.

  • Add “ALT” tags to your images

9. Buying links without using the nofollow attribute

Big brands have been caught and penalized because of buying links. If you want to buy links or banners to your website, make sure you use the nofollow attribute.

10. Duplicate content

Google values unique content and hates websites that have duplicate content. Don’t write about the same topic to many times. For instance, “Make money online” and “Make money online today”. This will never help you rank for both keywords better.

Also check if your current content has been posted somewhere else. You can use CopyScape.com for this.

11. Build low quality and irrelevant backlinks

Don’t believe anything you read on forums. If your website has too many low quality backlinks, it’s almost impossible to rank. Once link from an authoritative domain in your niche is more important than 100 low quality ones.

These are the types of links you should avoid:

  • Irrelevant links to your niche

  • Site-wide links

  • Backlinks from pages with very little content

  • Links from pages that are suspected by malware

  • Link exchanges and wheels

  • Directories

If your backlinks profile has these links already, check our backlinks removal guide.

Conclusion

If your website is not ranking high in Google, make sure you are not doing the mistakes I have mentioned above. When you start your link building campaigns, remember that everything has to look natural.

Have you ever been penalized by Google? Let us know in the comments section.

Comments

7 Comments

Spook SEO

I totally agree with you Felix. I can say that Website speed still matters in terms of Seo. I think Google is now formulating a law for the banned of below average loading speed of a certain website this coming next update. That was the rumors I heard from some of my folks.

Felix Tarcomnicu

Yes…website speed is very important, and it’s understandable why. Nobody likes to wait more than 10 seconds for a website to load.

Zeshan

Agree with making too many backlinks in a short period of time. Thank You Felix

Raamamoorthy

Before i thought that if we build more backlinks, the website get a top rank fast. Now only i understood that the quality is more important then quantity. I think that the above 11 points are the golden rule. I will follow. Thanks

K M Monzur Hossein Khan

This are the awesome rules to follow. really helpful. Mainly I think number 6 & 7 are most impotent.
Thank again for this article.

David

Hi Felix

Indeed a great post about SEO mistakes.

According to me, Search engine optimization is something which can make our future If we do it the right way.

You have listed most common seo mistakes which almost every blogger is doing.

In order to rank instantly in SERPs, people are trying un-ethical SEO strategies like keyword stuffing, building low quality or spam links.

Keyword stuffing is the most common and worst SEO mistake I have ever seen. People think that filling the article with so many keywords will help them to rank fast.

But It is wrong, Nowadays Google is very much strict for such webmasters and rolling regular updates to kill these webmaster’s work.

Copying articles from other site is also a most common seo mistake and I had also did this mistake when I started my blogging carrier But now I have completely avoided it.

I am completely against keyword stuffing and copying content.

Thanks for listing all the mistakes here so that people can learn about these mistakes and can try to avoid them. 😀

Rubel

Hello,

Well, Greatly described points about SEO mistakes, we make or have made in our past.

When it started my career in blogging, the only thing I know, was writing article and building links, but majority of my articles were full of keywords and the links I was building was just spam links with optimized anchor texts.

Also, I was not aware of internal links important, but with time everything has improved and these days, I rarely make any SEO mistake.

But, still a huge number of newbies are making these mistakes and I sadly say, that they are wasting their valuable time.

So, considering this, a brilliant post written, it will help many out there, searching for this.

Keep up the good work.

Cheers.


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