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:
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.
If you do the same search on Yahoo, the website is ranked 2nd, on the first page.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Backlinks from pages with very little content
Links from pages that are suspected by malware
Link exchanges and wheels
If your backlinks profile has these links already, check our backlinks removal guide.
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.