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The Top 11 SEO Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) …AKA STOP THE MADNESS!

I know, I know, it’s all been said and done, but I went the extra mile and am giving you not just 10 mistakes but 11 mistakes!  Mistakes that people are making every single day, over and over again.  It’s worth repeating until we stop the madness.

Here we go…

Mistake Number One: Not optimizing your site

Solution: Optimize your site! J I know it’s pretty basic but it’s amazing how many people say “Why am I not ranked on top of the engines” and when you start asking questions you find out they never optimized their site or worked on link building.  People seem to resent having to pay for SEO (don’t get me wrong, if you have skills and time you can most definitely do it yourself – but you can’t fool yourself – you have to really have the knowledge and skills and make the time).   But you have to remember, building a site and not promoting it (through SEO, social media, PPC and all the various methods out there) is the same as opening a store on a street no one ever walks or drives down and then keeping the lights off, not having a sign and putting paper over the windows.  No one knows it’s there.

Mistake Number Two: Not doing proper keyword research and ignoring longtail opportunities.

Solution: Be thorough in your research, don’t just do it once and forget it.  Use as many tools as you can get your hands on – look at web stats and look at the logs for the search feature on your site – get a feel for what people are looking for.  The keywords you choose are the foundation of your campaign and will determine your success.  If your phrases are all way too competitive, it’ll take too long to get results and you’ll struggle in the interim.  If your phrases are all too generic, you aren’t going to have good conversions.  You want a balance of phrases that cover totally targeted to a little broader (check out my article on SearchEngineJournal for more details on keyword research: )

Mistake Number Three: Ignoring local.  You’re loco if you don’t do local!

Solution: Make sure your site is listed in the relevant local engines/directories.  Make sure your site is optimized for mobile!

In April, comScore reported that mobile searches had skyrocketed by 90%.

Compete’s first-quarter 2010 study finds that consumers rely more and more on their smartphone devices (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry etc) to search for retailers and other local businesses.

According to Compete, 1 out of 3 smartphone users have been led to a local business after finding in through local mobile search.  Danielle Nohe, director, technology and entertainment for Compete, is calling on local businesses to optimize their sites for mobile/smartphone users.

Mistake Number Four:  Spamming, keyword stuffing, setting up link farms and all other forms of nefarious Blackhat deeds.

Solution: While adding a bunch of keywords to a page may have gotten rankings way back in the day, that is no longer the case.  The engines don’t like blatant keywords stuffing; site visitors don’t like blatant keyword stuffing in articles or site pages.  I don’t like blatant keyword stuffing in articles or site content.  Blatant keyword stuffing is not something you should do, because blatant keyword stuffing is bad.  You may notice when you write pages that have blatant keyword stuffing, your pages don’t read well.  So notice to all the blatant keyword stuffers – blatant keyword stuffing doesn’t work so please stop all blatant keyword stuffing immediately!  J  (If that didn’t disturb you to read, your Black hat is probably on a little too tight – try removing it and reading again, you’ll notice it was horrendous) There are various other forms of evil Black Hattery other than just blatant keyword stuffing – my best advice to you is avoid it all. Focus on adding good content that naturally uses your keywords, focus on adding new content and attracting links to that content and also focus on social media to spread content and drive traffic and links – do all that and you’ll be just fine.

Mistake Number Five: Template websites, Site Builders, Freebie websites that are already <airquote> optimized <airquote>.

Solution: While I certainly understand that not everyone is a web designer and not everyone has the budget to hire a jazzy web designer, getting a site that is a template and inherently not friendly to the search engines isn’t saving you anything.  You may have paid very little to get it, but you aren’t going to be able to drive traffic to it.  (Of course I am assuming that aforementioned traffic is the goal of the site. If you want a site you are manually driving traffic to via other ads and marketing campaigns, and not one that you need optimized so you can tap into all the “street” traffic out there then a template site would be fine).  If you need a low cost solution, search for templates that are SEO friendly, or better yet, just go with a WordPress Blog – once you get it installed you can work with adding content and images and won’t need a web designer.

Mistake Number Six: Not adding unique content

Solution: If you want to create a site that is rich in content and a popular resource amongst internet surfers, then adding quality, unique content is a must.  Sure, the search engines like it too.  It shows them your site is worthy of being ranked because it’s actively growing with information related to the theme of your site.  Please note I said a couple important words: quality and unique. Don’t get me wrong, reposting other people’s content (with the appropriate link and credit to them) is a great way to share information with your site visitors and I’m all for it.  But if your site is nothing but aggregated content from other sources, you won’t do as well.  If you do post other people’s content, start or end it with your take on the info. Offer some insight and opinion and feedback.  It makes it much more interesting for the site visitors and it creates a reason for them to come back to your site – they should be waiting with baited breath to see what you are going to say next.

Mistake Number Seven: Going cheap!

Solution: “You get what you pay for” is a phrase that has lasted the ages for a reason.  It’s true!  So often I see people falling for cheaper SEO services or even worse: mass submissions to hundreds of sites and they are so happy because they are paying so little.  But in most cases, that small monthly fee adds up over time and you really aren’t getting any results from it, so you may as well burn that money.  Spending wisely and price shopping is never bad but going cheap rarely pays off.  My suggestion: be frugal but wise.

Mistake Number Eight:  Using mass submission software.

Solution: I alluded to this in number seven but it’s worth repeating.  Mass submission to hundreds or thousands of engines will NOT get your site on top.  ‘Nuff said.

Mistake Number Nine: Ignoring social media/networking (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blog etc)

Solution: SEO and social media are interconnected in a way that many people don’t want to admit or acknowledge.  Social media is not just a passing trend that is a distraction from “real work” – social media does impact SEO and it can increase exposure and traffic for your site.  You don’t have to like it, but you do have to do it (if you care about keeping your site on the forefront).  If it’s overwhelming, start with getting a killer Facebook Fan Page up and work on building fans, and then introduce Twitter and then move on to YouTube.  It’s OK to do it in stages, just make sure you are working towards social media mastery.

Mistake Number Ten: Not staying current on changes in the industry.

Solution: Search engines and social media sites make changes often. Staying current is important for many reasons: you want to be sure your site is cutting edge and taking advantage of all strategies and techniques that are proven to work, you also want to make sure you aren’t wasting your time on old school stuff that doesn’t work.   SearchEngineJournal is a great place to stay current and hear all the latest and greatest!

Mistake Number Eleven: Jumping on the bandwagon of every single trend that crops up.

SEO is really pretty basic and simple – stick to the evergreen and you are good to go.

Solution: I know, I know, first I said stay current, new strategies are good and then I said don’t jump on every new trends that pops up.  So lemme clarify….staying current and hearing about the trends is important but using your intelligence and common sense to determine which of the new strategies are worth trying is vitally important.  Always question the reason behind a new strategy.  If it seems based in trickery and not something that will likely last, you probably want to avoid it.

There are actually so many more mistakes but I’m going to see what you guys have to say for now and I’ll be back with more soon!  Be sure to share your questions and comments and add the mistakes you see people making.  Together we can stop the madness!

Category SEO
Jennifer Horowitz

Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing for – a full service SEO, Web Design & Development and Social ...

The Top 11 SEO Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)  …AKA STOP THE MADNESS!

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