We talk a lot about what makes for good SEO practices and strong content
, but what are the pitfalls and actions that can work against your SEO? It’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do when you are developing your strategy and putting it into practice.
Here are some things to avoid when working on your SEO:
1. Duplicate content
Search engines have web crawler “bots” that scan your website’s content regularly to index them for search results. Search engine bots will recognize content that is duplicated on multiple pages with different web addresses and ignore or demote affected pages, or scan your site less frequently because they believe it’s not updated with new content.
2. Keyword stuffing
Repetition of your keywords throughout your content IS helpful for your SEO, but overdoing it and stuffing keywords in everywhere is not. Both consumers and search engine bots find content overstuffed with keywords unattractive, leading to fewer organic visitors to your site sticking around long enough to convert into customers.
3. Avoiding reviews
Avoiding asking your customers to leave you reviews because you aren’t sure what they’ll say is not worth the risk of losing the search rank boost and authority that reviews can lend your page. Even if you have complaints posted, they can be a place where you showcase your customer service in how you respond to customers who have had issues. Reviews are becoming more and more important to SEO and potential customers’ first impressions of your business, you may as well bite the bullet and take advantage of the real boost they can give your SEO.
4. Opening social media pages—and then ignoring them
Social networks are here to stay, and nearly everyone is on Facebook, Google+ and Yelp. If you haven’t yet done so, open company pages or claim company listings on any and all social media outlets you come across. More importantly, own and manage those pages so that you know what is being posted on or about your page. We have seen incidents involving private party photos posted to the main company sociall media accounts that went unnoticed for long periods of time because no one was paying attention to the activity on the accounts—not the best first impression to give a potential customer who hears your name and searches for you.
5. Having a website that isn’t mobile friendly
Google has adjusted their scoring algorithm to reduce the rank non-mobile friendly websites for the second time. As more and more people use their mobile devices and tablets to search for information, Google wants to serve them with sites that will be easily read on smaller screens and, all other factors being equal, a site that is mobile friendly will outrank a non-responsive website every time on a mobile search. Open your website using your phone or tablet—do you see a shrunken version of your site, or do you see content that is laid out in an easy to read manner that is adjusted to fit your screen? If it’s the former, it’s time for an upgrade.
6. Irregular or no updates
Regular updates are one of the three most important and basic elements of any SEO strategy. If you do not regularly update your page contents, don’t bother considering utilizing online media in your marketing plan, it will be a waste of your time.
There are other technical issues you might want to check in with your website developer about, but the most important element in your SEO plan is for you to own it. Today’s marketplace is ever-expanding thanks to the growth of the internet, and regardless of what type of business you run, you can’t ignore your company’s web presence.