In this article, I’m going to document some important SEO mistakes that I came across. Visit this page regularly because I’m going to update it from time to time. Whenever I come across a new mistake that worth noting, I will list it here.
Simply avoiding these mistakes can drastically improve your search engine ranking.
Let’s start with the most common mistake of all……
1. Going after competitive keywords
General keywords are usually competitive keywords. If you do not conduct any form of keyword research, chances are you will think of keywords that are too general and hence too competitive.
For example, if a person runs an internet marketing related blog, he may want to optimize his blog for “make money online” (which has 149 million competing webpages!!). Someone running a Forex website may want to optimize his site for “forex trading” (which has 11 million competing webpages!!).
Aiming for competitive keywords with huge demand is not wrong, but it’s too ambitious. You may be building links like mad, but still wonder why you are not seeing any improvement in your search engine ranking.
The secret here is to go for keywords with some demand and low competition.
I’m not going to go into the details of how to do keyword research because I’ve written about it in Long Tail Keyword Research – A Step-By-Step Guide.
2. Optimizing for too many different keyword phrases per webpage
Don’t be overly ambitious and try to optimize too many keyword phrases for one webpage (including homepage).
For example, I’ve seen a marketer trying to optimize his homepage for “make money online fast”, “affiliate marketing for newbies” and “internet marketing strategies”.
Assuming the keywords have low competition “which I doubt so”, how is he going to include all these keywords into his title tag, which is an important factor in search engine optimization (Read SEO Tutorial Part 1 for details)?
The story will be different if he tries to optimize for “proven ways to make money online fast”, “ways to make money online”, “ways to make money online fast”, “make money online fast”. In this approach, it may seem that he is also trying to optimize many keyword phrases, but technically, all the keyword phrases are linked.
He can have a title tag of “proven ways to make money online fast”. For link building, he can start with “proven ways to make money online fast” and “ways to make money online fast”, which may be an easy target to shoot. Then he can challenge harder keywords such as “ways to make money online” and “make money online fast” and eventually “make money online”. The best part is, his link building effort will help to prove the ranking for all the keywords.
Let me share with you a real-life example. For LeadsLeap.com, our aim is to get to the top rank for “lead generation”. But we started with a longer keyword phrase of “free lead generation system”, and then slowly work our way up. When building links, we began with “free lead generation system”, then move on to “lead generation system” and then to “lead generation”. See the point?
As of today, we are in the first page for keywords like “free lead generation system”, “free lead generation”, “lead generation system” and even “free lead system”. We can optimize for several keywords at one time because they are all related, and we start with long tail keywords.
Lastly I want to emphasize that a website can be built to target unlimited keywords, but EACH webpage in a website, including the homepage, should only be built to target limited number of keywords, preferably linked keywords. If you have 2 keyword phrases that are totally different, you should prepare 2 articles and build 2 webpages for each of them.
3. Poor onpage optimization
This is usually a newbie’s mistake, where his webpage is not optimized for the keyword he is targeting. For example, the title tag may not include the keyword he is trying to optimize, or worse still the content doesn’t have the keyword at all. (Read SEO Tutorial Part 1 for details).
4. Dynamic links
You may want to note that search engines treat dynamic links as unique webpages.
For example, to Google,
http://domain.com/blog/?p=1 is one webpage;
http://domain.com/blog/?p=2 is another webpage.
This may seem obvious since default WordPress links look like this, but not so obvious in some cases.
A typical scenario is when you want to track the click-through. For example, if you post an article in Ezinearticles and you want to track the click-through, your link may look like this:
http://domain.com/my-article.php?track=1234 is one webpage;
http://domain.com/my-article.php is another webpage!!!!
So from link building standpoint, you are building links for http://domain.com/my-article.php?track=1234, not http://domain.com/my-article.php.
5. SEO unfriendly website structure
Lastly, you may want to note that what you see on your webpage may not be what the search engine spider sees.
Case 1 – iframe
Some webpages are built using iframe. Without going into the details, iframe is simply a html code that allows a webpage to show contents from one or more webpages.
For example, webpage A may be full of contents, but if you view the source code, you can only see two links, one to webpage B and one to webpage C. What you see in webpage A is actually contents from B and C. To search engine spiders, webpage A has no content!
This is common in some plug and play systems, where you are promised to have instant online store or instant website, but those kinds of websites are only good for advertisement-generated traffic. They cannot be optimized for search engine traffic at all! Be careful when you buy into such a system.
Case 3 – excessive use of WordPress plugins
For those of you who have your own self-hosted WordPress blog, you will know that the market has tons of plugins that you can use on your blog, and some of them claim to boost your search engine ranking.
My advice is, know your fundamentals well before using them.
I have seen a blog with 2 different title tags, 2 different meta descriptions and 2 different meta keywords for every webpage. I believe they are generated by different plugins. The blogger may have installed 2 SEO plugins and both are trying to “optimize” the page.
I have also seen a blog with an “index,follow” meta tag and a “noindex,nofollow” meta tag, both on the same page! No one in his right mind will do that, but it can be possible if you use different kinds of plugins that work independently from each other to achieve different objectives.
Ok, that’s all for today. I’ll continue to add more common SEO mistakes when I come across them.
Next week, in Part 3 of our SEO tutorial series, I’m going to discuss ALL ABOUT LINK BUILDING.
If you have any questions or doubt about link building, post them below before next Friday. I will try to cover them in the next post.