8 Most Common Mistakes Companies Make When Doing Their Own SEO
As a professional website design and search engine optimization company, we often work with clients to do SEO. A Mesa Arizona SEO company has many components with which it must work, and a key part of the program is content creation. While we do have 2 awesome writers and a crew that is second to none when it comes to creating content for websites, we are still limited by the available data on the topic we are writing about. For this reason, we often work with clients in creating content, and with some clients, we even share optimization tasks. Here are the things I most commonly see clients doing that can harm or even fatally kill an SEO campaign:
- Thin Content – Let’s face it, writing about some topics can be tough. After 20 or so roofing blogs, you may not have much left to say about roofs. This causes some entrepreneurs to attempt shorter blogs. While technically a page can have as little as 300 words, we recommend shooting for 500 words or more on all pages on the site. This even applies to pages that are not main pages. We had a client who learned about landing pages, and in his excitement he created 50 blank pages with city / service names, and then left them there for a few weeks. Of course, analytics went down. Why? Thin content on those pages sent a negative signal to Google that the site as a whole may not be a top quality site1 – quality sites limit their thin content, as it increases bounce rate. 2
Duplicate Content – Duplicate content is so not understood. The majority of SEO companies do not get it, even Google seems somewhat at odds with their own philosophy from time to time. 3
For Duplicate Content to be an issue, there are a few things to differentiate:
– Is the content taken from another site? That is plagiarism, and open to penalty sitewide, particularly if content is copied with no attribution.
– Is the content taken from another page on the same site? In this case, subtract the duplicate content from the new page – without the duplicated content, does it still have 500 unique words? a unique image or video? In these instances the duplicated content does not hurt much, it just does not help. Moreover, more unique = better for Google ranking, so on most pages, any duplicated content you eliminate helps, aside from duplicate content that is expected and needed – specifically, navigation or user interface elements should be duplicated and consistent.
– Is there more duplicate content or unique on the page?
– Lastly, even if the content is not duplicated, has the same idea already been talked about on your website? In this instance, one of the pieces of content should rank and not the other, even if the verbiage is totally unique. The Hummingbird algorithm dealt with Google’s handling of concepts as opposed to words and phrases, very interesting. 4 You can see more on some of the penalties out there here on this SEO penalty cheat sheet.
Keyword Stuffing – As anyone familiar with SEO knows, stuffing keywords can get you in trouble with the algorithm. Typically, a stuffed page will get penalized in isolation, but many stuffed pages can get the site as a whole a quality hit.
I’ll also say keyword stuffing is very 2005. If you understand the concept of long tail keywords, and you have related terms prepared for use, as described in latent semantical indexing, then you would not need or want to repeat the same phrase over and over. Moreover, if Google is now interpreting concepts as opposed to individual words, then concept stuff is the new version of keyword stuff. Like this article which manages to link to like every authoritative article about SEO ever written to this article. 5 6
- Inconsistent Publishing – Another sign of a quality site is producing content consistently over time. Dropping 30 landing pages or 30 blogs at one time, then nothing for a year is a bad strategy. You need to keep your readership highly engaged, which means supplying new and interesting information on a consistent and timely basis. This also ties back to your social media – if you do not publish, you do not update social, bad signal for search engines, and it looks bad to clients when they see companies have not engaged on social for a long period of time.7
- Many companies fall into the trap of buying links. Purchased links are a mixed bag of nuts. Here at My Favorite Web Designs, we have never purchased links, but we do compete with site that do. You can see this pretty obviously – when you check your competitor link profile, they have spammy or low quality content on non branded third party sites with direct exact match anchor links back to their money pages. This is not natural. Now the problem is that Google does not always penalize or catch this behavior. So you will have one guy telling all his friends how he purchased links through the Ukrainian Link buying network, and now he is #1 and making all this money. Unfortunately, Google eliminates this type of spam in blocks. So, there may be no penalty for a long time, and then anyone who ever did business with that link selling network suddenly gets nuked off the Google planet. 8 9 10
- Another common pitfall for the DIY SEO warrior lies in site speed and hosting selection. Most of the hosting options you see when looking for hosting are for shared hosting. Shared hosting, which I have discussed extensively in my hosting page, is a mixed bag of nuts. On the upside, you can get your site hosted on a server for as little as $25 a year, which is awesome. On the downside, good hosting can be obtained for about $200 a year, and for the $175 you save by going with cheaper hosting you are then subject to shortcomings of every site on your shared server. If one site is hacked, and consuming resources wildly, this will affect the resources left over to serve your site. This becomes most important when considering Googlebot crawl. If Googlebot comes to your server, and the server takes 20 seconds to respond due to overload, that is a terrible user experience for the visitors to the site, and Google will look bad if it sends people to a site that does not load. With shared hosting, your site might be good enough 90% of the time, but when you are working on marketing for the web, having your site unusable 10% of the time is totally unacceptable. 11 12
- Too much link building. What?? What is too much link building? Ok, so technically you can have as many links as possible, and the more the merrier, but there are caveats and details to this policy. First, where is the link coming from? A lot of links from low quality sites can hurt your rep, and in some cases need to be disavowed. 13 14 A large number of links from sites that are not topically related or geographically related can also hurt. Too many exact anchor match links can be bad. And gaining links too quickly is also definitely a bad thing, also known as unnatural link velocity. 15
- Lack of Unique Rich Media or stolen rich media. I cannot tell you how many times I have spoken with business owners who have been taking images from Google images to use in their work, with no thought of licensing or copyright. This fall under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and is illegal, and can cause a lawsuit against the violator. But that is not really relevant from an SEO perspective – from an SEO perspective, if you get busted violating DMCA, your site will be penalized, and many rights holders are pushing search engines to get even tougher in enforcing this. It is important and beneficial to have your own unique rich media to accompany your written words. With proper attribution or rights you can certainly make your article better by adding content from third parties on youtube and wiki commons, and you should, but do not rely on copied media for your rich media component, have unique rich media mixed in there as well. 16
 "Thin content with little or no added value – Search Console …" 2013. 26 Oct. 2015 <https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2604719?hl=en>
 "Duplicate content – Search Console Help – Google." 2013. 26 Oct. 2015 <https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en>
 "Help me my site is penalized by google recently hummingbird." 2013. 26 Oct. 2015 <https://moz.com/community/q/help-me-my-site-is-penalized-by-google-recently-hummingbird>
 "What Is The Value Of Social Media Engagement? – Forbes." 2014. 26 Oct. 2015 <http://www.forbes.com/sites/kylewong/2014/05/13/what-is-the-value-of-social-media-engagement/>
 "The Private Blog Network Purge – Are You at Risk? | SEW." 2014. 26 Oct. 2015 <http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2374165/the-private-blog-network-purge-are-you-at-risk>
 "Google Penalizes Blog Networks, Did SEOs Use It To Hurt …" 2014. 26 Oct. 2015 <https://www.seroundtable.com/google-link-network-14932.html>
 "Has Google ever busted your Private Blog Network? – BlackHatWorld." 2014. 26 Oct. 2015 <http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/black-hat-seo/671167-has-google-ever-busted-your-private-blog-network.html>
 "PageSpeed Tools | Google Developers." 2012. 26 Oct. 2015 <https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/?hl=en>
 "Disavow Tool – Google." 2012. 26 Oct. 2015 <https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main>
 "Disavow backlinks – Search Console Help – Google." 2013. 26 Oct. 2015 <https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2648487?hl=en>
 "Can You Build Too Many Links Too Fast? Depends." 2014. 26 Oct. 2015 <https://www.seroundtable.com/too-many-links-16282.html>
 "Using Photos & Data Under a Creative Commons License." 2015. 26 Oct. 2015 <http://www.seobythesea.com/2015/04/using-photos-data-under-a-creative-commons-license/>
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