To put it simply, one of our top priorities in developing SEO strategies is to make the search engines – especially Google – happy. It’s important to follow their rules because they ultimately decide, based on a variety of factors, where your site ranks or whether it shows up in search results at all. This is an important factor to consider because at the end of the day, search engines exist to optimize the user experience. If the online experience is compromised, your website can drastically drop in rankings, or worse, become de-indexed from Google.
While sites are commonly penalized for using black hat SEO tactics, there are also many instances when people are completely unaware of the problems that are hurting their rankings. Here are some of the mistakes you should avoid to stay in Google’s good graces:
1. Broken Links
As I mentioned, Google strives to send people to high-quality sites. For this reason,you can hurt your site’s rankings by having broken links or 404 errors that commonly occur after changing or redesigning a site. To check your own, you can use Google Webmaster Tools and Screaming Frog SEO Spider to find faulty links both internally and externally.
2. Faulty Backlinks
Be sure to check what sites are linking back to yours. If these links are irrelevant to the content on your site, or if they’re simply spam, it’s important that you disavow them.
In 2012, the popular lyrics site Rap Genius asked bloggers to post a series of links directed to Justin Bieber lyrics on their site- a scheme designed to increase their ranking for Justin Bieber lyrics. Google decreased all Rap Genius rankings upon their discovery, making the site nearly impossible to find in search results.
3. Bad Keyword Practices
Keyword practices are a careful balance of moderation and relevance. Content writing should make sense to the reader, with SEO practices coming second. Having too many keywords is unnatural and commonly referred to as “keyword stuffing.” Having too few, however, doesn’t provide enough information about your services to connect people with them. And of course, all keywords should be completely relevant and related to the content on your website.
4. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is just what it sounds like – the same (or largely similar) content that appears in more than one domain or within the same domain. Many times this isn’t intentional, and can happen when you share material from another site, provide a printer-friendly version of existing information, or show the same e-commerce product in multiple categories. In most cases, problems related to duplicate content can be fixed by adding canonical URLS.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways of protecting and increasing your rankings. Do you have any suggestions to add to the list? Comment in the section below, email us at email@example.com, or tweet us @Perfect_Search!