There are dozens of ways to generate web traffic, including pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, social media, popup advertising, banners and search engine optimization (SEO). Of those sources, however, SEO is the most cost effective. Aside from the nominal cost of web hosting and a domain name, it typically doesn’t require any other expenses. But if you’re planning to optimize your site for search traffic, you should avoid making the following mistakes.
#1) Low-Quality Outbound Links
When adding outbound links in your site’s content, make sure the site to which you are linking is relevant, reputable and authoritative. As explained by Search Engine Land, links to low-quality sites could trigger a Google search penalty, resulting in lower search rankings for your own site. You can still include outbound links, but you should check them for quality and relevance first.
#2) Publishing Same Content in Multiple Places
According to Google, up to 30 percent of the entire internet consists of duplicate content. When you publish the same content on multiple pages, though, it can confuse search engines as they don’t know which page to index. This particularly true if your site uses a content management system (CMS) like WordPress. Rather than appearing in a single location, your content may appear in the author archives, categories, tags and other places.
#3) Black-Hat Link Building
Attempting to cut corners with your SEO efforts by engaging in manipulative practices is a serious mistake that’s likely to backfire. Black-hat link building, for instance, involves practices that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes paying for links, using automated software to build links, spamming links and overuse of anchor text. To increase your chances of SEO success, you should stick with white-hat link-building techniques.
#4) Targeting the Wrong Keywords
According to the digital marketing experts at Search Engine Journal, targeting the wrong keywords is one of the most common SEO mistakes made by webmasters. Some webmasters focus on short-tail keywords, believing this yields the most traffic. The problem with short-tail keywords, however, is that they often have too much competition. Therefore, opting for short-tail keywords usually works best.
#5) Overlooking Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Don’t overlook the importance of adding a title tag and meta description to every page on your site. Search engines use these elements to construct their listings. Granted, the title tag is a required element for all HTML and XHTML documents, but the meta description is not. Nonetheless, you should include both of these elements in every page.
Avoiding these five mistakes will increase your chances of SEO success.