First of all, let’s make sure one thing is clear: You need SEO.
For as many opportunities as social media provides your digital marketing strategy, appearing in search results for targeted keywords is still something you absolutely cannot ignore if you’re going to be successful online.
But using SEO is like driving a car. If you get behind the wheel and play it safe, you’ll probably end up where you want to be. If, on the other hand, you don’t bother to buckle up and proceed to drive recklessly down the highway, you’re going to pay the price.
Here are 5 SEO gaffes I see all too often. Honk if you’re guilty of any.
1. It’s SEO or nothing, baby.
Maybe your SEO is awesome but you’re not doing anything else to generate traffic. Relying completely on SEO is never advised because doing so means you’re not using it in conjunction with other strategies that will help you build an audience or make sales.
You’re putting all your eggs in the Google basket, and Google has the power to knock the basket over whenever it wants. Be sure you’re promoting your content from as many different outlets as you can in case your SEO success slows down.
Your year-end sales figures will thank you.
2. Spammy article directories
For years, article directories that operate on Google Adsense arbitrage have been publishing your keyword-rich articles and giving you links.
But here’s the problem with these directories: When prospective customers or clients click a link in Google and come across your article, the very fact that you appear in such an obviously spammy, low quality article directory makes you look less like someone they want to buy from and more like someone selling snake oil on a dark corner.
In other words, article directories don’t provide any credibility to your business. If anything, they detract from it. Even the links you get aren’t coming from authority sites in your niche, so their value is questionable.
Alternatively, submit a high quality article or blog post to a widely read publication in your niche. That way you can target readers who will listen to you, and you’ll pick up high quality backlinks from a trusted site.
3. What’s SEO?
To use an oft-cited (but perfectly relevant) example, Gourmet Magazine was forced to shut its doors after 70 years in operation. Its failure to embrace the rise of digital media has been noted by many in the digital marketing sphere as a major reason for its collapse.
Ian Lurie wrote an excellent post about this some time ago, pointing out the complete lack of SEO anywhere on the magazine’s site. If you’re not on board with SEO, you really need to be. Otherwise you’ll be left behind.
4. How much did you pay for that link?
Purchasing links will give you bad SEO karma and possibly get you banned from the search results. Google is getting better at catching it, actually.
If you’re going to buy links, you should really create some targeted pay-per-click ads that will appear in Google search results. That’s the right way to play, and for many companies it has been an absolute godsend when it comes to growing business online.
5. Talking the robot talk
As cool as you may have thought Watson was on Jeopardy, people always come before robots in your SEO. While your content should definitely contain keywords, it shouldn’t read like it was written only for Google.
In the long run, writing for people is actually better for SEO than writing just for the bot. If your content isn’t worth reading, your authority will disappear and no one will want to return to your site.
What’s more, you won’t be getting any good backlinks to your content if nobody can stand to read it. The best backlinks are the ones that come from sites of a subject matter similar to yours. If you want those blogs to link to you, you want to publish valuable content.
While these are some of the most common SEO blunders, they certainly aren’t the only ones. What are some other SEO screw-ups you’ve seen? How can we avoid them? Leave a comment and explain.