If you’ve been with us for the past two episodes of the Search Engine Optimization Guide, you’re already aware how tricky and important SEO really is. Tapping into the online behavior of your audience and ensuring that your website doesn’t disappear into the internet oblivion isn’t easy. But with the right guidance, determination and a lot of hard work, you should really be able to come to the very top over time. This section of our SEO Guide focuses on acquainting you to the most important risks of SEO, the most common SEO mistakes made by people and the SEO opportunities available to you.
Success stories often focus on taking risks that pay off, but the ones that don’t are usually kept under wraps. Success and failure are a part of any initiative, but you need to make sure that you walk along the not-sure-if-this-works line if you’re really looking to position your website among the very best. It’s normal to feel nervous, but it really doesn’t help to stay underprepared. Yes, you need to take risks when it comes to SEO, but you also need to know what risks to take and what risks to avoid. This section of the Search Engine Optimization Guide focuses on helping you understand the top SEO risks that are worth taking and the SEO risks that you are better off avoiding.
Seo Risks Worth Taking
Taking an unnecessary risk means that there is always a potential for something to go wrong. But there are some risks, that aren’t as risky as others. If planned properly, these risks can actually pay off huge dividends. Simply put, the risk you take needs to be a planned and an educated risk. For example, when you bungee jump off the bridge, it’s a planned and calculated risk that you take with your life. SEO isn’t any different either. Ultimately, it boils down to evaluating the risks viz-a-viz the projected rewards and choosing something that requires the least risk and offers the best reward. Here are a few risks that can be worth your while.
- Hire a writer who has no knowledge of SEO. Most people look at hiring writers with some knowledge about SEO, but when it comes to writing, SEO writing isn’t entirely different from normal blog writing. You can always take a chance on a good writer and train the writer to churn out SEO articles. It could really be worth your while.
- Change your website design. Many people think twice before changing their website designs because it could confuse search engine bots and scare away the readers. But changing your website design can work wonders for SEO, provided you get it right. It is a risk, but it is one that you should be willing to take.
- Hiring a social media expert. Hiring a social media expert is certainly risky because the position is quite new. You need to evaluate the role of social media on your business and the amount of time and money it takes. Since the social media expert position is growing quickly, hiring the right social media expert can actually pay a lot of dividends.
SEO Risks to Avoid
There are a few SEO risks that are simply not worth taking. You might feel that the no risk, no reward theory applies to the world of SEO as well, but that isn’t always the case. Here are a few SEO risks that you are always better off avoiding.
- Article spinning. The sheer number of web marketers who still make use of practices of article spinning is quite shocking. Article spinning simply means that you replace a few words in the article to try and make it look unique. It makes use of software that selects random words. The problem with article spinning is that many a times, the article makes no sense at all, and this can be quite embarrassing for the brand.
- Outsourcing SEO copywriting. There are a number of things that go haywire because of outsourced SEO copywriting. Plagiarism, lack of clarity, poor content and improper English are just a few of the things that you need to be aware of. It always makes more sense to hire someone in-house because it means that you have more control on the final output.
- Keyword stuffing and negative SEO practices. Although this doesn’t need to be told, you really need to stay away from negative SEO practices and keyword stuffing. These tactics are known as black hat SEO tactics because search engines simply hate websites that follow such practices.
- Comment spamming. All blog owners know how irritating comment spamming is. Moreover, comment spamming is a major time waster because it doesn’t offer any real rewards. The process basically involves sending out thousands of useless comments on sites that auto-approve all comments. Most of these sites set comments to “no follow” which means that the PageRank is not passed back to the links mentioned in the comments.
- Development issues. Working with the source code of your website might sound to be exciting, but it’s not easy. Refrain from changing the source code unless you’re a developer. Messing with the code is one of those risks that is simply not worth the time and the effort.
There are a number of SEO mistakes that keep cropping up every now and then. This usually happens because SEO is a complex process that is ever-changing and ever-adapting. In other words, most SEO mistakes usually arise out of misconceptions and myths. This section of the Search Engine Optimization Guide tries to highlight some of the most common SEO mistakes that people end up making.
- Stuffing the content with keywords. Any content that is stuffed with keywords is not only bad to read, it is bad for the website rankings as well. Today, search engines pay a lot of stress on promoting websites that really offer searchers with some value. This means that you need to stop stuffing the keywords and start focusing on producing better content.
- Avoiding social media. Social media can really work wonders in boosting the overall presence of your website. Make sure that you have a social media presence and build a good reputation across different social media channels to gain more references.
- Broken links. The term broken links refers to hyperlinks that no longer exist or no longer send users to the intended web page. Broken links give your website a bad reputation and this downgrades your search engine rankings as well.
- Having thin content. Having thin content simply means that your website doesn’t have an adequate amount of content in it. Many websites are thin on content and this can actually be quite damaging for the site’s SEO rankings.
- Copied content. Having authentic content is one of the most important things. Search engines frown upon websites that post copied content and sends them into oblivion. The ideal way to ensure that you have original content on your website is to check the content for plagiarism using tools such as Copyscape.
- Black hat SEO techniques. Many website owners fall prey to black hat SEO techniques and this really damages the reputation of their website. These techniques are usually very aggressive and they don’t obey the guidelines set by search engines. Make sure that you are aware of the techniques being used by the SEO agency before you start using its services.
- Non-unique meta descriptions and title tags. This is one of the most common problems seen on websites. Content management systems usually generate page titles automatically, but this doesn’t mean that you should be using them. Create authentic, interesting and useful title tags and meta descriptions.
- Targeting the wrong audience. Another problem faced by website owners new to SEO is that they end up targeting the wrong audience. The idea isn’t to create amazing content and get exciting reviews. The idea is to create outstanding content and get fantastic reviews from your target customers.
- Avoiding analytics. Many website owners fail to analyze their website data. If you’re really putting in efforts on Search Engine Optimization practices, wouldn’t you want to know how effective your efforts are? Wouldn’t you love to find out ways to improve on your efforts? Site analytics are an ideal way of doing just that!
- Not allowing your website to be crawled. Google recently cited this issue as one of the most common mistakes being made by people while making a website. When you prevent your website from being crawled, you make it difficult for search engines to rank and index your website.
Search engine optimization can be used to attract highly targeted audience to your website. Visitors who visit your website using the natural search feature, will only visit your site if it has the specific information that they desire. Studies have shown that most internet users understand the main differences between paid search results and natural search results. As a result, they’re more than likely to click on the natural results, because these results appear to be more effective. Furthermore, natural search results also work wonders in building a sense of trust with the internet searcher. Simply put, if the opportunities for SEO are available to you at an amount that is economical and cost effective, it offers much better results than paying search engines to place your website in search results.
Moreover, the costs for SEO are relatively fixed and they do not depend on the amount of clicks your website receives. This means that when you use Search Engine Optimization practices, your cost-per-click reduces and your operational costs become lower. On the other hand, when you make use of paid search results, your costs are extremely variable and entirely dependent on the click through ratios.