Optimizing your website for SEO is absolutely essential in an age where nearly all of your audience is online and all of your competitors are, too. But even if you think you are doing everything right, there are a few things that your SEO strategy could be overlooking. Learn more about 8 of the most common SEO strategy oversights here!
#1 You’re Still Using Keyword Stuffing as an SEO Strategy
This is a big one that a lot of SEO strategists are guilty of. In the endless quest to optimize for Google’s algorithm, you can lose sight of who your content is really for—humans.
Yes, keywords are important for helping people find your page on search engines. But what does it matter if they find your page if, once they get there, all they get is an unreadable page of fluff and keywords?
Your content needs to provide value. It needs to actually say something. If you wouldn’t want to read it, your audience certainly won’t. Use keywords strategically throughout the post and, more importantly, throughout the page. Use keywords in the labeling of your images, for example.
If you’re still not convinced that your content needs to be readable for humans, remember that Google is wise to your game. They have realized that many websites were using keyword stuffing as part of their SEO strategy to increase ranking and they will now dock you for that practice.
Instead, write a post around the keyword that is actually relevant. You can also use synonyms to your keyword (which Google can now recognize). So you don’t have to obsessively force your keywords into the post in an unnatural and unreadable way.
#2 You Aren’t Clearing Out Dead Links
If you’ve got live URLs pointing to pages that no longer exist or that you don’t use anymore, you need to clean those out. URL’s that lead to a 404 or another error message will make Google think your website has a quality issue. This will knock you down in ranking.
You can prevent this pretty easily. Just use Google’s Webmaster Tools to find all the pages listed under the “Not Found” section. Get rid of these or replace them with new, relevant pages.
#3 You Aren’t Running Quality Control on Your Links
You might already know that the quality and authority of the sites that are linking to you is important. Google will downgrade you if a lot of your back links are coming from unreliable or suspicious websites.
But did you know that Google’s algorithm also checks what sites you link out to? If you’re embedding links in your content to low quality or untrustworthy websites, Google will downgrade your ranking. Your site won’t be regarded as an authority if it’s referencing low-quality sites as sources of its information.
So you need to be doing quality control on both ends. Make sure that you are only associating with responsible, high-quality websites. An important part of your SEO strategy should be regularly ensuring that all links are related to reliable, trustworthy sites.
#4 Forgetting Yahoo and Bing
Yes, Google holds the undeniable lion’s share of the search engine market. However, there is about a third of the market that they don’t control. So if you’re not registered on Bing and Yahoo, you’re leaving about 30% of the market untapped.
Avoid one of the most common SEO strategy oversights by remembering to index your website with Yahoo and Bing in addition to Google. It doesn’t take much and it opens you up to the full market rather than just a lion’s share of it.
#5 You Aren’t Canonicalizing
If you haven’t heard this term before, then you almost certainly aren’t doing this. Canonicalizing is the process of redirecting variations of your URL to the same preferred URL. Take the below examples:
If each of these variations will take users to the same homepage, then Google’s algorithm is going to treat each of them as separate pages. You need to, instead, set one as your “canonical” tag so that any of these variations is automatically readjusted to the preferred URL as soon as your user hits enter. This will help you avoid confusing Google’s algorithm.
#6 You’re Forgetting Mobile
Today, a substantial amount of users surf the web from a mobile device. The user experience on a mobile device is not the same as on a desktop. If you’ve ever tried to navigate a website designed for a desktop on a mobile device, you know exactly why it’s not the same.
This is one of the SEO strategy oversights you really cannot afford to make. If your website isn’t responsive enough to adapt itself to the device your user is viewing it on, you are going to lose a lot of potential visitors. Build a responsive website that can adapt its features to be more suited to a smartphone or tablet.
You can go deeper than this, too. Users search differently on mobile devices than they do when they’re at a desktop, typing on a keyboard. In your keyword research, look for the kinds of keywords users might be searching when they are trying to find you on a mobile device. Build content around those or adapt them into your existing content where it makes sense.
#7 You’ve Neglected SSL Encryption
Internet users value security. Even if you’ve taken steps to make your website secure, you need to get SSL certifications. This is just a smart idea on its own. But it will also help your SEO efforts.
Google’s algorithm now holds HTTPS websites in higher standing than simple HTTP websites. So that add SSL certification will not only make your site more secure, it will also give you a preferred position in your SEO ranking.
#8 You Aren’t Updating to Avoid SEO Strategy Oversights
Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving to provide its users with the most relevant and reliable results. The SEO strategies that worked in the early 2000s (like keyword stuffing) will now bring you a penalty. The best SEO strategy is one that changes with the times.
You need to regularly tweak it to make sure you’re avoiding these SEO strategy oversights. This will help it fit the changing landscape because what once kept you reigning high on the list will now bury you deep in the lower ranks of Google’s search results. So make sure you are constantly researching and staying up to date on any new changes or practices that you should be taking into consideration.