You know SEO is important. It helps your ideal audience find your website and connect with your content. But when there are so many factors that influence your site’s rankings, it’s tough to know which areas to focus on — and where you might be going wrong. Watch out for these three common mistakes that can lower your ranking in search results and hurt your site traffic.
Over-optimizing your site
In an effort to improve your site’s SEO, it’s possible to go overboard. Today’s search engines recognize keyword stuffing and link spamming. Whether it’s intentional or not, adding too many keywords or including irrelevant links can penalize your site ranking.
The key to avoiding over-optimization is to create content for humans — not algorithms. Make your site user-friendly and provide value to readers with clear, compelling content. While you should look to incorporate keywords in your website’s metadata and page copy, make sure you’re using those keywords with purpose.
Links from other sites drive traffic to your content and establish site authority, which in turn contributes to higher rankings. Backlinks — or incoming links to your site — are a top factor in Google search rankings. But they need to be relevant in order to help.
How do you earn quality links? The best way is to create content that is “linkable” or shareable. Build relationships in your industry or market, especially with other sites that your ideal audience may already be visiting. If you have great content, those sites will naturally want to link to it.
With so much to monitor and adjust, it’s easy to let basic SEO maintenance fall by the wayside. But seemingly small issues can have a negative impact on your rankings. The biggest violators include duplicate content and meta descriptions, missing ALT tags on images and broken links. Slow site speed can also weaken your ranking.
Tap into site audit tools to help identify these problems, and then work to eliminate or correct them so your site performs at an optimal level. These updates not only improve rankings and traffic but also the user experience.
SEO is not something you can set and forget. Once you address these common missteps, you’ll have to continue to optimize your site and add rich content to simply maintain your ranking. Even with plenty of effort and attention, you may at some point stop seeing improvement — which is a great indication that it’s time to change up your SEO tactics. Expand your keywords, create a new type of content or target different audience segments. Through it all, think about how to keep your site fresh and functional.
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