SEO 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Avoiding the Most Common SEO Mistakes

SEO 101Curious to know what SEO is all about? You’ve heard it multiple times that it’s the key to gaining traffic the organic way.

Everyone else who has a business or website seems to have a handle on it. You, on the other hand, are lost and confused about how SEO works. It’s something you can’t seem to wrap your brain around and when you finally try your hand at it, there’s no significant increase in traffic.

Rather than give up and forget all about SEO, put your efforts towards conducting an audit of your website. What might be holding you back from gaining traffic is some simple mistakes.

That’s why we’ll go over the most common ones with our useful SEO 101 guide.

Ready to find out how you can increase traffic? Let’s get into it!

How Does SEO Work?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of things, let’s go into detail about how SEO works.

For starters, search engines are complex. They use crawling and indexing functions which ultimately determine how your website ranks.

Crawling is the use of bots who “crawl” your site looking for content that’s relevant and related to certain keywords. Indexing is the process of storing web pages in a search engine’s database. When indexed, that means your site and its information will show up on result pages.

Technical detail aside, your focus should be on creating content that’s engaging, relevant and useful. For your website, it needs to be fast-loading, visually appealing, and user-friendly.

Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we’ve gotten the inner workings of how SEO works, let’s move onto common mistakes business and website owners usually make.

Keyword Stuffing

Keywords are what’ll get you ranking higher in search engine result pages (otherwise known as SERPS). But one common mistake you may not realize you’re making is the overuse of certain keywords.

Otherwise known as keyword stuffing, you may be using your target keywords one too many times. Using them in every other sentence may not seem like a lot but it is in the eyes of search engines.

They could deem this black hat SEO practices. In other words, you’re using unethical tactics to quickly rank higher in results. This is a huge no-no as it could get your website penalized or even permanently banned from the ranks altogether.

Not Using Quality External Links

For this common mistake, quality is best. Linking to sites with a credible reputation is better than linking to those whose websites look questionable.

On top of that, you might be using ineffective anchor text as well. Anchor text gives readers a clue as to what they’ll be clicking on. That’s why using phrases such as “click here” or “learn more here” are ineffective as readers don’t know what it’ll lead to.

For example, we linked to one of our articles about the different types of SEO techniques above. “Black hat SEO practices” is used as the anchor text to let you (the reader) know what the article will contain. Remember this for when you have to use anchor text.

Not Creating Original Content

Do you plan to have a blog on your site? If so, you may be thinking you’ll need a ton of content on the first day it launches.

While a lot of articles are great for SEO, that can be easily overshadowed if you aren’t creating content that’s original. Hiring low paid writers and allowing the use of article spinners–software that rewrites an existing article so it looks unique to search engines–is a quick way to losing your high rank.

When it comes to creating original content, quality reigns over quantity. Focus on what your potential readers want as far as content goes by looking at forums and hosting focus groups. That way, your content will be unique and tailored to your audience.

Not Writing Like a Human

The ones reading your content don’t know the industry you’re in like you do. They won’t know the type of slang used to describe products nor the lesser known terminology in your field.

This also goes for writing for search engine bots, not humans.

Instead, create your content as if you were in your reader’s shoes. Someone looking for hoodies wouldn’t type in “hooded sweatshirt,” therefore, you wouldn’t use the latter as a keyword.

Having a Slow-Loading Site

A slow-loading site is not only a nuisance to visitors, it can also affect your rank. A site can be easily overloaded with pictures, videos, and other graphics.

To ensure your site is quick to load, reduce file sizes for images and limit the number of pages. Embrace the use of white space and don’t incorporate a lot of ads.

The key is to get visitors to stay on your website as long as possible. Your ranking may go down if the search engines notice people are quick to click off your site.

Not Taking Advantage of SEO in the First Place

We get it, SEO is a complex and complicated thing to understand. It can take years to master but even then, you have to keep up constantly with trends and algorithm changes.

Without taking advantage of this free tactic, people won’t find you. SEO gets your content in front of potential users.

You did the hard work of creating valuable content. With that in mind, you need SEO to get your content to those who’ll benefit from it.

SEO 101 Defined

Don’t let the complicated nature of SEO deter you from taking advantage of it. Let our SEO 101 guide assist you in reminding you which mistakes to avoid and why you should keep SEO at the top of your priorities list.

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