7 SEO Mistakes To Avoid in 2019
When you’re doing your site’s SEO, you have to be careful.
The techniques that used to work will now get you penalized.
The techniques that used to be a waste of time are now indispensable.
Given that Google changes its search algorithm frequently, it’s not surprising marketers get confused sometimes.
Speculations about the latest SEO trends run rampant and are a breeding ground for many myths.
For this reason, it’s sometimes difficult to tell fact from fiction.
Of course, the Internet provides the perfect framework for misinformation to spread at an alarming rate.
As a result, many marketers waste their energy and resources implementing useless tactics that don’t get any results.
Or worse, some implement harmful techniques that get them penalized.
It’s a bad deal either way.
To help you avoid making these mistake I have created a list of 7 SEO mistakes to avoid in 2019.
Here we go.
1. Relying on link-backs instead of content
Link-backs, while important, are not the only component of SEO. There is a delusion that merely throwing a lot of links to a site will magically bring massive authority, high rankings, and tons of search traffic.
That’s simply not the case.
Truly effective SEO is about the sum of several parts — not one or two techniques pushed to the extreme.
Think about SEO as if it were a fork. A fork doesn’t work if it has just a single tine. A one-tine fork is a spear. A two-tine fork doesn’t work either. Effective forks have several tines — usually four.
SEO is the same way. In order to be effective, you have to use all four components of SEO:
Links are just part of the solution, not the whole thing. You can rack up a huge link profile, but unless you’re advancing your efforts with content marketing, social signals, and solid onsite optimizing (site speed, UI, etc.), you’re wasting your time and money.
Bottom line: Use a link-back strategy, but keep it balanced with the entire suite of SEO — content marketing, social media, and onsite optimization.
2. Building too many links too fast
How many links do you need to build to rank for competitive terms? You actually don’t need too many. What you need is time. Slow and steady is what’s winning the race in the SEO game.
If you look at the Doctor650 site, not only did they not build too many rich anchor text links, but they also didn’t build too many links altogether. I’ve done this with competitive keywords and noticed that the easiest way to climb to the top is to not build too many links. Instead, go for authoritative links.
If you think building a lot of links is better for you, just look at this case study by Marcus Taylor. He built 10,000 links within 24 hours and shot up to a number one ranking on Google, but within three weeks he was pushed down because he built too many links.
Google’s algorithm is sophisticated because they know at what rate websites typically build links. If your link count is growing at an unnatural pace, you won’t rank too well.
3. Writing a lot of mediocre content
Have you ever read the content on sites like eHow? They have over five million pages of content; they rank for a lot of terms on Google; and they have millions of backlinks.
Although they do well, it’s not worth copying their content strategy. Why? It’s because their content is mediocre and not detailed. For example, if you Google “how to install a bidet”, this page from eHow ranks in the top ten.
Do you see the problem?
That page does a terrible job explaining how to install a bidet. If eHow wrote articles that were over 2,400 words that were very detailed like Wikipedia’s, they would rank much higher and get more traffic.
4. SEO is about writing keyword-rich content
If you want to rank for a term like “business credit cards,” you would need that phrase on your web page, right? That used to be the case, but Google’s algorithm uses latent semantic indexing.
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text. LSI is based on the principle that words that are used in the same contexts tend to have similar meanings.
In other words, Google sees the phrase “corporate credit card” as being similar to “business credit cards.” That means if you use the word “corporate” instead of “business,” you would still rank for both terms.
Instead of trying to write keyword-rich content, write content that is user-friendly. If you put your users first and you write what’s best for them, Google will naturally figure out what terms you should rank for and will place you there.
Plus, no one wants to read keyword-rich content. If I mentioned the word “SEO” 100 times within this post because I want to rank for SEO, you’d get tired of reading and probably stop linking to the site, which would hurt my rankings.
Avoid writing keyword-rich content as it doesn’t help with rankings anymore.
5. SEO is just links, code, and content
That’s what SEO used to be 5 years ago. The sites with mediocre content, tons of links, and good on-page optimization used to rank well.
That’s not the case anymore. These days the sites that do well tend to also have a large social following.
Whether you believe or not that social media has a direct or indirect impact on rankings, it does impact rankings.
The more popular your site is on the social web, the more eyeballs you will draw to it. And the more people see it, the more backlinks it’ll get.
Plus, social media is a great way to seed content and get the initial traction you are looking for.
If you want better rankings, don’t just focus on link building. Also focus on building up your social profiles.
6. More pages means more traffic
Wikipedia is a great example of a content rich site that gets more traffic. So, if you want more traffic you should create more pages, right?
If the pages aren’t high in quality, you won’t rank well. Instead of actually helping you, adding too much content, especially mediocre content, can hurt you.
Google released an update called Panda, which targeted sites with low quality content. Such sites got penalized, and their search traffic dropped.
A good example of this is Wise Geek. They once dominated the rankings due to their large quantity of content, but they got hit hard by Google’s Panda update due to low quality content.
Don’t create sites with thousands of pages, Focus on creating high quality content.
7. Title tags and meta descriptions do matter
During all the years I have been doing SEO, I have noticed one commonly repeated mistake. You take title tags and meta description tags for granted.
Now, before I go into the simple title tag and meta description optimization techniques I use, I want to ask you one favor: don’t take them for granted. I used these simple tactics on sites like Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Mashable, and around 30 other of the top 100 blogs on the Internet and saw their traffic go up drastically.
- Your title tags have to be unique on every page and around 60 characters.
- Do not include your website name in all of your title tags as this makes them seem duplicate. Just include your website name in the title tags for your homepage, about page, contact page, and other generic pages.
- Your meta description tag needs to be unique, represent the content on the page (don’t just stuff it with keywords), and contain around 25 or so words.
Try making those changes to your title tags and meta descriptions. If you already have a good number of links coming into your website matched by a decent number of pages, you’ll notice that those changes can double your traffic like it did for TechCrunch. But if you don’t have that much traffic or links coming in, you won’t notice a big impact in your search engine traffic.
I’ll be honest.
SEO can be maddening at times.
There are always some kind of adjustments being made to Google’s algorithm.
Some are major; some are minor. But this constant tweaking often leads to speculation.
This speculation leads to rumors, and rumors lead to persistent myths.
That’s why I thought I would clear the air about some of the most pervasive SEO trends that are actually quite useless.
I hope that putting things into perspective for you will help you focus on what really matters and help you avoid investing your time and energy into tactics that won’t bring any results.
It should also reduce your odds of incurring any ugly penalties.