The Top 5 Embarrassing SEO Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)
It’s challenging to manage a website in a way that improves search results. Even mistakes that only take a few seconds to make might have long-term consequences. Using strategies that were effective for maintaining a high search rank a few years ago can now backfire.
We looked to the internet and asked SEO experts to describe the worst mistakes they’ve ever encountered. These are their comments.
1. “Fool me once, shame on your rank,” a new client who had previously dealt with a different third-party SEO agency contacted me. They were receiving a fairly consistent stream of Google traffic, but I saw that Google Images accounted for the majority of it. After doing some research, I discovered that they were receiving this traffic as a result of “adult-related search terms,” which their previous agency had modified the alt-text of their images to. This, of course, set off Google’s quality-checking algorithms, which caused their rank to collapse.
How to prevent:
Being dishonest may attract some visitors to your website, but as soon as they understand it’s not what they were looking for, they quickly depart. Search engines are informed when users swiftly leave your site because it didn’t answer their questions, which decreases your site’s ranking. Google’s search engines also consider a page’s overall consistency. Google will flag your page as spam if your textual content discusses new features for the Subaru Outback but your image description is, um, something else.
Who requires content? Our demand for speed is urgent. The fact that the client’s site was for professional services only served to heighten the surprise at this proposal since the content was simply a list of their services. The website included about 7-8 service pages, each of which contained about 800-1000 words of original, excellent content.
While the website’s performance on Google wasn’t too poor, there were some speed difficulties. The “SEO agency” advised them to reduce the material on their service pages to a maximum of 50 words in order to speed up the website.
Without a doubt, they entirely dropped out of the rankings, continued to have problems with site speed, and saw a terrible decline in visitors.
How to prevent:
Content reigns supreme in the SEO industry. One of the most important ranking factors for search engines is having high-quality, relevant content. It’s how search engines decide whether or not your page contains the response to a user’s search query. Page speed is another crucial ranking aspect to take into account, but there are a myriad of factors that could be influencing it. Have an expert do a thorough diagnostic test on your website if page speed is a problem to identify your choices.
Where links go when they die. One of my clients was a wealth of knowledge.
He said, “We don’t disavow bad backlinks because that signals to Google there might be bad links on that site,” “Google is smart enough to know when a link is broken and it will fix itself,” and “Just stuff the page with links but make the font white so people can’t see them!” during our initial consultation.
Additionally, he had his adolescent nephew post spam comments on various websites, including blogs, YouTube, and spam sites, with connections to their website. Of course, they blamed Google for their poor ranking because they thought they were doing everything correctly.
Google can detect your bad links from a mile away, so avoid doing it. Because of these, you won’t think twice about reducing your rank. Conduct routine site audits to make sure all links are active and pertinent. Spamming your site with low-quality links will only get you punished. Instead, concentrate your efforts on acquiring links of high caliber. Some ways of getting these links are: getting covered by local news sources, getting listed in your OEM directory, or producing your own quality content that links to your site.
4. The simple change and costly mistake.
“This happened for an organization I worked for a few years back. They snatched up their domain name when the “.org” extension became available. All is well thus far.
They immediately set up a 301 redirect pointing the newly acquired.org domain to their main.com website. Their reasoning made sense — to capture wayward visitors who might type in the wrong extension.
But the next day, they called us, frantic. Their site traffic was nonexistent. They had no idea why.
A few quick checks revealed that their search rankings had disappeared from Google overnight. It didn’t take too much Q&A to figure out what had happened.
They put the redirect in place without considering the risk. We did some digging and discovered that the.org had an unfavorable past.
The previous owner of the.org site had used it for spam. With the redirect, Google was assigning all of that poison to the company’s main site!”
How to avoid:
Honest mistakes happen all the time in Search Engine Optimization. Always do your research before associating your website with another. And always consult with an SEO expert before making large changes to your website.
5. Just give Google a call.
“I had a potential client come to me saying that their website had already been ‘SEO optimized’, and all I needed to do was let Google know about their website—five to ten minutes worth of work in their eyes.”
How to avoid:
Optimizing your search results is a never-ending task. Ranking factors are constantly changing. If you want your site to consistently do well, you need to have someone on your team who knows how to navigate those changes and keep your site at the top.
Want to learn more about how to increase your dealership’s search rank and keep it at the top?
Download our free eBook, Level Up! A Holistic Guide to SEO, to:
Navigate the evolving world of search engine optimization for dealerships in 2019.
Recognize the role of Google’s algorithms and use them to your site’s advantage.
Adapt your website’s functions to increase search rank.
Build a holistic network of marketing channels to complement your SEO strategy.
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