5 Horrible SEO Mistakes You Need to Avoid

This is a guest article by Deborah Dera You too can be part of this great knowledge sharing community. Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.

The world of SEO, or search engine optimization, can be incredibly overwhelming – especially if you are new to blogging and web development. The truth is that many new webmasters are making serious mistakes that are hurting their site’s SEO value more than they’re helping. Here are a few to watch out for as you develop your first site.

Choosing an Unrelated URL

Not long ago I did work for a client who decided that he was going to purchase existing websites with strong rankings and then optimize them for his keywords. His goal was to keep the site’s rankings while changing the total focus. End result? He had a website URL that included the name of a hotel but was trying to optimize the content so that he could sell a home improvement product. One morning he woke up to find that Google had blacklisted his site! Your URL needs to be somewhat related to the content you are posting and, if you can, should include one of your main keywords.

Failing to do Keyword Research

You may be an expert when it comes to selling widgets but building a website based on what you think is popular is going to prove disastrous. You simply must do keyword research before you attempt to build a blog or website. Trust me when I say Google knows what people are looking for better than you do. Google will tell you exactly what keywords and keyword phrases you should be using to optimize your website. Ignoring Google’s advice will not help you to increase your Google rankings.

Ignoring Onsite SEO

Your website needs to be SEO-friendly. You need to have titles on every page included on your site, include great descriptions, and avoid keyword stuffing when you create your content. You also need to have a sitemap so that the search engine bots can easily identify what pages of your site have been updated and what pages need to be indexed. Interlink your pages, using relevant keywords, and make sure all of your graphics have alt descriptions that include keyword phrases as well. The behind-the-scenes aspects of your site may not matter to your visitors, but they matter to Google.

Building Sites in Flash

Here’s the problem with flash. Not everyone who visits your website will have the tools necessary to view it but everyone can view an HTML based site. If you simply must use flash or some other image-based system, make sure you have an HTML version of your website as well. Search engine spiders (and your visitors) will have an easier time seeing your content.

Skimpy Content Creation

The people who visit your website want to see content, not a few lines here or there written only to include keywords and phrases. Give your visitors (and Google) something to read and make sure it is unique. The better your content the more frequently they’ll visit – and Google will notice that traffic.

Search engine optimization doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply stay away from the easiest mistakes to avoid and you’ll see your rankings improving little by little – guaranteed.

  • Flash sites are dieing fast that’s for sure, I personally like flash but it’s a gonner.

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  • You are right my friend. All the mistakes which is usually seen in every blogger and they always forget the onsite SEO. It is the basic and very important thing of SEO. Thanks for your sharing.

  • Good post. My url doesn’t have anything to do with the content of my blog. Not sure how much i has effected me to b honest. Had it three years and Google hasn’t blacklisted me. 🙂

  • Very solid tips and that is coming from not a non SEO guru like myself but rather an experienced user. Really as far as simplicity is concerned, there is nothing else to add here, except perhaps that it is now time to take “action”. This I believe is where many people fail to do. Your website does not have to be new, and if it is, all the better. Start it right and you are good to go..

  • I agree with you, especially on the point – building a website in flash. Websites built in flash is interactive and beautiful, but they are slow to load and definitely not seo friendly.

  • By the way, the the admin of this blog… I have sent you a guest post, did you get it? I wonder whether you will approve and post it or not. 🙂

  • I totally agree with you! Good tips. But I would add to this list “Poor and old content”. Many people forget that it has a very strong influence, because search engines love content!

  • Enjoyed the post, simple but to the point.

    How many words do you believe a blog post should be?

    • Hi Kirk – I think a blog post should be short and too the point, anywhere from 300-500 words. Posts that are longer should be very direct and should include plenty of subheadings and lists so that readers can quickly find the information they’re looking for. The longer the post, the higher your odds of seeing your reader lose interest.

  • Hi Deborah,
    I can not believe that your client was really thinking that his strategy was going to work for him, But I didn’t expect Google to blacklist his either. Good to know.

    I have to agree about flash sites, I personally hate flash sites and I think they only work in rare case like artist sites, game related sites and etc.
    Thanks for a well written post.

  • thax brother, i think, im following the correct SEO steps 🙂

  • I have never seen Google blacklist because a URL doesn’t have anything to do with the content. There were probably other issues like spam or malware having infected the site for it to be blacklisted or possibly some Black Hat SEO techniques.

    The other points are really important and I agree with the other posters that hopefully Flash based sites are dying off. Flash is great when used properly but for SEO and usability it is one of the biggest errors that can be made.

  • Hmm yeah all very good points, however I would have to disagree slightly on domains.

    Personally if you have alltheawesomeseotips.com or zoink.com shouldn’t really matter to Google and I can’t see you getting banned for it.

    Especially if SEO is a keyword per se, then I still do not think Google pays any attention to the little “seo” in that long URL first mentioned, particularly as it is not a standalone keyword but included as part of a much longer word.

    However I DO believe Google will punish you if you have a MISLEADING URL as the case mentioned in this post or you try to cheat your way to the top.

    Mashable.com is a good example of a URL that says… basically nothing of what the site is about and yet it is successful because of great content and therefore it attracts traffic.

  • Hi Deborah,

    I’m certainly not an SEO expert, I don’t blog about blogging, traffic generation, or marketing, but all the things you say are pretty mainline thinking in the posts I have read on these topics.
    Hopefully, this is confirmation for you and for me.

    Lou Barba

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    Nice think.