03 Jan 4 SEO Mistakes That Can Harm Your Website in 2021
The fight to keep pace with constant changes and prevent technological site problems is part of the everyday life of webmasters. And if you are already conscious of a variety of issues with your website, it may be challenging to preserve your wellbeing in the ever-changing environment of SEO.
With a firm understanding of the most popular (and possibly harmful) errors, though, you will offer yourself a fighting chance of holding technological problems to a minimum and website output to a high. This article will illustrate the 4 SEO mistakes that can harm your website and deter traffic.
- Spammy Guest Blogging
Guest blogging has been a pillar of content strategists and SEOs for a long time. The spammy SEO had once again twisted a good thing — guest blogging — into a black hat technique. There is legitimate guest blogging, and then there is spammy guest blogging. I’m a major fan of guest blogging, and I still recommend that you practice it, but with caution.
Here’s what the change might look like:
- First, Google will crack down on guest post links that are irrelevant to the site’s theme. For example, you think an auto insurance sales links on forbes.com/technology is a good idea? Not going to happen.
- Second, Google will tighten the penalties on optimized anchors in guest posts. Optimized anchors are always bad, but it’s likely that the penalties will be swifter and harsher on those that appear in guest blogs.
- Third, Google will increase the algorithmic importance of Google authorship and authority. This is a critical determining factor already. It’s important to keep a pulse on it. In order to look at your own metrics, go to Google Webmaster Tools > Labs > Author Stats. Your personal authority as an author will have an increasing importance upon the validity of your guest blogging.
And if you’re doing any of the following with your guest blogging, I recommend that you stop. Using optimized anchors (more on that below) in your guest posts
- Attempting to rank for long tail keywords in your guest posts
- Attempting to rank for head terms in your guest posts
- Writing irrelevant content in your guest posts
- Writing low-quality content in your guest posts
Right now, guest blogging is still a viable option for improving SEO, enhancing brand awareness, and even building your author rank. However, you need to be extremely careful how you execute your guest blogging plan. Bottom line: Use guest blogging with caution.
- Optimized Anchors
For a long time, SEOs used anchor texts with keywords to improve their SEO. The great thing was it worked! But the days of optimized anchors are gone. Today, using optimized anchors is like asking for a penalty.
So what’s an optimized anchor? An optimized anchor is an anchor text that uses keywords for which you want to rank. For example, if a site wants to rank for the term “top mobile phone,” it would use the anchor “top mobile phone” to link to its mobile phone site.
It worked great until Google warned against this practice in its “Link Scheme” document.
The text reads:
- Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that may violate our guidelines…
Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For example:
- There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.
In other words, don’t optimize anchor texts. I’ve seen optimized anchor texts ruin a site’s SEO through gradual algorithmic penalization. The best I can say about it is that it’s extremely risky. I know what you are thinking, “Well, what kind of anchors do I use?”
That’s a great question. There are several types of safe anchors that I recommend:
- Naked URLs
- Branded URLs
- Long phrases
Links are still important, but their SEO value has more to do with their mere existence than it does with their anchor text. Bottom line: Use safe anchors, not optimized anchors.
- Quantity of links over quality
The more backlinks your site gets, the better, right? No.
Purchasing backlinks is quick, easy, and pretty cheap. You can find any number of SEO agencies who will build a bunch of links for you. In the course of a week or two, they can pile up a few dozen links pointing directly at the pages you specify.
But that could ruin your site, especially if the following is true:
- The site that links is penalized.
- The site that links has a low DA (e.g. below DA 20).
- You receive a large number of such links in a short period of time.
Link building has been and still is the bread and butter of many SEO agencies. However, any SEO value from link building depends upon the authority and validity of the site that is sending the links. Here’s a quick example.
I watched this site languish under a shoddy SEO campaign for months. The SEOs employed by the SEO company were drumming up quick and easy links like crazy. It hurt. Then, when they engaged in an aggressive content marketing campaign with an SEO upside, things changed. The uptick coincided with a very small number of high-DA backlinks (2 DA 90+ links). The decline coincided with the deluge of low DA backlinks.
Although more backlinks used to mean higher rankings, it’s not necessarily the case anymore. These days, you’ll notice new sites with only a handful of links outranking old authoritative sites. Why? Because their backlinks are more relevant. With Google’s Penguin algorithm update, relevancy of the links is more important than their quantity. This just shows that you don’t need to focus on backlink quantity.
When it comes to your website, don’t try to go after quantity in link building. Focus on building highly relevant links that are topical to the content on your website. Bottom line: Link building is still alive and well, but don’t try to do it with lots of low-DA backlinks. There is a better way.
- Keyword Heavy Content
It’s old news that keyword stuffing is bad. This is one of the earliest tricks in the SEO playbook. “Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context. In spite of the warnings and consequences of keyword stuffing, I still see it happen.
It’s like a bell curve. Add a keyword or two, and you’ll gain some rank. Keep adding keywords, and it doesn’t really add much rank benefit. Keep adding keywords, and you’ll start to lose rank. In other words, keyword stuff and get penalized.
I want to add something new to this discussion rather than just give you the same worn out warnings. Here are four pieces of advice that will help you avoid keyword-heavy content and produce penalty-free content.
- The type of keyword stuffing that gets penalised is long tail keywords rather than headwords. For eg, “KL Hotel Holiday Cheap” is a long tail keyword. Drop that a couple too many times in your content, and the penalty isn’t far away. However, if you have to use the word “KL” rather a few times, that’s all right.
- Add more content, not more keywords. The most significant thing about keywords is not how many occasions they happen. I propose introducing more content—both the amount of articles and the duration of the content. The more pages you have, the more pages you have on your site would be indexed. If you have long and substantial content on certain pages, you can have more reader-focused information and similar words.
- Don’t think about the density of the keyword. Instead, you can think about making very nice content for your followers. There was a time when the keyword density was a huge deal. In reality, several SEO writers actually had to run keyword density analyses on their content to ensure sure they were in the right range of percentage density. Instead, the aim is to shape content for your readers, not search engines.
- Using the keywords relevant to it. There has been some misunderstanding (and change) about the usage of latent semantic indexing (LSI) for Google. Whatever Google’s current usage of LSI, keep in mind that similar keywords are critical for preventing keyword stuffing and optimising your search results. For eg, instead of using “KL hotel vacation cheap” a dozen times, you might include normal phrases such as “places to stay in Kuala Lumpur” or “lodging near Petaling.”
Bottom line: Go gentle on the keywords with the long tail. Publish more posts with longer content instead.
Committing some of these SEO errors will keep the website back from achieving its maximum potential, so it is important that you remain on top of them as a webmaster through daily site audits. If you are suffering from crawlability problems that prohibit pages from becoming indexed, or replication issues that threaten potential fines, you should use this checklist to avoid mistakes from snowballing into something more serious.
Make a habit of looking after your SEO and UX wellbeing with tools like the Site Audit Tool and you would be compensated with the kind of exposure and user experience that has a good effect on your bottom line.