If you want to play with the big boys, you need to be good at search engine optimization (SEO). Here are the ten (SEO-related) mistakes that you need to avoid…unless, of course, you enjoy the minor leagues.
1. Do not assume that if your keywords are good, your SEO is done. SEO also plays a major part in things like reputation management and branding. If you can afford to hire someone to monitor your reputation (and that will be a full-time job), do it. It’s worth the expense.
2. The days of keyword stuffing are over. Now the best thing you can do is limit your keywords to twice (maybe thrice if the content or copy is long enough) per content or copy piece. Google is actively dinging websites that engage in keyword stuffing, so resist the urge to take this shortcut!
3. At the same time, you are going to want to remember who and not what your audience really is: human. Don’t write for the spiders. Write for the people who are going to be reading your content and copy.
4. Related to this, don’t simply grab whatever keyword or keyword string is at the top of the “popular keywords list” in your niche that day. The last thing you want to have to do is figure out how to incorporate a phrase like “dogs tools for warehouse cookers” into your website for home repair. Choose the keywords that relate the best and are easy to work into your copy.
5. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to learn some of the “insider tricks” of SEO. Learn everything you can about the practice. For example, did you know that search engine spiders don’t typically care about plurals or punctuation?
6. Do not engage in “black hat” tactics. Don’t be the guy who cheats! That guy is lame! Plus, most of the search engine algorithms are black-hat-savvy now and will ding your site for using the techniques.
7. Don’t think that SEO is all about contextual keywords. Learn how to optimize your tags as well. Learn how meta tags for pages and posts work, and then make sure that yours are up to snuff.
8. Don’t assume that the only keywords you can rank for are the keywords that you have chosen. There are going to be moments when people find you through keywords and search strings that will boggle your mind. Use this as an excuse to cover a wider range of topics both within and that relate to your chosen niche. The wider the audience you attract, the better for your bottom line, right?
9. Don’t think that the only SEO that matters is the SEO you do yourself. You can also start to rank highly for certain keywords and phrases because other people use them to describe and link to you often. This is just one of the reasons why maintaining your reputation is important.
10. Do not assume that you will ever be done learning about SEO. Google is famous for changing its algorithms on a whim. Keep up with SEO news and adjust your actions accordingly as things change and shift.
This probably feels like a lot. The bottom line is this: If you stay active, keep up with your niche and market and are willing to do the work, you’ll be just fine.
No, really; you’ll be fine!