6 SEO Mistakes I Made In My Early Blogging Career & How to avoid them
SEO trends constantly changes, but there are some common seo practices that remain the same. Presenting you those practices and my biggest seo mistakes in early blogging career.
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You start a blog, write contents and decide to focus on search engine optimization for bringing organic traffics from search results. So, you start building backlinks, using keywords that bring massive amount of traffics and haphazardly embedding them in articles with an expectation to see your website start climbing in search results.
And it does .... slowly.
You continue working on the same process for several weeks or even months. But the progress is minimum, you are still not in the first page of search results for most of the keywords. Nothing you do helps your website rank higher, and you start questioning, "What's going on with my website?".
Believe me, I have been there too, and it is not easy to rank.
SEO methods are constantly evolving with the development in algorithms and users' changing perspectives. The techniques followed today might not work tomorrow. But there are some parameters that affects how a website performs in search queries, and these parameters seem to remain unchanged over the decades.
In this article, I will be focusing on "these" parameters and 6 biggest SEO failures/mistakes I made in my early blogging career and how you can avoid them.
1) Targeting highly searched Keywords
It is really a crime not focusing on keywords for ranking higher in search results. Keywords are important, they help search crawlers to know what your article is all about. But most of us start targeting highly searched keywords only and it is one of the biggest SEO mistakes in my early blogging journey as well.
Imagine a scenario, you are new to football and start training. Luckily, Lionel Messi is your coach and you challenge him for free-kicks on your first day.
Is it possible to beat him? The simple answer : No.
You should at least get trained and practice for a couple of years, know how to hit a ball, how to curve it and how much power to use.
How to properly identify what keywords to use for better search results?
I always recommend to start with keyword research tools like ubersuggest by Neil Patel. It is a free tool that helps you get 100s of long tail keywords and analyze your competitors' keywords. It aggregates data from Google Suggest which provides keyword ideas similar to your searches on Google.
Instead of me typing on how to use ubersuggest, here's a recommended videos that explains every ounces on what this tool is and how to use it for better keyword research.
2) Not linking other sites
In my early blogging days, I was too reluctant to embed an external link in my website because of not understanding how Google penalties a website. I read somewhere that bad linking can significantly harm your website and that time I was not able to distinguish what were good and bad linking, and also linking to other website can create a portal for hackers to access your website.
Linking other relevant and trustworthy sites is actually good for a website in two ways.
- It informs search engine that a website is genuine and has credited others' work.
- You might even get a backlink from linked site if you contact them mentioning that you have credited them.
Think about it: Google wants searchers to find relevant content and if you link those relevant content in your article, you're helping Google meet their agenda. Ultimately, Google pays you back by uplifting your website in search results.
And you can always use
rel="noopener noreferrer" for not allowing any portals to access your website contents. Learn more about these tags.
In the meantime, before linking to another website, you might want to consider the following:
- Is the website you're considering linking to relevant to your topic?
- Is the website you're considering linking to secure and authentic?
- Will the linking website make your site look good or bad?
- Are the contents of linking website factual or just assumptions?
- Would the site you're considering linking to be beneficial for your visitors?
3) Focusing on Incoming Links Quantity over Quality
Incoming links, or simply backlinks are links from one domain to others. Backlinks are considered important factors in ranking a website in search results. So, is it true that the more no. of incoming links, better a site ranks?
That is not necessarily true at all. More Incoming Links != Higher Rank. Google frequently updates their search guidlines and clearly stated that Google no longer tolerates link building that has no other value than passing link juice from one domain to other and may lead to a penalty.
In particular, they talk about:
- Guest Posting on Article Directories.
- Buying or Selling Links.
- Cross Linking or Link Exchange.
- Links with Optimized Anchor Text.
- Bookmark Site Links.
That does not mean incoming links are not significant. Today also, you have a better chance of ranking higher with quality links to your website, not only in Google, but in Bing, Yandex and Yahoo as well.
How to build links to your website without getting any penalties?
First, you need to make sure your contents are of high quality and your website is user friendly. Popular websites do not easily link to any websites, always update your contents and write for people, not for search engines.
Second, build your social networks and regularly update them with latest news feeds about your contents. Big websites consider this an important factor for accepting Guest Posting.
Third, contact some bloggers who have already published contents in big website, learn from them and if possible, request them to recommend your article as well.
Fourth, check what type of contents are accepted in such websites. Are they relatable to your website?
Fifth, you need to show some samples of your published contents (beside your blog), so be ready with them.
Last but not the least, prepare a well formatted mail address and letter of approval. An address email@example.com looks more formal than firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, find some letter samples online on how to request for Guest Posting. Here's a sample letter from Quicksprout.
Subject: Guest Post for (Their Site)
Hey (Their Name),
I just want to start by saying that I’m a huge fan of (Their Site). I’m reaching out to you to offer up a unique and value-packed guest post for you.
I did some research on topics that have performed well for (Their Site). Here are some ideas I had:
You can check out some guest posts that I’ve already published at (Authority Site) and (Authority Site).
Please let me know how that sounds.
4) High Keyword Density
We already discussed how you can do keyword research and you might be thinking using the same keyword over and over can get you better search results. In fact, going overboard the same keyword is considered spam by search engines, which means it hurts your SEO performance.
Moreover, articles being highly focused on intended keywords sound unnatural and discourage users from reading, resulting in increased bounce rate. In fact, Google has implemented a special semantic search process called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).
LSI is a process that scans other words used by people that are closer to given topic. Based on it, Google know what your website is focused on.
Let's say your blog is about Apple.
It looks for LSI Keywords:
If your page contains the words: apple wine, baked apple, red apples, seasonal apples, your page is probably about apple as fruit.
If your page contains the words: itunes, iphone, airpods, apple stores, apple watch, your page is probably about apple as company.
How to avoid keyword stuffing?
Write content for readers, not for search engine. That's the only mantra you need to follow. Go with the flow of writing, do not worry about the no. of times you have used the specific keywords.
A general rule says, it is best to maintain keyword density within 2% , where keyword denstity = (Number of words in an article) / (Number of times keyword appears in that article).
Moreover, it is best to use long tail keywords, secondary keywords and synonyms. You can even search for that keyword in Google and refer their list of related searches for more keyword options.
For example, I want to write an article with my primary keyword as "SEO Mistakes" and when i search for that keyword, I found other related ones.
5) Not focusing on Loading Time
Most of us are too focused with designing a user-friendly site that we forgot to improve our page speed. We refresh our pages and check how fast they load. Since most of our files are already cached, the page loads significantly faster in our side, and we blindly ignore first time users or those with slower connections.
Page loading time is crucial. For every second delay, there is a reduction of 11% in page views. Add another second, it becomes 32%. This results in increased bounce rate and search crawlers do not suggest pages with high bounce rate.
A faster website will rank higher, getting more traffics and consequently getting more sales and page views.
How to improve page loading time?
There are two solutions: Hire a professional and let them do it for you. This will cost you some bucks. You can look on freelance or upwork.
The other solution is to work all by yourself. Analyze your website and improve affecting factors. You can check this article to start with improving loading time.
6) Writing contents for Search Engines Only
It is not uncommon for most of the bloggers to write contents primarily for search engines in order to get high ranking that they forgot about the quality. They keep publishing and publishing without reviewing back how readable those contents are.
Does that mean a site with more pages indexed rank higher than website with less pages? Not necessarily.
A website with quality pages indexed rank higher than other websites. Content quality is important, not the quantity.
Pages with thin content or duplicate content do not add value to a website, rather they hamper SEO factors.
Also category, archive, tag and static pages do not have much of the contents, and it is a good practice to set them a 'noindex' tag in robot header.
Here are some of my recommendations while writing contents:
- Do not over use keywords.
- Maintain a proper internal to external links ratio.
- Make use of paragraphs.
- Properly use heading tags in the content.
- Choose a proper font size and color.
- Do not flood website with ads.
- Do not over use images (unless necessary).
- Read your article twice before publishing.
That was the end of my article on 6 common SEO mistakes/failures I made in my blogging career as a content creator. Avoid them, follow latest SEO trends and update your contents and blog for getting high traffic from Google. Happy Blogging 😃💪☺
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