by Pat Fischer

Three Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2015

add alt text

Don’t Go Down This Road!

In 2015, SEO is arguably more important than ever.  While Google works to make its algorithm more and more sophisticated, it has become increasingly difficult to earn rankings if you truly aren’t the best site to satisfy a given search query. So, what can you do to boost your rankings while Google continues their work of creating the ultimate digital meritocracy? Avoid these common SEO mistakes and you will be well on your way.

One of the most common mistakes you should avoid in general is becoming comfortable with your tactics, which leads to complacency. When you become complacent, you risk becoming out of touch with the industry and its known best practices. Once you are out of touch, your strategies will undoubtedly become outdated. The search engine marketing industry simply moves to quickly to get tied down to any one or two particular tactics. The fact is, SEO strategies that were effective even a year or two ago may be ineffective today. Worse yet, strategies that were proven beneficial might actually harm your rankings and decrease your traffic today because of recent changes to Google’s algorithm.

1. Mobile Unfriendly Websites

If you take your website seriously, you simply must optimize your site for mobile viewers.  In early 2014, mobile traffic exceeded desktop for the first time, and it doesn’t look like that trend will be turning around anytime soon (read: ever). More importantly, mobile users are making more online purchases than ever before (see: ecommerce mobile stats). On top of that, Google is now rewarding sites that are responsive to device, especially in the mobile search results, therefore penalizing those that are not.  This is such big news that it has transcended the usual SEO publications and made national news. See this article that the USA Today just published on what is being called “Mobilegeddon”. The sooner you can make your site mobile responsive, the better poised your site will be for the future of SEO.

2. Over Optimized Links

One of the most troublesome issues we discover while creating an SEO strategy for a new client is a spammy back link profile. A website’s search rankings will be dependent on its back link profile, which is essentially the totality of links on the web that point back to your site.

As you likely know, search engines keep track of all the links on the web, and use them in their algorithms to evaluate the quality of a website or page. It also uses what is known as “anchor text” to determine the topic of any given site or page. Because of this, building links on other sites stuffed with your target keywords was one of the earliest (not to mention most effective) SEO strategies known to man. Unfortunately, these days Google is much wiser. Avoid stuffing keywords into links both on and off of your site to remain in good standing with Google. Instead, build links that use just your URL or brand name as your anchor text.

3. Thin Content

Theoretically, Google wants to create an algorithm that only returns the most relevant and helpful sites for any given search query. That may seem painfully obvious, but inside of that sentence hides the secret to SEO.  As time progresses, Google WILL only become better and better at this, and eventually only the sites that truly best satisfy a search query will be listed on the SERPs.

What does this mean for you? Stop catering to the search engines. Don’t waste a lot of time and energy thinking about Google’s algorithm; instead focus on creating quality, valuable content that is highly relevant to the queries you wish to rank for. Ultimately, it behooves Google to provide the most valuable sites to searchers, and this is what keeps the user coming back to their search engine over and over again.

If you are writing blogs to help rank for a given keyword, focus on satisfying the search query, not ranking for it. Once you are creating quality content that adds value to your site, your visitors will take notice. Algorithmically, Google will also take notice. Instead of trying to reverse engineer the algorithm, reverse engineer the needs of your target market. You’ll likely find its a much more practical feat to accomplish anyway.

Final Thoughts

It is important to stay up to date with the current best practices of any industry, especially one as dynamic as SEO. While it may seem overwhelming to keep up to date with such a constantly changing industry, if your core philosophy remains based on providing valuable content to your target market, the rest will fall into place naturally. Avoid catering your website to Google, and instead concentrate on creating websites for people, and the rankings will speak for themselves.

Take the guess work out of your online marketing strategies. Read about our SEO services to see what OuterBox can do for you!