The 4 most common SEO mistakes revealed
The SEO game has changed a lot over the last few years, and if we take a look back over just the last 6 years we can get a good idea of how far Google has come.
Let's first look at Google's mission statement:
"To organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful"
A very key word in that is 'useful'. This is what keeps Google updating the algorithm so many times each year - to ensure they keep the searchers happy bu providing them with the best search results possible.
Let's go through some of the big updates that Google made to make its algorithm what it is today, to make it as useful as it is, and to keep spammers from getting high ranking websites.
EMDs (Exact Match Domains)
Some time ago spammy SEO companies figured out that if they bought a domain that exactly matched a search term that people were searching for meant that the website ranked very highly and very quickly. Do you want to rank for 'Plumber Perth' keyword? No problem- we will get you a domain www.plumberperth.com.au and you are sorted! This used to work in the past but it does not work any longer. Exact Match Domain spammy technique has quickly become apparent to Google.
Google put out a major update and thousands of EMD sites that did not provide useful conten dropped out of the top 10 overnight.
Poor Quality Links
Google likes links pointing out quality content. It still does today, but it is a lot more stringent on them. If you just want a link from one site back to yours, it's super easy. Find a blog post that has comments open and add a link there. Done. Bots can do this, and they did, thousands of times on a huge amount of sites.
Google's Panda update sorted this... a little too well. A lot of spam sites and SEO companies using the bots (black hat SEO technique) sites were cleared from the top ranks. Also, there was a lot legit sites had their ranks pulled. Google put out a lot of updates to try and solve this, which it has done now, but this is why there is an uneasiness when an update happens.
Page Layout and Page Content
This is where Google looks at how the page was set out. How many adverts were on there? Was the page just full of images? Is the information clear? Is the content just packed full of links? Most of all, does it work on ALL devices? Desktops, tablets and mobile phones. Non-responsive websites lost all of their ranks when searched for on a mobile device. Again, this is Google giving the user the most useful information it can. Having to squint, zoom in, pinch and slide the website all over just to read the content. This is not useful.
It also looks at how well the content is written. Does it read well or is it just the same keyword over and over again? For example, if a page wanted to rank for 'blue paint'. An old technique would have been to pack the content of that page with as many 'blue paint' combos as possible. This made for bad reading for the poor user that just wanted some blue paint. Not anymore. Content needs feel natural to read and be filled with relevant information.
Moving back to the technical side of SEO, Google has added in page speed as a factor in the ranking of websites. Big images on a site will look impressive, but they need to load quickly (you may want to read more about Images and SEO here). Having fancy animations and interactive features on a website is all good and well visually, but this will add a lot of load time to the site, so Google will be less inclined to promote it.
Going over the changes that Google have implemented since 2011 have been major for SEO companies but have been massively beneficial for people searching the web. This makes it increasingly important to have a website that ranks in the top 10.
Any SEO company guaranteeing #1 spots on Google search are flat out lying. No one can do that except Google, so it is important to find a reputable SEO expert if you need professional help with positioning your site. Ranking highly now takes a lot more skill, research and creativity. Your website needs to offer additional benefits that your competitors don't.
ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR:
Jon Schreyers is an awesome fellow Web Design and SEO specialist based in Perth, Australia. Check out his work here: www.techwhisperer.com.au