10 Unforgivable SEO Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Long Lasting Success

10 Unforgivable SEO Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Long Lasting Success

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If you are currently researching SEO ready to start a campaign on your website, or you are currently working with an SEO company to increase your rankings and take your business to the next level, it is important that you understand the whole process and how it works, otherwise there is a good chance that you could end up with the wrong kind of recognition from Google, in the form of a big slap on the wrist penalty!

Although large manual penalties are still rare in the grand scheme of things, algorithm penalties are pretty much constantly being issued albeit by a computer somewhere in Google world, but generally, there are some totally unforgivable and somewhat shameful mistakes that if your SEO campaign is currently featuring, then it is really time to stop and hang your head in shame, if of course you are being knowingly naughty and not following the unwritten rule book of SEO!

Of course, some of these mistakes are not always done deliberately and some are done out of ignorance or based on how you have been told you should do it, but if you are doing any of the below, it really is time to take a step back and change your whole SEO approach before you end up in some seriously hot water.

High Volume, Low Quality Link Building

Build them quick and stack them high – if your link building campaign sounds like this, not only will your rankings suffer in the long term, but the links that you are building are likely to be mostly rubbish anyway. SEO is a slow process that is about building high quality links, so rather than focus on building 100 medium or poor links, focus on building 1 quality link, as not only does this avoid creating patterns and making obvious signals of playing the game, but it means that the links you are building are going to actually help you and be worth something. The days of adding your website to thousands and thousands of directories are over, so if you are just ramping out the links, this is at best a quick win that won’t last, but at worst something that is going to land you with some big Penguin penalties later down the line.

Weak, Irrelevant And Poor Content

This blog is a long blog, and hopefully it contains some well written, informative, engaging and possibly at times, slightly edgy content that has so far got you on the edge of your seat, eager to learn more and more. Maybe not all of those things, but generally, the content you find on my site is going to be quality content that has been planned, thought out, relevant to my niche and above all engaging, else I may as well go and spin some content and make my site worthless. If your website or SEO campaign is based on badly written, non-relevant and basically spammy, waste my time content, then your campaign is doomed, doomed I say! Make sure that every single blog you produce is worth reading and that your site is free from typos, poor grammar and is well written, and also make sure its engaging, relevant and interesting to your readers.

Duplicate Content

If you have duplicate content on your own site, or you are publishing the same content on your site and other sites, then the Google Panda is on its way to get you (probably). Duplicate content, as we have covered many times before on this blog, is a sure fire way of ruining your SEO campaign, as it is so often the root cause of most of the onsite penalties that I see on a day to day basis, and even if it is not harming you massively, you just never know how much it is holding you back. Make sure that your content on your site is unique and that if you are publishing your content elsewhere, you are not also using this on your own website as well. Every page needs unique content and the closer you get to 100%, the better, so remember at all times, unique content is the only content you want on your site.

Not Focusing On Your Title Tags

Title tags, in my opinion, are one of the most important onsite factors when it comes to SEO and keyword rankings, and if you are unsure how to use them correctly, you can read another of my blogs that covers this subject in-depth. Title tags offer you the chance to tell the search engine exactly what that page is about, and as long as you are not trying to deceive or fool the search engines, you can approach these in an SEO positive way. If you forget to do them or just fill them full of nonsense that is not relevant and far too long, then not only will they do nothing for your campaign, but they will potentially cause you some harm as well.

Large Scale Guest Blog Posting

January 2014 and Google’s head of web spam Matt Cutts “stuck a fork in it” and declared that guest blogging was now dead as an SEO tactic. And why did he say that? Well, because too many people were doing large scale, low quality guest blogging, where they dumped 300 badly written or spun words on random blogs around the Internet and therefore were just making a valid way of getting exposure now frowned upon by Big G. Guest blogging, in moderation and with relevance and quality is still a firm tactic that you can use, but you need to research potential blog placements carefully and make sure that the blog you write is worth publishing, because if you go hell for leather writing and publishing rubbish, then yes, you should stick a fork in it.

Overuse Of Keyword Anchor Text In Links

The overuse of keyword anchor text in the links pointing back to your site has been the cause of many penalties over the years, with many penalised sites coming under fire because 25% of their links were all anchor text related to the keywords they were looking to chase. Building links, whether you like it or not, is about avoiding patterns, so if you spread your anchor text and go for non-anchor text keywords, like “Visit Website”, “more info” and “click here”, with a small amount of the glory keywords mixed in, you are making your link profile more natural and this is what is important. If however all of your links back to your site contain the keywords you wish to rank for, then you have issues, which you need to solve by reducing the emphasis on the keywords.

Focusing On Chasing Keywords

Keyword rankings are, at the end of the day, pure vanity unless they deliver traffic and traffic that is going to convert, as keywords with hardly any traffic are easy to get onto page one for, keywords with lots of traffic take much longer and are much harder, for obvious reasons. My point here is that you may *think* you know what you should be top of Google for, but if this is not going to deliver you any traffic, then what is the point. Do you your research and understand how your customer is going to find you, as the chances are, you could be missing the obvious and spending time and money chasing things that have little to no chance of making any different to your website traffic or sales.

Forgetting About Your Website

If your house did not have walls, then you would not be able to paint them (and you wouldn’t have a house in all fairness) and if your SEO campaign does not have an amazing website, that is well optimised and continually being improved, your SEO campaign has less chance of working. Your SEO campaign begins with your website, so do not rush this and do not suddenly forget about it as you get busier due to the success of your SEO, else your efforts will stop working and your rankings could fall away. There is no excuse for not updating your website, so do not make one, just focus on finding the time to evolve and improve, as this is the best foundation you can lay for any SEO campaign.

Black Hat Techniques

Keyword stuff, hiding text, stuffing links, white text on white background, all the old things that if you are doing then shame, shame and more shame on you and your SEO campaign! Black hat, although still relatively common, is luckily so well known about now that you can easily avoid it if you are running your own SEO campaign and equally understand if any SEO company is doing these techniques on your behalf. This is why you must always analyse any SEO campaign that is being run for you to make sure that these techniques are not being used, because if there is a sure fire way to get your site kicked out of Google, then black hat techniques will get you on this road and it will be very, very hard to get back, guaranteed. Remember, there are no quick wins and quick results in SEO that actually last long term, so if you start ranking top of Google after a few days’ work, check how, and more importantly, understand how.

Forgetting To Analyse Your Results (Google Analytics)

SEO is as much about analysing results as it is about getting them, because only once you know how your traffic is coming to your site and more importantly how your visitors are using your site, can you really, really understand just what is going to work for you. Google Analytics is free, totally free, but some refuse to use because they do not want Google having their data (a mega-LOL from me) and others simply do not know about it, but once you get using it you will truly understand the power of data and understand how people use your website. If you do not know where your enquires come from, or why certain pages are more popular than others, then you are going to struggle getting your SEO campaign off the ground, as knowing and understanding how your website is performing is crucial, else you are missing out on so much free and valuable information.

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  • David
    Posted at 11:56h, 06 March Reply

    Hi Ian

    Indeed a great post about SEO mistakes.

    According to me, Search engine optimization is something which can make our future If we do it the right way.

    You have listed most common seo mistakes which almost every blogger is doing.

    In order to rank instantly in SERPs, people are trying un-ethical SEO strategies like keyword stuffing, building low quality or spam links.

    Keyword stuffing is the most common and worst SEO mistake I have ever seen. People think that filling the article with so many keywords will help them to rank fast.

    But It is wrong, Nowadays Google is very much strict for such webmasters and rolling regular updates to kill these webmaster’s work.

    Copying articles from other site is also a most common seo mistake and I had also did this mistake when I started my blogging carrier But now I have completely avoided it.

    I am completely against keyword stuffing and copying content.

    Thanks for listing all the mistakes here so that people can learn about these mistakes and can try to avoid them. 😀

  • Rubel
    Posted at 07:09h, 07 March Reply


    Well, Greatly described points about SEO mistakes, we make or have made in our past.

    When it started my career in blogging, the only thing I know, was writing article and building links, but majority of my articles were full of keywords and the links I was building was just spam links with optimized anchor texts.

    Also, I was not aware of internal links important, but with time everything has improved and these days, I rarely make any SEO mistake.

    But, still a huge number of newbies are making these mistakes and I sadly say, that they are wasting their valuable time.

    So, considering this, a brilliant post written, it will help many out there, searching for this.

    Keep up the good work.


  • Nick
    Posted at 12:45h, 20 May Reply

    There are many more SEO mistakes that even the experience webmasters miss. We’ve tried to make infographic on this topic, hope it will be helpful: https://rankactive.com/10-common-seo-mistakes-to-avoid

  • EMarketz SEO
    Posted at 12:59h, 21 July Reply

    Even a minor mistake of yours can land your website in a big trouble. Right from website content, title and description tags to backlinks profile, all play a major role in improving a website’s performance and visibility on search engine results.

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