The 5 biggest SEO mistakes to avoid

Do you use keywords incorrectly, or forget to use internal links? Look out for these and other simple, yet deadly, SEO mistakes.

“Build it and they will come” does not fly on the Web. You have to work to get people to your site, and then make them comfortable so they will stay.

Using search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to drive visitors to a well-designed website is a great one-two punch for a digital marketing strategy.

With the number of people turning to search engines to find information, businesses need to ensure that people not only find their websites, but know what to do when they get there.

So let’s take a look some of the biggest mistakes businesses make when setting themselves up for organic search engine traffic.

These five issues are some of the biggest mistakes business make regarding their SEO strategies.

1. You use keywords improperly.

There’s a fine balance you need to achieve when you incorporate keywords into your content. Use them too infrequently, and search engines won’t pick up on them. Use them too frequently, and you could be penalized for keyword stuffing.

Generally, the right balance is between 3 and 8 percent keyword density. Don’t go too crazy when you put keywords on your website.

Also, drawing attention to keywords in your body content doesn’t do anything from a search engine standpoint. This is a huge pet peeve of mine.

Your keyword phrases aren’t any more obvious to search engines if you capitalize them. Nothing screams “novice” like capitalizing keywords on your website. Don’t do it.

2. You don’t use internal links.

Your website shouldn’t just have links pointing to it from other sites. Instead, make sure all of your internal pages link to each other.

A strong internal linking structure makes search engines happy, and it provides you with an opportunity to use anchor text when you link to various pages on your website.

3. You overuse industry jargon.

It’s important to use keywords in your body text, but don’t forget there are real people—not search engines—who use your website.

Make sure your content is simple enough for anyone to understand, and that you don’t use buzzwords or keywords in your text just for the sake of using them.

Also, text that is difficult for visitors to understand will lead to high bounce and exit rates, and most likely a lower rate of people completing whatever your online conversion might be.

4. You don’t vary the types of links to your site.

Directories might be one of the easier ways to get links to your site—they are time consuming but pretty simple to obtain—but using only one kind of link in your SEO strategy is selling your site short.

Blog posts, press releases, forum comments, anchor text in backlinks, directories, and links from various social media platforms should all be a part of a well-rounded SEO strategy.

Test different options and see which works best for your site, in terms of rankings and traffic.

5. You let your website go stale.

This happens more than anyone cares to admit. You spend time researching keywords, integrating them into your content, and placing them in title tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords, but there is no other link building.

None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

You followed all the rules, integrated the keywords everywhere you’re supposed to, and picked the right terms to get your website the right traffic.

But, if you don’t do any link building for your site, no matter how great the foundation you laid for your website, you’re not going to reach your potential as far as SEO is concerned.

Anyone who works in SEO will tell you it’s a long-term process. A great keyword strategy is a good start to an SEO campaign, but it’s the long-term link building that will bring great rankings.

I’ve heard a lot of people in our industry say link building is all about the hustle, and I agree. When it comes to SEO, you should always be thinking of new ways to get links for your site.

Amy Moczynski is a marketing associate for 352 Media Group. A version of this article originally appeared on Social Fresh.

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