7 Worst SEO Mistakes You Can Make

Don’t fall for these common SEO mistakes that can tank your search engine rankings.  In the online world, there is so much bad SEO information out there, that it is hard to sift through it all.  Below are the top 7 worst mistakes you can make for SEO (search engine optimization).

1. Similar Anchor Text

Anchor text is a huge factor in why websites rank and why websites don’t rank well in search engine results.  If you use the same anchor text over and over again, you may get an over-optimization penalty from the search engines.

It’s a good rule of thumb to try and use as much anchor text as you can.  Search engines look for websites that appear to be natural.  If you keep getting the same anchor text over and over, this puts up red flags in the search engine algorithms.   Think of it this way, if you asked 100 different people to link to your website and only gave them the URL, how many different anchors would there be?  I’m sure at least half of the anchors would be unique.

2. Keyword Stuffing

Write for your visitors and not for the search engines. So many times I have seen people trying to fit hundreds of keywords into their content.  Not only does it read funny but also it looks unprofessional and search engines can easily catch on to this.

When we optimize the content we usually use two keywords and fit them into the content on a single page.  Anything more than that and you run the risk of keyword stuffing and causing a penalty in the search engines.

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3. Low-Quality Links

Every website is going to get low-quality links, whether they are bought, traded, or just happen naturally via scrapper websites.  Don’t worry about the ones out of your control.  All of the big websites have scrapper links but the important thing is they have high-quality links to offset them.

There are several factors you should look for in a quality link.  Most of which is really the quality of the website itself.  What is the Compete ranking?  How many backlinks does the website have? Does the website get cached in Google on a regular basis?  If I Google some of the keywords, where does the website rank?  These questions can help you make an informed decision on the quality of the website.

4. Link Networks

Stay far away from networks that promise you hundreds of links.  In fact, just stay away from networks altogether.  Networks can be fairly easy to detect and can be a waste of money and even get your website penalized.

Google knows Link Networks and so do the other search engines.  Keep in mind anytime you are seeking a link and ask yourself “could I have got this link naturally?”  If the answer is no, then you should stay away from those types of links.

5. Directory Submissions

Directory submissions can help and are usually a great way to start off a new link-building campaign.  The problem most webmasters make is going after too many directories at once and/or not diversifying their anchor text.  We generally submit to know more than 10-15 directories within a month.  We focus on high quality web directories and a great starting list is:

1. DMOZ
2. Business.com
3. Yahoo
4. BOTW
5. GoGuides
6. JoeAnt.com
7. Site Sift
8. Directory World
9. Aviva
10. Skaffe

6. Title Tags

The title of the page you are optimizing for is one of the single largest factors for on-page optimization. If you have not done so yet, see SEO Title Tag Formulas to get a better understanding of what works.

It seems simple but on some websites analyzing the title tags to find the right combination can take hours.  It can also be smart to test the titles yourself.  Narrow your choice down to a few and then try them out to see which one ranks higher for your keywords.

7. Link Acquisition Speed

Natural link-building happens over time and in many cases over years and years.  Some spikes in obtaining links can happen naturally like hitting the front page of Digg or a similar website.  These are the exceptions and search engines can often detect the exceptions.

What can get you in trouble is the unnatural link growth.  This often happens when a webmaster decides they have a few hours to spend on link building and then goes out and purchases 50 links in one day.  The links generally show up in the search engine fairly quickly and will put up red flags.

Keep your link acquisition speed the same as long as you can.  Divide your budget for the year evenly and acquire nearly the same amount of links each month, throughout month.

Guest author Stuart McHenry is the President of McKremie a US-based web hosting company.  You can read their blog that discusses Social Media, SEO and Web hosting issues.  He has been involved in search engine optimization for more than 6 years and was formally the CEO at SEO Fusion. You can also share your expert tips and write a guest article here.

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About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks.