6 SEO “Strategies” that Might Cost You Traffic and Money

Bad SEO StrategiesI am definitely not an SEO guy. I’ve never liked spending too much of my time, trying to figure out ways to rank better for specific terms.

But then again over the last few months I’ve taken SEO a bit more seriously.

After all studies say that organic traffic is better than social media traffic in terms of conversion rates. And as we all know traffic alone doesn’t mean a thing. It is all about the conversion rates.

Lately I’ve been a lot into guest blogging. And if you are wondering if writing content for other blogs can improve your organic traffic, the answer is –  hell yes, it can!

But then again today’s post isn’t about guest blogging (although that was a bit of an inspiration).

Instead in the below paragraphs I have covered six of the biggest SEO mistakes, misconceptions and bad strategies that might just be the reason why you are failing to get the organic traffic you are hoping for.

So let’s get started:

Mistake #1: Running Away from Content Marketing


The Importance of ContentWhat exactly is content marketing in the first place?

Most simply put content marketing refers to a marketing model where your main way to promote a product, a business or a service of some sort is content. The content is not written with promotion in mind. Instead its idea is to educate people and thus incite them to share it. In the end this results in exposure to the product, service or business in question.

What’s the best way to incorporate content marketing? 

With a blog. That is as simple as having a site, which offers something and adding a blog, where you share practical information, relevant to the niche of what you offer.

Why is that good for SEO? 

Whereas a normal site would be static, a blog is dynamic or in other words it is constantly fed up with fresh content. And whenever new content is added, that is when the search engines start indexing.

I’ve also noticed an interesting trend on this blog. The days when I publish new content, I see an increase in organic traffic. On the other hand when I haven’t posted in awhile, organic traffic start to decrease:

The Importance of Content Marketing In the above screenshot, you can clearly see the difference in my search engine traffic between the days when I publish new content and when I don’t publish anything.

Mistake #2: Neglecting Your Social Presence


Google’s idea has always been to make searches so to say “logical”.

The reason why we often hear about updates such as the Penguin and the Panda is namely because Matt Cutts and his team are constantly trying to provide users with the most relevant search results.

As you surely know backlinks have always been the most important factor, determining how a site should rank for different keywords.

The problem nowadays however is that building links isn’t “natural” anymore. In other words instead of linking to your content most bloggers would instead share it on the social networks.

That is why in 2010 Google incorporated social signals as a ranking factor. There’s quite some debate around the impact that social signals have. No matter how much of an impact however, it is worth making the most out of every opportunity.

A study from Searchmetrics, a search and social analytics company reveals how much of a role do Facebook shares, comments and fans along with Twitter tweets play in terms of SEO:

Social Signals as Ranking Factors

NOTE: All in all even if you don’t see social media traffic as one that’s worth chasing, you should still pay attention to the social networks, because their SEO importance will probably increase in the future.

Mistake #3: Going with a Standard URL Structure


When it comes to SEO, marketers and bloggers should pay attention to each and every element, no matter big or small. And although the URL structure might seem like one of the smaller, it actually plays an important role.

Your latest post’s URL is actually the first thing that search engines “read” when they come to crawl your blog. Even the actual headline is scanned later.

But what does URL structure refer to? 

Well that is basically the URL that every blog post you publish is assigned to. For instance that can be something like “http://YourBlog.com/Some_Category/Post_Title” or “http://YourBlog.com/Year/Month/Post_Title”.

Actually the above examples don’t describe the best possible scenario.

Although the first one, where we have the category followed by the post info is better than the latter, where we have the year and the month when the post is published, it is still not quite what you’d want.

The problem is always relevancy.

Even though the category should be relevant to the topic, it might prove confusing for the search engines.

By far the best way to “describe” your latest post in the URL is by having the simplest of structures - “http://YourBlog.com/Post_Title”. That way search engines will get the right keywords right after they read your blog’s domain, which is good news for your rankings.

But how do you do all that? 

How to Change URL StructureUnfortunately that’s only possible on WordPress. It’s quite simple. You open up your Dashboard, go to Settings and then click on Permalinks. From that menu you click on Custom Structure and in the field you write /%postname%/.

Mistake #4: Not Using Keywords within Your Slug


Now that you’ve dealt with the actual way your URLs look like, it is time to take a closer look at the slug. The slug is the last part of the URL and namely the title of your post e.g. “http://YourBlog.com/Post_Title“.

So, how how do you optimize the slug of your blog posts?

Well that is basically the process of turning the auto-generated slug (based on the headline of the post) into a custom, keyword-oriented one. Since as I mentioned in the above paragraph the URL is the first thing search engines notice, a relevant keyword day can have a solid impact on how well the post ranks for that keyword.

How to Change the Slug

For instance if you have an article titled “10 Mistakes that Are Ruining Your Social Media Presence”, you would end up with a slug like 10-mistakes-that-are-ruining-your-social-media-presence. First problem is it doesn’t look good. Second is it isn’t targeted enough. If you change it to simply social-media-mistakes you’d have a far better chance at ranking high in the SERPs.
It couldn’t be simpler on WordPress – the slug is right under the headline in the post editor. You simply click on it and change it.And the big question… how do you do it?

  • On Blogspot the slug is automatically generated based on the title and unfortunately can’t be changed. What you can do however is to first publish the post with a keyword-like title and then change it to the actual title. That way you will get the slug you want and while keeping the headline eye-catching.

Mistake #5: Not Setting Up Your Google Authorship


Google AuthorshipGoogle Authorship comes down to connecting your Google Plus profile with your content.

Having a Google Authorship allows you to display your photo and your name along with the search results that include content you’ve written. So what the authorship does is it puts the focus on YOU as a writer and not solely on your blog.

So now it’s not only about the backlinks you build. It’s also about having your content appear on high-profile blogs. As long as they allow authorship and your content receives positive feedback, you can improve the SEO results for the content you’ve written.

But how do you set up Google Authorship in the first place?

If you are lucky enough to own a copy of the Genesis Framework (on which this blog runs by the way) you get an easy way to do so:

  • First you have to go to your user account in the WordPress dashboard and scroll down until you see a Google+ box. There you have to paste your Google Plus profile URL. Mine for instance is https://plus.google.com/117685943282162969263/postsSet Up Google Authorship
  • Second step is to go to your Google Plus profile, open up the settings page and add your website in the “Contributor to” section. Here’s what you should look for: Set Up Google Authorship #2
  • Finally you can check if the above has done its job, by going to Google’s structured data tool and testing a blog post from your blog.

Check out THIS tutorial for another way to set up Google Authorship if you don’t own the Genesis Framework. 

Mistake #6: Never Including Internal Links


What is internal linking in the first place? 

Might sound like a fancy term but internal linking is nothing more than pointing your readers to relevant content within your blog posts. For instance that could mean adding a hyprelink to a keyphrase, leading to an article that provides deeper understanding of the topic.

Why is internal linking important for SEO? 

First think about it from a reader’s perspective:

You are reading a useful article that however goes into some details that you can’t quite grasp. If those terms are left unexplained, your only option would be to open up Google and find what they mean or otherwise you wouldn’t understand the information in the article.

With a link pointing to a post that explains the difficult concept or term, you won’t have to spend time looking for the information on your own.

It’s a similar type of thinking that Google utilizes. If you link back to relevant content, the latter receives part of the link juice from the original article, thus spreading it evenly throughout your pages.

Although there’s a plugin called SEO Smart Links, which claims to do a good job at interlinking your content based on keywords, I’d recommend you to follow the manual approach.

NOTE: If you’d like to gain maximum advantage of your internal links, you are better off adding them to the upper part of your articles. The closer they are to the top, the more value they are given.

Final Words


That’s it guys, I really hope you found the tips I’ve shared in the above paragraphs useful. All in all SEO doesn’t seem all that difficult once you learn the basics, but ranking high and driving organic traffic isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Now I would like to hear your thoughts! 

Do you agree with what I’ve shared in the post? What other bad SEO strategies can you think of? Have you already implemented Google Authorship? Please take a minute to write a comments! 

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  1. Great basics Daniel. If we site designers would follow this advice, they’d avoid killing their clients’ SEO!

  2. Hey Daniel, Thanks for these awesome SEO tips that will increase my search traffic. As an SEO myself, I apply a lot of these techniques. These are some of the common SEO mistakes that bloggers make, because they do not realize the potential SEO holds for them.

  3. My URL structure is just like yours and I want to replace “-” with “_”, please tell me; how google crawler will take this change? Is there any difference in between two structures? What will happen with URLs with “-”? Would there be any 404 errors or Google will take both the structures same?

    • Hey Maddy,

      Well quite honestly I don’t see a reason why you would do that change. There will certainly be problems with your interlinking. There is a WordPress plugin called Broken Link Checker (http://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/), which can help, but I don’t really see the point.

      Daniel

      • Actually i have seen many blogs and websites using “_” instead of “-”, I also don’t know why they are using this, but I am following the famous blogs, that’s why I decided to change it. If there is no worth of this change, then I would never ever do this, because I don’t know about harm of this change and may be my blog will vanish after this. Thanks for helping me, I was going to do something which wasn’t positive for my blog.

        • Hey Maddy, the underscore is an older used methodto build URLs. The problem is that Google will read your post title as one word strung together rather than all individual. The hyphen is actually best for SEO.

  4. Christi Katz says:

    Your write-up is direct, informative, and has very useful content. I also like the fact that you pointed out the frequent mistakes and provided a solution for them. I’m sharing this.
    Visit to know more

  5. Hey Daniel, thanks so much for this article! I agree with all the points, but the one that really is important (for myself, at the moment) it’s the social influence. I’m neglecting the social presence necessary to make exploding my blogs and I have to work a lot on this. But having a big fan base on Facebook or other social networks is really difficult.

  6. I agree with all of your point and I have employed each of this technique in by blog. Its very important to have short URLs which could be easily achieved in WordPress by removing category name and date from the permalink as you pointed out.

    Another good way to optimize your WordPress blog is by getting the Yoast plugin for SEO and ensuring that your tags and archives are not getting indexed. Yoast also let you set your focus keyword and tells you before publishing whether your post is optimized for search engine or not. Yoast is a very handy tool for those who are not SEO.

    Total Cache plugin is yet another way to fasten your page load speed which is very good for SEO.

    And yes you could do this all by yourself if you are comfortable with PHP coding and server site optimization.

    My question is why do you think wordpress treat internal linking as trackback and whether there is a way around that?

    • Ney Nikhil,

      I’m totally with you on the Yoast plugin – I’ve been using it since day one of installing the WordPress platform. It’s a great help.

      As for the trackback thing, I’m not sure exactly what you are referring to. WordPress simply detects all pages pointing to your posts including pages from your own blog. But why should that be a problem?

      Daniel

  7. I’m already a believer in high quality content anyway, thanks for emphasizing this. All the other information was fairly new to me and very helpful (and sweet and short :-) Thank you!

  8. Hi Daniel,

    I think not using slug is very common and lot of bloggers hardly give any attention towards it. I think lot of bloggers are not aware of its benefits and even don’t know how to use it.

  9. Daniel, how many links (internal) would you recommend per post? I try to do at least once and sometimes 3x. I did not know about adding them to the upper part, interesting! I’m not sure on posting more often because it doesn’t give you time to share, comment and do another lengthy post. I did not notice much dip in traffic when I went from 5x to 2x per week, but comments increased. Interesting, I’ve read both sides on this debate. Thanks for sharing these tips Daniel.

    • Hey Lisa,

      As far as internal links go, I don’t think there really is a magic number. I mean you can add links whenever you find they will be appropriate and will provide more value to the reader. But of course turning each keyword into a link isn’t the way to go.

      As for blog posting frequency, I was referring to going lower than two. I’m doing two and traffic numbers are just fine. Could go for one more, but as of that’s the schedule I prefer.

      Thank you for stopping by!
      Daniel

  10. For someone who claims not to know much about SEO, you sure know a heck of a lot my friend :).

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us. I took some great notes here…For one I’m going to change my permalink and the other is setting up my Google Authorship…which I’m not sure if I’ve done LOL.

    Very valuable information you’ve shared with us! Have a great day Daniel!

    • Hey Corina,

      Well not anything advanced, but I hope people still find it useful and I’m glad you did. :)

      Good luck with getting your authorship set up and improving the permalinks!

      Enjoy your day! :D
      Daniel

  11. Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for sharing. I think the biggest mistake done by bloggers nowadays is that they don’t link internally that much. Maybe I would say they focus too much external.

    I got to highlight that the new post thingy you said in #1. I noticed that too but not that obvious. So, thanks for confirming what I had in mind mate!

    Reginald

    • Hey Reginald,

      Yeah, internal linking definitely plays an important role in distributing link juice between the articles.

      And indeed that’s what my reports show – fresh content brings more organic traffic.

      Have a good one man!
      Daniel