I 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
What 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:
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:
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?
Unfortunately 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.
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 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/posts
- 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:
- 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.
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!