Search engine optimization was always a complicated business, and more so, now, after all the updates that are happening regularly. The Panda and Penguin updates were real wake up calls to SEOs who thought they could get away with just about anything and everything; because of these updates they are more careful today, then they were ever before, but this does not mean that they don’t make mistakes.

Every SEO makes mistakes and they are a part and parcel of the SEO process; you can only learn more about SEO, if you make a mistake. So, let’s take a look at ten of the most common mistakes made in search engine optimization.

To know them, helps you avoid them.


1. Over-reliance on Trends

Like fashion trends, food trends, design trends, you have SEO trends. There is no doubt that there are plenty of authority figures in the niche, who are trend setters and bring to the fore a whole new way of doing SEO or at least a specific aspects of SEO. They come up with the “latest tips and tricks” of SEO, and you might be tempted to use them.   But remember, first get your fundamentals right and only then, follow those SEO trends that are kicking up a storm.

If you don’t get your basics right and focus too much on the “trends”, your SEO efforts will go waste.


2. Duplication

This is the bane of many a SEO. Content duplication is something that will take your SEO way down, and something that needs to be avoided at all costs. Duplicate content pages are not just about using the content used on one page or article on some other page. It’s also about directing two different URLs to the same page.

So anything and everything related to duplication needs to avoided, Yes, even try and avoid content duplications that are a result of say something like “sorting”. A common SEO error made in eCommerce pages, where in an effort to give shoppers, different ways of looking for products, webmasters end up compromising on their SEO; in this case even if the user defined content is different, the SEO defined content remains the same, meaning duplication.


3. Unwanted focus on PageRank

Chasing Page Rank is the favorite pass-time of SEOs. Yes, it’s not a bad idea to ensure a high Page Rank for your site, but your website’s chances are not just dependent on Page Rank alone. By focusing on just one metric, SEOs commit the cardinal sin of not giving enough importance to other indicators that help rank a website.

The importance of Page Rank cannot be denied, but if you get your analytics right, and follow Google guidelines, it will improve. Don’t worry!


   4. Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the oft repeated crime of SEO, and the surprising thing is many SEOs against their better judgment continue to use one keyword too many in their pages. Search engines like Google have no love lost for keyword stuffing, and tend to penalize websites for it, big time!

What you need to do is create useful pages that offer quality content to readers, meaning your pages should be used to offer relevant information and shouldn’t be just used as a vehicle to stuff keywords.


  1. Lack of Goal Orientation

What is it that you want your SEO efforts to achieve? Do you have an answer to this question? If not, then you are making a big mistake. Make sure that the goals of your SEO campaign are perfectly aligned with the objectives of the business; you are optimizing the website or blog for.

So, focus on creating an all round SEO campaign, whose objectives are aligned with those of the business. This ensures that the site is optimized keeping overall business requirements in mind.


  1. Paying for Links

So, you have a client, who isn’t too worried about the budget, and has given you a free hand to optimize his site. All he wants is that the site gets right to the top of the SERPs in double quick time.

So, you get this bright idea to buy paid links and in quick time, you have built a commendable amount of links that have got your site rankings up. But the problem is that you have done quite a lot in very little time. What this means is that a search engine like Google will immediately red flag the site, as building so many links, so quickly will appear highly irregular. Result – Your site will be penalized and will go down.

As can be imagined, the client will not be happy. Big Mistake! So avoid it.



  1. Title Tag Errors

Don’t know why this is a common error, but it is. Some SEOs keep the Title tag too long, others keep it too short. There are still others who just use the name of their business in the Title tag and of course there are others who don’t use keywords in their Title tags. Well, these are just many of the common mistakes that an SEO makes in relation to the optimization of the Title Tag.

The best thing to do when it comes to optimizing the Title tags is to create a title that is short and crisp, eye catching, is completely relevant and has a keyword.


  1. Very Little Content

Yes, another big mistake.  Some SEOs are of the opinion that having limited content on a page pays rich dividends. I don’t know where that comes from, but the thing is content shouldn’t be a lot, but it also shouldn’t be wafer thin. Too little content on a page leaves very little scope for optimization, and while there is something called minimal design or a visually intensive page, where the content is very little, making this as a matter of course, lack of content on a web page is detrimental to your SEO interests.

Otherwise, search engines won’t rate it high on the quality aspect.


  1. ALT Tags – What’s that?

Another mistake made by SEOs is that they don’t optimize images on a web page. Agreed, it’s not a necessity, until and unless, the textual content is absolutely minimal, but why not use an ALT tag to optimize an image for a keyword. This will contribute towards improving the ranking of that particular web page. It’s important to remember that search engine spiders don’t crawl images, but if an ALT tag is used, you have the chance to optimize the image as well. Why not use this chance then?


  1. Not Thinking Things Through

A half baked SEO campaign never works, but there are SEOs who conceptualize and implement a campaign that is neither here nor there. They don’t really know how it’s going to move forward, and just create one, because it’s their business to do so. They do not have a plan to take it forward or have a plan B, if things go wrong. Their campaign does not consider an all round approach and comes across as something that has not been thought through completely.

Lack of seriousness and focused effort is one of the bigger mistakes of SEO.  This needs to be avoided at all costs.


In Conclusion

Ten SEO mistakes have been given here, but these definitely do not cover all the mistakes that SEOs are prone to making when they are gearing for an SEO campaign. But, giving these a look into will definitely help you take the right steps to avoid the wrong turns that are usually made during the process of search engine optimization.


December 5, 2012

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