Everyone makes mistakes. That’s especially true when you’re an amateur. Changing oil for example. I’ve changed the oil in my car several times and every time something goes wrong. Of course the worst of it is just a big sticky mess, but the point is a professional mechanic can change a car’s oil faster and cleaner than I ever could. You can apply that concept to anything – plumbing, sales calls, skydiving, and of course, the point of this article… SEO.
Almost every one of our clients have tried to become SEO experts by reading blogs like ours and other sources of SEO info. We try our best to steer people in the right direction, but ultimately business owners realize they don’t have the time, patience or understanding of SEO to realistically take it all on themselves. They call us and other SEO companies and choose one to help get their site ranked. We do our best to allow our clients to do as much or as little of the work as they want. We guide them and show them examples but ultimately it’s very difficult for a non SEO professional (a mechanic for example) to fully understand SEO. It’s an art and a science. We’re immersed in SEO all day, reading about the latest algorithm changes, case studies and other info that helps us make the claim that we’re experts at Search Engine Optimization. There is a lot you can do for yourself, but you should at minimum get a professional opinion. Here’s some guidance on common mistakes we’ve come across while reviewing our clients and potential clients’ sites:
CMS Issues – WordPress, Joomla and other CMS systems make it very easy for anyone to launch a website, throw a theme on it and look like they know what they’re doing. However, with any good CMS system there are plenty of options that seem unnecessary or unimportant. The truth is most settings need to be intentionally set, turned on or off. One big SEO mistake in CMS systems is by default they usually tack on the name of the site to all titles and make them too long for Google to display properly in search results. It’s important to know how to change that setting and it’s actually pretty hard to find in most CMS systems. Another is CMS systems aren’t SEO friendly by default. There are several plugins we recommend and there are thousands more that we specifically avoid. Many “SEO Plugins” can actually hurt because most are not well thought out. Heck, they’re free. What did you expect? But there are a handful of free SEO plugins that are necessary for proper CMS SEO. The third major (there are plenty more) issue with CMS systems that aren’t properly configured is they have hundreds of broken links by default. Strange, huh… Yes I’m being vague in the hopes you’ll call for more details
Content Issues – Unless your profession is a writer you’ll likely fall into this trap or at least be tempted to reuse content on several pages. This is all kinds of wrong. But maybe you wrote an awesome page for the Plano Texas market. Why not copy it and replace Plano with Frisco or Allen? I’ll tell you why – it will sink your site faster than you can CTRL-C, CTRL-V. Same goes for using a thesaurus or a “page spinner” to change a few strategic words here and there. Unfortunately in our experience most people will probably do it anyway. Another content issue is thin content. As a rule of thumb thin content is any page that has fewer than 500 words
That’s all the time I have for now. I’ll probably follow up with a few more SEO mistakes sometime in the near future. Keep in mind your website is like a car. There are areas you can maintain and there are areas you should get a professional’s help with.