In the last quarter of 2013, almost all businesses have come to the realisation that SEO is a necessity. And while businesses of all sizes employ SEO companies to handle their SEO strategy, some are doing it themselves. As someone who has worked in SEO for some time, my thoughts on this are thats absolutely fine as long as you know exactly what youre doing. If not, the slightest error in judgement could result in your site being blacklisted by Google. At very least, such a mistake would take months to put right and you would have set yourself back by a considerable margin.
With that in mind, attempting to conduct their own SEO strategy should spend a considerable amount of time researching Search Engine Optimisation before they start. Here are some of the top SEO mistakes that companies make when they attempt to handle their own SEO:
1) Invisible Text
They use invisible text throughout their web pages. What is invisible text? It is text, usually taking the form of keywords or phrases that the company wants to rank for, that is made the exact same colour as the web pages background. The idea is that your users wont see the invisible text but Crawlers will. So you should rank higher than most of your competitors, right?
Wrong. Crawlers are extremely smart. Smarter than many give them credit for. And while this was once a valid (if frowned upon) technique, it is now a good way to get your site banned and deindexed by Google, meaning that nobody will be able to find you. Oh dear.
2) Link Farms
They use link farms. Link farms are websites that exist solely to link to other websites. What typically happens is that the company receives a spam email from a link farm site, asking if they would be interested in purchasing a few thousand links to their website as it will be hugely beneficial to their SERP.
For a fee, these link farms will create thousands of links. But they will be worthless as the sites are not valued by Google. Worse, its highly likely that Google knows about these link farm sites and that you will be penalised if youre associated with them in any way.
3) Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing. It refers to the act of inelegantly placing your desired keyword or phrase into a page numerous times, to the point that it is out of proportion to your competitors and what Google classifies as normal. If you keyword stuff, Googles Crawlers will know about it. As mentioned earlier in this article, their crawlers are extremely smart and are able to discern if your sentences and paragraphs are flowing naturally, or if keywords have been placed there with rankings in mind.
4) Duplicate Content
Due to time constraints, many companies feel that they can’t commit due time to new content for their website and blog. As a result, they perhaps regurgitate material that they have taken from another website. Be in no doubt, this is a mistake. Original content is key to Google’s appreciation of your website and if crawlers pick up on the fact that you have copied content from another site (and they will) your site will be in major trouble. We recommend staying original and using your specific experience and point of view to engage and educate users.
While SEO can be a very complicated process, the best piece of advice I could give to newcomers is to use your common sense and avoid making silly mistakes such as the ones listed in this article. They will never work and will only serve to get your site blacklisted by Google.
Rick Miles is an SEO Specialist working at the very quirky Blue Monkee in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He uses white hat SEO techniques and is frequently disappointed by the number of SEO companies that dont.