It’s a mistake to populate your website with content and then expect it to attract customers forever. SEO work is a lot like gardening. Planting is only half of it. You must tend to it constantly or the weeds will take over. Our Los Angeles SEO company is often asked to improve an existing website’s performance in search rankings. This can lead to surprised looks on our customers’ faces when we achieve it by fixing what’s already on the webpage instead of simply adding more content to the mix. Here’s a list of 5 Simple Mistakes That Are Killing Your Website SEO, and what we do when our Los Angeles SEO company finds them:
You’d think that trying to trick Google by repeating a few keywords over and over would be a thing of the past. You’d think wrong. Content providers that serve SEO link building companies are still advertising keyword rates of up to four percent. Google’s not interested. Search engines have become a lot better at determining context on the pages they crawl. They’ve also become much more interested in ranking the amount of attention your website receives from sites that feature your keywords. Chanting your keywords over and over doesn’t work. Readers have become very savvy about spotting keyword-stuffed writing, and they’ll quickly click away when they see it. Google knows what your site is about. Concentrate on saying something interesting or useful about the topic you’re trying to rank for. Preferably both.
Neglecting Your Images
The people who work at Google are really smart. You can’t tell them much about Search Engine Optimization that they haven’t heard already. Google’s search engine is really dumb, however. You have to tell it everything. Search engines rely on you to clue them in on every aspect of your business. Google, Bing, and all the other search engines reward sites that supply their users with rich content. They like images, and they reward you for adding them to your pages. They need you to explain what the images represent, however, because their spiders can’t effectively look at pictures or watch videos.
Optimizing pictures is generally the lowest of low-hanging fruit to quickly improve a new client’s website. We make sure that photos have appropriate alt tags. That lets Google know how they fit in with the text on the page. It’s also helpful to put a description of the photo in plain English.
Misunderstanding What Mobile-Friendly Means
Google has done a great job with their Mobile-Friendly Test for developers. If you enter your main website page, or an interior page, the utility will show you what it looks like to Google’s spider. It’s a pass/fail type of test. It’s useful, but there is one problem with it.
The Mobile-Friendly Test only analyzes what your website looks like to their bot. It measures important things, but the actual appearance of your site to a person on a mobile phone isn’t one of them. Your website can be easy for a search engine bot to read, but awful for a real user. Our Los Angeles SEO company also checks our work with Google’s Page Speed Insight utility after checking for mobile-friendliness. The utility can point out many problems on both mobile devices and desktops, with suggestions on how to fix them. It’s a great resource.
Botching Duplicate Content
If you’re a conscientious webmaster, you’re always adding fresh content to your website. That can eventually lead to problems with duplicate content. Most SEO advice instructs you to simply avoid having any duplicate content on your website. That’s easy to say and hard to do. If search engine spiders can reach the same content from multiple URLs, it’s duplicate content. There are many reasons why you might want to be able to do just that, but not incur a penalty. Smart SEO strategy is to use canonical tags to let spiders know which content is the primary example, and which is similar but secondary.
Busted Pages and Bounce Rate
Search engines hate broken pages and dead links, and they’re really not crazy about a lot of redirects, either. It’s really important to clean up anything on your site that interferes with visitors finding what they’re looking for. One aspect of dead links that’s overlooked is bounce rate. Google measures how long visitors to your site stay and look at the content. People don’t stay very long on a dead webpage. That increases your bounce rate and lowers your search rankings. Fix those 404s!
If you correct these 5 simple SEO mistakes, your website will be more attractive to search engines. That’s bound to increase traffic on your site. If you need help with these aspects of SEO best practices, contact our Los Angeles SEO firm for a more thorough analysis of your website.
So, who is the world’s greatest SEO expert? If you look around websites devoted to SEO link building, you might get the impression that it’s a 10,000,000-way tie. Everyone claims to be number one. They’re all wrong. There can be only one, and it’s Google.
Google’s opinion about Search Engine Optimization is the only one that matters, because when it comes to search engines, Google is the elephant in the room. It’s important for webmasters to pay attention to Bing and Yahoo, but let’s face it: If you don’t rank on Google, you’re nowhere. The problem for webmasters searching for the best method of SEO link building is that Google never comes right out and explains how their search algorithms work. You can’t blame them. If they did, every SEO company in the world would spend all their time gaming the system instead of advising their clients to put great content on their websites. That’s why every SEO expert was just one more blind man describing the Google elephant.
The Six Blind Men and the Elephant
If you’re not familiar with the story of the Six Blind Men and the Elephant, it goes like this: A king tells six blind men to describe an elephant. They cannot see the elephant, so they use their hands to feel around, and each man describes only the portion they can reach. One man says the elephant is like a rope, because he is holding its tail. Another says the elephant is like a wall, because his hand is on the animal’s side. Another says the elephant is like a tree trunk, because he can only feel its leg. Working alone, the blind men can’t ever tell what the whole elephant looks like.
That’s exactly what it’s like for an SEO expert. You try different approaches to make sure your client’s webpages rank on Google, but you can never be sure what the entire process looks like. People who specialize in website SEO like to compare notes with others to improve their approach, but you never know if other people have more reliable information than you do. Only Google knows if you’re right, because they make the rules. If you make a mistake because someone suggests a forbidden technique as a shortcut, you can get de-listed by Google.
The Google Algorithm Is Based on Human Opinion
Recently, the great Google elephant has finally spoken. Google released a copy of their Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines, and it’s as close as they’ve ever come to explaining how website SEO works on their search engine. For an SEO expert, it’s a treasure trove of useful information. It’s not a copy of the algorithms they’re using. It’s more like a blueprint of the information they use to come up with their algorithms.
Google uses human judgment to determine which sites should be ranked highly, which should be de-listed, and everything in between. They have a team of search quality raters who pore over websites using the methods outlined in Google’s guidelines, and then assign a score. Google needs to automate this process, because they can’t possibly have humans looking at every site on the Internet. They use the results from their raters to set their algorithms, and then they crawl the web ranking websites. If you follow Google quality rater’s guidelines for content, you’ll be an SEO expert in no time.
A True SEO Expert Always Wears a White Hat
The guide is not as useful for people who don’t use white hat techniques to increase their search rankings. The document has over 150 pages of information. If you try to cheat, the news is all bad. Google quality raters are given hundreds of parameters to check when determining the relative importance of one website over another, and it would be almost impossible to fool them for very long. If you do discover a way to get around one metric they use for ranking, one of the other parameters will catch you.
A true SEO expert isn’t afraid that Google’s information is out where anyone can see it. It’s not as if webmasters can now perform all their SEO work on their own. Google’s list of important details for websites is so long and complicated that no amateur could possibly make use of it. It is a great tool for SEO consultants to see exactly how accurate their methods have been in the past, and how to stay on the right side of Google’s preferences for SEO link building in the future.
Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines show once and for all that website SEO is best left to the professionals. Website SEO is too important to overlook, and it requires a lot of work to get it right. It also pays to remember what happens when the roles are reversed. When the king asked six blind elephants to describe a man, the first one stepped on the man and said that men were flat. Then all the other elephants stepped on him, and agreed that men were flat. Don’t get stomped flat by the Google elephant! Let a SEO expert use the Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines to help you keep the Google elephant happy.