When performed correctly, SEO becomes a money-making boon for your small business. Unfortunately, there are many wrong ways to do SEO. Even some of the most experienced SEO professionals in the business sometimes get it wrong too. In this article, we’re going to show you how you can avoid making some costly mistakes in creating and implementing your SEO strategy.

By learning how to avoid these SEO mistakes, you will become better at SEO yourself and lead your small business to great success. Here are the top 7 SEO mistakes you need to stop making to turn your online marketing strategy into a game-changer for your business.

1. Keyword Stuffing

Gone are the days where you have to have keywords mentioned 20 times or more in your content. There’s no need to overload your content with the same keywords repeatedly. Google places much greater rank on original, valuable content that people find easy to read. This is why SEO has become more competitive in the last several years. There’s way more that’s expected from website content, and keyword density isn’t as important anymore. Your website will look spammy with website content like this:

“Call Atlanta’s dog groomers at Atlanta dog grooming company. We offer the best Atlanta dog groomer deals at affordable Atlanta dog groomer prices.”

As you can see from the example, this kind of content is very difficult to read and doesn’t offer the reader any value. The lesson here is to not write spammy content or else your readers will suffer and your standing with Google will go out the window with a lot of this content on your site.

2. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is a little harder to spot if you’re not a techie, and may require an SEO website audit to uncover the problem. You don’t mean to have the same content displayed in multiple pages on your site, but sometimes this happens, causing your site to take a dip in search engine rankings.

You can have different URLs on your website, but have the same content displayed if you have syndication plugins and software enabled. Duplicate content can also be caused by a lack of canonical URLs on your website, which is a URL that tells search engines which link on your site is the right URL to display in search engines.

3. Spun Content

There’s good SEO, and then there’s lots of bad SEO. Lots and lots of bad, reprehensible SEO that destroys websites inside and out. One of the reasons why SEO has such a bad reputation is due to the black-hat practice of spun content. There are some SEO companies that will promise that they can create tons of content and articles within a short time.

What they really mean is that they farm out this work to an overseas company that uses software that automatically takes one article and creates dozens of variations on it. Often, the content will be unreadable and about as bad as one with a lot of keyword stuffing in it.

This will cause your site’s rankings to plummet and the penalties from Google will make it so your site will not be eligible to appear in search results. Don’t take chances on any SEO company that does not produce original content in-house, or you’ll get burned badly by greedy scammers who wanted to take the ‘easy’ way out.

4. Website Cloaking

Here’s another shady black-hat SEO “technique” which should be avoided at all costs. Website cloaking refers to the practice of having a website display different content to search engines than what the user would see. This is done in an attempt to fool the search engines into ranking your website higher, when in reality, this practice is doing much more harm than good.

This is another way people get screwed investing in the wrong kind of SEO. Their sites are permanently banned by Google with no chance of appearing on their platform again. Sooner or later, you will get caught, especially if your site grows stronger in popularity.

5. Duplicate Meta Descriptions or None at All

There’s two common problems we see on a lot of websites we’ve performed SEO work. Sometimes, the pages don’t have any meta descriptions at all, which we see as missed opportunities to increase the click-through-rate of the landing page URLs on Google. While Google can display snippets of content as the meta description, this is not a best practice in SEO and leaves out potential to rank well for relevant keywords.

On the other hand, duplicate meta descriptions could also keep your website from ranking as it should. This is usually a quick fix that developers use because they realize that every page on a website should have a meta description, but have a misguided way to address the problem. Neither situation is desirable or helpful for your website SEO.

6. Plagiarize Content from Other Sites

Google always favors websites with original content. If you have a fact or statistic in your article, it’s fine to include it as a quote and then cite the source you got it from. However, you’re going too far when you include a ton of someone else’s article and pass it off as your own. Just like in high school and college, plagiarism is unacceptable for website content.

If you’re still unsure if your content has been copied wholesale from another site, you can run it through Copyscape just to be sure. Grammarly Premium also has a built-in plagiarism checker tool which scans your content and compares it to thousands of other websites.

7. Bad Website Backinks

Too many poor links will kill your website’s SEO. There’s another black-hat SEO practice where people try to manipulate search engine rankings by creating link pyramid scheme or submitting your website to thousands of other sites in a short amount of time. Google will catch on and heavily penalize your website if caught. Avoid getting backlinks from blogs with lots of spammy content. Also, spam comments on other WordPress sites and forums is also a big no-no for attaining quality backlinks to your site.

Conclusion

It never pays to try to manipulate your website’s search engine rankings through black hat SEO. In a lot of cases, you may have paid an SEO company only for them to completely outsource the work to someone else who isn’t willing to put in the time, work, and effort into doing SEO in an ethical way. Other times, you could have a technical problem on your site which causes duplicate content and meta descriptions to show. In either case, you deserve much better from an SEO company.

Call Viridian Geeks at 470-440-3434 or email [email protected] if you’d like to get started with SEO the right way, and get a free website audit too to check for duplicate content and meta descriptions. Thank you!