When performed correctly, search engine optimization is one of the best investments that you can make in your website. After all, from blogs to business websites, if you want to turn a profit, nothing beats search engine traffic.
The obvious problem with SEO however is that for many, its intricacies remain somewhat of a mystery. And it’s therefore not uncommon for webmasters to waste time on tasks that are never going to help them get to where they want to go.
Here are eight of the most causes of SEO efforts going completely unrewarded.
Building the Wrong Backlinks
As Google continues to tweak their ranking algorithm, the importance of high quality backlinks continues to increase. Gone are the days when you can submit your site to a few thousand web directories and expect to rank on the first page. These days, it’s quality, and not quantity that matters. And any attempt to chase the latter is a complete waste of time.
Low Quality Blog Comments
Speaking of building the wrong backlinks, arguably the most common example is low quality blog commenting. Unfortunately, low quality blog comments can only ever lead to one of two things, comments that get deleted or links from blogs that weren’t worth commenting on in the first place. Neither outcome is going to help your site, the latter might even harm it. In other words, think before you type.
Building Links that Will Never Get Indexed
It doesn’t matter if you build ten backlinks or a thousand, if Google doesn’t know about them, the result is going to be pretty much the same. Never build a backlink without first asking yourself how likely it is to actually get indexed. The easiest way to increase your odds of getting indexed is to simply stick to sites that Google crawls on a regular basis. Other options include pinging services and second tier backlinks (links to your links).
Chasing Page Rank
There’s no denying that having a high page rank is beneficial. Unfortunately however, it’s nowhere near as important as most people believe. And as Google becomes better and better at sorting quality from garbage, the importance of page rank is decreasing, not increasing. Make no mistake, there are over two hundred factors involved in where your site ranks. And page rank is just one of them.
Optimizing for the Wrong Keywords
Keywords are at the heart of just about any effective SEO campaign. If you don’t know what keywords you’re chasing, you’re essentially running blind. It’s important to realise however that keyword optimization alone isn’t enough to drive traffic to your site. There’s also the small matter of keyword selection. Optimizing your site for overly competitive keywords is akin to not optimizing for any. The result will be same.
Worrying About Keyword Density
Another keyword related myth that has plenty of otherwise logical webmasters wasting their time is the idea that keyword optimization somehow equals keyword stuffing. Contrary to popular belief, there is no magical keyword density that will get a web page to rank. Optimal keyword density is not based upon an arbitrary percentage but rather on what looks natural. And chasing a particular density at the cost of readability is something that leads many webmasters directly to a penalty.
Doing Business with Undesirables
If your knowledge of SEO ends with what the letters stand for, investing in the services of SEO professionals makes sense. In fact, even if you know quite a bit about SEO, sometimes outsourcing the task is simply the most efficient road to take. Unfortunately however, for every honest SEO consultant, there are at least ten cowboys. And there’s no bigger SEO mistake than to pay a cowboy to make your site worse.
Overestimating What SEO Can Do
Finally, there’s the small matter of the website or blog that you’re actually trying to optimize, does it actually deserve to rank? While there’s no denying the power of SEO, there’s also no denying that it only works when combined with a quality website. In other words, if your site isn’t up to scratch, it isn’t backlinks that you should be worrying about, it’s your site.