For a team of dedicated marketers who eat, sleep and breathe all matters of Search Engine Optimization, it feels like we’ve been preaching the same list of “SEO Don’ts” for the last few years. Yet, for a business with so many different moving parts in the marketing machine to track, it’s easy to see how some of this stuff can fall off the radar. Usually the issues do not fully come to light until organic search traffic starts to fall off and clients call us to fix it. That’s what we’re here for, after all — to keep your company fresh and up-to-date in the search engines and remaining competitive, despite whatever craziness the webmasters at Google and other search engines want to throw our way. Here are eight common SEO mistakes we find and what you can do to avoid them in 2017…

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Top 8 SEO Mistakes To Avoid in 2017

1. Ignoring UX

User Experience has always been a part of SEO. If you want to be ranked by Google, you need a fast-loading site that attracts people who thoughtfully click around and spend time reading your site. At Google, they say “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” We help clients uncover reasons for high bounce rates, abandoned shopping carts, and inactivated trials. UX consulting is a quick, easy way to save time, increase leads and achieve better engagement. If the AMPs project is any indication, we expect to see increased emphasis on user experience in 2017.

2. Ignoring Mobile

More people are accessing web pages via mobile devices than desktop PCs. Google has announced they are in the process of switching their algorithms to Mobile First Indexing, which means they’ll consider mobile versions of websites first. This is huge, particularly if you’ve been slow to address issues with your mobile site, now is the time — before your rankings suffer. Google Webmasters have recommended that you create a responsive site or a dynamic serving site. You’ll want the primary content and markup to be the same across mobile and desktop versions of your site. You can use the Structured Data Testing Tool and the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is up to Google standards.

3. Weak Or Duplicate Content

At one time, 300 words was sufficient for a blog post. These days, we’ve seen top-performing brands adopt long-form content strategies to boost SEO ranking and value for their audiences. By contrast, search engines largely view websites without much content as “low-quality,” which leads to poor ranking. Your page should contain at least some content that tops 1,500 words, along with proper text formatting, optimized images and video embeds.

Removing duplicate content is one of the quickest paths to resurrecting a website from virtual obscurity. Not only is copying someone else’s content damaging for your SEO, but it’s also unethical and illegal! Even if you have taken the steps to secure republishing rights, duplicate content is still a risky tactic that offers little pay-off.

If you publish guest posts on other sites, it’s okay to largely use the same content, but make sure you tweak some of the phrasing to create “an evil twin,” as Kissmetrics puts it. Also, review Google’s rules and recommendations regarding duplicate content to be sure you’re on the same page.

It’s legit to use a block of text from another site, as long as you attribute and link to it (as we so often do here!) That sort of external research increases the value of your commentary, without hurting your reputation or SEO in any way.

Lastly, check out WordTracker’s post on various duplicate content issues (from session IDs, paginated pages and different domains, to title tags, canonicalization and faulty redirects), as well as this extensive post at Audience Bloom, which covers any question about duplicate content you could possibly have.

You Might Also Like: 3 Common Duplicate Content Mistakes & How to Fix Them

4. Spammy or No Backlinks

We’ve worked with a number of companies slammed by the Google Penguin update. If you’ve received a penalty or unnatural links notification or your site’s performance declined significantly all of a sudden, then it’s probably time for a massive backlink cleanup. Search Engine Land compared backlink cleanup as akin to “cleaning your house after a flood.” It’s no easy task. You’ll need an SEO firm’s help for sure. On the other hand, gradual backlink maintenance is more like “sweeping your floors,” they say, and is totally doable. Link Removal Guide offers a quick checklist to help you get started cleaning up your link profile, which will show you tangible SEO results in no time.

Don’t be daunted by the use of links altogether. Link farms have given the practice a bad name in the past — but with any abuse of the system, there is still a “right” way to approach this SEO-related activity. Site Pro News clarifies: “Receiving quality inbound links from relevant sites is still important to Google; it helps to validate your credibility. Outbound links are just as critical, especially to authority domains.” Spend time doing your homework and only link to relevant websites within your industry.

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5. No Content Strategy

SEO and content are not separate strategies. They’re inextricably intertwined. Active blogs help your website rank for optimal keywords, get indexed, maintain visibility in search, stay relevant in social media, generate inbound links, boost click-throughs and improve conversions. All of these signals point to your brand as a valuable contributor to the web. In addition to maintaining consistent blog presence, you also want to make sure your internal web pages and meta data remain fresh and original.

It’s not enough to have a general game plan in your head. Even though nearly half of all B2B content marketers lack a written strategy, The Content Marketing Institute found that “The most-effective marketers are more likely than less-effective marketers to document their content marketing strategy, have a documented editorial mission statement, and hold regular meetings. In fact, 61% of the most-effective B2B marketers meet daily or weekly with their content marketing team either virtually or in person.”

Discover 8 Stupid Simple Social Media Tricks That Will Boost You To Page 1

6. Incomplete On-Page SEO

One of the last steps in SEO is fine-tuning the on-page elements. On-page SEO covers topics like: using the right keywords (but sparingly), creating fresh, quality content, and maintaining consistency among brand messages. It also covers more technical aspects like filling out all title, description and image tags in their entirety.

You Might Also Like: On-Page SEO Checklist: 10 Steps to Search Engine Success

Also, we love this helpful infographic from QuickSEOResults:

on page seo

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7. Not Utilizing Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools

Google’s Matt Cutts told Search Engine Land one of the biggest SEO mistakes people can make is “Not using webmaster resources and learning about how Google works and what SEO is about.” If you’re not measuring your website’s data, then the best you can hope for is a stroke of good fortune from a blind stab in the dark. Instead, you want to see which efforts are most fruitful and which website elements need improved optimization. You’ll need conversion goals, weekly reports and keyword monitoring established in regular practice.

8. Failing To Consider Quality SEO Services Which Deliver Real Results

Don’t let prospects pass your website by. Take the time to bring your SEO strategy into the modern era. Mandy McEwen and her team of fellow consultants at Mod Girl Marketing can help you tackle any aspect of Search Engine Optimization, whether you want one-on-one coaching to complete these tasks in-house or you’d like to outsource to a reliable professional for a customized SEO campaign. We implement strategic techniques on every campaign including SEO copywriting, link building, video marketing and more. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services, which are directly tailored to your individual needs.