With the average cost of Google Adwords nearing two dollars per click, organic search engine traffic is more valuable than ever. Is your website committing any of these all-too-common SEO mistakes?
1. Outdated Security
Google is working hard to make the internet more secure, and one important step they’ve taken to accomplish this is prioritizing websites that feature HTTPS encryption. Being secure has always been an important issue for sites that prompt users to enter sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers. Now, with major search engines taking a strong stance in favor of security, every website administrator who wants their site to rank well should be working hard to integrate HTTPS certification. For non-techies, this prospect may sound rather intimidating -- but thankfully, the Google Webmasters series offers a straightforward guide to HTTPS that we highly recommend.
2. Poor Mobile Responsiveness
According to Statista, more that half of all world wide web traffic is mobile. Because of this, search engines now punish poor responsiveness quite harshly in their rankings. After all, when the majority of online users are mobile, there’s little sense in promoting content that cannot be properly displayed on smartphones! Gaging mobile responsiveness can be surprisingly complicated, as there is no one single metric to point to. Obviously, the first step toward better responsiveness is to create an integrated website rather than using separate desktop and mobile sites. For more tips on evaluating and improving your responsiveness, check out this responsiveness overview from Screenster.
3. Keyword Stuffing
Search engines aim to provide their users with high-quality content that answers their questions in a clear, accurate, and easily readable manner. In the internet’s earlier days, the best method that search engines had for identifying such content was keywords. Back then, if you were to search “content writing,” a web page that mentioned “content writing” forty times would appear higher on a Google search than an article that mentioned the phrase a mere five times. Clearly, was not a good reflection of quality. Nowadays, modern AI such as RankBrain can easily identify content devoted entirely to “stuffing” keywords -- and such content consistently receives poor SEO rankings, as it does not provide readers with true value.
4. Intrusive Ads
Most internet users find autoplay ads that produce sound or video to be extremely intrusive. Not surprisingly, such content tends to harm search engine rankings. Tastefully-placed image ads will not necessarily lower your rankings. However, you should be conscientious of how such ads affect your website speed. Fast sites rank higher and convert visitors at a higher rate, and is usually not worth compromising for a few dollars of ad revenue, unless selling ads is central to your business model. Regardless of whether you host ads on your site or not, we recommend testing your site speed on a regular basis to ensure that you remain optimized.
5. Unoriginal Content
We probably shouldn’t have to tell you that simply copy-pasting content from other websites is a big mistake. Intellectual property rights, company image, and basic ethics aside, Google’s Penguin 2.0 algorithm is excellent at detecting and punishing copied writing. You should also know that the so-called practice of “article spinning” can be just as harmful. Article spinning consists of hastily rewording existing content rather than creating original ideas -- and was an awesome time-saving SEO trick about ten years ago. Nowadays, this technique is nothing more than a slightly more sophisticated and time-consuming version of copy-pasting.
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