Keeping pace with the continuously evolving Search Engine Optimization (SEO) algorithms is mandatory to sustain your website’s ranking on the search engine result pages (SERP). While new SEO criteria and regulations are added every now and then, there are certain fundamental do’s and don’ts that still make a significant impact on site ranks.
Let’s take you through a list of things that you must steer clear of when optimizing your website for search engine results.
Though Keyword density is still a relevant factor in ranking websites, using an optimal mix of specific and long tail keywords that blend with natural flow of content has become the present norm. Repetitive use of keywords or over optimization intended solely to influence the website rankings is no longer useful and attracts penalties too.
This age-old Black-Hat SEO technique that strives to present one copy of the website for the search engine algorithms and another copy for the visitor (by hiding some parts of the site content) also works against the reputation of your website.
Google does not react kindly to other common Black-Hat SEO methods such as thin gateway pages that redirect visitors to other websitesin an attempt to spike traffic, or generate income.
Outdated / Duplicate Content
Relevant and original content continues to rule high on Google’s SERP. It is therefore mandatory that you avoid duplicate, spun, scraped or plagiarized content on your website, either in part or full. Do not let visitors lose interest in your website by simply presenting a site which features static content.
Sprucing up the site with fresh content at fixed intervals not only keeps regular visitors coming back for latest updates, but also causes the search algorithms to notice the activity and refresh the site’s ranks based on these changes.
If you don’t have the time or resources to create fresh content you may alter existing web pages by including a couple of images or links to other relevant sites / pages.
Broken Links and Redirects
Links on your website, both internal and outgoing must lead visitors to active sites / pages. You must periodically ensure that all links on the website point to relevant sources, as very often target websites/ web pages may become irrelevant, may be moved or become unresponsive.
Using the appropriate 301 / 302 redirects to indicate permanent transfer or temporary relocation of content is must for your site to retain its rankings, and backlinks as well. If at all you need to remove a web page for good, make sure to use a 404 code to indicate the status.
The content on your website must be interesting and impressive to draw visitors and retain their attention. As pages of plain text tend to get monotonous, webmasters usually include videos, images, infographics, banners and other media elements to enhance the appeal of the page.
However you must make sure that including multimedia and other pictorial elements on the website does not compromise its load time or performance. It is a known fact that visitors are quick to abandon or opt out of websites that are slow to load or respond.
While Google does monitor the time taken for your site to load, it also takes stock of the bounce rate and the time a visitor spends on your site when ranking the website.
Authoritative, reputed websites automatically get noticed, by search engines, internet users and naturally are rewarded with good references and backlinks. Do not try to purchase backlinks, more importantly check for unwarranted links from blacklisted websites, spammy links or those from unrelated, low-quality sources and disavow them to avoid being penalized.
Overlooking Mobile Optimization
With Google rolling its Mobile-first indexing initiative, the mobile version of your website is now considered for indexing and ranking purposes. The mobile version of your website must feature enough relevant content to engage visitors and offer similar experience as the desktop version. Mobile version of your site can no longer contain thin pages with sparse content if you wish retain your website rankings on SERP. However if you do not maintain a mobile version, you could optimize your desktop version to make it mobile friendly.
Featuring Important Messages in Images
Impressive images are quite successful in capturing the attention of internet users. While you are free to use images to compliment the content featured on the site, do not use them to display key pieces of textual information otherwise missing from the page content. Text elements placed within images are not processed by search engines and do not contribute to website rankings.
Hosting pages of impeccable content on a website may not really serve the purpose unless the visitor can access and consume it with relative ease, preferably within a couple of clicks from the main page. Take time to organize content in logical units with internal links leading the visitor to topics that are either related or offer in-depth information. Enabling visitors to smoothly navigate through the website will make sure they find the details they came looking for.
Also remember to submit a sitemap to make it easier for the search engine to fully understand the structure of site and how its pages are correlated.
These are but certain essential things that you need to avoid when doing SEO for your website and are by default taken care of by any reputed, established SEO Company, in case you choose to outsource the SEO function. It is also important to note that SEO is not a one-time job, as the site needs routine optimization conforming to evolving algorithms as well as fresh content. Teaming up with a credible SEO Company not only saves you time and effort but ensures that your site is in line with SEO trends and regulations and retains its position on the SERP.