8 Toxic Mistakes SEO Rookies Need to Avoid

When you’re new in any career path, you’re bound to make mistakes. As an SEO rookie, it’ll take years before you’re seasoned enough to call yourself a pro. It’s a complicated line of work with more new information coming out every day.

The guidelines for SEO are constantly changing, and sometimes you won’t even realize you’re doing something wrong. Here are eight common mistakes that you should avoid as an SEO rookie.

1. Trying the Same Strategies Over and Over

If what you’re continuing to do over and over again isn’t working, it’s time to try something else. Since SEO is always developing, you may be using an old strategy that no longer works.
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Improving SEO takes time. It’s important to remember that SEO is an investment, not a one-time cost. It’ll pay off in the end, but it takes time and patience on both ends to get there.

Invest in analytics and always be sure to plan for tomorrow. The digital ecosystem is continually evolving and changing, so you need to make sure you’re keeping up with new developments in order to ensure you’re following all of the current optimization guidelines for SERPs.

2. Not Owning up to Faults

It’s especially important to own up to your faults, but it’s also important to remember that not everything is your fault. It goes against sales 101, but the customer isn’t always right. You may be new, but you’re more knowledgeable about SEO and more objective about what needs to be fixed than your client.
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Make sure you’re analyzing the data and being honest with your client. If the numbers are bad, you need to find out why, whether it be something technical on your end or something broken on the client’s side.

3. Not Focusing on What’s Really Important

It may be tempting to pluck the low-hanging fruit simply because it’s easy, but the easiest way isn’t always the best. Don’t focus your efforts on ranking pages with easy SEO keywords that don’t ultimately contribute to growing revenue as much as other keywords could.

Instead, your efforts should be focused on researching keywords and selecting the ones that will yield a larger ROI. But it also goes beyond just keywords. Optimizing social media profiles can lead to more awareness and backlinks that can help improve your ranking. You should also improve site speed, optimize images, write detailed descriptions, improve site security, and revamp your site for mobile.
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Ultimately, good content and positive backlinks are the most important elements of SEO, and it’s important to never forget that.

4. Sticking Too Close to the Contract

While you need to follow the conditions listed in a contract that you shouldn’t do, sometimes you need to tweak what the contract says you should do. Your job as an SEO representative is to do your best to make sure your services are delivered and executed.

If the services mandated in the contract aren’t the right services, it’s your job to modify them to fit your needs. It’s also your job to do (within reason) what the client asks of you, even if it’s not in the contract.
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Remember, it’s all about keeping your clients happy, but it’s also about knowing when your expertise trumps theirs.

5. Waiting Too Long to Ask for Help

Good SEO takes time, but it doesn’t take forever. A general rule of thumb: You should see a noticeable difference in six months or less.

Check to make sure you’re having an effect on the pages you’re attempting to optimize. If you’re not seeing any results after that amount of time, it might be best to consult a more experienced SEO professional.
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Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who will be monitoring the SEO page rank; your client will be, too. If they aren’t seeing results, there’s a good chance they’ll dismiss you.

6. Taking Shortcuts to Improve Rankings

Just like with your favorite dessert, sometimes too much of a good thing is bad. This is the case for SEO as well. Trying to over-optimize a site can actually lead to penalties. Keyword stuffing, buying backlinks, or any other ingenuine attempt to increase the visibility of a site will ultimately hurt it.

Tons of SEO rookies buy backlinks in bulk because they’re cheap, but search engines see right through that. These days, it’s all about the customer experience. Search engines consider buying backlinks a spamming tactic.

Think about it: If a search engine is ranking sites high on a SERP, and those sites are full of cheap backlinks and unhelpful information, that makes the search engine look bad, too, so you’ll be penalized.
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Keyword Stuffing

Instead of stuffing your keywords into every available space, or optimizing for irrelevant keywords, try using derivatives of your keyword so they fit more naturally into your site.

For example, if you’re a company selling health insurance in Delaware, health insurance can be hard to rank for. Instead, try Delaware health insurance, health insurance costs, or Delaware health insurance coverage. Long-tailed keywords tend to get you more conversions, because your site appears for more relevant searches.

Trying to “Trick” Search Engines

Ultimately, you can’t “trick” sites like Google into thinking you have quality content in order to improve your rank. If you do, you could face serious consequences.

Remember when you were a kid and got caught spreading your vegetables around your plate, so you could get dessert? Google, like your mother, knows all the tricks of the trade, and if you’re caught trying to be manipulative, you could be penalized.

7. Underestimating the Value of Current Clients

There are few things more valuable to an SEO professional than a loyal client. That’s why you need to make sure you’re doing everything possible to keep them happy.
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Consider the lifetime value of a client and how much it costs to acquire a new one. It’s usually less expensive to keep the clients you already have. Plus, securing your current clients and keeping them happy can actually help you get new ones through word-of-mouth advertising.

If you lose a client, don’t just forget about them. It’s important to never end the relationship on a bad note, because you’ll more than likely run into them again if you’re in the same industry. You never want to give a former client a reason to bash your abilities.

8. Forgetting That There’s Always More to Learn

SEO experts know that there are always new things to learn. Search engine and social media algorithms are constantly changing, and so are the requirements for high-ranking SEO.
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If you think you know everything there is to know about SEO, then you should be able to answer all of the basic SEO questions. But chances are, you’ll probably have to look some of them up.

There’s no “get rich quick” method to SEO. Quality improvements to SEO are the only permanent solutions to improving rank, so be sure to produce good content, keep your clients happy, and stay on top of the industry.