There are a million SEO mistakes we can make. Well, actually you’ll get over 4 million results when you search for “seo mistakes”! You could get lost in the most technical aspects of SEO as you try to understand rich snippets, multiple location business listings, disavowing links, rel=canonical and a host of other things. How nice to get the Google Webmaster Guru – Matt Cutts – to lay out the top 5 seo mistakes (by volume) that he sees.
Top 5 SEO Mistakes (by Matt Cutts)
You can watch the 5 minute video below, but I’ll just give you a quick summary of the 5 main points here:
SEO Mistake #1 – Bad Site Navigation
We see this too, among many of our marketing clients: visitors simply can’t find their way to the most important information they’re looking for. The site isn’t laid out with a nice user interface, so that even first-time visitors can intuitively get around the site. If humans can’t easily navigate, then the search crawlers will also have a hard time indexing your site properly.
On a rather humorous note, Matt adds in here that many businesses don’t even HAVE a website. Yeah, Matt, I guess that would be a bit of an “seo mistake”, eh? :)
SEO Mistake #2 – Poor Use of Keywords
Keyword research can only go so far in your quest to identify the terms that ought to be highlighted in your content. You can get some very helpful data, and develop a decent list of phrases that you can probably compete for. But you’re still not answering a key question: what are humans actually going to type into the search query? What are the words they use, when hunting for what our company offers? It’s really pretty useless to dominate the search results for “best CPA service within walking distance of Madison Square Gardens”, even if you ARE the best! Why? Because no human being will EVER type that into the search query!
Matt Cutts is simply saying: develop great content that uses the words and phrases that your potential visitors are most likely to type into the search query.
SEO Mistake #3 – Focusing on Link Building
Yep. Link building (and most other algorithm-centered content plans) has to be pushed down to 3rd or 4th priority. The top priority needs to be the creation of a compelling website. Your site needs to offer something unique, something helpful, something enjoyable. It needs to answer somebody’s question. It needs to provide the solution to somebody’s problem. And it needs to be easy for the visitor to find those answers and solutions. Focus on THAT first, and then LATER you can make the adjustments for the search engines.
SEO Mistake #4 – Blowing the Titles & Descriptions
You’ve got to make good use of your page titles and your page descriptions. This is a win-win investment in energy, because it helps both the human searcher (as they see the description displayed in the search result snippet) and helps the search crawlers because it gives the right signals about the content on the targeted page. Too often the page titles are not used well (even left as “untitled” at times), and the descriptions don’t really help anyone.
SEO Mistake #5 – Not Using Good Resources
Well, actually Matt Cutts pointed to the Google Webmaster Tools as a neglected resource, but I’ll just make the generic comment here that we all need to be reading – much and often – in order to learn from each other. There is a ton of excellent help out there, and there’s no excuse to be committing these most basic SEO mistakes!