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10 Common but avoidable SEO mistakes

With the continuing economic depression worldwide, tighter budgets, fewer buyers and a hungry market vying for sales, it becomes even more pertinent to ‘spring clean’ your SEO strategy and ensure that you are not making silly mistakes that are costing you rankings, traffic and potential sales on your website.

Below, is a list of some of the most common mistakes that are made in SEO and that can be easily fixed or avoided altogether.

What is SEO? Why is it important?

Making your site uncrawalable – The most common mistake here is developing a completely Flash website. Other ways to make it difficult for the engines to index your site’s pages include building an all-AJAX site, having an incorrect robots.txt file or having session IDs.

  1. Poor design & usability – Makes it more difficult to get inbound links from other sites, conversion rates are poor and if your site architecture is broken this is difficult for users and search engines to read.
  2. Submitting your site’s URL to the search engines – This is a waste of time. NEVER pay anyone for a search engine submission service. The search engines will find your site, either without assistance, or as soon as you get a link from a site that is being crawled.
  3. 302 redirect rather than 301 – A 302 tells the search engine robot that the page has been moved temporarilyto a new location, while a 301 redirect indicates a permanent move. With a 302 redirect, you lose the value from links to the old page.
  4. Poor URL structure – If you have dynamic URLs in a database driven site they are not very search-engine friendly and are confusing for users. By manually changing your URL structure you make it easier for the search engines to index deep pages and you may get more quality long tail traffic from searchers.
  5. Duplicate content – ONLY post original content on your site! Rewrite pages if they sound too similar. It does not pay to be lazy on this point.
  6. Same meta description on each page – If you are using the same words to describe each page, you are both misrepresenting your web pages and duplicating content on your site.
  7. Mismanaging link juice – Ensure that your most important keywords are pointing to your homepage, as this is where you want to drive most of your traffic. Ensure that keywords are allocated in a logical manner across your site when developing your link building strategy.
  8. Overstuffing keywords into content / meta tags / image alt tags – Do not spam your own website by overstuffing keywords, especially into your web copy as it becomes unreadable and it is not user friendly.
  9. Do not target overambitious general keywords – ‘Real estate’, ‘finance’, ‘lawyer’ – these types of phrases are too general for most websites to ever rank for on the first page of the search engines. There are only 10 positions. Be realistic.