The importance of SEO is growing day by day as more and more business come to realise they need to rank better in search engine results they turn to search engine optimisation firms to do it for them. However, there a literally thousands of people and business out there where realise that is a growing industry and think it is easy to hop on the bandwagon and make some money out of it. Some of these are cheap middlemen outsourcing the work to even cheaper staff to do the work and all are often found on reputable freelance websites. Clients usually have no idea what is a good job and these guys are getting good ratings and feedback, unaware of the damage that has been done to their sites, their brand and their positions in search engines. So here is my list of 10 things to avoid or look out for when doing SEO
1. If it is cheap, then it is cheap and nasty
Sometimes buying 20 higher quality backlinks for $10 seems like a good deal, the reality is it is a very bad deal. Chances are they are using a PBN (private blog network) to do this for you and that is quite a grey/black area that is going to get you into trouble with Google. You certainly get what you pay for.
2. Buying backlinks is a bad strategy
Buying backlinks is a bad strategy that is going to cause some pain at some point. It may get you a quick gain initially, but at some point is going to unravel and you’re either going to lose the links or worse yet get penalised for having them. It is actually possible to rank quite well with only a handful of reasonable links unless you are in a highly competitive niche.
3. Watch who you link to
Anyone with a website or blog when has their email available knows the requests for links keep coming in, although these days they are getting quite clever at how they look. Some are even very enticing and even make one feel important or like a winner. But before you add that link go look at the site and make sure it is worth it. Linking out to a bad site is going to drop you down a few notches in the rankings. Liking out to a good one will however help Google understand what you are about, but the good ones probably won’t be contacting you.
4. Watch what your hosting provider is doing
Having a good hosting provider is pretty key to getting a good ranking. Your hosting provider needs to be giving you an SSL certificate, they need to give you great speeds (CPU/Disk and bandwidth). Also if your hosting provider is hosting a lot of bad websites you could be affected as well. It is pretty difficult for normal users to spot a good or band hosting provider, but it is on my list to build a tool that will help rate them for you.
5. Don’t set it up and forget it
It is pointless paying someone to set up your website and then it just sits there looking like a brochure. If you want to rank for SEO you need to have content that is changing and some interaction going on on the website. Writing a blog is a good way to get things moving and ensure you write good quality content on things you know related to what you’re doing on your website. Also get comments and reviews from clients.
6. Don’t let your SEO provider choose your keywords
Nobody knows your business or your industry like you do and like your clients do. Expecting your SEO provider to choose your main keywords on their own is probably a bad strategy. You should do some brainstorming and work out a list of keywords you think are relevant to your business and then also chat with some clients and get ideas from them as well. Then work with your SEO provider to refine that list. Pay attention to the list and if there is something that looks out of place to you bring it up and discuss it.
7. Stay away from AI content generators and spinners
It is so obvious when you are reading an article and it has been re-written from the original by a content spinner. These are used ostensibly as a way to generate new content from a source article. Sadly, the quality they produce is poor and I’m pretty sure Google sees it as well. If you are paying for an article to be written watch out for telltale signs like grammatical errors or sentences that don’t quite sound or flow correctly.
8. DO design with the end in mind
Mobile search makes up over 60% of searches done on Google, so if your website is not mobile friendly you just lost half your potential audience. Make sure that when you go to someone to design your website or when you buy a theme that it is mobile friendly and preferably also supports AMP (Accelerated mobile pages) in some way.
9. DO spend the time to get it right
It is pointless setting up and eCommerce site with a list of products that have only a title and no description. The same can be said of a normal website for a traditional business with products. With SEO content is king and you need to put some thought into what is going on your website and put some fingers to the keyboard and get some decent descriptions and some great photo’s. The time you put into this will be well rewarded.
10. You probably do need some help
While some people can do SEO on their own or don’t think they have the budget to hire someone to help, it is getting to be a much more complicated landscape in 2019. There certainly are some things you can get right on your own, but if you are serious you need to find some reputable firm to help you out. Some may well be expensive, some may be reasonably priced and the really cheap ones should defiantly be avoided. A good place to start is probably simple to Google for the name of your city and then search engine optimisation. The guys in the first 2 pages are probably the best and worth contacting to see what they can do for you. You can, however, use folks anywhere in the world to do the work for you as you often won’t get a face to face meeting unless you have some serious budget to spend. Even if you just get a site audit and some recommendations it is a very good place to start.
2019 is shaping up to be a very interesting and competitive year for SEO, just with all the SEO experts competing with one another for #1, but also competing with the clever minds at Google and other tech companies. New technology is being adopted a faster rate every year and Search Engine Optimisation is no exception.
Anthony is a Digital Marketing and SEO Expert with extensive experience. He has worked for financial services companies and web hosting business and in those roles has created many very successful online business and brands. He has a wide range of Business, Marketing, Financial and IT experience.