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Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid

At Sotavento Medios, we believe that it is essential to be as transparent as possible and adhere to the guidelines set by the search engines. During our time working on the internet implementing various other projects, we have had firsthand experience with the results of unethical SEO practices. A simple career mentoring website which I had created had a proven business model which at its peak was earning around $200 a day from various affiliates. The site owner then decided to hire an SEO company to improve their rankings; however, it was clear that the results were too good to be true. Over the next few months, the site was receiving thousands of visitors daily; however, the money wasn’t adding up. Upon investigation of the search terms people were using to find the site, it was clear that they were not being targeted to the relevant content. It was here I realized the SEO company had used some form of automated spam to improve the site’s rankings. This resulted in a manual banning of the site in the Google index and a loss of income for the website owner. This is just one of many examples which has inspired us to inform people of the right SEO approach and offer a true, honest, and ethical SEO service.

The importance of SEO services cannot be overstated. Some surveys have suggested that a total of 85% of people use the internet to find products and services. With this in mind, it has been suggested that businesses should spend 40% of their advertising budget on online initiatives, a complete U-turn from the previous dominant advertising medium: TV. The reason for this dramatic shift is simple – SEO provides a significantly higher ROI than any other type of advertising. No other medium allows advertisers to directly target people who are specifically searching for a product as they are typing it into a search engine. This unavoidable truth offers a clear insight into the future of both online and offline purchasing. With ad revenues pouring into the internet and companies scrapping to get a piece of the pie, it will be even more important to secure high search engine rankings. Failure to do so will result in a significant loss of business. This is where SEO companies provide an invaluable service. However, with high demand and a profitable market, there comes greed and the need to compete. This has resulted in some SEO companies using ethically questionable methods to achieve results for their clients.

Importance of SEO services

Search Engine Optimization may seem like a no-brainer to many web developers, and it should when you consider the benefits. For a medium to large company, the return on investment from an SEO campaign can be substantial. Simply put, it is one of the most cost-effective ways to bring in new business. Good SEO can increase targeted traffic to your website, boost sales leads and get new clients directly, and it only gets better over time. A properly structured and optimized website can stay on the first page of search engine results for several months, and sometimes even several years for certain keyword phrases. Compare that to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which stops driving traffic to your site the minute you turn it off. On top of that, there are certain web users that do not click on sponsored listings out of principle and prefer to only click on organic search listings. SEO guarantees that your website will get the traffic it deserves and that it is targeted and promotes your business. There is virtually no argument that SEO is beneficial for businesses. With the rise of global internet access and widespread use of mobile devices, our society has continually become more reliant on information acquired through online channels. This, in conjunction with the fact that consumers and businesses are now doing the majority of research and product/service inquiries through search engines, in lieu of traditional methods such as the yellow pages or newspapers. It is plain to see that having a well-established online presence for your business is critical to its success in today’s digitally oriented society. The days of consumers picking up the heaviest book in the house to look for a product or service are long gone. If your business does not have an online presence, you are missing out on hundreds if not thousands of potential leads and clients. In summary, SEO is an investment that your business cannot afford to pass up. With the majority of business leads and transactions taking place through online channels, there is no better way to market your product or service than to have it easily accessible via an internet search. With ever-increasing reliance on search engines to gather information, it is clear that top search engine rankings are an essential way to increase brand awareness for your business. SEO delivers effective results, and the outcome is a long-term market for your business on the most cost-effective advertising platform that exists today.

About Sotavento Medios

Sotavento Medios is a dedicated search engine optimization company focused on positioning its customers’ websites at the top of the search engines. Sotavento Medios has taken on the top SEO experts and put all their knowledge into practice to get the most out of a website using organic SEO methods. With its office in Jakarta, Sotavento Medios has helped loads of clients gain exposure from search engines. Sotavento Medios gives you top professional and experienced SEO specialists. With our services, you don’t need to worry about getting your website penalized because of using inappropriate methods.

Keyword Stuffing

Another frequent mistake is the use of hidden text in the same color as the background, using CSS to position the text off-screen, or setting the text size to 0. This is done with the belief that the text will be visible to search engine spiders while not being visible to website users. In all cases, the use of hidden text as a means of providing more keyword relevance will be detrimental to search engine ranking.

Furthermore, sites with irrelevant content designed to manipulate search engine rankings can have an impact on the keyword relevancy of a site, while adversely affecting the image of your website to a visitor. This can occur in instances where companies have global websites but create multiple domains, each with the same content targeted at a particular keyword in the hopes of having a higher search engine ranking.

Another conventional method is to create doorway pages specifically targeted at the search engines. For example, websites designed to attract ad revenue. These sites are constructed with the purpose of ranking high in the search engine and then redirecting traffic to the intended destination.

An example of this would be a company or individual using “addicting games” as a keyword, which would, in turn, attract users to their website. However, this would not be a suitable target audience considering the keyword is generally used to locate online game websites when the services offered are geared towards addiction recovery.

The excessive use of keywords is definitely classified as keyword stuffing, and this can have a critical impact on your search engine ranking. Some of the most common mistakes will include the overuse of SEO service keywords in the content or comments. This can be in the form of believing that they will have a higher chance of ranking highly for a specific term, even though it is relevant or not.

Overusing SEO service keywords

High keyword density occurs when a particular keyword is used too many times in content. Keyword density affects the search engine ranking of the page. High keyword density is a common mistake often made when designing websites. Although it would be beneficial to include keywords in your page, overusing keywords can have a negative impact on SEO. Always proofread your content and make sure that keywords are used appropriately and do not impair the quality of the content.

Keyword stuffing is using a keyword too many times in content in an attempt to rank higher in search engine results. The frequent use of the same keyword throughout the content can actually have a negative impact on your SEO. If search engines determine that your site is using keywords in an attempt to manipulate ranking, your site may be penalized or banned in search engine results. Try to avoid repeating the same keywords in the content on your site. There are no clear guidelines on how many times a keyword should appear in content. Using a keyword too many times could be considered keyword stuffing and have a negative impact on SEO. A safe measure would be to try and make sure that a keyword does not constitute more than 2% of the content on a page. This is what is known as keyword density.

While it is important to include keywords in your website in order to improve your site’s search engine rankings, overusing keywords can adversely affect your SEO services. If search engines determine that a site is loading keywords into the content of the site for the purpose of manipulating rankings, the site will be penalized. Repeatedly using the same keywords in an effort to rank higher is known as keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is considered to be an unethical search engine optimization (SEO) technique. It can actually lead to your site being penalized or banned in the search engine results.

Impact on search engine rankings

This can have little effect if the keywords are used in a useful manner and in context. The problems arise when keywords are “stuffed” into a vehicle page unnecessarily. Usually, this is done to try to trick search engines into believing the page is about content it is not, in an attempt to increase rankings for a particular phrase. Consider the following examples:

Search engine rankings for pages overused with keywords are very difficult to predict. Although the common assumption is that overusing keywords will improve search engine rankings, there is no clear evidence to back this up. Some search engines may, in fact, penalize a page if the keywords are repeated too many times. The majority of search engines operate in similar ways. A search engine “spider” will analyze a page and often looks at the keywords that are listed in the meta tags, as well as checking to see if they are used and/or emphasized in the body text. The more the words appear and in larger headers or bold text, the more the search engine assumes that the page is relevant to the words.

Balancing keyword density

A common mistake regarding search engine optimization with regards to keyword usage is the balancing of keyword density. Meta tags and keyword prominence are significant factors when considering search engine optimization. A recurring theme with novice web developers is the misconception that including a higher frequency of keywords in meta tags will increase their ranking. This is a flawed assumption, leading to possible spam indexing which would be detrimental to a website’s search engine ranking. Keyword density plays an important role, too many keywords and search engines will view a website as being spam, the keyword prominence is raised and the website is given a lower ranking or banned. This is a common mistake especially as graphic designers are required to cater to web development needs, it may be assumed that a higher keyword density will not have a harmful effect, failing to consult an SEO expert.

Ignoring On-Page Optimization

A focused traffic source will lead visitors who are already interested in what you are promoting. For example, a dog behavior website may be targeting people with dog behavior issues. If a visitor uses a search engine to find out why their dog is scared of linoleum, finds your website in the search listings, and then proceeds to read that particular article, they are more likely to be interested in your site. Hopefully, they will understand the ads, content, and article that goes along with it and may even bookmark the site for future reference. This type of visitor is much more valuable than a random website hopper who stumbles across your website while bouncing from site to site.

It’s very common for inexperienced webmasters to focus on increasing the traffic to their website. By tracking their traffic with software such as Google Analytics, they look at figures and graphs that go up and to the right and feel a sense of achievement. But what is the point of 10,000 visitors to your site if no one is doing what you want them to do on it? Whether that be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or generating an ad-click. The hard truth is that the more generic your traffic source, the less likely this will happen.

In my opinion, the optimization of your website for the search engines would make more of an impact on your ROI than trying to chase unfocused traffic. Here’s why:

Importance of on-page optimization

Another big mistake is SEOer or webmaster often ignoring the importance of on-page optimization. On-page optimization is the key factor in SEO process because without changing anything inside your website, off-page optimization is meaningless. Common problem occur is many people do not realize what the essence of on-page optimization is. This is important for the visitors. The main goal of SEO is putting a website at top positions, so when the visitors come and find their website on the first page or better on the top positions, they are not disappointed. So the visitors are the first and the most important factor to make website owner keep on with their work to do in putting their website at top positions. Because visitors are identically with money. So on-page optimization is the only way to make visitors love our website and let them not disappointed. We can see a million ways to put a website at the top positions but that all does not make any sense if the visitors are still disappointed when come to our website. This is the deference between on-page and off-page optimization. Now we see the most important factor of off-page optimization and how on-page optimization take a big role than that. On-page optimization is a long-term process and takes time to show the results. This is the process of website development to be better and better. Every time a website has a job to do on their on-page optimization (just like the off-page optimization), analyze the competitors, and figure out effective keywords. On-page optimization have some aspects affect it, and if we see those all, those are the same with the visitors want. The visitors want the contents of the website are interesting, and it useful. They can find it with the search engines about some keywords. This is an on-page optimization success when the visitors go to our website from search engines, and they find what they are looking for.

Optimizing meta tags and headers

Meta tags and headers are used to convey information to the search engines about your pages. The most commonly used tags are the title tag and the meta description. The title tag of a page is often the most important on-page element for SEO. The title tag is shown in the head section of the code and therefore not visible on the page itself – it must be an accurate and concise description of the page content. When a search engine delivers results to the end user, the title will be one of the main elements the search engine displays. Therefore, the title is critical to usability. Title tags are used to tell search engines and visitors what the page is about in the most concise and accurate way possible. The meta description tag won’t help you to rank, but it will often appear as the text snippet below the search listing. The best way to optimize the way a page appears in the search results is to keep meta tags relevant and unique to the content on their respective pages. If meta tags are lacking optimization or are duplicated from other pages, this can have a negative impact as the content of the page will not be accurately reflected in the search results. Absence or poor optimization of title and meta tags will also mean decreased click-through rates to your site.

Utilizing relevant internal linking

However, at the same time, links can also be detrimental toward a website. The issue of “link farm” has commonly been tackled with SEOs where too much is seen as excessive and can result in negative effects or penalties by search engines. Links from non-relative websites or backlinks also contain little to no quality and can therefore not help a site very much at all. With these issues in mind, new websites need to come up with an effective link strategy to build votes, establish directory or information links, and avoid excessive backlinks. Internal links will always be the most simple and effective strategic method of adding importance to your pages and can be done relatively easily with adding HTML code. As a matter of fact, many SEOs will add an extra page or blog post to a website with the sole purpose of adding extra links to the targeted page they wish to optimize in order to boost PageRank.

When conducting on-page optimization, links play an important role within the process. Put the word “link” in an SEO and check how many backlinks are found. You’ll likely see many results toward link optimization and their importance within the SEO process. For search engines, links are seen as votes for your website. The more votes you have, the better your site’s credibility. You can see this in the link below demonstrating how a Google employee explains that their search engine works. (www.google.com.hk/intl/zh-CN/webmasters/guidelines.html) Here he explains that PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. He goes on to explain this in more detail in the PDF provided. Currently, you can still find this information as it’s a very important tool for search engine rankings, so don’t despair if you don’t understand the “quality” issue as it’s quite complex to define within an algorithm.

Neglecting Mobile Optimization

An alternative to creating a secondary website is using responsive web design, which is Google’s suggested design pattern. With responsive design, the layout as well as content adapts to the device on which it’s presented – which means the same website can be utilized and functioned on any device. Even though the development and maintenance costs can be significant to start, this approach will in the long run save time and money. On the Google Developers site, there is an in-depth guide on building smartphone-optimized websites.

Mobile optimization is another pattern changer in the SEO world and Google continues to be a forerunner in making webmasters adapt to it in a number of ways, now stressing a mobile-friendly website. The very first step to mobile optimization is the most rational one: a mobile-friendly website design. If you have the funds in your company’s budget, it very well may be worth it to make a secondary version of your website that is specially designed for mobile devices. This will enable you to present a totally different, user-friendly, and faster experience for mobile users – and in some cases, a more appropriate one.

Mobile optimization has become an increasingly important area in search engine optimization, with an increased number of people using mobile devices to conduct searches as well as browse the internet. The significance of search engine visibility and ranking can’t be stressed strongly enough when it comes to mobile search. It goes without saying that if a website is not visible in mobile search results, it’s missing out on a large amount of traffic, which in some cases can be more than the traffic coming from traditional computers.

Mobile-friendly website design

Now, this next step is something everyone does, but now there is a new guideline and that is search term density. This now needs to be between 1-3%. Last but not least, you need to develop exclusive market material and inner bound hyperlinks on each web page. But again, you must be cautious when developing internal bound hyperlinks and not overdo it as it could lead to them being punished.

Title meta information is always what people look at first, so this should consist of a brief description of your web page using search phrases. And you must ensure that each web page has exclusive title meta information. When it comes to the URL of the web page, it is always better to include fixed search phrases. So get rid of anything that appears to be incomprehensible or is just a number.

Continuing with on-page optimization, you need to understand that everything on your website matters. So when it comes to written text on your websites, you must pay attention to H1 all the way through to H5. You need to include search phrases into the written text, but be cautious on how much you are putting in because you do not want to make it too spammy. Also, try to bold key words or words, but again do not overdo it.

Next, you will need to start the optimization process of your website. This contains both on-page and off-page optimization. This is where you need to be cautious because one false shift could harm your website’s likelihood of position. When enhancing your website, one rule you should always follow is to develop a sitemap. This will help all of your webpages to be listed and it is a good way to ensure that web page will never be more than three clicks away from your website.

As soon as you have done this, you can begin to assess your rivals’ websites, confirm the search phrases they are using, and see which ones are working for them. This is a very important factor to do, as it will give you an idea of what you should be trying to position your website for.

Low cost SEO is not just about the cash it will not put to your website, it’s about the time and work you put into doing it. You need to be organized and make sure your website information or details are organized. This is a good way for you to begin because you will know how the information will flow on your website and this will also allow you to pick suitable search phrases, which are very important when it comes to SEO.

Responsive web development

Responsive website development continues growing and is the recommended mobile configuration by industry-leading companies like Google. This configuration uses the same URL and the same HTML code for both desktop and mobile sites. This makes it easier for the search engine to understand and index content. Responsive design also uses CSS media queries to determine the device type of the user. This makes the location easier to load and maintain. A standard mistake made with mobile configuration is the lack of or incorrect utilization of the vary HTTP header. This can cause large amounts of error, including incorrect indexing of website content.

There are several methods to attract the mobile user market and enhance a mobile-friendly web page. This is often an excellent initiative for a business. A common mistake is creating a separate website on a new domain. This is often time-consuming and will involve high cost. If the new website isn’t developed with an important SEO ethic, there’s going to be an incredibly low return on investment.

Mobile SEO best practices

Mobile SEO uses a totally different technique to traditional SEO. It often focuses on simpler tasks such as using a customer’s location to deliver them more personalized results. This will be difficult to gauge how these results can be affected, but it is important to monitor any differences in your traffic levels to mobile/tablet-based devices and take appropriate action. As with a desktop site, the location of your site factors into your search engine rankings, so it is important to get this right. Using Google Webmaster Tools, you can select which country you would like to target, and using Local SEO can further enhance your visibility to location-based searches. Another important fact worth mentioning is that mobile devices have a much smaller CPU than a PC or Mac, and search results can often be seen as slow or not loading at all. One easy method to combat this is to use cached pages to increase the speed at which your pages load. A final tip is to use Google’s recommendations for building smartphone-optimized websites, which can be found at Google Developers. This can be a lot more complicated than just building a website, but if you have the budget, the results should be worth it.

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