It's clear that SEO can bring additional traffic and revenue to a website, but with constant algorithm updates and changes from Google—like Penguin, Panda, and the infrastructure update, Hummingbird—it can be difficult to know how to prioritize your SEO plan.
In this post, I’ll talk about five of the most common SEO failures in having a quality, search-optimized site so you can begin to organize where you’ll focus your SEO efforts and how to go about fixing those SEO failures.
- Duplicate content
- Failing to link internally
- Outdated sitemaps
- Overly dynamic URLs
- Low-quality links
1. Duplicate content
Duplicate content typically originates from other websites scraping content from one website and posting it on their own site. Put simply, the best practice is to locate and remove duplicate content from a site. Google's main objective is to provide a good user experience, and duplicate content tells Google that the content is not unique and therefore less valuable. Duplicate content can occur if a site has both plain and secure protocol URLs (HTTP and HTTPS). The solution? Use BrightEdge to perform a site audit and locate duplicate content.
2. Failing to link internally
Good content will earn links and authority which will earn more organic traffic. Sites that fail to link blog posts internally to other webpages within their site are not passing this authority throughout the site. It's important to find ways to link to other parts of your website within your blog posts, especially to your landing pages. If a blog post naturally mentions specific keywords a website is trying to rank for, it should link to the corresponding landing page. This will pass authority from a blog post to other webpages, especially landing pages. Internal linking is a crucial process to maintain the health and authority of a website.
3. Outdated sitemaps
XML Sitemaps assist search engine crawlers to index a site in an organized fashion. Websites are usually large, and Google's crawlers don't have time to constantly crawl sites. A dynamic Sitemap helps these crawlers prioritize their indexing process. It's crucial to verify that a Sitemap is readable by search engine crawlers. To do this, log onto your Google Webmaster Tools account and submit your XML file. First, your site must be registered with Google Webmaster Tools. Once your site is registered, under the "Crawl" section, click on "Sitemaps." There is a button labeled "Add/Test Sitemap." It will ask for your Sitemap URL; simply provide GoogleWebmaster Tools the URL, and you'll get your results shortly.
4. Overly dynamic URLs
There are situations where a content management system (CMS) creates long URLs; this is usually the result of tracking parameters. Not only do they just not look good, but they also takeaway from the user's experience, which is Google's No. 1 priority. Clean up the URLs to make them more SEO-friendly. Use keywords and dashes to clearly explain the content of the page to Google and users. Here are two examples, one bad and the other good:
5. Low-quality links
While link-building campaigns can be beneficial for SEO purposes, Google algorithms like Penguin have resulted in thousands of sites dropping rankings as a direct result from low-quality links. Services like paid link farms or press releases with followed links that get scraped and republished rapidly are examples of low-quality links. These practices will result in dramatic decreases in rankings and even formal penalties from Google. That's why it's always important to know where your backlinks are coming from. One way to discredit low-quality links is to formally request a link disavowal through Google Webmaster Tools. However, it's important to note that this disavowal process should be handled by an experienced professional.
Another approach to cleaning up those links is to contact the webmasters of other sites that are directing low-quality links at your site and ask that they be removed. You may want to try this method first before going through the disavow process. Use these 10 backlink building ideas to create a strong backlink portfolio that can significantly improve your SEO results. So there you have it: five common SEO pitfalls on your website and how to remedy them. These simple steps to making your site more search friendly may not take a lot of time but can have a big impact on the crawlability and quality of your site.