It doesn’t matter the size of your website or how much you’re paying your SEO consultant or agency, mistakes are going to be made. Understanding common errors SEO professionals make will better equip you with the knowledge and questions needed to steer you away from the simple, yet severe consequences Google can impose on you. Avoid being penalized or altogether removed from Google’s search results by following these tips:
- Don’t redesign your website when you have good Google rankings. Redesigning a website that already has excellent Google rankings and traffic is like repainting a brand new car – it’s unnecessary. Avoid any major changes to your website design or architecture when you hold good Google positions. Google perceives these changes with caution, so you might see your rankings and traffic drop after you launch your “oh-so-anticipated” new website theme. Remember, Google has stated in the past that when you change to your website URLs you risk being demoted. While making your website look appealing makes sense and may help improve your conversion rates, it is not worth the risk of losing your positioning in Google’s search results. If you must redesign your website, ensure your 301 redirects are properly in place and that your content is just as good, if not better than your previous.
- Avoid shared Web hosting. Web hosts like Bluehost and Hostgator offer affordable prices that are hard to ignore. The truth is that the cost to host your website is so low because you’re sharing a server with hundreds or even thousands of other websites that you know nothing about. You actually assume some liability for these websites living on your server that you don’t control. Avoid shared servers and try to find a more dedicated Web server environment. I suggest something like Site5 and order a virtual private server with your own dedicated IP (about $20/month).
- Always check your website for broken links. Google hates when your website links to another website that doesn’t work. It reflects poorly on the website owner and implies that you don’t upkeep your website. Google wants your website to provide value to its users coming from organic search results. If your links are dead then the Google user won’t have a great user experience – this typically means you get demoted. Very few SEO consultants check for broken links. Don’t be one of them.
- Don’t build links too quickly. Everyone that knows something about SEO understand that backlinks drive Google rankings. What most people typically ignore the rate at which you acquire new links. Google can tell when you acquire 20 new links in 2 weeks. This is suspicious and implies you want to game their algorithm. Take your link building strategy very slow. If you are patient and acquire them slowly over a year versus a month, you will be rewarded with higher SERPs over time.
- Avoid services like Yext, WhiteSpark, Moment Feed, Brandify and other automated services that claim to get you at the top of Google in a short amount of time. These companies claim to know about SEO but they really know how to sell – they’re salesmen and nothing more. You can save yourself the cost of these services by doing the work yourself. Sure you may spend a few hours of tedious work creating and updating profiles like YP.com, Facebook.com, Bing, Yelp and others, but your wallet will thank you.
If you have found yourself in any of these positions before, whether working directly with a consultant or an agency, beware. Many consultants or agencies claiming to be experts fail to see some of the most common mistakes that actually harm your overall marketing strategy. Always ask your SEO consultant/agency to justify their actions before engaging in any of these 5 common mistakes.