Once upon a time, Google didn’t penalize people for making SEO mistakes. They would withhold benefits, but wouldn’t actually reduce your ranking or make you disappear.
Now, they’re much more punitive. Even if you don’t make a big enough mistake to get yourself blacklisted, you can still see your search engine results drop overnight if you do something wrong, potentially by dozens of pages.
What, exactly, do they punish you for?
Well, the list is ever-changing, but here are the five SEO mistakes you should avoid in 2017
1. Your awesome content will rank without any optimization
Content marketing is great and works beautifully alongside SEO. However, some business owners think that creating excellent content is an alternative for SEO.
There will always be examples of amazing content that ranks without any intentional optimization. However, that’s the exception and not the rule.
On-page SEO is still important for getting your content to rank; and it also tends to improve user experience, which makes it an all-around smart thing to do.
2. Bad mobile navigation
Your website navigations on a desktop look very different from the way it looks on a mobile phone. At the very least, it’s cumbersome, which is something you want to avoid for both SEO and conversion. Depending on the last time you designed your site and the platform or template it’s running on, your mobile navigation may need a bit of design love. Having a collapsible mobile menu keeps your site looking cleaner and is easier to navigate.
3. Buying links
Almost without fail, the links are from spammy, disreputable sites and social networking accounts. Getting a link from them is kind of like going to a job interview with a letter of recommendation from a well-known crack dealer. It hurts you, not helps you.
And it doesn’t matter how smart they are. Some of these companies claim they’ll never be found out by Google, because all of the spammy links are pointing to an intermediary page, creating a “link wheel” or “link pyramid.” Supposedly, that’s supposed to protect you.
It might even work… for a while. The problem is, remember how I said Google is always evolving? Even if they don’t catch you today, they are guaranteed to catch you at some point in the future. They always have.
The best policy?
Don’t buy (or sell) links. Period.
4. Forgetting To Link Google Search Console To Your Site
Connecting your website(s) to Google Analytics and checking back on it regularly can give you some otherwise lost insights on how your website is performing and where your traffic is coming from.
But have you taken the time to also connect Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmasters)?
And last but not least, the sneakiest of them all: broken links.
Over time, pretty much all bloggers will accumulate some links that no longer work. Other sites die, move, and restructure all the time, making the page you originally linked to disappear.
The question is if broken links are so natural, why does Google penalize you for them?
Well, think about it from their perspective:
Which page is likely more up-to-date: one with five broken links or one with zero? Also, which page provides a better user experience?
The current one, of course. So, all other factors being equal, a page with no broken links is likely to outrank a page with broken links.
But don’t freak out, because all other factors are almost never equal. Like a lot of the other algorithm variables we talk about here, broken links are a small one.
Still, it’s a sin that’s easy to atone for. Once or twice a year, pop into Google Webmaster tools and correct all of the broken links it gives you. You might notice a small bump in the rankings of some of your pages.
This list is not exhaustive and keeps on adding. However, these are few of the reasons.
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