The SEO game has changed drastically over the last year. A lot of the tactics that worked twelve months ago don’t work anymore. And it’s not just newbie SEOs who are making mistakes employing old tactics … even experts who have been in the field for years are making mistakes.
Here are 5 mistakes that even experts are missing to catch:
Mistake #1: Building rich anchor text links
You probably already know by now that rich anchor text links are bad, but how rich is too rich? There’s actually a post on penguin anchor text case study that just came out that shows that you can get rankings without building links that are too rich.
The site Doctor650 built 13 links with the following anchor text:
- Doctor 650
- My site
- Dissecting The 650 Credit Score
- http://www.doctor650.com/ (no-followed link from YouTube)
- Resource on 650 credit scores
- Clicking here
- 650 credit score
Within 54 days of the site launching, it started to rank in the top four for the keyword “650 credit score”. This just shows that you can still rank for any term, even with a brand new site, but you have to rotate your anchor text.
You don’t want your anchor text to be richer than 30%, and you want to try to vary your anchor text. Why? Because it is rare that someone would naturally link to you with rich anchor text 100% of the time.
I’ve ranked for terms like “online poker” or even “insurance quotes” by building non-rich anchor text links that are relevant. When I do build rich anchor texts, which is not too often, I throw in a lot of variations.
Mistake #2: Building too many links too fast
How many links do you need to build to rank for competitive terms? You actually don’t need too many. What you need is time. Slow and steady is what’s winning the race in the SEO game.
If you look at the Doctor650 site, not only did they not build too many rich anchor text links, but they also didn’t build too many links altogether. I’ve done this with competitive keywords and noticed that the easiest way to climb to the top is to not build too many links. Instead, go for authoritative links.
If you think building a lot of links is better for you, just look at this case study by Marcus Taylor. He built 10,000 links within 24 hours and shot up to a number one ranking on Google, but within three weeks he was pushed down because he built too many links.
Google’s algorithm is sophisticated because they know at what rate websites typically build links. If your link count is growing at an unnatural pace, you won’t rank too well.
Mistake #3: Building too many links to your homepage
Have you ever looked at the link profile of other sites in your space? What portion of their links are from .gov and .edu sites? What portion of their links is going to their homepage versus internal pages?
Instead of building links to your homepage, consider building links to the majority of your internal pages. Just look at Wikipedia site that ranks for almost every term out there and is the 6th most popular site in the world.
Majestic SEO is showing that Wikiepdia in total has over 600 million backward links, whereas the homepage has roughly six million links. That means 1% of their total links point to their homepage, while 99% goes to internal pages.
If you want high rankings, consider building more links to your internal pages versus your homepage.
Mistake #4: Writing a lot of mediocre content
Have you ever read the content on sites like eHow? They have over five million pages of content; they rank for a lot of terms on Google; and they have millions of backlinks.
Although they do well, it’s not worth copying their content strategy. Why? It’s because their content is mediocre and not detailed. For example, if you Google “how to install a bidet”, this page from eHow ranks in the top ten.
Do you see the problem?
That page does a terrible job explaining how to install a bidet. If eHow wrote articles that were over 2,400 words that were very detailed like Wikipedia’s, they would rank much higher and get more traffic.
Based on this article, you can see why Google prefers to rank web pages with at least 2,000 words of content on page one.
Mistake #5: Links build authority
By being classified as an authority site, you’ll rank higher. So, how do you become an authority site? You get more links, right? Although links do help build authority, it’s not the only way.
- Social media – by building up your social media profiles and getting more tweets, likes, and shares, you will get your website to rank higher. Google and Bing have both publicly stated that they look at social signals.
- Author rank – Google is able to verify authors, which means they can now track who is writing great content, versus mediocre content. So, even if your site doesn’t have a ton of links, you’ll probably start seeing it rank higher in the future if you have authors with a lot of authority blogging on your website.
- Age – although time isn’t a factor you can easily control, sites that are older tend to rank higher… even if these older sites don’t have as many backlinks. So if you are considering starting a new business, try to buy an existing website in your space that is at least five years old… this will help you rank higher faster.
If you want to rank higher, try to make your website an authority site. Just don’t focus all of your energy on building links as it isn’t the only way to become an authority site.
SEO is a constantly changing game, and if you don’t keep up with it, you won’t do well. Don’t focus on the quick hit. Slow and steady really does win the SEO race.
What I’ve personally experienced throughout each Google update is that quality content will continue to rank high and receive traffic. For example, all of my blogs got a nice traffic bump by 15-41% on January 1 when Google made its update.
What other mistakes have you seen SEOs make?