3 SEO mistakes to avoid
One of the few things you can count on is that what defines a good user experience will constantly change. Staying true to what really interests and motivates your users to interact with your online content should always be your primary goal. While SEO can get people to your website, once they are there, you need them to stay, convert or return. So really, the goal is to create a good user experience for the right users, not just any user. You need to attract relevant traffic. It’s easy to focus too much on SEO because, let’s face it, it’s hard not to get greedy.
More keywords + more SEO = more site visitors, right? Not necessarily. You can overdo it.
In the spirit of temperance, here are three SEO mistakes to avoid:
1. Using too many repetitive keywords
Years ago, there were all kinds of articles and theories out there on the proper number of times a keyword should appear in your copy. After all, the internet is semantic, so the more words, the better, right? Not any more. Today, staying on-topic with relevant content, having a keyword in your article title and a keyword mentioned once, maybe twice, on the page is enough. Any more than that and you run the risk of sinking in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and actually losing site visitors. This is about to become more relevant than ever because Google is at this very moment adjusting its algorithm to penalize overly keyword optimized websites. (Click here for tips on writing shorter)
2. Not properly optimizing your images
Images carry a lot of weight when it comes to visual interest and user experience. People love to look at images. Hence why Pinterest.com is so huge right now, and why media streaming sites are doing so well.
First, when you use images on your site, use descriptive file names:
- IMG00237.jpg isn’t a helpful filename.
- angry-bird-on-a-donkey.jpg is very helpful.
Next, use descriptive image alt tags but don’t keyword stuff:
- alt=”Angry bird sitting on a donkey” is good.
- alt=”angry bird red angry bird sitting squatting riding on a donkey horse jackass” is bad and is keyword stuffing.
Using proper descriptive file names and image alt text also carries the bonus of showing up in image search results and people are using image search more than ever. (Read more about choosing great photos)
3. Ignoring social media
Social media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora, YouTube, etc.) gives a business with a mostly static website the ability to communicate and interact with potential customers and fans. Ignoring social media is like telling people not send you referrals. Also, using social media creates organic incoming links to your website and builds authority, which ultimately helps it perform better in search results. (Check out these tips for maximizing social media)
Follow the rules in Google’s webmaster guidelines, but focus on user experience, not keyword greed, and your site should attract relevant traffic.
Nicole Criona (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an SEO consultant, creative writer, and entrepreneur who runs two businesses in Los Angeles: Searchivore, dedicated to helping companies attract relevant traffic online, and LA Writers Group, which runs creative writing workshops throughout Los Angeles.