6 Surprising Mistakes Many SEO's Make

by Zarko Zivkovic November 28th, 2011 

common seo mistakes

Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes — some more than others.

But that said, as SEOs we don't have the luxury of making too many mistakes, or we wont have satisfied clients and a good reputation. And yet there are some mistakes most many SEOs tend to make, no matter how experienced they may be; in fact, the more experienced the higher the chance they will make a mistake. Old habits die hard — which brings us to mistake numero uno.

Mistake Number One, not staying updated or taking updates lightly.

We see this happen all the time. Search is a fast changing business to be in, there are always improvements, updates, new algorithms, you name it.

If we don't stay updated we may miss something by a few days and keep doing out thing that can end up hurting our clients. On the other hand, even worse, knowing that there has been an update but still playing by the old rules.

Even though some SEO practices have been long dead, SEOs still reflect on them, I think my hair stands on attention every time I hear an SEO say keyword density, enough said, moving on…

Mistake Number Two, fast link building for short term clients.

Yup, that is a mistake. I understand that the clients is pushing, they want this many links each month. When a client is with you only for 2-3 months and you are forced to build thousands of links, what do you expect will happen when you start or when you stop with link building?

First there will be a huge spike in links, which sends a red flag to Google, then after a month or two there will be a huge fall. So when we look at the graph we will see that 90% of backlinks for a site 2 years old were made in 2 months

Yeah, there is a chance the links will be ignored by Google, so even if the ranks jump at first they will fall down and fall down fast.

We know how important link velocity is, so why do this "favor" for your clients, just think about. Not every client will come running back to you, most of them will think this is your fault; not good businesses, people.

Mistake Number Three, playing the numbers game.

Although this is old it's back to mistake number one and two — many SEOs still rely on pure numbers when link building.

Oh, we need this many links to overcome the competition. Wrong! SEO is not a numbers game, you need to think of the quality of links, relevance, neighborhood of those links as well as anchor variations and tons of other factors. If it was a numbers game we would be doing only comment and forum links.

Mistake Number Four, one of the most common link building mistakes is link building using exact match anchors in massive quantities.

Why is it so hard to vary the anchor here and there, and what does it take to understand that if you have 90% of your links with a single anchor text that Google will see that?

Maybe you can get away with it in small niches, but if you are doing link building for a semi-competitive or a competitive market well you are done for.

Mistake Number Five, avoiding low PR pages and websites for link building.

Hmm, I'm going to skip this site, the homepage PR is 3 look at this one, offers a link on a PR0 page, pass again. Wrong!

Homepage PR is not a domain level metric and toolbar PR is not website authority. It does give us a hint, but nothing else.

High PR homepage is not a recipe for a good site; you need to check indexation speed, inner pages and their PR, as far as you know they could be poor.

Also, if a site doesn't have PR, doesn't mean its bad. Maybe its new, maybe it has a bunch of visitors but not too many links, hence the low PR, but the eyes looking at the site are definitely worth a link.

There are dozens of factors to consider when judging whether a site or a page is good for us to place a link there, and not just PR.

Mistake Number Six, the final straw, its related to link building again, link buying, network links, mass link exchange, linking to homepage only, linking schemes and unnatural links in general?

No, although these are all mistakes, I will not get into link buying thing, we are all adults here, the only difference is how you do it, smart or through India or other network sites.

The last straw and one of the most common link building mistakes is not doing regular link consolidation and going over created backlinks. If I build a link at a solid site, it looks great, has great influence, it doesn't mean it will stay like that forever. Regularly going over created links is essential, in two months your bali travel holidays link may be surrounded with buy Viagra, online casinos, buy insurance and other similar links. It may be no-followed, replaced, surrounded with dozen of similar anchors or simply have too many outgoing links to be of any use.

Any SEO will sympathize with these; I'm sure at least one of these will ring a bell, if not more of them. We need to stay updated and stay smart. SEO, link building, is not a numbers game; its not that simple. It is our job to protect our clients and give them the best of our services, sometimes that means changing our habits and learning from scratch, but that's just what we do.

Zarko Zivkovic

Zarko works as SEO strategist and link builder. He is the founder of Practical SEO Company and advanced SEO Strategist at Dejan SEO. He is also the chief editor and writer for Practical SEO blog.

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5 Responses to “6 Surprising Mistakes Many SEO's Make”

  1. Tory says:

    Well put Zarko! If I could add a mistake it would be that many SEO'ers don't test and experiment for themselves. I've learned so much just from going out there and putting theory's and SEO hearsay to the test.

    Thanks!

  2. Henrik says:

    You obviously haven't tried to rank for extremely competetive terms in niches where there is basically no way to build links naturally. I still see amazingly good improvements with automated linkbuilding schemes including black & gray-hat and zone techniques that I though was going to get me kicked out instantly.

    • Zarko says:

      Thanks Tom, and I agree, testing is essential.

      @Henrik, that's where you are wrong, I have been working in some extremely competitive niches for clients competing directly with Expedia and some insurance top of the line clients, there isn't a single niche where you can't be creative and start natural promotion, the way you think is wrong, which is why you rely on manual link building all the time. There is always a need for a few manual links, but trust me, there isn't a single niche where you can't be creative and get natural links…

  3. sourabh rana says:

    @Zarko I am totally agree with your points. #1 point you mentioned is really good and Most of seo's dont update this thing in their site. I read another article of Danny Chapman " Direct SEO is dead! (Almost)" this is true and you are also saying this thing in your article that SEO is not all about creating links from articles,directory .

    I am eagerly waiting for what are the latest trends in 2012 SEO from google.

  4. Maciej Fita says:

    This is good stuff. I think part of the problem sometimes is that we are all trying to meet client expectations. That expectation is almost always more, more, more! Education early on is important.