Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex task. On one hand, there are many techniques you can use to improve your search rankings. Unfortunately, there are also numerous ways that can inadvertently ruin your efforts if you’re not careful.
In working towards a good SEO strategy, you may stumble into a few hits and misses that all contribute to beneficial learnings. If you consider yourself a beginner in the SEO world, consider the following points to know what to do and things to avoid when building your SEO efforts.
- 1 Keyword ‘Cannibalization’
- 2 Changing Your Website’s Internal Linking
- 3 Placing Low-Quality Content on Your Page
- 4 Tweaks in Search Engine Ranking Algorithms
- 5 Inadvertently Violating a Search Engine’s Link-Building Rules
- 6 Your Site Has Become a Victim of Bad Redirects
- 7 Your Site Has Been Hacked
- 8 The Bottom Line
This is one SEO trap that’s quite easy to fall into. SEO cannibalization happens when a website accidentally targets the same keyword in its numerous blogs and other types of content. This may confuse search engines into thinking that the posts on your site cover similar topics. And, as all of the articles in question are optimized to rank for the same set of keywords, you may show up in the top results. However, as already mentioned, this may end up differently, and your articles could pull each other’s rankings down, eventually missing the top spot. This is the reason why the SEO industry coined the term cannibalization.
If you want to know more about this common SEO mistake, check SEOScout to identify, understand, and fix the issue.
As an aside, poor backlinks and a low cut-through rate (CTR), or the number of users who click on your website after completing a search, can pull your rankings even lower.
Changing Your Website’s Internal Linking
You may already be aware of this, but it’s crucial to remember that your internal link is highly influential to your ranking. One of the smarter ways to build links is to choose a relevant and high-performing link (i.e., ranking highly in search results).
If you’ve linked to an internal page that’s ranking well in the search engine, expect it to pull your rankings up. However, if you suddenly decided to remove and replace it with the link to a poorly performing page, expect your ranking to drop drastically.
You can attempt to fix the issue by downloading apps that allow you to analyze the performance of your internal links.
Placing Low-Quality Content on Your Page
In choosing content to link into a page, an SEO practitioner should be aware of the factors that make it relevant and of high quality. Linking to sub-par content will pull down a page’s SEO ranking.
Plagiarized content, those laden with grammatical inaccuracies, and articles with assertions not supported by studies or reliable sources are the hallmark signs of low-quality content. So are articles that are irrelevant, full of fluff, and prone to misinterpretation. Writeups carrying these attributes should be avoided.
Content writers then should be able to create informative and authoritative articles with the appropriate length. This not only helps boost your page ranking but contributes immensely to your digital marketing campaign as well.
Tweaks in Search Engine Ranking Algorithms
When a user types in and enters specific keywords on the search box, search engine algorithms work their way through all website content, screens the data, and rank them before presenting to the user. Internet connection aside, these are all done in a lightning-fast manner, thanks to algorithms. By definition, an algorithm is a set of digital instructions aimed at solving a problem, in this case, the keywords.
Search engines look at diverse factors in ranking results – among them understanding user search intent and analyzing content quality and relevance. There are many other categories that these algorithms base their results on, and search engines constantly change these classifications.
Inadvertently Violating a Search Engine’s Link-Building Rules
SEO practitioners, especially eager link-builders, may sometimes learn some practices that are effective in pulling up a site or page’s rank inorganically. These strategies are often banned by search engines because these violate their terms of service.
Widely known as ‘black hat SEO,’ the term was coined to imply that these actions are not acceptable—not so much different from the traditional attribution to white as being good and black being bad.
‘Unethical’ methods include buying or selling links, superfluous link exchanges,
content automation, keyword stuffing, link manipulation, article spinning, and low-quality bookmark site links. Search engines qualify these links as low-quality and negatively impact a page or site’s rankings significantly.
Your Site Has Become a Victim of Bad Redirects
Sometimes when you key in a website uniform resource locator (URL), you may be sent to another site with a different URL. These are called redirects, and they typically happen when your webmaster changes or moves something on your website. For all intents and purposes, a redirect is a good way to make sure that the user accesses your new location instead of the old one.
However, just like the real world, not everything happens smoothly, and in the process of redirecting, your site could face issues. The search engine then flags your site for irrelevant content and also removes your previous URL ranking. In addition, your page or site will take longer to load. And this is bad news, as page-loading time is one of the main factors that can pull your rankings up.
Most redirects are either ‘301,’ which are permanent, and ‘302,’ or temporary. Permanent redirects are shown to indicate that the page has been moved and deleted. Temporary redirects occur when the search engine gets confused between your old and new pages.
Your Site Has Been Hacked
This one may not be completely your fault, but being your site, your webmaster is ultimately responsible for it. We’re talking about instances where your site gets attacked and becomes infected with malware.
When search engines suspect that your site is malware-infested, your site’s ranking will drastically drop. Why? Because search engines will consider your site as irrelevant and malicious, putting all your SEO efforts to waste.
It then sparks a domino effect where your website traffic, brand reputation, and income potential are put into question. In this light, it’s important to always minimize the risks of cyberattacks by implementing solid cybersecurity strategies, along with your SEO efforts.
The Bottom Line
Search engine optimization is a relatively new technique, and there are many things left undiscovered about how it works (and harms) your ranking. If you’re not sure about what to do, refer to this article for the basics to be on the safe side.