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What Can Kill Your SEO?

What Can Kill Your SEO?

You’ve worked hard over months to improve your SEO and get your website to rank for your key phrases, and then it all goes wrong and your website disappears from sight.  It’s a common and frustrating problem.  So how did it happen?  There are a number of website issues that can kill your SEO rankings.  Here we cover some of the most common.

Page Load Speed

Your website must load quickly. This is important for the user experience, studies have shown that visitors will leave a website that doesn’t load within three seconds, which isn’t long. Google recognizes this and will penalize a website that is slow to load. Issues that will slow your website down include:

  • Too many large images – make sure images are optimized.
  • Slow server response time – make sure you have a good host.
  • Too many redirects
  • Unclean code
  • Too many adverts
  • Too much flash

Not Optimized for Mobile

Mobile-friendliness is so important to Google that your website won’t rank at all if it is not optimized for mobile. This is because more than half of internet usage is now conducted on mobile devices. Your website should be easy to read and navigate on the small screen of a mobile device. Websites that aren’t responsive are very difficult to read and this will drive visitors away.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate or plagiarized content confuses search engines, they don’t know which is the original and therefore don’t know where to direct users. So, while it might be tempting to double up on content you know works, especially if you have a big website, it will harm your SEO. Traffic will be sent in multiple directions, weakening the strength of your SEO.

If you take content from another site, Google will already have it indexed so there is no reason to list your site as it has nothing new to offer.  If you need to have some duplicate content on your website because it is useful for your readers or because of the nature of your business, you should “no index and no follow” those pages so that they do not have a negative impact on your SEO.

Poor Quality Content

Content is king – you’ve heard it many times.  In terms of SEO, it’s Google’s third ranking factor. If you have poor quality content, users will bounce very quickly from your site.  Google notices a high bounce rate and will penalize you for this. To achieve content that is good for SEO you should do the following:

  • Make it clear and simple to understand, use short sentences and an active voice.
  • Use bullet points and lists to make it easily scannable.
  • Get to the point quickly; it’s not a novel.
  • Include images and video to break up the text.
  • Don’t use jargon, assume readers know nothing about what you are writing.

Keyword Stuffing

While it is tempting to include your keywords as often as possible, this is now frowned upon by Google and keyword stuffing will earn you a penalty. It will look like you are trying to manipulate your rankings and it will also put readers off. Including your keywords in the title, description, opening paragraph, and a couple of more times naturally in the text is enough.

Buying Backlinks

This used to be common practice, and sounds enticing, and there are still plenty of people offering to sell five hundred backlinks to boost your site’s ranking. But are they reputable?  You won’t know where they are coming from and links from disreputable sites can harm your rankings. Search engines can now recognize these bought links and the practice goes against the rules. In fact, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines explicitly states that site owners should avoid participating in any kind of link schemes or risk the wrath of search engines in the form of a penalty that de-indexes your site from search results.

If you think you can trick search engines, think again. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines are more sophisticated than ever, which is why they have become very good at detecting links that seem irrelevant, suspicious, manipulative, and plain unnatural.

No Internal Links

Internal links not only help users, they enable search engines to crawl your website more efficiently.  Search engines determine the importance of each page by how often a page is linked within your site, so it is very important that you build links to your internal pages. Otherwise, you will miss out on the opportunity to create organic growth within your site.

This is an easy issue to fix. All you need to do is to go to your website and analyse its pages based on the content. If one page helps or relates to another, then build internal links by incorporating them into the text. All in all, you need to ensure that at least 80% of your links are going to internal pages.

No Professional Help

Here we have covered some of the basic issues that can affect your SEO but there are many more technical and on-page SEO tactics that you need to apply to your website in order to rank highly.  This really needs the help of a professional agency, like Koreti for instance.  Just be careful that you choose one who knows what they are doing and doesn’t use outdated “black hat” practices which will do your rankings more harm than good.  Ensure that:

  • You do not fall for claims of quick, cheap SEO. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are that it may be.
  • If your potential SEO provider seems to be on the right track but is stuck with old practices, they will only hurt your site further. So, drop them.
  • Check reviews and ask the company about its experience. Especially ask whether the SEO specialist has worked for other companies in your industry.

One business that used Koreti for their SEO is Quadrant2Design. MD Alan Jenkins said, “We were delighted with the results. After working with them for a number of months, we saw our ranking improve dramatically. We now feature on the first search results page for many of our key phrases.”

Good SEO takes time and effort; you won’t see results overnight as it will take work. This quick guide should help you find the most common SEO issues that experts experience.

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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.