If you own an established business, and you’re struggling to outrank your competition on Google, please listen up. In the SEO world, there are mistakes that can quite literally decapitate your website’s ability to rank. Sadly, these SEO mistakes are common because most people simply don’t know any better.
Sadly, the field of SEO is filled with misinformation and disinformation. It’s easy to get lost and confused. But I’m going to boil it down for you to the nuts and bolts so that you don’t make these costly mistakes that can destroy your ability to rank.
This all came about recently when I was speaking to a close friend who asked me about SEO. We started getting into the technicality of things and how incredibly hard it is to digest all the information. With so much to consume and understand, it’s no surprise why SEO is hard to learn.
However, when I described the essence of how it works, he looked at me as if I had cast a spell on him. Dazed and confused, he told me it was the first time he actually understood it.
The truth is that while SEO is hard to learn, the fundamentals are simple to grasp. And it boils down to trust. More specifically, how much Google actually trusts you.
Trust Makes The World Go Round
Imagine this for a moment. Some of your closest friends have probably been there by your side throughout the years, right? You’ve gone through the good times and the bad times. You’ve weathered the so-called storms of life, and they’ve stood the test of time.
As a result, your bond is tighter now more than ever before. Isn’t it?
Now, think about your relationship with Google for a moment. How many years has Google known you? No, not you personally. I’m talking about your website. If it hasn’t known you for long, how can you expect it to trust you?
It’s like meeting a person for the very first time. You’re unsure of that person and have no basis to trust them, right?
You’d likely ask questions such as…
Is he trustworthy?
Will she go behind my back?
Is he worth my time?
When you enter into any type of relationship with a person, these questions linger in your mind. However, let’s just say that this person is someone known by many of your friends. You could go around to your friends and ask them about this person.
If each one of your friends say that this person is great and has nothing but good things to say about them, won’t you trust them more? If you go around to these people and they say that this person is a liar and deceitful and untrustworthy, how will that impact your view of him or her?
I’m equating this to real life because SEO is just a microcosm of reality. And just like in business or in life, mistakes can be made in SEO and trust can be built or broken. Google took the rules of the real world trust-based transactions and baked them into the digital world.
And it’s all based on trust.
The goal? Get Google to trust you implicitly and you’ll dominate SEO.
Break Google’s trust by making any of these costly mistakes, and you’ll find yourself swimming in a sea of search results, floundering out in the far-reaches, nowhere to be effectively found whatsoever.
5 Costly SEO Mistakes
SEO is hard because it’s a monumental undertaking to get Google to trust you. But it’s easy to make innocent mistakes. Most people don’t understand that. They desire short term gains without putting in the long-term effort. It just doesn’t work that way.
Google is hard for many reasons, but that’s the primary reason. People think the effort should be put in over the course of days or even weeks when it’s more likened to months and years. That’s the way it works.
Remember, it’s all about trust. How can you expect trust to evolve quickly? If you have a brand new domain, you can almost forget about getting higher rankings quickly.
If your domain has some age and it’s been around for a few years with content in-tact, then you can perform SEO on it and get it to rank higher. But, imagine walking into a bank and trying to get a loan for a brand new business. What would the bank say?
The bank would say no because there are no financials supporting the business. Without a personal guarantee, it would take a few years of solid revenue to get a loan for a business.
Everyone knows that.
So just imagine Google as the bank and it just finding out about you, a brand new domain. Do you really think that Google is going to trust you after a few months of being around?
It’s just not going to. Plain and simple.
Mistake #1 — Buying Links
The biggest mistake I see people making when it comes to anything related to search engine optimization is that they buy links.
Never, ever, buy links. Ever. Oh, did I mention that you shouldn’t buy links?
This might sound obvious to some people. But not to others. The truth is that a lot of people fall into this trap. After all, a large part of the algorithm is steeped in link building and link authority. Meaning, it comes back to this basis of trust.
The more higher-trusted authority sites that link to you (organically), the better it is. This goes back to the initial story of being introduced to someone by someone you already trust. There’s an implied level of trust that transfers over.
Same thing occurs in the SEO world. When a site with a high level of trust links to you, there’s a level of trust that transfers over. But this doesn’t happen when you buy links. No. Just the opposite in fact. This can quite literally shadow ban and potentially find you de-indexed from Google altogether.
Of course, that happens in the most extreme cases. But it’s easy to go out there and buy links. Just take a look at all the people selling links on Fiver. They sell thousands, even tens of thousands, of links at a time to unsuspecting people.
Now, these links are just generated by a computer, of course. But they can quite literally destroy your ability to rank. A friend of mine did this and bought hundreds of thousands of links to a site that was ranking halfway decently on Google.
Yes, hundreds of thousands of links. Guess what happened a month later? The site disappeared entirely from Google. And he received a manual penalty email from Google. Literally, this was the nail-in-the-coffin. Do not ever buy links. Ever.
Mistake #2 — Spinning Content
Content spinners and “A.I. generators” are all the rage these days. Most people think that this is going to help them improve their site’s rank. It won’t. Sure, it will help you spin out some low-quality content. Fluff. That’s about it.
Today, Google cares less about a machine-optimized piece of content and more about a human-optimized piece of content. Case in point is the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines released and often updated by Google.
This boils down to addressing three 3 main elements:
- Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
- Your Money or Your Life (Y-M-Y-L)
- Beneficial Purpose
This equates to providing high-quality content meant for humans, not for search engines. And for a content spinner or AI generator to do that is currently impossible with anything publicly available today. That’s not to say that this might not change in the future.
When Google talks about E-A-T, not only are they talking about the expertise of the content, but also of the creator and the website itself. And by spinning content, you’re really hurting your ability to come across as an expert at all. So just don’t do it.
Y-M-Y-L refers to content that:
“…significantly impacts people’s health, financial stability or safety, or the welfare or well-being of society.” — Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines
When you’re writing about YMYL topics, you have to be very careful if you attempt to give advice or provide inaccurate information. How can a content spinner comply with all of this while also having a clear and beneficial purpose behind the content?
Clearly, you can make enormous mistakes in SEO by spinning content or using AI generators so just don’t do it! Also, be sure to double check your content using something like Grammarly to ensure it is error free for spelling and grammar. =
Mistake #3 — Ignoring Page Experience
Another mistake that many people make when it comes to SEO is ignoring the overall page experience. Now, this relates to a number of elements:
- Mobile usability (including AMP content)
- Content above the fold
- Overall speed of the page
- Number of ads
- Ability to navigate the site with ease
There’s more to it than that, of course. But that’s for starters. First things that you should address are to use Google’s Page Speed Insights and the Google Search Console to track any issues with your site or its usability.
Google Search Console also helps you track keyword positions, which is a nice added benefit. Obviously, you should also be using Google Analytics as well, to track overall site usage.
Mistake #4 — Producing Thin Content
One massive mistake that many people make is producing thin content. By thin, we simply mean abbreviated or lacking of any real value. The truth is that it’s hard to deliver real E-A-T without delivering detailed content.
That doesn’t mean you should write long-winded prose that’s repetitive or spammy. It doesn’t quite work that way. It has to be high-quality copy and content that truly delivers in the E-A-T.
Now, that doesn’t happen overnight. But you have to train yourself to produce long form, high-value content. Because that’s the golden ticket. The truth is that you can’t deliver in the value department in short-form. You simply just can’t do it.
So how many words should you plan on writing? In my opinion, at least 2,000 words to really get the point across. And include a bunch of hard-hitting studies and research to back up your claims and you’re golden. That’s how it works.
Mistake #5 — Hiring An Overseas SEO Agency
Ever get those spammy emails from “SEO agencies” that promise you number one rankings for pennies on the dollar? Yeah, you know the ones I’m talking about, right?
It’s very enticing to pay pennies on the dollar. But in the world of SEO, this single mistake could cost your site’s ability to rank. Because, once these overseas companies go out there and start “working” on your site, all hell breaks loose.
They’ll likely head over to Fiverr and purchase a link package of thousands (or tens of thousands of link), and then use content spinners and other fluff to add filler to your site. None of this works and it could make you disappear from Google’s search index entirely.
So the next question that most people ask is how much should you pay for SEO services?
The truth is that this can vary. For example, at outrankfast.com, our services start at $5,000 per month. And that’s just to start. It can go up to $25,000 or more per month depending on the level of service.
Now, that may seem like a lot to your or a little, but the point is that white-hat, high-value SEO is expensive. Not cheap. And in SEO, more than in any other industry, you get what you pay for. Period.
But, this style of SEO can leads to millions of visitors, leads and customers like clockwork, without having to hand over money for ads that don’t always convert.
That’s a reason why an investment in SEO produces a return of over $22 per dollar spent. That’s the second highest return of any marketing activity behind email marketing.
Pretty wild, right?
If you’re still struggling with SEO, and all of this just seems overwhelming. I would suggest hiring a professional agency. Don’t look for an oversea company charging pennies on the dollar. In SEO, you get what you pay for. Period.
If you’re ready to hire an SEO agency to scale your business, do not spend a dime before you read the SEO Consumer Awareness Guide.