Say what you like about Google but they’re never shy about giving out advice. Most of it is good simple common sense. The problem is that simple and easy are not the same thing.
As Australian SEOs we’re very busy. As such, we tend to get bogged down with the details. It’s often vital to review the big picture and think about how we can translate it into action.
Earlier this year, Google spam chief Matt Cutts laid out a series of the most common mistakes he came across in SEO. Here are some of the most important along with some recommendations about how to rectify them.
Not Making Your Site Crawlable
This is a no brainer but one that’s all too common. If Google can’t crawl your site, it can’t index your pages. That means some or all your web presence doesn’t exist in their eyes. The most common reason for lack of crawlablity is broken internal links. Using problems like the Screaming Frog SEO Spider can help you root out these roadblocks and help get you completely indexed.
Not Offering Compelling Content
This is probably the most common gripe from the search engine giant. The Google spam team reserves a special loathing for rehashed, thin, incomprehensible, and over-optimised content. It’s also getting better and better and identifying it. Google’s responsibility is to the searchers (and thus their advertisers) so it wants to ensure they find just what they’re looking for.
The simple solution is not to skimp on content creation. Not only should the text on your web pages be valuable, it should be written primarily for humans not search engine spiders. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t optimise it.
Not Creating Solid Title and Description Tags
Meta tags such as title and description tags have had no value in ranking for several years. But that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Other than clarifying to the search engines exactly what your site is about, they also show up in the SERPS. What’s more, keywords are bolded, which naturally draws the eye towards them. Crafting keyword rich meta tags with an alluring call to action will help your page stand out in the searches.
Not Featuring the Words People Actually Search For
Google is increasingly saying SEOs and web site developers should think in terms of complete sentences and not just isolated words and phrases. This was a major component in the recent Hummingbird update that focused on dealing with search queries in the form of natural language rather that a collection of search terms.
One way to tap into this is to check your logs for the queries people used to reach your site and use any sentences, especially questions, as the basis for new content development.