With Google algorithm becoming more intelligent with each passing day, the margin for errors has significantly reduced over the past decade. Back in the day, you might get away with keyword stuffing but today, the same offense will strike off your website from Google search engine results. No one wants that, right. To save you from such a situation, here are ten common mistakes that most casual followers of the industry are making but should not. If you are one of them, then this article will set the alarm bells ringing to prevent your website from any penalty from Google.
Setting the Status of Your Links To “No Follow”
There are many reasons and situations where you want your website to stay away from the search engine crawlers. Whether it is during A/B testing or to prevent duplication issues, hide internal search results and archives, you should not use the “no-follow” tag to achieve that goal. Many newcomers make this mistake and wrecks havoc on their PageRank. It is better to use this code <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”> instead of using the no-follow tag. It will stop the search engines from indexing the page but will not disturb the PageRank by recommending search engines to follow the links on the page.
Not Using Canonical Tag
Canonical tag tells search engines to treat linked page as a canon instead of a current page. It is used to stop duplication of content but the advantage of using this tag is that it passes the PageRank from the non-canonical page to canonical so that your website PageRank is not affected. You can also prevent duplication caused by query strings with canonicalization. It protects your search authority from declining when preventing duplication of content.
If you are still using Frames and iFrames in your website, then I have some bad news for you. Your website will not rank on first page of Google. Did you know why? Here is what Google has to say about sites using Frames. “Frames can cause problems for search engines because they don’t correspond to the conceptual model of the web. Pages that use frames and iframes display several URLs within a single page.”
I am not saying that you should never use it but you should only use it where you do not have any other option. Do not use it as a method to navigating content on your website. It wreck havoc on your website architecture and makes it extremely difficult for people to reference content with links.
Poor Link Structure
According to Google’s guidelines, you should build your website with a logical link structure so that every page is reachable from at least one static text link. If you are already using a content management system, it will tackle this problem automatically. Flat link architecture can make it difficult for the users to navigate to the page of their liking. Similarly, search engine has a hard time in interpreting your website, which will reflect badly on your search engine rankings.
Use a categorize hierarchy so that your website visitors and search engines can easily navigate through different pages of your website. Make sure you give references to your content within the body of the content because the contextual linking have a positive influence on navigation and adds semantic value to your website, which will increase your website’s chances to rank higher on search engines. More importantly, it keeps the user on your website for longer thus, reducing the bounce rate of your website.
Google’s stance for cloaking is very clear. Google advises you against cloaking therefore, you should refrain from it. Although you can get away with unintentionally cloaking most of the times if you want to stay on the safe side then, you should avoid cloaking altogether. The best example of cloaking is using the same text color as the background color to hide the text from reader’s view. The unfortunate part is that it can also happen unintentionally when specific style sheet elements render in the same color as the background. Keep an eye out for empty anchor text links because the search engine might consider it as cloaking.
Missing Meta Descriptions
As simple and basic it might seem, you might still find many websites with missing Meta descriptions. The best thing about Meta descriptions is that you have complete control over it, not the search engine and you are letting go of this advantage if you are not utilizing meta descriptions properly. Remember, your Meta description becomes a part of Google search snippet. It is the meta description that appears in the search result that can determine whether a reader will come to your website or abandon it.
If you are trying to fool the SEO Experts & search engine by showing it a different page than a user by cloaking it, you are getting yourself into hot waters. Avoid sneaky redirects as much as possible. Use 301 redirect or 302 redirects when needed. Use a method that works for users but not for a search engine, which is unintentionally cloaking. Never direct a user from a 404 page because Google recommends that you leave it as it is instead of redirecting users through sneaky tactics. Never mislead users or search engines with your redirect otherwise, you will have to pay a heavy price for it.
On page search engine optimization has evolved significantly and you should be well aware of the latest trends and guidelines followed by Google & best SEO companies. Pay attention to every detail from link structure to meta description and SEO experts can easily optimize your website for search engines and achieve higher ranking on Google and other search engines. If you fail to keep pace with it, you can never succeed at SEO. If you know about any other common mistake feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.