​4 Common Mistakes by SEO Newbies

28 January 2016

4 Common Mistakes by SEO Newbies

In SEO as in life, a small amount of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. People new to the field face a steep learning curve and risk making considerable errors while they are gaining their knowledge. These errors can not only slow down or delay any improvements in search engine ranking positioning, they can even interrupt or reverse progress altogether.

For this reason, we have put together these tips for rookies in the SEO industry. Whether you are in-house, agency or going it alone, you will find information you’ll be glad to know.

1. Accept you don’t know it all

Nobody knows it all, but experienced SEOs have built up a wealth of knowledge based on learning and experience over years.

Beginners don’t have all this knowledge, but they can be fooled into believing that what they do know is sufficient. But do you know how to use rel=canonical? Do you know the difference between 301 and 302 redirects? Do you know how to send an effective link takedown request?

Understanding what you don’t know is important so that you don’t introduce errors into your work. Check out this long list of questions to get a grasp of where you need to concentrate your learning.

2. Don’t focus too much on low-hanging fruit

Creating content around long-tail keywords that attract little traffic but have low competition can be an appealing start, as it is relatively easy to rank for these words and phrases. However, if you only do this, you probably won’t make any significant progress for your website’s overall goals.

Don’t shy away from the bigger work involved in SEO, including targeting tougher keywords and keeping wider business aims and objectives in mind.

3. Do ask for advice when necessary

Always keep a close eye on your stats, measuring and recording ranking positions on a regular basis so that you can see any progress you are making.

If the work you are doing is having little effect on a website’s rankings, and you are running out of ideas, it could be time to consult a more experienced SEO to get some tips on how to proceed.

4. Don’t pretend things are better than they are

SEOs should always explain to their clients that the process is a slow and gradual one, and their website is not going to rank #1 for huge search terms overnight. However, if your results are poor even with this in mind, pretending to the client that all is well is an irresponsible strategy.

If you are not seeing the results you want, ask yourself:

  • Were my predictions for progress overly optimistic?
  • Am I missing something out of my SEO strategy?
  • Has the client done something to their website that is affecting performance?
  • Have I taken action that has been discredited in the SEO community, which could be penalising the website in the SERPs?

Whatever the answer to those questions, be honest with the client about progress being slower than anticipated. Present them with a plan about how you are going to improve this, and suggest any action that they could take to assist with the process.