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Oh how SEO has changed!
I remember the old days (from 2010 and 2012) when ranking on page 1 of Google was as easy as including your keyword in the page title, image tags, and heading tags, and then blasting hundreds of private blog network backlinks at the site. (Not recommended!)
Those days, however, are long over. Now this type of behavior has the exact opposite effect of pushing websites back to page 100 or worse. In a way, I’m glad those days are over. There was something that left me feeling uneasy about the fact that Google’s rankings could be manipulated so easily.
The good news is, SEO is not dead. In fact, it is more alive than ever. As long as you don’t make the 5 mistakes below, you can get your website ranked on page 1 in Google in 2013 and beyond.
1. Over Optimization
I’ll be the first to admit that I made this mistake myself. If you use WordPress, you may remember those plug-ins called ClickBumpSEO and SEOPressor. Well, when first purchased those, I thought they were a godsend.
I literally followed their on page optimization suggestions to the letter. I made sure my keyword density was high. I made sure that I had external and internal links containing my keyword. I made sure that my keyword was in the first and last sentence and in all heading and image tags. And you know what happened? I ranked on page one!
But it wasn’t for long. In April 2012, all of my websites got blasted off of page one to page 500+. Later on, I learned that I wasn’t the only one this happened to.
The lesson? Over optimization is one of the most common SEO mistakes that will sabotage your rankings in Google. Instead of trying to optimize your page for your keyboard, just put your keyword in the title and the first and last sentence. Never make your Keyword Density over 1%. And most importantly, write for humans, not search engines.
2. Poor Anchor Text Diversification
Sadly, many so-called SEO experts are still making this mistake today. What mistake is it? It’s having too many anchor text links using your main keyword.
Linking to your page with your main keyword as your anchor text over and over again used to get websites ranked on page one. Now that strategy can get your website penalized and flagged.
The best overall strategy is to make your main keyword anchor text only about 10% of your total link portfolio. The rest of all of your incoming links should be variations of your main keyword, social qualifiers, and naked URLs. Here’s some examples:
Main Keyword = weight loss tips
fat loss tips
weight loss ideas
tips for losing weight
check out my site
look at my website
Notice how there are a total of 18 different anchor texts that are used for backlinking.
Varying your anchor text will keep you under the radar and help your website get ranked the keyword you desire, because the way Google sees it, real websites don’t link to websites with the keyword as the anchor text 100% of the time.
Sometimes they say check this out or click here. By mirroring this approach, it will look like other websites are actually recommending your website as a helpful resource.
3. High Link Velocity
Link velocity always had an effect on rankings. Now it has more of an effect than ever.
If you build your links to fast, you may shoot up to the first page for a few days or weeks. After that, your website will most likely plummet into the abyss.
What works in 2013 is building your link slowly and consistently. No more link blasts from SEnuke or forum profiles. You need to focus on building high-quality links from reputable sites slowly over time. Relevant guest posts and high quality press releases work great.
Once you are ranking, don’t stop building links either. Keep building links but slow down the velocity over time.
4. No Deep Linking
A great example for this is Wikipedia. Their site only has 1% of their back links going towards their homepage, and 99% going to all of their inner pages.
Google notices this and they analyze how many of your links go to your homepage versus the number of internal links when determining your rankings. If your site has tons of links only to the homepage, and no links to inner pages of your site, Google will know something is up.
You’re better off building more links to your inner pages then you are building links to your homepage. It looks more natural and it can have a positive effect on your rankings.
5. Focusing Only On Links
In 2013 and beyond, SEO is no longer just about links. Focusing only on getting back links is a losing strategy. Your focus should be on creating quality content like articles, blog posts, info graphics, and engaging videos, then building up your social media profiles with more friends and activity as well.
Google authorship is one last ranking factor is often overlooked by SEOs. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can see that Google shows people’s Google plus profile photos next to search engine results.
The more friends, activity, and links to your Google plus profile, the more authority you have. And this authority carries over whenever you publish an article. If you publish crappy articles and they are linked to your Google plus profile, you may find it more difficult to rank. However, if you product great content and have lots of activity on your profile, ranking is going to be much easier.
SEO In 2013 And Beyond
At the end of the day, it’s still possible to rank for difficult keywords in Google. As long as you follow Google’s new rules, you will be safe from link penalties and dreaded algorithm updates.
Simply avoid making these 5 mistakes, and focus on the long-term and you’ll find that getting those top three rankings for the keywords you desire is a lot easier than you think.
This article is an original contribution by Steve Goldberg.