Now that we are well on the way into 2016, it is time to start asking the difficult question about how your SEO plans are working out.
- Are you making the gains you are hoping to?
- Are you managing to stay on top of your research and keyword goals?
- Have you been checking in on what your competitors are doing?
- Did you run into any major SEO mistakes in 2015?
It is fantastic news if you are doing everything right, but you need to put just as much effort into making sure you aren’t making mistakes that could cost you rankings in the coming year.
SEO is all about adaptation and strategy. If you aren’t already adjusting for new algorithms and guidelines in the coming year, then you’re far behind.
Fortunately, here are some of the tips about what to avoid, so you don’t waste time and energy cleaning up a mess with your hindsight “googles” on.
SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2016
SEO Mistake #1: Not Protecting Your Research Data and Online Accounts
If we’ve learned anything the last few years, we now know that hackers will go after anyone and everyone to make a dollar. That includes website owners and marketing professionals.
You need to make cybersecurity a priority if you haven’t already, or you might find yourself or your website on the wrong end of a cyberattack.
Here are the steps you need to take in order to lock down your accounts and your website:
- Make sure that you’re protecting your email account, as it is a main point of access to your other online accounts and assets. You do a lot of marketing through that account, and as such, it contains data and contacts which hackers would be interested in. Use every protection available.
- The last thing you want is for all of your hard work to go up in a literal poof of smoke. Make sure to either use a secure cloud storage solution or an external hard drive for your spreadsheets and ideas.
- If you are travelling or using an unprotected public network, make sure that you are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your device. A VPN is a tool that you can use to connect your device to an offsite secure server via an encrypted connection. VPNs are often used to hide your IP address, and you can use it to access whatever services and websites you need, while adding a layer of protection on public networks.
SEO Mistake #2: Using Old Techniques to Identify Keywords
What was trending six months ago is probably not of great importance now. In fact, what was popular two weeks ago is not all that relevant now.
Changing algorithms and ongoing effort to rank by competitors mean that, except for the most niche of markets, you can expect search terms and therefore the best keywords to change. Some people will focus on what they think is the best and stick with that indefinitely, making a fatal error in the process.
Try doing research right now on some of the main topics associated with your website or online business. See if there are any changes and if you can predict trends.
- Are people starting to understand the topic and thus asking more complex questions that you can build content around?
- Are the keywords and topics you use less popular in general, suggesting a need for change?
Don’t let these questions go unanswered.
SEO Mistake #3: Neglecting to Update Vital Tools
Have you considered the possibility that the SEO services and tools you use now may no longer be the best available online. If they are, you either need to come to terms with that (not recommended) or launch into the new year with an adventurer’s spirit and an eye for improvement (recommended). A SEO enthusiast or professional is only as good as their creativity and their tools.
While your competition is optimizing against the latest algorithms, using last year’s models and tips can cost you dearly. Make a quick search online right now and every month or so in the future to keep on top of things.
Not only could neglecting to update your toolset put you at a disadvantage when it comes to finding the perfect SEO solution, but it could put your computer and accounts at risk. Many updates are security related.
Once something is patched, hackers will know the exact weakness the patch was meant for. Then they can take advantage of those of us who haven’t gotten around to updating yet.
SEO Mistake #4: Overlooking Broken Links
When was the last time you went through every page on your website just to make sure that the links are still working for your readers and customers?
Websites get shut down out all the time for a range of reasons, such as a loss of sales orthe owner not paying their hosting bill. It is your job to weed out what isn’t working anymore. Replace those links with ones that might work better today, even if you might need to spend a little time updating the content.
It is a similarly good time to check on some of your favorite links and pages to see if they still make the cut. Times change, and in some cases, previously well regarded resources just aren’t as good as they used to be.
There are other errors and mistakes to avoid when working with SEO, but the current online environment points to the above issues being among the biggest problems in 2016.
Remember to always think forward instead of backward. Never be afraid to spend time looking for good data and practices to follow. The best time for improvement is always the present.
Do you have any ideas on how people might be sabotaging themselves in the coming year? Are there any bad habits or things that you’ve noticed that you want to share with your fellow readers?
Featured image credit: india_7 via Flickr, License: CC BY-SA (commercial reuse with modification)
Other images provided by the author on the author’s owned license.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.