15 Website Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Google Rankings
If you have a website, you undoubtedly want to rank well in the search engines. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more difficult.
The reason? Google and other search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to deliver better results for users because it helps them improve their site’s user experience and usage. For example, when searching on Google, would you want to see pages that simply have a bunch of keywords stuffed into the copy? Of course not, so the search engines are making changes, so you don’t have to sift through pages of junk.
In fact, Google’s recent Panda and Penguin updates have thrown many people for a loop regarding how they need to present their content to rank well. So much so that there is a lot of information floating around on the Internet about improving page rank.
What follows are 15 common mistakes seen by Google more often than they should, all of which are negatively affecting your rankings if you have these problems with your site.
1. Thin or Poor Content
Google is very picky when it comes to content on a website. If you are providing thin or poor content, then Google will drop your rankings.
What is thin content exactly? If your site is made up of pages where the majority of the keywords are simply repeated to get more density in the copy, then this may be considered “thin.” The same thing goes for images. Keyword density should never exceed 1.5 percent, or Google will think you are trying to enhance your ranking with keyword spamming artificially.
2. Too Many Outbound Links
If a web page has links within it to other sites that aren’t relevant or part of its overall value proposition, then this can cause problems because it makes it look like the page exists just to link out instead of providing information on its topic.
Basically, any links that you place on your website should be relevant to the page’s content. Otherwise, Google may see this as “spammy” behavior and drop your rankings accordingly.
When the search engines crawl a website, they will typically show one version of a web page to users and another version for themselves (or how it appears in their cache). If you attempt to fool these crawlers as some SEO companies do by showing different versions of a web page to users than are seen by the search engine crawlers, then this is called cloaking.
This can kill your ranking potential because if Google catches wind of this practice, they will drop your pages from their index altogether, or if they are already in the index, then your page rank will drop significantly.
4. Over Optimization
Google is still punishing people who practice over-optimization techniques to enhance their rankings. It’s not enough these days to simply write great content and hope that it ranks well. You need to take a holistic approach with your SEO if you want to maintain or gain page rank these days.
The good news is that this isn’t as hard as it may seem so long as you have a natural link profile and promote your business properly across all social media channels. The best part about this approach is that when done correctly, your site traffic increases, which boosts your sales numbers through increased conversions!
5. Duplicate Content
Suppose multiple versions of the same page exist across different domains. In that case, this can be a problem because it appears to Google that you are trying to manipulate your rankings by having multiple copies of the content. This is known as duplicate content, and it’s something that Google isn’t very tolerant of these days.
If you have a duplicate version of a web page or content on your website, it’s best to consolidate them so that only one copy exists instead of several different versions. If there are any pages where this issue may exist, be sure to contact the site owner for an immediate update.
6. Hidden Text or Links
This mistake involves using text or links to manipulate search engines to rank your website higher than what they normally would if they were presented with plain text. If you have this problem on your site, it’s best to contact Google and find out if they will allow you to fix it. Otherwise, be prepared for a drop in rankings.
7. Flash Content
This mistake can hurt your site because Google isn’t able to read any of the text or content within a flash file, which means that they can’t determine what a website is about. Because of this, Google doesn’t think it’s relevant and will probably not rank your site very well at all as a result since it believes there is no textual content present anywhere on the page!
8. Too Many Ads
Having too many ads on a web page can give off the impression that you are trying to artificially enhance your ranking by using these types of spammy techniques. If you have too many ads – reduce the number to a point where your user experience isn’t affected in any negative way, and Google can actually understand what your site is about!
9. Keyword Stuffing
This mistake involves having so many keywords that it’s impossible for users to find anything useful on your website purely because there are no spaces between different phrases or words. If Google sees this, they may take it out on your rankings by dropping them significantly due to not being able to read the text effectively anymore.
10. Header Tag Spamming
The header tag is used in HTML to designate specific areas of text as titles, headings, sub-headings, etc…when you abuse the use of the <H1> tag, this is known as header tag spamming. Unfortunately, a lot of webmasters don’t realize that Google reads every word on a page, so if you have several H1 tags throughout your content – it makes it impossible for Google to understand what’s going on. In turn, they will punish you by not ranking your site well!
11. Copyright Violation
Google doesn’t take kindly to copyright violations which means if you have a lot of copied content from other websites or from entire pages from other sites, then you risk having your website drop in rankings because Google thinks that nobody wants to read anything copied onto another domain when there are hundreds of thousands of other possibilities out there. So if this is something that applies to your website, contact Google about this issue because it’s very easy to fix!