SEO

25 Horrible Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Site In 2017

Can you find your website on page 1 Google?

To most of us, it is nearly impossible. Things get even harder day by day.

Just 5 years ago, you can easily order a 400 words article for $4, add 1 video, 2 images, and your site is ready to go.

People have used all kind of tools for backlink building and then filled their spun contents with keywords.

Wellcome to league of spin

Google hate black hat technique cause it ruins their user experience. That’s why they keep updating their system with new algorithms.

On March 9th, we got a new update name Fred; and the whole ranking system went upside down, especially if your site based on black hat technique.

So what should you do to prevent the same situation?

Today, I’ll show you

25 horrible mistakes in 2017

How common mistakes can take down your whole site

What is acceptable and what you should avoid at all cost

How I deal with these problems

I made a menu so you can easily check out each category by clicking the links below (or from the little blue box on the left).

New Start, New Problem

1. Choose the Wrong Niche

How did you choose your niche? People tend to pick a niche they like and end up making no money.

There’s a big difference between have passionate about something and actually writing about it. It will be great at first when things are still fresh to you. But sooner or later, you will run out of ideas to write.

It’s just a matter of time…

If you still can’t make m(any) money from your business, you will mess it up.

Moreover, we all have other things need to be taken care of: family, friends, school, job, etc. If you’re stuck with an unprofitable site, you will lose a lot of time for a fruitless niche. Little by little, you will lose your motivation, stop working and even worse, give up on your dream.

So consider your choice carefully. Ask yourself if your niche is profitable or not.

2. Unreliable Hosting Service

There are many reasons why you should avoid an unreliable hosting service. Let’s list down some crucial point:

  • Huge Server Downtime: This problem will limit your visibility. It’s very bad for high/paid traffic sites and eCommerce sites. Slow Server: For each 1-second delay, your site will decrease 7% conversion rate while increase 14% bounce rate Low Security: Trust me, low security will give you a lot of trouble. Check out Security Matters for more information. Hidden Fees: Hosting provider can add an extra feature to your plan without your permission; then charge you for it.
  • Slow Server: For each 1-second delay, your site will decrease 7% conversion rate while increase 14% bounce rate
  • Low Security: Trust me, low security will give you a lot of trouble. Check out Security Matters for more information.
  • Hidden Fees: Hosting provider can add an extra feature to your plan without your permission; then charge you for it.

Tip: Double-check your hosting service information before you pay any money. It’s better if you read 2-3 reviews from reliable sources before deciding.

3. Weird Domain Name

Many people think that choosing a domain name is simple. All you need to do is create a short, memorable, easily spelled name for your business.

So you think you’ve got a good one?

Funny Domain Name

ANALEMMA.ORG


This site has nothing to do with Emma

More Funny Domain Name

PENISLAND.NET


Seriously?

Best Domain Ever

THERAPISTINABOX.COM


Well done, dude… Well done!

You should double-check a domain name before deciding to buy it.

4. Block Search Indexing

How could you rank your sites if search engines don’t even know what you have? Your content could be shared, linked, mentioned millions of times yet you still can’t find it on search engines. To put it simply, your site is invisible.

You can use the “site:” command to check whether your site has been indexed

Why did this happen?
Some platform will restrict free plan by stop crawl bots from crawling your site. You will need to upgrade your plan or change to another platform.
Some other platforms might give you an option like this

Most people only use it when they’re building a new site, or a new page is still under construction. That’s why when you have a lot of details need to be solved, you might very well forget about that little checkbox. If you have a new site or creating a new page, make sure you enabled web crawler to crawl your content. After that, you can manually submit and check if your index status via Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools.

5. Using Meta Keywords Tag

Nowaday, meta keyword is nothing more than a worthless tag that is no longer used by most search engines. On September 21, 2009 – Google took the first move by announcing that they “don’t use this information at all.”

On October 4th, 2014 – Bing’s Duane Forrester published a post talked about the death of meta keyword tag and how much trouble it has caused for search engines. So Bing only considers those tags as a signal for spammers and will use them for their penalty factor.

What’s more? It also gives your competitors a free proof of what you’re trying to target.

Is Web Design Important?

6. Terrible Design

Use a terrible design is the easiest way to shock your customer (and drive them away).
For example:

This is so 1993

It’s your consumers who will evaluate your design, so it’s how they feel that is important. You shouldn’t  scare someone with a terrible design so they could run away faster.

Normally, I design my site base on my own favorite. But I will ask my friends whenever I try something new (or strange).
FAQ: What if you’ve done everything and people still don’t like it?
Sometimes it’s just not your fault, blame your customers for their funny taste.
Tip: You should use premium theme and plugins; hire a designer if you need; do A/B split test and study from big companies.

7. Non-Mobile-Friendly

US Local Mobile Search VS Desktop Search

In 2016, mobile search has already surpassed desktop search. So what will happen in 2017?

According to Zenith Media: 75% of Internet use in 2017 will be mobile. That mean if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you’re wasting your chance to quadruple your traffic.

The most important thing is Google does recommend using responsive design. It’s better to do as G said so your sites won’t be demoted.

8. Not Optimizing Your Site Speed

This might not be a serious problem at first but it will be later. When people visiting a website for the first time, 1-2 seconds is the best loading time. 3 seconds? Well, it’s acceptable, but only for once. There’ll be a huge difference if your site needs more than 3 seconds to load each time people visit a new page. This bad experience would lead to higher bounce rate and also decrease your conversion rate.

Besides, Google using crawl budget to decide how much they want to crawl a page. That mean a website with slow loading speed will negatively affect your indexation.

To sum it up, not optimizing your site speed will slowly damage your user experience and therefore put your business in the dangerous zone.

9. Color Palette

The fact is:
– If you provide your content in a smart way, you’ll get tons of social signal as well as trust from your customers.
– If you do it wrong, you’ll have a useless content and mess up your user experience too.

So what’s the problem?

It’s an invisible link

Use links with the same color as other text around it is a bad idea. (Combine it with #13: Wall of Words and you’ll have an Ultimate Disguise Combo)

Caution:

Do not use the same color for both background and links

Do not hide your link so user can’t see it


That’s what we call Invisible Link. And it will offer you a nice penalty from search engines.

You should use contract color for your links to make it more attractive. Some color may look nice when combining with a specific color while it could be a disaster with another one; so be careful.

For example, gray text with blue link color is widely used; while pink text with green link color is a pain in the ass.

Here is a list of colors that are being used by big brands.

 Text color 1Text color 2Link color
Google#545454#006621#1A0DAB
Twitter#657786#14171A#1DA1F2
Wikipedia#222222#222222#0645AD

Bad Effect of Poor Content

10. Grammar Mistake

Imagine that some visitors are reading your article, and what make them pay attention is not your content, but a lot of grammar mistakes. Now you have made your life harder cause no one going to trust a service with a rookie mistake like that. The hard part is, most of us don’t have a proofreader.

Why can’t we just do it ourselves? Well, our brain is strange. Once you know the content, your brain often fills in the gaps as you reading. So instead of spotting the errors, it just skims through them. Luckily, you can easily fix this problem by using grammar checker tool. There are many tools available on the internet, both free and paid version have their own pros.

I prefer Grammarly for checking grammar mistakes. They have no word limit for each search and their advanced grammar check is really nice. Besides, if you want to check the readable score, you can visit Readable.io. I love their clean design and they even highlight which word or sentence you should replace.

11. Low-Quality Content

People only read interesting things so don’t offer them useless stuff. Here’s a list of what you should avoid:
Spun content: Use spun article is content theft and it just simply unreadable. People only use spun content for black hat technique, and Google hates that.
Cheap article: Everything has its own price. Writers who accept low price often has no real experience in your niche. They write everything base on articles they found on the Internet. Besides, if you get an article for a strangely cheap price, the chance is your writer spun it themselves.
Poor data quality: Unreliable source will confuse you with messy, outdated and even fake data. Use them in your article and you’ll ruin everything.

Here’s my advice:
– Alway write unique content. If you need to outsource, hire a professional writer.
– When you have too much data, don’t be hasty, take your time to organize them.

Take your time

Oh, one more thing, do yourself a favor and get the word count out of your head. When you set 1000 words as your target and stuck right at 500, you’ll start to throw things to fill it up. That’s another way to transform a great content to a crappy one.

12. “Content is King”

Since Bill Gate mention the phrase “Content is King” in 1996, people are so obsessed with it and forget everything else.
Yes, this mistake is exactly opposite with #11.

Here’s the fact, a real king alway have soldiers. And your soldiers are your backlinks, social signal, real and legit traffic source. You need to promote your content, drive more traffic to your site and make sure they share it.

There are WAY too many people in internet marketing today that think “great content” is enough.

Brian Dean
Click to Tweet this

Now let’s say you created many quality articles which generated to tons of traffic. So what next?

The whole “write content + drive traffic” process takes too much effort that people often forget: why you need traffic in the first place?
Remember your motivation! You quit your full-time job, ignore family and friends advice, work your finger to the bone because you had a little dream named “financial freedom”.
In short, you want to…

…make (a lot of) money

To do that, you must have a plan for your customers: what should they do after reading your content, how to turn one-time visitors to your email subscriber, how to earn their trust and sell your products, etc. That’s what we called a funnel – the powerful Queen.

13. Wall of Words

A wordy article is boring and just too hard to follow. It’s not suited for your users because you want to keep them focused. The fact is, our brain working with visual image better than the text document.

So one of the best ways is to use a lot of images. Engaging and topic-relevant images not only catch the reader’s attention but also increase the interaction rate. It’s even better if you can offer quality Infographic or Video cause they’re two most likely shared content.

14. Outdated Article

There’s a good chance that you have a few evergreen article already. The problem is, as time goes by, your information will be outdated. Some will be less useful, while the rest become useless.

For example, a list of “20 SEO tips for 2017” could be a good source of information until the end of 2017. When 2018 came, the list becomes outdated and you might consider adding new content to make it “20 SEO tips for 2018”. Let’s say you leave it like that, of course, you will lose many visitors that would come for new tips in 2018. The same thing happens for 2019, 2020 and so on.

Caution: If this problem exists long enough, you would leave a big hole in your content structure for you competitors to exploit. For example, they could add more features and make it their own “30 SEO tips for 2018” to steal your new visitors. What’s worse? They can spy your backlinks data, contact any website that linked to your post and suggest them to replace it with a newer version.

What should you do? It’s easy. If your competitors can, you can too, if not better. Take a closer look at your old content, figure out which point you can update, add more useful information, more image, make it more simple and friendlier.

You should update your article frequently and never ever let that happen.

15. Thin Affiliate Site

Have you ever search for a new software review? If you did, I bet you were surprised at the number of websites start their name with “ABC + Review”. Let’s take a quick snapshot:

Well, I call this a “Review Syndrome”. These sites, unfortunately, most of them only have spammy and scammy content and they will get a penalty from Google soon.

So what is a “Thin Affiliate Site“?
It is a label applied when your site focused too much on affiliate links and have no real value.

The decisive question is whether there is anything left after you remove all the ads and affiliate contents? Well, the answer Google want is “It doesn’t change at all” or even better “What’s ads?”

Tip: When people visit your website, they’re looking for fresh new, unique and valuable information. If you run a site that heavily depends on ads and affiliate links, make sure to smartly hire them with contextual links, among relative keywords and inside a quality content.

Mistakes with Link Building

16. Long-and-hard-to-remember-URL

Let’s me show you two example of URL structure:

Example 1:

The URL for this post is howiseo.com/horrible-mistakes.
That’s a short URL  which you can remember in less than 2 seconds. Moreover, you immediately know what this post is about just by looking at the URL name. And guess what? It contains my keyword.

Example 2:

answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/insider_apps-insider_photos/nikon-d5600-nef-format-impossible-to-edit-under/b2fc9b06-e4d1-4928-a446-03ea034662b1
It’s simply unrememberable. I can’t even tell what the keyword or topic is until I visit the actual page.

The worst part of a long URL is that your customers don’t know what they’re gonna get. People don’t want to click a long-and-suspicious-link. This problem will decrease your click rate and increase bounce rate as well.

Tip: When comparing two type of URL, a short one alway has a better chance to stick in customer’s head. This ability comes in handy when you want to build a relationship with your users.

17. Internal Link Problems

What would you do if you have to live in a city without power grid? No TV, no internet, no shopping, no smartphone. Nothing!

Internal links have the same function as the power grid. Lack of internal link building will prevent your visitors from reaching other contents and you’re wasting your resource cause no one knows about it.
Another bad experience you can give your visitors is a broken link. They click on a link because they want to see “something interesting”. And when they see a 404 page, congratulation, you’ve just successfully destroyed their hope and give them a high-speed one-way ticket to your competitor website.

Remember this, it takes a lot of effort to drive traffic to your website, but if your customers don’t like your site, they’ll go.  And the best way to make them stay with you is to set up a well-built internal link structure. It will help you retain your visitors, keep them engaged and even drive them through the conversion funnel

18. Keyword Stuffing

This is an ancient Black hat technique exist from Stone Age, first invented by apeman. It’s easy to use and people can still get some benefit from it if they have a short-term plan. But you shouldn’t try if you want to build a real business.

Here’s my theory:

Once upon a time, Google, Bing, and Yahoo have a little conversation with the representative of apeman. The outcome is so horrible that SEO experts stop using keyword stuffing and label all SEO technique invented by apeman as “Spammy Tactic”.

So if you’re using this technique, take my advice and stop spamming your user with the same keyword. You can easily enhance your site’s ranking by longtail keyword and rich content; they will improve your user experience too.

Another way to work around this problem is to write more. For example, when you have a 500 words article and don’t know how to stuff 3 more keywords without making it sound weird,  just dig deeper then write 300 more words. Now you have a longer content and extra slot for more keywords.

19. Bad Backlinks

To put it simply, bad backlinks are backlinks from unrelated and/or untrusted source. If your website is about internet marketing, but most of your backlinks are from dating sites, you’re in trouble. And of course, you don’t want to have backlinks from sites that are violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

The good news is, a small amount of bad link will have very little effect on your site and sometimes can even be considered as normal.
The bad news is, how many bad links is “acceptable”? We don’t know. Just a little more of them and you will be penalized before you know it. That’s why I try to avoid these type of link as much as possible.

So how do we build quality links?
One of the most important factor when building links is to acquire them from a relevant source. If your website sells baby chairs, backlinks from baby chair review sites will be great. Backlinks from baby’s furniture shop will help, too. Backlinks from IKEA? That’s wonderful!  Guitar shop? Don’t.

When you reach out to other sites, make sure you check their penalty history, target audience, domain authority and how often they publish their content.

Other Problems

20. Depend Too Much on Search Engines

While leverage their service is important, search engines are not the Internet. They’re not even the best source if you think about it carefully. A trusted traffic source should be reliable and sustainable, not a service that changes their algorithm frequently and penalized you with it.

I don’t rule the world, I am the world.

– BigG.

When you first come off with your business plan, traffic from search engines could be a big factor. But you should add more traffic source so it will help you scale better. Here are some sources you can depend on, as they are more reliable:

– Creating contents that solve your reader’s problem will give you a lot of traffic.  Sometimes it can even help you get on other big blogger’s radar.
– Hiring professional writers is great for creating epic content. But if you don’t know yet, they would bring you more traffic and social share from their own source too.
– Email marketing is still a wonderful way to keep your customers coming back and notice them about what you’re promoting.
– Social marketing is a nice choice. If people like your product, they will share your content and even talk about it with their friends.

Here’s my personal opinion: I hate keyword research. That’s why you can’t find any keyword research tip in this list. I’m trying to write for you – my reader, a human being; so things should be clear and useful. I’m not going to write for a crawler bot which hates me more than I hate it.

21. Image Copyright Infringement

Download images from Google Image Search and then use them for your articles is illegal. It will not only ruin your site but also can lead to serious legal issues. Unfortunately, many bloggers still make this simple mistake and have to pay a larger sum of money for it.

I know a blogger who has to pay a ridiculous amount for a photo of green pepper.
And I know there are many shady people who make their living by dirty tricks.

Do you know that people can optimize their photos so you would find them easily, and when you use those pictures, they will sue you for copyright infringement? Yes, they can do that, with a happy smile on their face.

Caution: Do not use ANY image downloaded from Google search unless you have the permission. And trust me, link back to the original source or give credit is useless. If someone tells you that, just give them a green pepper.

Tip: When you need an image for your article, you should buy them or download them from a legal source.  There are many free stock photos website like Pixabay or Pexels. Also, you can buy images from iStockPhoto or Shutterstock for better quality and unique pictures.

22. Plagiarism

Either you write your own content or hiring someone to do it for you, your content should be unique. If it appears on the Internet for twice or more, you’ll have a duplicate content.

There’s no need to worry if you have duplicate content on your site. Search engines know how to deal with URL variations such as click tracking, analytic code or printer-friendly version. Indeed, you should pay attention to duplicate content that is not on your site. Mostly, you will find them on a scraper/plagiarism sites.

Scraper sites usually have no effect on your works. And even if they outranking your original sites, you can access Google Webmaster Spam report page and tell Google about those scraper sites.

Another thing to consider is your writer. If you hire someone with a cheap price, be careful. Your writer might spin and rewrite your article to sell it for other customers (or vice versa). Ask your writer for a Copyscape report, most professional writers have Copyscape account. There are other options like SmallSEOTools.com, SearchEngineReports.com or Plagiarism.net; they’re all free.

The real trouble makers are plagiarists. They might copy all of your contents and then use them as their own works. Using dirty tricks with blackhat technique, they steal not only your ranking but also your effort and traffic.

If this happens to you, you should contact your lawyer and make sure those stealers won’t slip through this.

23. Security Issues

The Internet is full of problems. You can accidentally land on a phishing site or become a victim of a Cyberattack.

Security Issues - HowISEO.com

If you don’t know yet, Google will remove your site from SERPs until it has completely recovered.

To prevent this situation, you should enable server protection if your hosting service offers this option. Scan your site frequently to fix any security vulnerability you can find.

If you run a large business or just don’t know how to deal with this problem, it’s time to hire an expert. Better pay money to someone you trust than let it be stolen by a random hacker.

24. Forget to Backup

After all your hard work, everything you need is a sudden DDoS or a random data loss from your host provider.

You can easily restore everything if you have a recent backup. Things will get worse if your backup data is from a long time ago, especially if your site has just had a big update. But trust me, it’s still not the worst.

The worst scenario is to have no backup at all. If it happens, you’ll have to rebuild everything from scratch.

Take my advice and backup your data frequently. If you use WordPress, there are many plugins that can help you.

There would be some problem if you’re running your site on a self-managed VPS. Just as its name, whatever you do with your server is your problem. Most VPS providers offer you with their own protection plan but I suggest you check it carefully.

Here’s my story:
My VPS provider limits the backup data to a maximum of 2 version. Now imagine what would happen if I have to backup daily? In addition, they charge me an extra fee equal to 20% of the plan I’m using. That mean if I’m going to use a $20/month server, I’ll have to pay $24/month instead. I just don’t like it. There are many other options like a plugin or a 3rd party program. If you have a Linux server like me, you can even use your own backup script.

In case you don’t have much faith in your coding skill, I suggest you hire someone on Fiverr to do it.

25. Don’t Have a Sales Funnel

The lack of sale funnel won’t ruin your whole site, but it will ruin your “Passive Income” dream.
Remember the “powerful Queen” I mentioned before? This is it!

But I heard people talk about the death of sales funnel?
Yeah, I heard it too. People talk about how sales funnel is a dead meat since 2015, yet it still alive now in 2017. Great job, People! I love you!

You can take a quick look at Muncheye.com; they offer you a full list of upcoming software in the “make money online” niche. And you know what? 100% of the products you find here follow up with a sales funnel.

One hundred percent!!
Either they’re all stupid or you’re missing something here.

So what could a sales funnel bring to you? It gives you a chance to leverage all of your efforts, together with a passive income system that actually works. Here is the whole process: You create an attractive landing page, offer a free gift/service, building your customer list, send them a notice about your products and watch your income soar.

Tip: Let me show you how to create a Sales Funnel in 5 simple steps

Step 1


1. Create a landing page: This is the very first impression of your site. The better it is, the higher chance you can convert a pass-by-visitor to a real customer.

Step 2

2. Front-end plan: Time to show them the “attractive plate”. It could be a free gift or a quality product with a handy price. Just remember to design your stuff so once people get it, they will want to grab your Up-sell offer.

Step 3

3. Up-sell offer: Give your customers the opportunity to upgrade their service. It could be a premium version with more features, no advertising or 24/7 support service. This is your main card, so think carefully and make sure you’re offering your best service.

Step 4

4. Downsize option: If you can’t convert your visitors with a Front-end plan, you can always convert them with a Downsize option. Remove some function that less likely to be used, input more ads and no need for a support service here. When people get familiar with your stuff, they’ll want a better version. That’s when you drive them back to step 2 and step 3.

Step 5

5. Repeat: You can repeat the whole process above with new visitors. And with old customers, a membership program will work perfectly.

Bonus

Important: Collect customer information and build your own database. You can use your database to promote further products with email or run a retargeting campaign on Facebook. This is why you only need to build the system once and let it run on autopilot.

Conclusion

As you can see, every single mistake in my list is a serious issue. They will continuously negative affect your website until you fix them. While some of them are easy to recover from, the other mostly are big problems. “Image Copyright Infringement” can cost you a large sum of money. ” Forget to Backup” can bring your whole site down, once and forever. Even #3 will haunt you if you have a lot of pages and forget to analyze your site.

No matter if you’re a famous blogger or just a beginner, there are still so many problems you have to deal with.

You should be careful with all the mistakes I mentioned above. Don’t underestimate them because you can make them daily without even notice.

Better safe than sorry.

My advice is to check your websites carefully, double check if needed. If you see anything that looks suspicious. You can use this post as a checklist to see if you’re still having any problem or not.

Do you have any problem with your site?

What are you going to do with them?

You can leave a comment below to share your plan of action with us.

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Dennis Hardy

I am the founder of HowISEO.com - a blog where I share my personal experience and advice of experts about SEO strategies.
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