SEO tipsOh, to live in a world where the number of readers a blog receives was solely dependent on the quality of the content. That’s not me blowing my own trumpet, by the way – but pondering how much easier life would be for all of us.

Just think, we would need only concentrate on finding the best words and visuals, without fear that our efforts are all going to be in vain.

Then again, quality is somewhat subjective so there’s still a chance that your posts will go unnoticed. Perhaps we should be thankful for SEO and social media, then, which if used accordingly, can act as the beacon that your content so richly deserves.

Let it be said, however, that it’s easy to get both SEO and social media wrong. Especially the former, as it is a complex concept that requires an astute technical mind. That might be the reason that some firms might be led down the wrong avenues with their SEO strategy, as an article on Business 2 Community illustrates.

In it, contributor Marc Guberti highlights a number of mistakes that marketers would do well to steer clear of to give their blog a better chance of attracting some attention:

1. Failing to submit your blog’s sitemap to Google

Did you know that “creating a sitemap helps search engines better crawl and categorise your site”? That quote comes from the lips of Google, so if you weren’t aware of this it’s probably a good time to get a wriggle on over to Google Webmaster Tools.

2. Both http and https URLs are active

Logic would have you think that having both the http and the https version of your URL active would go in your favour. If only. In fact, Google will read them as two different websites which are running the same content. I needn’t spell out what search engines make of duplicate content. The result is your SEO ranking will go down for both versions of your website, so make sure visitors can only use one URL into your blog.

3. Leaving out meta tags on your posts

Content marketing is becoming a core operation for all businesses and all industries. Quite frankly, Google is struggling to keep up and relies on meta tags to decipher the useful content from the not-so. Therefore, failure to include meta tags in your posts will not do your blog any favours when it comes to readership.

4. Making life difficult for Google

Nobody likes people who make life hard for them – Google is no exception. We’re all aware of the value in deploying some visuals on the page, but Google has a hard time of picking them up. This is where the data highlighter in Google Webmaster Tools comes in handy by spelling out to Google what your blog comprises.

5. No effort made to reduce bounce rate

Normally, we’d be happy to see a high percentage as it tends to indicate we’ve done something right. Not when it comes to bounce rate, however, as it is a marker of how well you’ve managed to get readers to explore other parts of your website. An 80% bounce rate, for instance, means that eight of the ten visitors to your blog have read your post and swiftly left your website. Time to discover what your bounce rate is and how you can begin to drive it down.

6. Thinking that keywords are the be-all and end-all

Let’s make this clear: keywords still hold significant value. However, they shouldn’t be used at the expense of the readability or quality of your content. Even if you’ve managed to trick Google into thinking you’ve created a good piece of content, your readers will click away if what you’ve presented to them is jargon heavy. By all means throw a few keywords into your post, but keep them relevant and try not to overdo it.

7. Overdoing the anchor text

One of the ways you can reduce bounce rate is to link to other blog articles. That clickable text is called anchor text, but if you overdo it you run the risk of damaging SEO. As well as search engines not appreciating anchor text overload, all that clickable text doesn’t make for nice page aesthetics so readers will probably be turned off, too. There’s nothing more annoying than clicking out of a page when all you wanted to do is scroll downwards.

8. Letting the spam comments ride

We all want to see comments propping up our article, but they’ve got to be genuine comments from people who have actually read the blog, as opposed to spammers who are only trying to promote their own links.

You might think that they can’t do much harm and might even work in your favour, but in reality they can drag your blog post down. Readers might perceive your blog as spammy simply by association and search engines won’t give you any credit for them anyway. So get rid.