In order to drive more traffic to your site, it requires a whole truckload of efforts to get your website to rank on the first page of Google.
Not only do you need to account for the most influential ranking factors, but you also have to avoid the dangers of making mistakes that could cost you your site.
If you know what to look for in advance, your traffic building efforts can gradually take shape and you will reap the rewards of a healthy website that drives traffic from a highly ranked position in the search results.
Here are a few mistakes you should avoid in order to keep your site on the right track.
No-indexing a page
Whenever you publish a page on your site, the search engines need to crawl it in order to index the page and make it available in a search result. A “noindex” command will tell search engines to ignore the page completely and exclude if from the index.
It’s not something that happens very often but it could happen by mistake by marking the page noindex in the settings or in the HTML editor. You can check to see how many pages are marked “noindex” by entering your URL in the dashboard Deepcrawl.com
This tool will crawl your site and report the errors your website is generating as well as report all of your pages marked noindex.
Failing to submit a sitemap
A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your site. Think of it as a blueprint search engines use to confirm the pages your site has on its index. Without a sitemap, your pages will not be indexed without any links pointing to the domain.
If you have failed to submit a sitemap and you haven’t linked to your page from within your site or from referring domains your page may not show up in the search results.
To avoid this potential disaster, go to the Search Console and click on the sitemaps tab. You can submit your sitemap directly to Google to make sure they have all of your pages on their index.
Missing a canonical tag
If there’s one thing that will immediately get your website penalized-it’s duplicate content. This could get your website sandboxed however you can easily correct the situation and recover your ranking by deleting the duplicate pages.
The second option for posting content that isn’t original is to add a canonical tag:
<link rel=”canonical” href=https://originaldomain.com />
Place this tag on the page that would be considered duplicate content and it communicates to search engines where the original document exists.
Paying for links
It is against Google’s best practices to engage in any link-building scheme that manipulates ranking. Any website that is exposed to being in a paid link transaction will suffer a penalty that will reduce ranking, traffic and overall search visibility.
If you make the mistake of buying links from a website that gets exposed for selling links-both the site selling links and everyone linked to it will be penalized. Google has come down hard on sites that sell links and everyone involved.
Ask for the links to be removed immediately. If you don’t get the website to respond, your last option is to use the disavow links tool.
Overusing anchor text links
There was a time when using your keyword in anchor text links that pointed to your website would improve your ranking for that keyword. This practice has come and gone and currently, the use of anchor text has a small correlation with the ranking of your page.
In fact, the overuse of anchor text will now have the opposite effect on your ranking.
Use anchor text sparingly, whether you’re linking from within your site or from a referring domain. Too many anchor text links and your site will be deemed over-optimized and banished to the Google sandbox for that specific keyword.
Not targeting a keyword
It shouldn’t come as surprise when your page doesn’t rank if you haven’t optimized for a keyword. When you’re publishing content you should target a keyword by optimizing your content on that page.
Choose a target keyword and place it in the expected places on your page that enhance optimization such as the title, URL, within the first paragraph and in your image alt tags.
Your on-page optimization will help to clue search engines in on the keyword you want your content to appear for in the search results.
Choosing the same keyword on multiple pages
If two pages are optimized for the same keyword it confuses search engines and they will rank both pages lower than what they should be ranked. This is known as keyword cannibalization.
Optimize every page on your website for completely different keywords. If you have separate pages that target the same keyword you can opt to consolidate the content from both pages on the top-performing page (the page with more backlinks and more traffic).
If you choose this option, you will need to redirect the URL that you’re deleting to indicate where the content has moved. This change to your website should get you a boost in ranking and an increase in traffic to the existing page.
Unnatural link building
Avoid unnatural link building, such as building too many links too quickly may result in the loss of your ranking. According to Google, links are supposed to be acquired organically, naturally and without manipulation.
If a brand new website that has been around for a month suddenly gains 10,000 backlinks, it’s going to raise some red flags.
Link builders build links with link velocity in mind. They start slowly and as time goes on increase the rate in which a website accumulates backlinks.
Keep your link building looking natural to avoid any further scrutiny on your site.
Not sharing your content
If you haven’t built links or ways for people to find your content, your page won’t get any traffic and will never rank highly. When you publish content it is necessary to get it in front of as many eyes as possible so it can be shared, linked and rise in the ranking to drive additional traffic.
Post your content to your social media network for an injection of traffic to your site. The added boost of people can start the ball rolling if people are sharing and linking back to it.
You can also build links to your page to improve the ranking and ultimately the traffic it receives. The additional backlinks will improve the page authority and give your content more ranking ability for your keyword.
Inability to satisfy search intent
Search engines will look for the best websites to display on their first page of results. One of the main criteria for choosing a website is its ability to satisfy search intent.
If you can keep a user on your page and your page ends their search, you have effectively satisfied search intent. If your content is thin and lacking information, your site will not rank highly because of its inability to satisfy search intent.
Identifying the true intent of a user can be logically deduced as well as researched to explore a wide range of options. Keyword research provides many clues to the related topics users will be searching, along with your keyword.
By identifying the topics and subtopics that the user will naturally be interested in you cover a wide base of intent. You can demonstrate this ability by publishing and linking related content on your website to form topic clusters. This is a basic model for creating depth in your topic and ranking highly for your main keyword topic.
Make the first-page appearance on Google
Considering the sophistication of search engines it always helps to get started in the right direction by accounting for the most important ranking factors. Learn from the common mistakes that have been made by many and build your site a permanent residence on the first page of Google.