If you have years of experience doing search engine optimization (SEO), chances are you know how volatile and unpredictable SEO can be. Each year, Google makes hundreds of changes to its search algorithms. Many of these changes are minor while a few of these changes are significant. These changes, particularly the significant ones, impact search results in major ways, leading to SEO disasters. There are many websites that have lost their number one ranking in Google’s search results for a competitive keyword overnight.
Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take to prevent SEO disasters. Here is a brief guide that will help you avoid SEO catastrophes.
How to Prevent SEO Disasters
Add 301 Redirects
One common mistake that many website owners make is forgetting the 301 redirects. Google and other search engines work by creating and maintaining a gigantic index of websites. Not only does Google index every website, but it also creates an index of every page on each website. If a website owner decides to upgrade their online presence to an entirely new system, this can have a huge impact on search engine rankings. Therefore, it is essential for website owners to be careful when making significant changes to their website.
When an individual creates a new version of their old website, the process often involves making changes to the URLs and addresses for the webpages. However, the issue with this is that Google will continue to direct traffic to the old page’s address. The visitors will click on the old link in the search results and land on a page with an error message. Eventually, the missing webpages will be removed from Google’s index and the updated pages on your website won’t receive traffic.
Fortunately, you can solve this issue by using a 301 redirect. This code works by telling the Google search engine that the webpage that used to be at a certain address is now located at a different address. This tweak is small but very effective when it comes to directing traffic to where it should go. This will help your website continue to rank highly in the search results after major changes have been made to its structure.
Avoid Identical Tile Tags
One thing that you should avoid at all costs is identical title tags. The title tag refers to a piece of code that exists on each web page. Even though the title tag is only a small sliver of code, it is one of the most important on-page SEO elements. In fact, the only on-page SEO element that is more important than the title tag is the content. Google determines what a webpage is about by using the title tag. If you use the same title tag for all the pages on your website, Google will have a hard time distinguishing between the different pages.
You can resolve this issue by making sure that each page on your website has a unique title tag. The title tag should be accurate, brief, and representative of the content on the page.
Build High-Quality Inbound Links
Another common mistake that many website owners make is building low-quality inbound links. Google determines the rank of a website partly by analyzing the quality of the inbound links. An inbound link refers to any link from another website that points to your website. If you have a lot of inbound links that are low quality or irrelevant, Google will likely penalize your website.
In the past, Google didn’t pay much attention to the quality of the inbound links and only focused on quantity. In response, companies would pay for thousands of fake links to boost their rankings in Google’s search results. Now, both quality and quantity to Google matter when it comes to inbound links. Some companies had amazing rankings prior to this change, only to have both their rankings and their traffic fall drastically after the change.
If you have low-quality inbound links, you should make an effort to have as many of these links removed as possible. If you have hundreds or thousands of low-quality inbound links, this can be a difficult task. Not only do you have to identify the inbound links that are hurting your ranking in Google’s search results, but you also have the contact the website owners and ask them to remove them. There are some website owners who will a charge a fee of $10 to $20 to remove each link. If you find that you cannot remove the links, you can have the links disavowed.
Once you remove the low-quality inbound links, you can expect your website’s ranking to improve within a few weeks or months.