Matt Cutts’ Top Five Most Common SEO Mistakes

On April 29th Matt Cutts provided his recommendations as to what he sees are the 5 biggest SEO mistakes that webmasters make. Cutts noted that these are not the most devastating mistakes that a webmaster can make but these are the most common.

1) Not having a website or having a website that is not crawlable is the biggest mistake he sees.

  • Cutts refers to websites that are “crawlable” but what does this mean? Some websites are built in a language that Google does not prefer or understand. A number of years ago Flash was the newest way to design websites. Unfortunately Flash is not recognized by Google. When Google looks at a Flash website all it sees are images. The content of your site is lost and a website entirely based in Flash will not be able to be read by Google. This will directly impact your SEO performance.
  • Another reason your site might not be able to be read is because your robot.txt file is set up incorrectly. This file could be requesting search engines not to read your entire site or specific pages of your site.

2) Not including the right words on the page. The example Matt gave is: don’t just write, “Mt. Everest Height” but write, “How high is Mt. Everest?” because that is how people search.

  • Content phrasing can impact your search engine optimization greatly. As Cutts notes, just having a phrase is not enough. When you are writing content for your website be sure to think like a Google user.

3) Don’t think about link building, think about compelling content and marketing.

  • Prior to Panda and Penguin updates, the power of your website could most closely be attributed to link strength and link numbers. Google Page rank was a key to determining your SEO placement. The more links you had and the more powerful links you had the better. This lead to companies selling links that were low quality and diluting the page rank system. Cutts is urging people to focus on the quality of your content now. Regardless of the number or quality of your links, if your content is outstanding it is still possible to rank highly on Google’s current algorithm.

4) Don’t forget to think about the title and description of your most important pages.

  • Be sure to remember that there is a limit on the number of characters that are read. Page titles have between 65-70 characters and descriptions are around 165 characters. Also remember that your page titles should be short keyword groupings while your desriptions should be full descriptive sentences.

5) Not using webmaster resources and learning about how Google works and what SEO is about.

  • Perhaps a small plug for Google hear , but their webmasters tools and analytical data are both useful resources to understand your traffic and website performance. Also, be sure to read other blogs and new articles. I suggest setting up a RSS reader for search engine blogs or better yet set up Google notifications for specific keywords such as SEO, Panda, Penguin and Cutts. These should all return new information on the latest changes to Google’s algorithm.

By Matthew Wilkos

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