Expert Roundup: 7 Experts Reveal Their First SEO Mistake!

Roundup Blog: 7 Experts Reveal Their First SEO Mistake 1

SEO is one of the most difficult subjects in the digital world. Search Engines evolve daily and Search Engine Optimization does too.

Every SEO has made some mistake or the other when they first started out. So, I thought that I’d ask them about their first big mistake and how they recovered from it. If you are just starting out, check our SEO for Beginners blog. Hopefully, it will help.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into what the experts have to say!

Randy Clark

Randy Clark

Leadership and Marketing Expert

Member of the TKO Graphix marketing team, Under the Radar rock band. Author of The New Manager’s Workbook.
Check out his website: randyclarkleadership.com

What was the single biggest mistake as a rookie SEO that you made?

Early blog posts had no Keyword, no alt description, and no standard keyword practices (keyword in the first para, subhead, title, etc.)

How did you recover from the mistake?

Ha! I’m still recovering!

I continue to do what I call deep edits – going back and adding keywords to old posts. I only have 355 to go!

 

A short message for new SEOs

I’d recommend Yoast to anyone, so they don’t make the same mistake.

SEOZA

SEOZA

SEO Agency in London

SEO agency based in London. They eat data for brunch whilst watching graffiti on the TV.
Check out their website: https://www.seoza.co.uk/

What was the single biggest mistake as a rookie SEO that you made?

One of my biggest rookie errors was not communicating to the client that position #1, for every term that we discussed, was not a realistic expectation.

We took them through the potential search volumes and it appeared that our client (at the time) expected to achieve position 1 across all of the terms. Indefinitely. As you can imagine, once we learned that this was their expectation we scrambled to do as good as we could.

However, the client’s expectations were unfortunately set and they were clear that this was our overall target and we had to deliver. Needless to say, the team and I were scrambling for the next few months.

How did you recover from the mistake?

We tried to reset the client’s expectations but unfortunately by this time they had been set. So we had nothing else that we could do than try to deliver. The client’s retainer was small, very small by memory.

It was the agency’s first SEO client. So we threw everything at it. Literally the kitchen sink. I had three guys working on this account, the site was large and the industry (automotive parts) quite competitive. We went to work optimizing all of the pages, fixing the technical issues (which again were plently) and link building.

Days and days of link building. It turned out that we achieved some really high positions for the client but not across all of the keywords that we had identified.

A short message for new SEOs

The moral of the story and a huge learning curve for us was to make sure that expectations were set correctly at the start of the campaign. Oh, and never to assume that a client understands exactly what you mean. We are now very thorough.

Sarah McDowell and Hannah Wellings

Sarah McDowell and Hannah Wellings

Host of Popular SEO Podcast SEO_SAS

SEO SAS is a kickass SEO podcast that dives into major SEO issues each week. The hosts Sarah & Hannah are the G.I. Janes f the SEO world! Check out their podcast: https://anchor.fm/seo-sas

What was the single biggest mistake as a rookie SEO that you made?

I often got CEO and SEO mixed up when I first started in this industry. The first day of the job, I took my first client call and introduced myself as the new CEO person here at [insert agency name].

Whilst that isn’t my biggest mistake, I thought that would be funny to share. Hannah (my co-host) is always having to help me out with pronouncing the hard to say words). In my early days, I would read about the best practices for SEO/Google and sometimes end up on focusing on the wrong thing.

For example, one tip I read was that Google liked websites that weren’t stagnant but had regular fresh content. Therefore I thought it was best to focus on getting as much fresh content as possible on websites, meaning that the quality of the content was sometimes neglected. BIG MISTAKE.

To help ease the pressure of writing all this content, I would outsource to other writers. As long as it seemed to make sense I would publish, once I had optimized it for keywords etc. I neglected to check whether what was being said was factual.

I would pass content where grammar/structure could have been improved. I didn’t even think about checking for duplicate content issues, as I just wanted that content on the site.

How did you recover from the mistake?

I knew there was a problem when I saw a dip in website traffic. There was only one thing for it, I needed to look at the content, take data from Google Analytics and be brutal. I got rid of pages that really weren’t doing anything for my site, especially content that wasn’t really relevant.

Content that was driving traffic and ranking, I asked myself what could I do to improve? I looked for opportunities where pages could be combined, to make a super bit of content. Pages that had a high bounce rate/exit rate and low avg. time on page, I had to decide what to do, as these factors could mean that the content was not answering the user’s intent.

I basically learned the hard way that I should have been focusing on was quality over quantity. It was far better me spending time, creating, researching and developing one bit of amazing content that blew the competition out of the water, rather than lots of mediocre and rubbish articles.

A short message for new SEOs

Don’t be a fool like me and take one bit of advice as gospel. Whilst the advice wasn’t wrong, Google does like fresh websites, I didn’t think about other factors. Yes, aim to have a website that is regularly updated but also that content has to be of high quality, factually correct, etc. I went all guns a blazing on the wrong thing. I should have done a bit more research or cottoned on sooner.

Sometimes in the SEO industry, especially when you are new, you want to be seen as someone who knows what they are doing. You don’t want to ask for help (I have been there), but that is how you continue to learn and be better – Learning from each other and learning from mistakes!

Nikola Roza

Nikola Roza

Content Marketer and SEO

Nikola Roza is a content marketer and SEO. His goal is to succeed in internet marketing. Check out his website: https://nikolaroza.com/

What was the single biggest mistake as a rookie SEO that you made?

I didn’t build links at all. The truth is- I was scared.  Because everywhere online I read how Google’s Penguin is on a quest to exterminate link building and how, if you build even one link or it looks like you built it; then you’re irrevocably doomed no matter what else you do.

You could have stellar content. All your other links could be completely white hat. It wouldn’t matter- you’d still get nuked into oblivion. Of course, that was wrong and as I kept plugging away and without any results to show for it, I started wondering:  what if…

How did you recover from the mistake?

In two ways:  I decided something needed to change I had a tonne of luck  And the second factor was more important to me. You see, I knew that I needed to change my approach, but I wasn’t convinced that links were that effective and I knew how hard they are to get.

But I still bit the bullet and just tried.

And what did I do?

I submitted to HARO. It’s very easy to do and requires very little time investment. I remember thinking at the time: “I’m probably going to fail, so I shouldn’t waste too much time with this”.

And the result? Lo and behold- I got a link. But not just any link. THE link from prdialy.com which is a mega authority site (DA- 65; DR-79) I was stumped and I wanted to jump to the sky with excitement. It was my first link and one from an insanely strong domain.

A short message for new SEOs

That one good link is what hooked me because you never forget your first link and when you get one you want many more. SEO takes time. And that is good, excellent! Why? Because it makes it really hard. So hard that most who try- fail. I don’t want YOU to be one of them. So wait. Do every day; learn every day; have patience, and you will have the success that you so deeply desire. It’s a promise! 🙂

Janice Wald

Janice Wald

Blogging and Social Media Coach

Janice offers blogging tips and social media strategies that work. Check out her website: https://mostlyblogging.com/

What was the single biggest mistake as a rookie SEO that you made?

I made many SEO mistakes when I was just starting out:

  1. I made my subheads different colors. Mistake: Links are different colors. Readers would get confused. They’d click on my subheads expecting them to take them somewhere.
  2. I didn’t make my links “Open in new tab.” Mistake: Taking them off your page will hurt your Bounce Rate.
  3. I didn’t include a meta description. Mistake: You’ve got to get your focus keyword in your meta description and include a hook so people will click.
  4. I used “solutions” as my tag. People don’t Google solutions. They Google How to fix… not just the word “Solutions”.
  5. I didn’t do keyword research. I just assumed I was picking terms people would need help with.

What was my biggest mistake? These are all equally bad!

How did you recover from the mistake?

Over time, I’ve gone back into my posts and improved the tags and meta descriptions. I’ve changed the image tag so it had the focus keyword. I’ve made sure my site is optimized for speed so my SEO would be higher than lower.

As I’ve learned more and continued to blog, I’ve made sure my site is optimized correctly:

Only 1 H1 Tag, My keyword in my subheads (at least one), use of LSI keywords to avoid keyword stuffing, Use of the Yoast SEO plugin.

I link internally so I boost the SEO of my older articles. I link out to authority sites so Google knows I have a credible blog.

I follow the backlink strategies in this article: https://www.mostlyblogging.com/best-backlink-builder-strategies/. I use it as a checklist of hacks.

I post often so Google’s bots are always crawling my site.

A short message for new SEOs

If you think of SEO as 3 parts, only 3 parts, you’ll find it much easier. Part 1: Find high-volume keywords words. Part 2: Find low competition keywords Part 3: Beat your competition for the keyword by making sure your Domain Authority Ranking is higher than theirs. If you can find a keyword with those 3 criteria, you’ll have SEO success and boatloads of organic traffic.

Olanrewaju Adeyemi B

Olanrewaju Adeyemi B

Online Marketer

Olanrewaju offers online strategies that work. He helps small businesses get found on Search. Check out his website: https://contentkrush.com/

What was the single biggest mistake as a rookie SEO that you made?

Hmmm… My biggest mistake as an SEO rookie?

It was a link building tactic – using press releases to seek backlinks.

I wouldn’t know if anyone still tries to get backlinks by doing press release today. But, it burnt my fingers when I did it.

The funny is, I spoke with one of the PR website agents. She told me the campaign might not get me as many links as I was hoping to get. I was unrealistically optimistic that my content was awesome. Why wouldn’t websites use it and link to my client?

How did it happen?

My client reached out a few months after our first 3 month SEO campaign ended. The previous campaign was a success, they ranked for more keywords and got more leads at a relatively low budget.

He came for me to develop a link building strategy to meet up with a particular competitor. I did a competitive analysis to know the depth of our target’ backlinks profile. I was able to sell the press release idea to him considering the volume of backlinks we would need to meet up.

He bought the idea considering the cost versus volume of links we could get at a go (I chose a popular package that had a list of about 100, 000 sites and publishers).

I put the team to work. We created good content based on data from a research by a reknowned global organization. Of course, we created infographics too.

I deployed the press release. Sat back and was waiting till the end of the month at least to see backlinks swell…. grrrrrhhh…. But, it never happened.

Backlinks actually increased (as a result of few brand mentions and social shares from the release). But, it was far from the expectation I created.

How did you recover from the mistake?

I did paid infographic submissions from my pocket for him. I also help list his site on niche platforms where the particular competitor was well known.

We didn’t achieve our original goal of gaining quality backlinks in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands from getting sites and publishers to use our release and then link to us.

But it ended on a win-win note for all and our relationship wasn’t damaged.

A short message for new SEOs

I would really like to know if anyone has used a press release to gain a reasonable number of backlinks recently. Kindly share if you have a similar experience where link building strategy went bad. I would love to learn from you.

Robert Nissenbaum

Robert Nissenbaum

Social Media Marketing Expert

Robert Nissenbaum is a social media marketing speaker, writer, consultant. This besides, he is an adventure-seeking sea kayaker! Check out his website: https://tacticalsocialmedia.org/

What was the single biggest mistake as a rookie SEO that you made?

I was too concerned with how to rank – keywords, meta descriptions back in 2007.

How did you recover from the mistake?

I ignored the experts and focused on the basics – what would others want to read and building an online community.

A short message for new SEOs

Focus on creating valuable, authoritative, well-written content relevant to your audience and a technically correct website, not keywords or trends. Then get it in front of your audience through effective social media marketing.

Wrapping Up

Everyone makes mistakes now and then. Don’t let the mistakes drag you down. Rise above them and keep being awesome.

I hope that this blog helped you. If you are just starting out, I guarantee that these insights will put you on the right track. On a personal note, my advice is that you connect with these experts now. Trust me. It helps a lot.

Do you have incidents of your own that you would like to share? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear them.

Pin It on Pinterest