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The field of SEO is one that will undergo extensive changes over time, prophesied Matt Cutts in 2010. This prophetic statement has proven true time and again, thus, in order to stay on top, both webmasters and their respective clients need to be prepared to constantly improve both their tactics and their marketing strategies. While Google’s algorithm keeps refining, it is easy to fall behind and make a mistake that can inadvertently cause a slip down the SERP ladder. In order to help you avoid making these mistakes, below are listed some of the issues you need to focus on before you begin developing your content strategy.

Content is King

One of the most important issues in the SEO world is that of content. With Google being able to detect what is termed “thin content” much faster than before, providing value to your readers is more paramount than ever. Adding low-quality content – both in terms of the information provided as well as link building activities – even to a single page may become subject to Google’s Manual Action notice, which will relegate you down the list of search results. Establishing yourself as a source of valued and trusted information is not only the way to avoid the wrath of Google, but a goal you should be aiming for in itself.

Content and SEO Strategy Integration

Even though content marketing may be older than SEO itself, integrating the two is the surest way to achieve your online expansion goals. In recent years, creating valued content has become more important than building links, and this is where content marketing strategies come in. In order to achieve both your ranking and business goals, focusing on both the content you provide and the ways in which you distribute it is key.

The Traps of Unnatural Links

Relevant content leads to audience engagement, and ultimately opens the path to building natural links. An unnatural link portfolio is still one of the most frequently made mistakes when it comes to SEO. Two specific issues should be avoided: anchor texts overflowing with exact match keywords, and guest posting solely for the purpose of getting a link. Both of these techniques are frowned upon by search engines, and are best abandoned.

Double the Content, Double the Trouble

Despite the fact that Google’s guidelines establish best practices on dealing with duplicate or similar content, websites are often penalized for it. However, this is a mistake easily fixed, and you can check your published content with tools like Plagiarism Checker or Copyscape. Also, make sure you always include links to the original sources when syndicating content.

Slow Page Loading Speed

Taking into consideration that the average user leaves a webpage if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds, it is understandable why page load speed plays a crucial role in attracting and engaging visitors, and also has an impact on search rankings. While it may not be a deciding factor for Google, it certainly is for the user, and user trumps Google every time.

Instant Results vs. Long-term Reputation

While opting for an approach which yields rapid results – such as an AdWords campaign – may seem like the better option, in truth it is the slow and steady tactic that wins the race. Establishing a brand takes much more time, yet in the long run it will deliver better results.

Tracking Website Performance

Tracking the performance of your website is of critical importance, and should involve more than a monthly visit to Google Analytics. Accessing Webmaster Tools on a regular basis means you can cut potential problems off at the pass, thus avoiding a potential penalty.

Surviving in the SEO world means constantly learning and working on new approaches and ideas. Making one of the above listed mistakes will not only impact your rankings, but will also keep you virtually unknown, and ultimately cripple the growth of your business.

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