Five SEO Mistakes Guaranteed to Lead to Your Failure – Wil Reynolds, Part 3 of 3

July 23rd 2009 | by eBay Partner Network Team in Industry News

Mistake #1 – You Get Involved in SEO Drama

Be very wary of getting dragged into the trap. There are some SEOs who @ people all day long in lengthy back and forths. Every minute you spend chiming in and reading their banter is one less minute you spent on scouring delicious for links or digging though analytics to improve your ROI. Just can’t stay out of twitter SEO banter? DON’T follow people who get in public disagreements, and also install leechblock a great firefox plugin which you can limit your twitter, facebook, youtube, etc, time. It’ll cut off your access to those sites immediately.

Mistake #2 – You Care About What is Fair

Stop the whining people! Matt Cutts announced that no-follows are less relevant is it smoke and mirrors, who knows and who cares? Instead of complaining about what isn’t fair, start working on sites to test the impact of no-follows so you know when (or if) that change ever does make an impact. But Google is NOT a democracy, they are a private business, they can do what they want, if you don’t like them start using bing.com.

I can’t tell you the countless times I see people talking about what is or is not fair, whether it’s the no follows, big brands ranking well, Google knol, SEO profiling. There will always be the “is it fair” distraction, that rarely has any value, avoid getting caught up in these, read them and extract value, but don’t participate.

Mistake #3 – You Get All Wrapped Up in Rankings

Sure you got some terms rankings well and are driving great traffic, this is the time to continue to hustle and NOT start patting yourself on the back. Are you monitoring bounce rates for those great keyword rankings – are you trying to connect the dots between rankings and conversions by testing out things like this? Do you know that if your term drops from 1 to 5 how that impacts conversions? If the answer is NO, take that hand off your back, and click on that link! (Beware, our tests are showing that ranking data in Google Analytics is VERY spotty).

Mistake #4 – You Overload Yourself With Too Much Information

Given that there must be thousands of SEO bloggers out there, who do you follow / subscribe to? Be very careful, reading too many blogs can paralyze your day. Sticking to the basics before you go after some advanced tactic you see elsewhere is smart! Getting very good at scanning content for valuable insights is critical. I tend to use Google reader on my iphone to filter through the SEO noise as I walk to the office, just looking at posts quickly, so by the time I sit down at work, I’ve starred the most important stuff to really sit down and read, you can do this while waiting for lunch, walking the dog, or sitting on useless conference calls.

I recently went through the process of removing several aggregator style SEO blogs that keep track of the industry as a whole, as twitter has kind of replaced them for that. SEO news sites that may post 5-10 times a day just kill my reader, so I assume that if I follow enough SEOs on Twitter that I should see really big SEO news come across my stream.

Mistake #5 – You Refuse To Change Direction in Your Strategy

SEO’s are so used to being right that admitting defeat is tough, however even I am victim of this. My last post here referenced an advanced tactic of sculpting pagerank flow though a site, and surely in true SEO fashion, that has changed pretty significantly in the 3 weeks since its been posted.

I am not seeing that tactic hurt, but it is becoming the general consensus that it isn’t helping much either, I guess this is the issue with advanced tactics, you never really know how long they are going to work, which is why this is much more important that you get the basics right first, because they don’t change nearly as frequently as the advanced tactics – here’s another way to sculpt pagerank if you must.

Given than Matt Cutts has said to keep around 100 links per page as a rule of thumb, most of you would be surprised at how many of you have more than 100 links per page, you’ll have to figure out how to use programming to limit the number of links that Google sees per page instead of the internal no-follow. If you want to count your number of links per page use a tool like link gopher, its quick and easy. You just might be amazed that after you include your dropdowns, tabbed sections, and other parts of a page how many links you just may end up having. Before you spend a second on advanced SEO tactics, please make sure you’ve got the basic blocking and tackling done.

The things mentioned in that post above are far from fads that will be strong today but weak tomorrow. Thanks for letting me share SEO tips and thoughts with you, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @wilreynolds for more info on SEO.