Whether you are tackling automotive SEO on your own or you are farming some of it out to your web developer or a freelancer, it’s possible that you are going to make mistakes, especially if you’re new to the field.
You don’t have to be a search engine optimization expert in order to get automotive SEO right—you just need to be smart about which tactics you do use and which you avoid.
As we come into the New Year, right now is the perfect time to look over your SEO efforts and make sure that you aren’t making any of these common mistakes:
1. You’ve bought links.
It seems really, really tempting.
There are plenty of people offering to post thousands of links back to your blog or website around the internet for a very low fee.
What better way to reach out to people?
The problem is that Google really cares about the quality of the websites that refer back to yours.
When you buy links, you almost always are buying link space on a low-quality website that is going to drag your ranking down, instead of bolster it up.
2. You repost the same content with new keywords.
It may not seem like a big deal to simply find and replace keywords in a blog with another set of keywords that still fit the content and read naturally.
Google really hates duplicate content, even if the content that you’ve duplicated is your own.
If you’ve posted the same content twice with different keywords, choose which one works the best and take down the second post.
3. You focus too much time an energy on PageRank.
PageRank is far from the only figure that Google uses to rank your website.
It’s important, but if you are obsessing about this one aspect of your website, you are going to be ignoring hundreds (literally hundreds) of other factors that are more important and easier to control.
Spend the majority of your time on making your website as relevant as possible and using your analytics to improve that website.
4. You are automating your title tags.
This is easy to do and it appears to cut out some of the work that you have to do when you post a blog. Most blog platforms with formulate the title tag itself.
The problem with this is that most blog titles are too long to be effective tags.
Take the creation of your title tags into your own hands so they are narrowed, specific, and contain a specific keyword.
5. Your blog or website is pretty but it lacks valuable content.
Everyone wants their website and blog to look great.
And looks are definitely important.
A website that looks old or out of date will never do as well a website that has a modern design, done by a professional.
If you are focusing too much time on the design of your website and blog and not enough time on making sure that the content itself is up to par, you are going to end up with a blog that has a pretty face and an empty head.
Visitors might come from the pretty face, but they’ll only stick around if you have something valuable to say.
6. You are using a free hosting platform.
Platforms like Weebly, Blogger, and TypePad can be great places to start when your business is just taking off and you just do not have the resources to get a dedicated domain.
Why abandon these free tools?
Because they just don’t have what you need when it comes to tools and features.
Paid services have much more comprehensive and useful tools that provide you with much better results than what you’ll find on free blog hosts.
7. You use too many keywords.
Even if the keywords can be naturally integrated twenty times into your content, that doesn’t actually mean that you should use them twenty times in your content.
Even if the sentences make sense, as a whole, it will be obvious that you are trying to rank for a specific keyword.
Stuffing your blog posts or website content will only result in content that sacrifices value for your keywords and that is going to make Google’s algorithm unhappy.
8. You don’t write enough content.
Unless you know that you have completely covered the topic in five hundred words, you’re probably not writing long enough posts.
The longer the post is, the more valuable it is likely to be.
Because length means depth. A short post will be very shallow and therefore not that valuable.
A longer post will be able to probe a topic on a deeper level, providing more value for the reader.
That’s why Google favors long written content over short written content.
9. You aren’t actively trying to optimize your posts.
Writing posts just to write posts and get information out into cyberspace is a noble goal, but if you are not actively optimizing the content that you write for your website or blog, you are probably not creating content that is living up to its full potential.
As a side note—if you’re going to undertake a strategy, make sure you know how to do it correctly or farm it out to someone who does.
10. Not using alt tags.
Alt tags are the little bit of text that shows up when someone clicks alt and mouses over a picture on your website or blog.
This tag might not do much for Google’s algorithm, but both Yahoo and Bing use this tag as a ranking factor—so use it!