As of September 2014, there were more than 1 billion websites in the world. This roughly means that one of out of 7 people owns a website. As a result, the demand for higher rankings in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) has pushed website owners to engage the services of SEO experts to help drive their sites up the results ladder on major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, among others. The high demand for SEO services has unfortunately hatched greed among SEO experts who are overeager to make a profit and take on as many projects to improve as many sites as they can—or at least they try to.
Some webmasters have invested immensely on search engine optimization with very little or no results, and it can understandably become very frustrating. The reason behind this is because most experts commit minor but rather costly mistakes that prevent them from ranking as expected. Everyone can learn from mistakes, so here are four such flaws that every freelance SEO practitioner must avoid.
1. Promising First-page Rankings in a Month
In their desperation to win projects and offer their "reliable" services, most so-called SEO experts exploit clients’ burning desires to improve rankings with ridiculous expectations. In as much it is every website owner’s dream to appear on the first page of Google or other major search engines, it is very misleading to “guarantee” the realization of that in a very short time. Most keywords are very competitive and will require more than posting a few articles in directories, blogging, or a few other strategies to realize results in a short span of time. This will only earn you a negative review from a disappointed client who trusted you with the ranking, but some overly ambitious goals will require nothing short of a miracle.
2. Obsession with Keyword Targeting
The keyword query is the main principle that makes search engines work the way they do. If you make a mistake and target the wrong keyword, how else do you expect to rank on the right one? Most people don’t take time to research target keywords and how they should be incorporated into the content. Keyword stuffing also poses a risk of getting penalized or blacklisted by search engines. Ensure that you stick to a fair keyword density and expect the best in return.
3. Failure to Deliver Quality Content
The gravest mistake that any SEO expert or website owner can make is to duplicate content. There is no room for poor quality content on the Web – search engines like Google constantly release algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin to flush out such websites. If you are a freelance SEO expert with weak copywriting skills, you are encouraged to engage the services of an expert copywriter to craft unique copy for your clients from scratch to avoid penalties.
4. Backlink Buying
There is no doubt that backlinks contribute to website rankings. However, things have since changed as well, thanks to Google Panda. Buying links is like courting the merciless Panda that won't hesitate to drop a website from SERPs. Unlike in the past when backlink quantity resulted in tangible improvements in search result rankings, the focus today is more on the quality of the links. It is better to have ten high-quality (based on PR) links than a thousand worthless ones. As an SEO expert, buying backlinks for a client’s site on other sites with low PR themselves is like sentencing your client to a life in a lonely corner of the Internet.
Freelance SEO experts will be on demand for a long time, but only a few survive to attract the next client because most commit the above mistakes. Integrity in SEO calls for adherence to legit SEO strategies, steer clear of any black hat techniques and you should do well.