5 Brilliant Ways to Screw Up Your SEO Efforts

Lance Hemenway Blog, Content and Creative

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the Arnold Horshack of affiliate marketing. On the 70s sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter, the always-overzealous high school student, when asked a question by Mr. Kotter, would excitedly raise his hand and yell, “Ooh! Ooh Ooh!” to get the teacher’s attention. In the same way, SEO provides a way for your sites to draw attention to themselves. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about using SEO strategies. The right way will bring you increased traffic loaded with qualified leads. The wrong way will push your sites into oblivion. Here are five common mistakes affiliates make with SEO and what you can do to avoid them.

No Social Signals. Social signals – Tweets, Likes, Circles, +1’s, and Hashtags – are online marketing’s “It” trend right now. Search engines’ spiders perk up when a site is mentioned on social media because if people are talking about and sharing information from your sites, then you must be valuable. With perceived value comes a bump in page rank. Make a plan for participating and engaging in as many social marketing platforms that you can handle and be innovative about how you can use social signals to promote your sites.

Lacking content. Content marketing is also trending. Search engines factor site content into their page ranks. To keep your sites visible and ranking, you must constantly push relevant, meaningful and high-quality content out into the world. Search engines have a keen sense of what’s stale and what’s duplicated. Think fresh and useful. Don’t automate your content. It will make the search engine gods very angry.

Fix It and Forget It. Congratulations! The good news is your site made it to the first page of a Google search! The bad news is that now you must work even harder to keep it there. Just because you rank high one day, don’t assume that you will maintain that position for any measurable length of time. Again, it’s all about fresh and relevant content. Keep your site updated, and stay on top of search engine changes that will affect your ranking, such as algorithm changes, and adjust your practices accordingly.

Off-target keywords. This is a SEO no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. If you use the wrong keywords, you miss out on a ton of traffic. Be mindful, precise and smart about your keyword selection. Analyze which keywords people are using to find products and services that compliment your own, and then find the middle ground. If you go for the most popular keywords, you are going to run into quite a bit of competition. But focusing on more obscure key words won’t you get any action. And don’t dismiss the benefits of the long-tail search.

Arrogance. Too many affiliates build a great site and hook up with hottest offers but do nothing to promote either. They suffer from the Field of Dreams mindset: “If you build it, he will come.” That isn’t going to happen. You are not Kevin Costner, and you are not that great. Truth hurts. There is so much competition today that the chance of someone finding your site if you do nothing is less than slim to none. Whether you do your own SEO, invest in traffic or do a combination of both, you must do something.

Lastly, I throw out this yellow light. Search engine optimization is only one tool. Used to its fullest advantage, SEO can drive traffic to your site. But it will not generate conversions for you. That, my friend, is up to you. Once you get your customers there, it’s your job to keep them until the very last click.

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About the Author
Lance Hemenway

Lance Hemenway

Lance is the AdStation Director of Marketing. He's an internet veteran who was a founding member of Intermix Media, the parent company of Myspace.com. Lance serves on the boards of the Bureau of Internet Accessibility and Think Big Kansas City. He's based at the Kansas City headquarters.