9 Google SEO Pitfalls to Avoid in 2016

9 Google SEO Pitfalls to Avoid in 2016

Google Penguin is coming in to full effect by fall 2015 and this is really unavoidable. In fact, SEO is undergoing rapid changes for the past 3 years. With these changes, there are many changes forecasted in the SEO world. To avoid Google downranking in 2016, here are 9 pitfalls you should know and be ready with changes.

Pitfall #1. Annoying Prompt Ads

Starting 1st November 2015, annoying prompt ads to install site’s app or even prompt opt-in pages that block relevant content will soon be punished by Google. These ads block out the relevant content users want to view until they can find the tiny “close” button. Visitors are often frustrated, thus user experience is negatively impacted.

Well you can still use these ads, but be prepared to lose everything you’ve worked so hard to earn. It would be good to make a few changes to such ads in time for this SEO 2016 update.

Pitfall #2 Anchor Texts

SEO specialists are taking higher risk to use exact anchor texts in SEO since the first Penguin update in 2012. Whether you are intentionally or unintentionally abusing anchor text can resulted in penalization for over-optimization. It is advisable to have 5 to 10 links to a wider variety of anchor texts and few major keywords. It was proven via a study by Moz that using a few exact match anchored links from highly relevant web pages deliver better rankings.

Pitfall #3 Targeting Specific Pages

It is better to start building your link profile by performing a link evaluation via Google Webmasters account. According to Neil Patel and other experts, a good link profile can improve ranking effectively. It is better than targeting specified pages to rank on Google.

Pitfall #4. Unfriendly Mobile Site Design

This is definitely one of Google’s top SEO 2016 ranking factors. A well optimized for mobile friendly websites can deliver better ranking. This means as simple as too small texts and close together links can result in a website being rated non-mobile-friendly. The improved user experience via mobile browsing will further improve conversion rates and your SEO ranking. Here's where you can create mobile friendly site for free with more than 1,000 types of attractive templates.

Pitfall #5 Link building Violates Google Guidelines

Despite the comment by John Mueller back in February 2015 that webmasters should avoid link building due its unnatural trait, Google has recently made clarification to this statement. Buying, selling or asking for links is acceptable as long as it didn’t violate Google Webmaster Guidelines, according to its latest statement. You may want to review your current link building approach to prevent being penalized by Google for this breach of rules.

Pitfall #6. Lesser User Engagement

Low user engagement to your website is the leading contributor to lower search engine ranking. Therefore to improve user engagement, you will need to understand their behaviour and preferences of your target audience.

One way to do this is to perform A/B testing. It involves apply similar yet slightly different colours, fonts, offers or word choice to determine which results in the most clicks and conversions. Then apply the most optimized result to improve site user engagement.

Pitfall #7. Poor User Experience

In this competitive world we are not only talking about how good your content are but how well you can deliver good user experience. Google consider user experience as one of the major factor winning SEO 2016. Bad user experience can have negative effect on your ranking. A mere quick click away from your site can raise a red flag that indicate your website’s poor user experience. You can optimize your website to improve better user experience by keeping it visually appealing (here is where I got my free image), easy navigation and consistently update with high quality content.

Pitfall #8. Lack of Content Uploads

Updating your website with just one or two post per month is not sufficient for SEO 2016 anymore. It is the fresh, unique content that will create magic for your ranking. You need to find out the need of your target audience and focus on providing them high quality fresh content. One or two new posts per week should be able to keep your site up-to-date. Content freshness is one of the Google factor to rank higher.

If your site is about sharing SEO knowledge, I am sure you will have lots of hot, trending topics to engage your audience – since Google algorithm is constantly changing!

Pitfall #9. Low Quality Content

I would advise you to stop content creation if you are not in your optimized state of mind. Google penalize websites with low quality content as this deliver bad user experience. Again, Google ranking is all about delivering better user experience.

Read more: Content is Not The #1 Factor To Succeed Online

Thin content such as doorway pages, automatically generated content, thin affiliate pages or copied content is going to affect your ranking. It is time to start creating fresh, unique content if your previous content is designed for search engines and not users.

Conclusion on SEO 2016

Google is getting smarter with every algorithm update. Unethical tricks that some webmasters implement to manipulate search engine rankings no longer work in their favour in SEO 2016.

If you’re at a risk of getting downranked from Google start making important changes so that you can avoid any future issues. If you would like to know more about SEO Pitfalls to Avoid Google Downranking in 2016, do leave me a comment below. I would love to share more of my experience with you.

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12 thoughts on “9 Google SEO Pitfalls to Avoid in 2016”

  1. Hi Florence!

    You have a beautiful website here, and I really enjoyed reading this post.

    I have heard a little about this google penguin as it’s coming into effect, and I have been a little concerned.
    Thank you for helping me to understand what it takes to rank in google, and to continue to rank in google with these new changes.
    I have been slowly making some of these changes to my site, but it’s easier said than done. I will continue to make more changes based on your post here.
    Thank you,

  2. Hey I really like the concept of your website and how everything looks. It’s really easy on the eyes and it’s easy to navigate; you can go from one article to the next with no problem.

    This was a really good article. SEO can be very confusing at times and this made it very easy to digest. The last thing a website wants is to be poorly ranked in google.

    Thanks for the information, it was really helpful

  3. conformancefugitive.com

    Some really useful information here, thank you for sharing – SEO is something that I regularly get confused about the “rules and regulations”!! The only thing I’m still unsure about in this blog post… what exactly is “link building”?
    I think it’s a good thing that the annoying prompt ads are penalised now though… that’s one of my biggest frustrations with certain blogs! Especially if they don’t allow you to read the rest of the post until you sign up to their newsletter!!
    Thanks again,

    1. Link building is dropping a link on other’s website whereby this link upon clicking will bring the readers to your site. However, not many website owner will approve back link. Therefore guest blogging may be the option to achieve effective link building provided the content you deliver is of high quality.

  4. Oftentimes when I see articles like this I just read the headlines and proceed to the next. But, with your article, i just read the whole thing. Very informative post! Actually I am just building my website for four months now and knowing the don’ts in gaining better ranking in google is a great help. By the way, do you think that backlinking is still credible?

    1. Hi John, thanks for taking the time to read my article. I think backlinks still work if we do it moderately. Remember, never spam other sites with backlinks. In the content world, everything need to be genuine with the intention to provide unique value to others.

  5. The popup information surprised me a bit, but the rest is just good practices.
    I am wondering how hard Google would hit a site that is using a pop up for email sign up?
    Also, when is the next update set to take effect?
    Sometimes it is a real headache trying to keep up with Google and their updates.


    1. Shwan, Google is really unpredictable. That’s why I am not able to answer your question. However if we follow Google’s main objective to provide accurate search result and act accordingly, it is a matter of time that we will rank on the search engine. Never try to game Google Algorithm … it’s never worth your time to do this.

  6. Thanks for your post on things to avoid, could not agree more, content by far is first and most important to any site. I am currently making some minor changes to my site, thanks to your post. I very glad I found it prior to having a negative impact on my site. I do like your entire site and will be returning to read some of your other posts. Thanks for you insight and help

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