SEO Mistake

The One Giant SEO Mistake That You Are Making

Written by | Date Updated: July 7, 2016

SEO MistakeIf you were to name the one giant SEO mistake that you are making, what would it be?

Who me?  I’m not making any mistakes”.

You and I know that we all make mistakes and you are probably making this one giant SEO mistake.

My inspiration for this post comes from my SEO article of the week by Stephan Spencer:  5 super-common SEO mistakes content marketers make.

In his article, Stephan lists these 5 SEO mistakes that everyone is making:

  1. Hustling for likes instead of links
  2. Misplacing the content
  3. Targeting the wrong audience
  4. Being activity-focused
  5. No help from a power user

I highly recommend Stephan’s article as he articulates each position thoroughly.

However, I could not help but notice a common thread within his top 5 SEO mistakes.  Just as George Carlin whittled the 10 commandants down to 2, I think (maintaining the same ratio!), we can whittle these top 5 SEO mistakes down to 1.

The one giant SEO mistake that you are making is as follows:

You are not dedicating the majority of your time getting inbound links from authority sources.

That’s it!

Let’s go through Stephan’s list quickly and summarize the main point of each of the top 5 SEO mistakes.

  1. Hustling for likes instead of links: Social media shares are not inbound links and will not help you in the SERPs to anywhere near the degree that inbound links will.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be:  People Do Not Even Read What They Share on Social Media.
  2. Misplacing the content: Publishing your great content elsewhere (like BuzzFeed) will derive the majority of benefits for BuzzFeed and not your site.  Of course, you’ll get some domain authority and brand recognition from your author page but not near as much as if experts are actually linking to a page on your site.  Possible rhetorical question:  Why did Stephan write this article for Search Engine Land instead of his own site? Stephan, care to comment below?
  3. Targeting the wrong audience: If you target your web content to your potential customers, it will not be great link bait for the “linkerati” – those authorities from whom you really want inbound links.  This may seem to fly in the face of advice from the likes of Neil Patel — How To Create Better Content For Your Customers – but it need not.  Of course, you want content for your customers but some of this content needs to be have broader appeal to gain traction with the aforementioned “linkerati”.
  4. Being activity-focused: If you are a task-based SEO professional crossing best practices off your list, you are not spending the majority of your time doing the right thing – constantly seeking great inbound links from authority players.  For example, should you spend your time re-purposing blog content for video or getting that valuable link from a relevant Forbes article?  If time does not permit both, you should probably go with the latter.
  5. No help from a power user: A power user is the authority player from whom you need the links.  And, as Stephan notes, asking for a link without providing anything in return is not an effective strategy.  He or she – the power user – is the big fish, the shark.  You are the meager minnow asking the shark for help.   Get creative, use tactics like this Skyscraper technique, and find a way to appeal to this power user among the masses!

Do you see the common thread?

All 5 of these SEO mistakes have to do with one central theme:  Getting inbound links from authority sources.

If you are not spending the majority of your time doing this, you are committing The One Giant SEO Mistake.


Article Comments: What are your thoughts? Are you spending enough time building inbound links from authority sources? Is building quality inbound links something that you see as vital? If not, why not? Too time-consuming? Too long to see results? Sound off in the comments section below. I respond to all comments that come in.
Cheers, Richard


Richard Cummings

Director of SEO, Social Media, and Web Content Development at The SEO System
Richard Cummings has been practicing online marketing for many years and has setup and optimized hundreds of WordPress sites.He founded The SEO System to provide SEO, social media, and online marketing services and software to businesses.
Richard CummingsThe One Giant SEO Mistake That You Are Making

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