Since 1998, each year Google, the most popular search engine in the world, make many changes that look to refine the algorithm of research.
Many upgrades are minor, while some others are remembered more, like in the case of Panda.
There are some habits as blogger, that are timeless and you should always avoid.
See a list of 12 points below and check if there are something that you might improve in your site.
1 . Time of Server Downtime or Slow Response
Avoid this like a plague : the search engine spiders do not like to miss a bit in the web. So pay attention to the response time of the server where you hosted your blog.
I use HostGator, that is actually very popular ( now they are hosting over 4,000,000 domains!) and their clients are very satisfied : your site is ensured to be up at 99% percent guarantee. The response time of Hostgator servers are very low : 0,1-0,2s.
2 . Duplicate content
Another thing that you must avoid, as it is very negative for your positioning in the SERPs.
The time that you invest in producing great content, will be repaid later with visits and traffic over time.
Copy and paste does not pay, absolutely. Now even less, given that Google severely penalizes those who do.
Be sure to use these free tools to check if your content is copied and how to protect it.
3 . Low Outbound Links Quality
A high quality web site does not link to sites of low quality or even worse, to spam sites.
Be sure to control not also the links included in your articles, but also the ones in the comments.
You may want to use sometimes the “rel=”nofollow” tag for the outbound links in your content that you do not want the search engines will count.
I suggest you a wonderful plugin to manage the links in your articles : “Outbound Link Manager”.
It is a fantastic FREE plugin that let you monitors outbound links in your posts and pages, easily allowing you to add or remove a nofollow tag, update anchor texts, or remove links altogether (in a bulk !).
Also on all your archived posts, that is pretty amazing (and save you a lot of time from doing it by yourself).
4 . Duplicate Title Tags or Meta Tags
For a proper on-page SEO optimization your title tag, description tag and keywords tag must be unique for each page of your website.
I suggest you to use properly Google Webmaster Tools. You can monitor the status of your site, like the research queries, sitemap, errors of server, backlinks and you may also check suggestions of pages with duplicated or missing meta tags that you should modify or improve.
5 . Using Linkfarm
You should also avoid linkfarm. Link popularity is fairly built, although it is challenging.
Just think to what happened to BuildmyRank : the big overwhelming majority of their network has been de-indexed by Google. You may want to read the history here.
6 . On-page Spam Techniques : Keywords Stuffing or Hidden Text
Of course this is bad for your SEO.
This system was abused years ago from many webmasters. The practice was adding a lot of keywords at the end of the page, hiding the text, camouflaging (cloacking) it with the same color of the page, so the visitors will not see it, but it was considered by search engines crawlers.
These techniques, if discovered, leading to the penalties or even the exclusion/ban of your web site from search engines.
Google can check these techniques, as there are still humans working in it.
7 . Do Not Create a Sitemap
A XML sitemap is a file that lists all the pages of your site and gives search engines other important information, as for istance how often you add content, which is helpful in getting new pages crawled quickly.
A sitemap is too important for a blog for neglecting its creation and you should be surprised in discover that many sites still do not have it.
Creating a sitemap on your WordPress site is really easy : I use “Google XML Sitemaps” plugin. Just install it and follow the instructions.
Let Google and other search engines know that you have it, using Google Webmaster Tools.
8 . Low Number of Visitors
A low traffic influence the positioning of your site in the SERPs of search engines : especially if traffic remains low over time.
Google could deduce that in fact your site has no content of sufficient quality to be of interest to users.
There are a number of measures that you can take in order to increase pageviews of your site and decrease the bounce rate.
You may also want to check these articles in order to get more traffic to your website :
9 . Using Images as Page Background
Avoid using background images, especially when they are not solid color, as this habit may degrade the usability of your website.
This is because the contrast between text and background decreases : page content become less readable.
A lot of Blogspot.domain use background images, but also some self hosted sites. So be sure to use a clear design for your blog.
10 . Your URL is Too Long
When you choose a domain name for your new blog, you should avoid long URLs, if possible.
You should also avoid hyphens, dashes or numbers, as the name may looks “spammy”.
Try to take an easy to remember name, choose a dot.com when available (or at least .net or .org), pick a name easy to type, avoid copyright infringement and include your keywords in the name.
One of the things I would do if I went back to the birth of freemakemoneyadvice.com is to take a shorter name, but as others webmasters (see for istance the popular entrepreneurs-journey.com owned by Yaro), after a few years is no longer convenient, since you probably have already built a solid brand around your site name and people will remember you.
11 . Weight of the Page More Than 100 Kbytes
Many spiders stop reading a page when the amount of bytes reaches a given value. This value is typically around 100 Kbytes.
Moreover, people on internet are “lazy” and they do not want to wait more than 8-10 seconds to display a page or a website. And as you surely know, the loading speed is a factor that Google consider in search engine results.
I use “W3 Total Cache” plugin : it is considered the highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. It improves the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.
Check the speed score of your site with this free tool offered from Google : Developers.google.com/pagespeed and receive suggestions on how you can improve your blog.
There are still problems of proper placement of content created with Flash. Web sites created in Flash are not search engine friendly.