Not Providing an XML Sitemap
I have a simple rule of thumb when it comes to learning new SEO strategies – if I hear it on the grapevine I take it with a hefty pinch of salt, but if I hear it from Google I take it as gospel. That’s why my position regarding sitemaps is simple: if Google says it helps them to find pages on your site that they may not otherwise discover, I’m going to give them one.
But that’s not all there is to sitemaps. They can also be used to supply additional information about your website (such as how often you expect pages to be updated) and meta data relating to specific media types (such as the running time of a video). And if you are running a new site or one with only a handful backlinks pointing towards it, a sitemap can make a big difference in enabling Google to discover and index all of the relevant pages on your website.
Poor Categorization and Tagging
Few things bug me more than sites that do not utilize categories and tags (sometimes referred to collectively as taxonomies) properly. The simple fact is that categories and tags offer opportunities for increased engagement and traffic, but the bigger issue at hand is that poor use of categories and tags can actually persuade a visitor to leave your site.
This is what you need to know about WordPress taxonomies: if categories are your table of contents, tags are your index When people try to tell me that tags are useless, I ask them of how many non-fiction books they have read that don’t have an index (I just checked five on my bookshelf and discovered that only one of them doesn’t).
Not Optimizing How Your Posts Look in the SERPs
This mistake is similar to the previous one regarding Google+ authorship, as it relates to your clickthrough rate in the SERPs.
It is borne out of an ignorance of the importance of what searchers see on Google as opposed to simply where they see it. Although the placement of a website on the SERPs (ie, 1 – 10) is a key factor, people can often be drawn to lower rankings if the titles and/or descriptions are compelling. That is why you should optimize each of your posts to give yourself the best possible chance of attracting a good clickthrough rate.
Irrelevant External Links
Just like your internal links need to be clear and relevant, your external links should be putting your site into a context. Again, search engines will compare your site and the sites you link to against each other to look for common themes. So look carefully at your external links before posting, to ensure they define you the way that you want.
Not Having a Google+ Account
Being on Google+ and linking your blog helps you claim your Google Authorship. Authorship offers you a way to build credibility on the web, which will benefit you both personally and in terms of your business. Plus, that little headshot can draw a surprising amount of traffic.