5 mistakes startup businesses make when doing their own SEO

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Many startup businesses have a limited advertising, marketing and SEO budget. However, for startups that rely mainly or solely on the internet to do business, SEO needs to a big part of their business strategy.

Unfortunately, many business owners think that they can do SEO on their own, which is perfectly fine since no one knows your business better than you. With that said, in today’s competitive online business world the slightest mistake can even get you banned from major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. This is why it’s always a good idea to hire an expert SEO company that can develop a strong strategy to ensure that you rank well.

Many DIY businesses only realise that they have done something wrong when their rankings plummet. So, to help you with your SEO campaign I’ve put together 5 common mistakes to avoid before you get underway.

SEO Mistake No. 1 Engaging in comment spam

There are a number of off page SEO tutorials that teach newbies how commenting on other higher ranking blogs and video sharing content can help to improve their own rankings via a backlink. While, this is true to some extent today this is seen by blogs (ones you’re commenting on) and search engines as comment spam. Many companies just hire a freelancer who is paid on a weekly basis and scheduled to post 5000 comments a week. Many of these comments are just a general ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ job, adding no real value to the content being discussed and sometimes not even on an industry related blog.

The thing you need to understand about comment spam is that it does not work regardless of how much of the math you do. Stay clear of hiring a SEO Company or an individual to just post a few hundred backlinks or comments each month, it’s a waste of money.

SEO Mistake No.2 Purchasing back links

There are over a hundred well established link selling companies. These companies will sell you a bundle of backlinks for ‘X’ amount of dollars. Even though nobody is a hundred percent sure how these services work but Google has stated that selling and buying links is a shady tactic in its webmaster guidelines. Google’s recent Panda update has made the AI really intelligent when it comes to detecting purchased back links. This means that despite these companies still selling links they are of no real value. The other thing you need to be aware of is the fact that major search engines put a lot of emphasis on authority and relevancy of a website in relation to yours. So, by purchasing backlinks you’re obviously not sure about where they come from and where they will be placed. There could be link farms or a website that sells knock-off clothing that links back to yours, which in fact will destroy your reputation.

SEO Mistake No.3 Article marketing

Until two years ago the best way to gain lots of good backlinks was to engage in hefty article marketing but unfortunately today it holds no real value. While good SEO companies rarely engage in article marketing unless the site has some real value to offer but many business owners and employees who are hired to do SEO will still use this technique. Writing articles for ezinearticles and hundreds of other websites like this is no longer relevant to building online credibility and ranking well.

If you’re going to create great content don’t do it for another website, do it for your own website. Then market this content so that you experience a boost in traffic.

SEO Mistake No. 4 Working hard on directory submissions

There are hundreds of thousands internet directories out there. Here businesses can add the name, URL and a short brief of their business. However, for all intents and purposes these directories are not meant to serve an SEO purpose and you do not have to be in here to do business. You should only add your business to directories that fit the following criteria:

  • Popular directories, these are ones that most people use, including yourself. For example; Search Local, True Local and so on. Just search for a list of the 40 most popular online directories, then choose the ones that are most relevant to your industry.
  • They should be locally relevant: If your business relies on local clientele, then search for directories in your local area.

You should steer clear of setting a milestone to add your business to a few hundred directories each month. Also refrain from automated software that simply submits your site to every directory in its database. Worthless entries will do your business more harm than good.

SEO Mistake No.5 Abnormal linking strategy

When many business people engage in press releases and guest posts it almost always turns out to be abnormal linking. You may not be doing this intentionally but it will hurt your rankings. If you read Google’s Webmaster’s updated guidelines it states that the search engine is now devaluing links it sees as abnormal or unnatural links stemming from off site content i.e. guest blog posts and press releases. If you’re going to guest post content and publish press releases they need to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be relevant, informative and easy to read
  • The content shouldn’t be stuffed with your keywords and links
  • The content should include pictures of your products, service center and employees etc.
  • The content should be relevant to the service or product you’re selling, advertising or marketing


When doing your own SEO make sure to keep up to date with the latest SEO news and industry changes. The SEO landscape changes almost every week and staying up to date can mean the difference between either ranking well or not ranking at all.