I see at least 1 post a day on BHW from someone saying things like "I don't know where to start". I get it, there are a lot of verticals within IM and a lot of information as well as misinformation. These top 3 mistakes are all about ranking websites. Whether you do it for affiliate SEO, client SEO, bored as fuck SEO, etc. 1. Taking advice from 'Gurus' as fact Anyone can call themselves an SEO expert and write about SEO. Hell, I sold myself as an SEO expert when I first started before I even knew how to do SEO. Why? Becuase people fail to fact check things. Just because someone runs a successful SEO company doesn't mean they're actually worth anything. I could go grab a $5,000/month contract, tell the client it'll take 6 months and then they'll be rank #1 for everything, do no work and make $30,000. Will I get fired? Yes, but hey, I just made $30,000 for doing no work. Do that 3-4 times, destroy the old brand, create a new one, make a blog, sell my ebook about how I helped those companies make millions. End rant. I've read plenty of articles talking about how blackhat SEO will destroy your website, how PBNs don't work, how blog commenting is dead, how your website live's and dies by its metrics, etc. That's all crap. Black hat SEO, when done right, is faster than white hat and IS sustainable. PBNs are used by most SEO's and SEO agencies, even if they write articles about how they don't work (that's less competition and more domains for them), blog commenting can help a lot with local SEO, and metrics like DA PA TF & CF are only relative and can easily be manipulated. This is a skill that develops over time. Those are still great articles to read from SEJ, SEL, SEW, and SER but when I read them I know what's useful information and what's BS. How to develop this skill? Cross check things. If someone tells you that PBNs no longer work, go see if you can find anyone that can prove they do work. BHW is a great place for this. BHW has solved many misconceptions I've had about tactics that do and don't work 2. Making Google Your Massiah Think about Google like you would a police officer (let's leave current events and politics out of this, yeah?). The cop's job is to enforce the law and it's legal for them to lie to you. Google is the same way. They don't want people using blackhat tactics or really doing SEO at all. Why? Google doesn't profit that way. They want you to say "Fuck SEO, I'm going to Adwords". Matt Cutts wants to jizz all over your PPC campaigns. Just because Google says "don't buy links" or "We will find your PBN" doesn't mean they aren't lying through their teeth. Do you know why Google does a massive PBN take down that makes headlines every few years? Becuase it scares the shit out of people. Google knows that PBNs can rank websites incredibly fast. Just last week I went from nowhere to #9 with 1 domain. After 3 domains in the PBN I saw 6 KWs ranking between 9-31. A PBN done correctly is incredibly difficult for Google to find. Plus, most of the time they just don't care. There are networks with hundreds and thousands of domains, why would they care about your 5 site network? "Don't buy links". Funny because even Google buys links. BBB link costs like $500, niche related directories can cost $50+, etc. When Google says don't buy links they mean: Don't buy spam links ($5 for 10,000 links won't get you much anymore) Don't buy real links because that's too easy to rank Getting a link from The Huggington Post can cost a couple hundred dollars and you'll be on there within a week - month. That link will get you traffic, rankings, and brand awareness. That's easy. Google would rather you spend months writing content waiting for someone authoritative to link to you. Chances are it's not gonna happen. Listen to algorithm updates but take everything with a grain of salt. Not sure what to believe? Ask on here. 3. Put in little effort and expect big results You're not just adding in your keywords a couple times, making some 2.0's, and flying through the SERPs. you're competing with thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of websites to show Google that you deserve to rank higher than these other websites. Not only that, you're also competition with all of those websites SEOs. There are a couple hundred ranking factors and that list is always changing. If you're only optimizing for 5 of them, how well do you really think you're gonna fare? If SEO was easy we'd all be rich by now. Spend the time to do the research to figure out how to rank. Just because you read an article from 2009 about how great GSA is when you send your website 50,000 links overnight doesn't mean that it still works or that it will work for you. Every industry is different. Every niche is different. Every website is different. What works for one, won't always work for them all. SEO is about trial and error.