You might have heard all about the benefits of SEO — how it can boost your traffic, increase your conversion rates, get you to the top of the search results, and so on. However, what you might not have heard of is the level of skills you need to do it right. SEO is a technical subject that relies on ever-changing trends. It can be hard to grasp; that’s why people always make mistakes. If you’re new to SEO or if you’re unsure whether you’re doing it right, take a look at the common SEO mistakes below; see if you’re doing any of these things and know how to avoid them.
1. Not Focusing on the Quality of the Content
Content is one of the most significant parts of any SEO strategy. Many businesses mistake that to mean you should push out content as much as you can.
This couldn’t be any more true; while it’s true you should publish regular content, the quality is what matters most. If it’s rushed, not researched well, incorrect, or has an overall low quality, then it won’t serve its purpose.
Content is for bringing in visitors and making them stay. If it doesn’t serve their need for entertainment, information, or else, they won’t stick around.
This hurts your SEO in many ways. First, you’ll have a higher bounce rate. Visitors and Google alike won’t trust your content, and so your authority will take a plunge.
Google might even penalize your website for content that’s not relevant to your keywords. The same goes for duplicate content and articles spun from others’ content.
Remember that your content is the backbone of your backlinking strategy, too. Would anyone want to link back to your site if it’s not trustworthy? Websites have to keep the trust of their visitors, also, so they’ll only link back to authoritative sites.
2. Stuffing Keywords in the Post
An example of low-quality content is content you pushed out for the sake of spamming keywords. People still seem to think that putting keywords is enough to manipulate Google into increasing their rank.
They may be using the keywords plenty of times in an article, often out of context and not in natural prose.
However, that’s not the case — at least, not anymore. In the past, that’s all it takes to rank high. Nowadays, you have to put more effort.
As we said above, Google watches the page’s bounce rate when determining your rank. Keyword stuffing often results in almost unreadable content, so visitors will likely look for another source instead.
Google also looks out for spammy articles. If you put too many keywords in, it will look like spam to the search engines.
Avoid using your keyword too many times in the article. Make sure it comes up as natural as possible instead of forcing it to fit. The longer your content is, the more organic the placement of your keywords.
Don’t worry too much about using the same phrase over and over. Search engines usually watch out for the density of long-tail keywords.
“New York top ten restaurants” mentioned too many times in an article is a red flag. On the other hand, mentioning “New York” a lot of times isn’t. You can use different varieties and mix short- and long-tail varieties.
3. Using the Wrong Keywords
While we’re on the subject of keywords, make sure you’re aiming to rank for the right ones. Too often, we see budding websites using highly competitive keywords. These are the types that their bigger competitors use.
They’ll likely lose the battle as these competitors already have higher authority. Imagine a small family-owned pizza in a small town in Pennsylvania trying to compete with Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, and the other chains in the U.S.
These chains are already competing in another space with no room for new websites. They’re already ranking for the keywords “pizza,” “best pizza,” and other common keywords.
It’s almost impossible to break through to the first page of the search engine using those keywords. What you should do instead is aim for the long-tail keywords.
Examples are “thick crust pizza Nashville, Indiana” or “24/7 pizza delivery Minneapolis.”
The more specific your keyword is, the higher the chances of your website ranking for it. Note, however, that the search volume for that keyword will decrease along with it. Look for the sweet spot; this is where you’ll find long-tail keywords with a fair amount of search volume.
4. Not Optimizing Your Content for Local Search
Speaking of competition, identify who your actual competitors are. In the case of the small town pizza restaurant above, they don’t have to compete with bigger chains.
Their digital marketing strategy will then be different than those chains. If your business focuses on one area, use that to your advantage by optimizing your content for local SEO.
Use the city or region in your keywords, sign up for Google My Business, put your details everywhere, and so on. This will help you get noticed by the ones who need to see you – the customers in your locale.
5. Putting Emphasis on the Quantity of Links
This is almost the same as in keywords. Many website owners try to gather as many links as possible instead of gauging the quality of said links. Some may even try to buy links, which is easy but not that rewarding.
When you’re building backlinks for your website, focus on the quality instead. Think of a backlink as a vote of confidence. If it comes from an authoritative website, it’s worth more than a link coming from a shady directory.
You’ll have to work harder for them, but the returns are crazy. If you look at the top 3 results for any search term, the top 1 doesn’t necessarily have the most number of backlinks.
6. Using Black Hat Methods
This is a common SEO mistake we do not recommend making! We’ve mentioned buying links – that’s one of the many black hat methods websites use for a quick rise in rankings. Black hat practices violate search engine guidelines to get quick results.
However, this isn’t feasible in the long run because Google will always find out. It can be sooner or later, but when it happens, you’ll get penalized or even banned.
It will be harder to come back from that instead of using white hat methods in the first place. So, don’t fret if you do not see results right away. You must have a solid foundation first before you begin to see the positive effects of your hard work.
7. Using Non-Optimized Anchor Text
Anchor texts should cater to both the viewer and the search engine bots. It should clue them in on what the link is about, but not everyone uses this opportunity.
Sometimes, they use non-relevant anchor texts for their links. This doesn’t add value to their SEO efforts.
Take advantage of anchor texts and use keywords. Avoid using “click here” and the likes; at least include a keyword if you must use a call-to-action (CTA).
The same applies to internal links, but avoid using the same anchor texts over and over.
8. No Title Tags and Meta Description
Title tags and the meta description describe what the page is about to both the users and the bots. For that reason, you should pay attention to them, but not all advertisers do.
The title tag should be unique to the page. It’s what shows up when users copy and paste the link or share it on other platforms. It also gives a good idea to the bots about what’s on the page.
The meta description is the same; it’s what shows up in the description part in the search results. It’s what users will use to determine whether your page is worth a click or not. It also provides a better understanding of the page for bots. This is one of the most common SEO mistakes we find when taking on new clients.
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9. Having No Clear Call-To-Actions
Some people forget that SEO isn’t all about increasing traffic. It’s also about keeping people on your website as long as possible. This increases the chances of conversion, and it makes you look good to search engines.
Having quality content is step one – it makes the visitors want to learn more. Directing them to do that is step two.
This is where CTAs come in. You can direct them to your contact page, to a sign-up form, to another post, or wherever by inserting a CTA.
Each page should have a CTA as it makes the goal of the page clearer to the readers.
10. Not Adapting to Search Engine Updates
Search engines strive to provide better services each day. As a result, it’s normal for them to make big changes to their algorithms.
You should keep yourself updated with all these changes. It can be hard to keep up, but make sure your SEO strategy is always in line with the recent changes.
You risk falling behind your competitors or worse – you may end up getting penalized.
11. Forgetting About the Analytics
Are you trying our different SEO strategies? That’s great, but do you know which ones are working?
Not looking at the numbers one of the common SEO mistakes for marketers, which doesn’t make sense. Tracking your progress is an essential part of your strategy. Otherwise, how will you know which keywords are bringing you results?
Use analytics tools to help you measure your metrics if that’s keeping you from tracking them. Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are among the few we trust, but feel free to look around for other tools.
12. Having Unclear SEO Goals
Another reason why people don’t track their metrics is that they don’t even have clear goals.
It’s the first step when planning out your SEO strategy. If you skip this step, you have no direction, so your metrics don’t matter. How do you know if you’re reaching your goals if you have none?
13. Not Optimizing for Mobile Devices
Around 51% of internet users are on mobile phones; by 2025, that number will grow to 72.6%.
That’s why Google is prioritizing mobile-optimized websites. It’s pretty common for websites to have a responsive design, but some are still in the past.
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly design, you risk losing the visitors who are using their smartphones. Google also decreases your page rank.
Make sure to use a responsive design for your website. This allows the site to conform to the dimensions of the device a user is currently using.
14. Not Planning for User Experience
The mobile-friendliness of your site is a part of the user experience (UX), but it has other factors. We’re talking about the loading speed, user security, ads, and so on.
Google wants the best UX for their users, so they prefer the websites that have the same goals. If your SEO strategy doesn’t involve the users, then it’s not a good strategy at all.
Think about their experience when visiting your site. Will they get annoyed at the slow-loading pages and a dozen of your pop-ups? Yes, they will, and that will drastically hurt your rankings.
15. Not Hiring an Expert
SEO is such a vast subject that even the experts are continuously learning about. Its landscape is always changing, so it’s a constant learning experience for them.
As such, it can be challenging for a beginner to tackle. In an attempt to save money, though, some website owners do this themselves.
This isn’t a good idea as you won’t be able to focus on the core functions of your business. You won’t even get good results this way.
The best thing to do is to trust an SEO agency with a proven track record. You’ll know your website is in good hands, and you get more time to grow your business.
Avoid The Most Common SEO Mistakes Above
SEO can be overwhelming, so it’s not surprising if you fall victim to one of the most common SEO mistakes. By knowing the common SEO mistakes, though, you’ll do better at avoiding them.
Know that we’re here to help! You can always contact us here to learn what we can do for your digital marketing strategy. Rely on the experts to help get your online site and business moving forward!