Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is arguably one of the most mysterious and in many cases frustrating endeavours that a business can undertake. It’s no wonder that many businesses adopt a head in the sand approach to SEO – because in many cases they’ve either had a bad experience with a dodgy agency, or have seemingly seen no results for expensive efforts that they may have made.
The main objectives of search engine optimization are to increase traffic, improve conversion rate, enhance market share, boost your brand’s reputation, and increase sales. Optimizing your website is an overwhelming task, especially if you lack the technical knowledge.
Even if you’re currently busy and have lots of work, times change. As we write in mid 2022, a global recession is tipped by many economists. Whether that happens or not we’ll see, but there is plenty of belt tightening and there will be increased competition for work. If you’re at the top of the rankings you’ll stand a far better chance of a dominant market share against your competitors.
So, you might have the best looking website ever, but what common SEO mistakes might have been made on your website that is costing you rankings and therefore leads and enquiries, therefore money?
Here’s a list of 17 common ones to look for:
- Targeting the Wrong Keywords
Targeting the wrong keywords will lower your search engine ranking. This is the main reason why keyword research is an essential aspect of the website optimization process. Using the right keywords will maximize your website’s content reach. On the other hand, broad and generic keywords that aren’t relevant to your site will confuse your target audience and dilute your topical focus. Therefore, it’s important to design a keyword map for your website. This means that you should create an SEO strategy that aligns with your products.
- Not Optimizing Your Site for Mobile
In the modern era, most people rely on their mobile devices to do online shopping. Therefore, a good website should be mobile-friendly. Using a website that can’t be accessed by mobile devices will affect your conversion rate. Some of the aspects that impact a mobile-friendly website include the design structure of your site and the load speed. A well-functioning website will play a vital role in improving your ranking on SERPs. A professional SEO agency will enable AMP (accelerated mobile pages), redesign your site’s pop-ups for smartphones, and optimize your website’s loading time.
- Ignoring Broken Links and 404 Errors
There’s an array of factors that can cause 404 errors:
- Mistyping the URL
- Moving a whole site
- Moving a page
- Not adding 301 redirects
- Moving a page’s directory
Most of your target buyers are likely to avoid your website when the 404 error occurs. In the long-term, ignoring broken links and 404 errors will lower your search engine ranking, even if you’re running a low-value page. In addition, too many 404 errors will decrease your crawl budget and waste time for search engine bots. According to research, broken links and 404 errors will decrease rankings across your whole domain because the search engines will think your site is low-quality.
- Keyword Stuffed Content
Keyword stuffing is a situation whereby you try to focus on a small handful of high-traffic keywords all over your content. This strategy used to work, but it’s not effective in the modern era due to the ever-changing technology. This is because Google and other search engines have changed their algorithms. Therefore, keyword stuffing is deemed irrelevant when it comes to high traffic and competitive terms. Overusing your target keywords creates a poor user experience because your content might seem spammy. Instead of focusing on many high-traffic keywords, write natural and unique content that suits the tastes and preferences of your potential customers. You should target the right and relevant keywords, but don’t overuse them.
- Duplicate Content
Based on research, ‘content is king .’This means that engaging, unique, relevant, and high-quality content contributes significantly to the success of your firm, especially when it comes to online marketing. Websites with little or no content make it hard for search engines to analyze the effectiveness of your content to solve underlying problems. Duplicate content will lack the necessary keywords that are vital in converting targeted leads into loyal customers. Little or no content is a common mistake that most product and service pages have. Come up with original content that uses a natural language that your potential audience will comprehend. According to research, there’s no exact word count that influences your rank on search engines. In order to rank at the top, you should consult certain factors, such as the type of content, audience expectations, and the page’s topic. In addition, quality content will help grow your backlinks, improve inbound traffic, and optimize social media shares. Scraped/stolen content, thin content, automatically generated content, and low-value content are some of the big SEO mistakes that you should avoid. Google and other search engines can impose a penalty on think content.
- Focusing on Link Quantity Over Link Quality
It’s important to incorporate a high-quality link into your content rather than focusing on too many directory links. You can place the link in the form of a hyperlink or anchor text. Using too many irrelevant links on content will lower the quality of the content. Search engines will only trust a high-quality link because it’s a measure of your site’s credibility. You should focus on links that:
- Don’t redirect your visitors to gambling, adult, and pharmacy sites
- Are relevant to your niche and website
A professional SEO agency will use the right tools to check incoming links to the page and the strength of the domain.
- Not Having Unique Meta Descriptions and Title Tags
Some online marketers will use their company name as the title for all pages on their website. According to research, this is a damaging SEO mistake that can negatively affect your brand. When it comes to effective search engine optimization strategies, you should use a descriptive, unique title for every page. You should focus on e-commerce website design, custom template design, and WordPress customization. In addition, meta descriptions are essential. Therefore, ensure you use unique and persuasive meta descriptions on your homepage and other pages on your website. Pairing your meta descriptions with relevant keywords will make your target audience click on your listings in the search results.
- Not Using Google Analytics Data
Google Analytics collects two types of data: user behavior data and user acquisition data. User behavior data is crucial information about your target customers when they visit your site. On the other hand, user acquisition data is the data about your potential customers before they visit your site. The main objective of Google analytics is to provide basic analytical tools and statistics for marketing purposes and search engine optimization. Google Analytics data will help you analyze user interactions across your sites and track traffic. In addition, digital marketers will use this data to track conversions and identify the most popular pages. Without Google Analytics, you’ll face numerous challenges in running an effective SEO campaign and tracking results over a period of time. SEO experts will use Google Analytics data to identify underperforming pages and pages that are performing well.
- Poor Page Load Metrics
Over the years, page load and site speed metrics have played a significant role in search engine optimization. In 2018, Google revealed that poor page load and page speed metrics would negatively affect your search engine ranking, especially on mobile search results. Currently, there are new core web vital metrics that focus on SEO and user experience, such as cumulative layout shift (CLS), first input display (FID), and largest contentful paint (LCP). Improving your site’s load speed will attract targeted leads.
- Incorrect Canonicalization Settings
In most cases, it isn’t important to have canonicalization because Google can select suitable canonicalization, especially when you have none. Based on various studies, canonicalization is essential where pages that have similar content or multiple URL are used to represent a single page. One of the most common mistakes involving canonicalization is to point canonicalization to a wrong protocol (HTTPS vs. HTTP). SEO professionals will make sure your site platform and content management system are appropriately set to handle canonicalization.
- Lack of Multi-Media Content
The right content should focus on providing solutions to people’s problems. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify problems facing your target audience in order to create appropriate solutions. In addition, the high-quality content should go hand-in-hand with page quality. Below are some of the purposes that you should fulfill in your content:
- Allow users to post questions and answers
- Share information about the topic
- Allow users to download and share files
- Share social and personal information
- Sell services or products
- Share videos, pictures, and other forms of media
- Express your point of view or opinion
This means that content isn’t limited to a few paragraphs of text. In the modern era, many firms are using an array of web elements, such as graphics, tables, videos, forms, menus, and photos. Therefore, think about your audience’s expectations when creating content.
- Contact Form Isn’t Converting
There are numerous reasons why contact forms fail to convert your target audience into loyal customers: non-functioning submit buttons, too many or too few options in the drop-downs, unclear submit buttons and too many form fields. The right SEO agency will optimize your contact form, thus making it more engaging. There are key form fields that will help you improve the conversion rate. Some of these form fields include a catchy CTA, unique form alignment, simple content, enabling the auto-fill option, and avoiding captcha.
- Not Focusing on Long-Tail Keywords
Most online content creators will focus on short and precise keywords. This is because there’s a common myth that focusing on long-tail keywords won’t increase the traffic of the targeted audience. Based on research, using long-tail and relevant keywords will boost your website’s SEO value. These keywords might have a lower search volume, but they’re effective in the long term. This is because long-tail keywords cater to a specific set of customers. Therefore, they have a higher chance of converting the target audience.
- Bad Reviews on Google and Other Search Engines
Most online buyers will evaluate product reviews before placing an order. Positive reviews show that you have a great reputation. On the other hand, negative reviews show that you aren’t credible. The total number of reviews contributes to localized search engine ranking factors and boosts your firm’s social proof. Bad reviews come as a result of poor customer service, low-quality products, and product policies. Positive reviews play a significant role in improving your brand’s reputation, but having only positive reviews can raise suspicion. A genuine product should have both positive and negative reviews. Use negative reviews to improve your product or service so that it suits your customers’ tastes and preferences.
- Not Using Google Search Console Data
A common search engine optimization mistake is to optimize pages or perform keyword research without paying attention to Google search console data. The main objective of Google search console data is to provide crucial information about how visitors are arriving on your website, popular pages, and traffic. Google search console data helps in identifying the most appropriate keywords that’ll increase the conversion rate. This is because you’ll have in-depth information about the keywords that are bringing the most clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and positive impressions. Before optimizing keyword density, adjusting your content, and changing title tags, the right SEO agency will make sure your current changes won’t lower the click-through rate.
- Not Updating Old Content
Old and outdated information can lower the effectiveness of your SEO campaigns. This is because old pages, guides, blog posts, and content might be irrelevant to the modern era. Another big SEO mistake is to constantly create new content in an attempt to increase organic traffic. The best solution is to re-write or edit old content and pages. In addition, republishing old content with new content will improve your site’s ranking, thus boosting SEO.
- Forgetting About Content Structure
The poor on-page content structure can lower your search engine ranking because your target audience will face challenges when navigating your page. Other mistakes that are related to the content structure include a lack of table of content, mixed-up heading order, and missing headings. Professionals SEO experts will help you assign your pages’ appropriate headings and establish the right on-page content hierarchy. There are two key mistakes when it comes to on-page content structure: incorrect heading placement and missing H1 tags. The title of your page should serve as the H2 tag. On the other hand, your headings should portray a content hierarchy.
Search engine optimization is a massive undertaking; therefore, you should consider hiring a professional SEO agency. SEO experts will play a significant role in improving your website’s functionality. This will boost your search engine ranking, enhance foot and organic traffic, increase conversion rate, improve market share, and boost your brand’s reputation.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that many website agencies – while building good websites – simply do not understand SEO. We’ve seen companies charge monthly fees for SEO and it is clear no work is done, it’s a rip off.