A lot of businesses make SEO mistakes that cost them website traffic and, thereby, negatively affecting their bottom line. A good way to prevent committing the same mistakes is to familiarize yourself with what you shouldn’t do.
The Most Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a valuable tool in the online arena. Businesses use it to make their website credible, enhance online visibility, and increase website traffic. It remains an essential component of online success, even in 2020, and will likely continue to hold this distinction in the future.
When you’re new to the SEO scene, though, navigating through the seemingly endless list of technical mumbo jumbo can feel overwhelming. But, if you want to get started on the right foot, educating yourself is key. What should be avoided in SEO? Here are the most common SEO errors you should steer clear from:
1. Unfamiliarity With Your Audience
Every business should begin by getting to know their target audience — that’s just SEO 101. Remember that SEO is all about building credibility and increasing traffic to your website. You can’t do either of those if you don’t know your audience well enough.
In your quest to understand your audience, take note of trends. Look at both historical data and real-time data to learn your audience’s behavior and habits. Audience comprehension also plays a role in accurate keyword selection. You can’t possibly know what keywords to optimize for if you don’t have a firm grasp on customer intent.
2. Lacking an SEO Plan
You can’t expect to win at SEO by haphazardly applying random tactics. You need a concrete strategy. To start, take a look at your website’s current standing. Then, think about what you want to improve on. What are your goals? How will you achieve them? With these in mind, you can begin building your SEO plan.
You can also look at your competition and assess their performance. How do they rank? What keywords do they use? What kind of content are they publishing?
3. Writing Irrelevant, Poor Quality, or Duplicate Content
One of the best ways to utilize SEO and improve your search ranking is to start a blog. People consume piles of content on a daily basis, so you should take advantage of that.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can simply put scraps of content together and hope it works. Content that bears no relevance to your brand or topic won’t have a positive effect on your SEO. The same goes for poor-quality content, even if you stuff it with relevant keywords. You should also be wary of publishing duplicate content. Search engines dislike plagiarized work and often deem them as spam.
Write great and unique content that your audience will find value in. Your content should resonate with your target audience and address their needs. It’s also worth adding visuals to your content, such as images and videos, as these can retain reader interest.
4. Using Duplicate or Failing to Use Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Schema Markups
Ignoring the use of title tags and meta descriptions is a big reason why SEO fails for some businesses. These are important SEO elements that can propel your website to the top of search rankings.
Google uses title tags and meta descriptions to understand your page. Thus, aside from using them on your page, you should also make sure they’re unique and contain relevant keywords. Duplicate tags and descriptions, as well as ones that are too long, can negatively affect indexability.
Schema markups also help search engines analyze the context of your web page. Adding them to your content will allow you to boost your ranking.
5. Failure to Optimize for the Correct Keywords
One of the most common SEO mistakes you can make is optimizing for the wrong keywords. It’s important to focus on highly specific keywords, otherwise known as long-tail keywords. This is because people who use specific phrases in their searches tend to already have the intention to buy. Additionally, generic or broad keywords usually have a lot of competition.
You might wonder, “Should I use the same keywords on every page?” The answer is no. You should use a different keyword for each of your pages. This will allow every page to stand out to search engines. Using the same keyword for all of your pages will diminish your chances of ranking because your pages are just competing with each other.
6. Failure to Optimize for Local Search
If your business operates on a more regional or local level, optimizing for local SEO is paramount to success. You can do this by incorporating locations into your keywords. For instance, if you run a cleaning company in Seattle, instead of simply optimizing for “cleaning services,” you can optimize for “cleaning services in Seattle.” It’s also a good idea to include your contact information as well as your address on your pages.
7. Failure to Use Internal Links Properly
Linking to your other pages can increase traffic and visibility, but you should also make smart use of them. Don’t just link to random pages. Make sure your internal links are relevant to the page’s content. Additionally, don’t use the same anchor words for each of your links or overstuffing your content with them.
You should also inspect your links, making sure they all work and load properly. If you find any broken links, fix them immediately. You can easily locate broken links with a site auditing tool.
8. Using Poor Quality External Links
As with internal links, the quality of your external links matters. Make sure you link out to trustworthy, authoritative, and relevant sites. Similarly, you should watch out for broken external links. Linking to a page that no longer exists sends a bad message to search engines about your website.
9. Ignoring Site Performance and Mobile Optimization
Your website can leave a lasting impression on potential customers. This is why you should place a great deal of focus on improving site performance. That means making sure your site loads quickly, which can affect search rankings. Moreover, given the fast-paced nature of the modern-day lifestyle, people are less patient now when it comes to web page loading times.
Don’t forget to make your website mobile-friendly as well. Considering a large chunk of all web traffic originates from mobile devices, neglecting to optimize for mobile performance can be detrimental to your business.
10. Not Paying Attention to HTTP Status
One of the more technical SEO issues you might encounter is ignoring HTTP status. Your website runs the risk of experiencing errors (such as Error 404). In turn, search engines fail to locate your website, directly reducing the amount of traffic it receives. Other things that can impact your HTTP status is having broken internal and external links within your site as well as having broken internal images.
11. Disregarding Analytics
Monitoring your analytics is one of the SEO best practices you can use to improve your website’s overall performance. Analytics allow you to see, in number, what’s working and what’s not. When you have such data on-hand, you can use it to inform and adjust your SEO strategies. Google itself already provides you with useful tools — Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Avoid SEO Problems and Climb Up the Ranks
When you commit SEO mistakes, it can be easy to lose your grip on your online presence. Although understanding your audience and coming up with a solid plan is a good starting point, you need to follow through with quality content, the right keywords, and the use of title tags and descriptions to improve your SEO ranking. In addition, you should pay attention to the technical side. That means fixing broken links, monitoring your HTTP status, enhancing site performance, and optimizing for mobile.
While you can take the hard route and try to do it yourself, a professional digital marketing company like Tanner Grey can make things easier. With our help, you won’t need to worry about making these SEO mistakes. Give us a call today at 844.500.1339 or contact us online so you can get started on SEO!
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