With a lot of content being created and promoted online each second, the competition to capture your audience’s attention and also rank on search engines has become more cut-throat. Hence, we apply all the advanced SEO techniques hoping that we can outperform our competitors. But, we are so focussed on advanced SEO that we end up making some small and most common SEO mistakes that can lead to insurmountable errors.
We can miss the chance to rank for the dream keywords if we avoid or think that these are all tiny issues and don’t provide that much importance. The below infographic by SE ranking shows the SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020.
With over 2 trillion searches on Google every 12 months, search engine optimization is about finding a balance between audience-centric content and convincing search engines that your content is worthy enough to rank. It isn’t that easy to stay on top, with many people falling into the trap of common SEO mistakes. Therefore, we need to understand what are the SEO mistakes to avoid in order to get the desired results.
SEO Mistakes to Avoid:
1. Using incorrect keywords:
One of the most usual mistakes while selecting keywords is neglecting what search engines and customers want and focusing on your preference instead. Sometimes you might focus on a keyword that does not fully consider the subject of the content or be opposite to the user’s search intent. Hence, it’s important to do keyword research before you begin optimization.
Always remember to choose keywords with maximum search volume and least competition. You can use tools like Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or even do competitor research to decide on the best keywords to use.
2. Keyword stuffing:
You might think that overusing the keywords in your content would boost your ranking. That is a common misconception and an incorrect strategy. Going overboard with the targeted keywords is considered as keyword stuffing or overusing your supposed keywords. Such an approach makes your content useless to its targeted audience.
Google currently employs a special type of search called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). This will recognize the topic of your content without having to fill in your content with repeated target keywords.
3. Not checking for plagiarism:
We all know that duplicate content is penalized and we should focus more on creating original content. But what we fail to realize is that sometimes unintentionally our content may be plagiarised, leading to a penalty.
Hence, it is recommended to always check for plagiarism after creating new content. There are various tools for plagiarism, why not start checking right now.
4. Forgetting about website speed and mobile-friendly experience:
The quality of your website, particularly its performance on mobile devices, is very important for users today as most people use smartphones to browse on the internet. When the website is not smartphone friendly, Google and other search engines will downgrade your website.
The same goes for the website speed, which is often given preference when ranking on SERPs. You can check your speed using tools like Pagespeed Insights.
The most valuable strategies for increasing site performance involve leveraging browser caching and optimizing images. You can optimize images with the help of a plugin known as Smush.
5. Not using anchor text for internal links:
We know that Internal links are very important for SEO as it helps in indexing our website. But, we do not add Anchor Text to link to our pages.
What is anchor text? Anchor text is basically a clickable word or a group of words that are connected to another page on our website and usually, they appear in blue color. But that’s not all we should know. The Anchor text we provide should link to an article/page with that relevant subject mentioned.
The anchor text should not consist of words like “click here”, because it does not relate to its destination article. Use your subject keywords to internally link your web-pages, to make it user-friendly.
6. Not including relevant external links:
To make the most of SEO, it is important to take into account external links as well. It is advisable to link back to websites that have given you backlinks, as that would attract traffic in the future. Always remember to link to reputable/leading websites.
7. Not focussing on good quality backlinks:
We all know that a backlink is important for off-page SEO but we forget the importance of good quality backlinks and start participating in link schemes.
Link schemes can include buying or selling links, link exchanges, or creating multiple websites, and providing backlinks. This is considered as spam by Google and it downgrades your website.
You should focus on creating natural backlinks by guest posting on top blogging sites. You can also reach out to influencers and share your blogs with them. If your blog content is relevant, they are likely to give you backlinks.
8. Not creating title tags and meta description that increases CTR
We all know about Title Tags and Meta-description and we optimize them according to the keywords. But what we do not ask ourselves is, if our Title and Meta Description is enticing enough to get a click.
We might be ranking higher than our competitors but does that mean we are getting more clicks?
For example, you are an SEO institute and you have mentioned in your Title and Meta-description “Award-winning SEO institute. Book a demo session now.” You are likely to get higher CTR through this than just vaguely mentioning that you offer an SEO course.
9. Avoiding Content Marketing:
Content Marketing is all about creating the right content in the form of blogs, videos, or articles that help to build a strong relationship with your audience.
The most common SEO mistake we do is creating thin content by using article spinning software or not adding any value to the audience. It is not only about the quantity of your content but the content quality is what matters the most. So invest your time, money, and effort into creating unique and engaging content.
10. Improper site structure:
When you create a website you have multiple sub-domains. But you have to ensure that all the subdomains which are aligned follow a proper structure.
Let us take an example:
As you can see, the Home page comes first, followed by About us, Services, etc. Instead, if you keep the ‘Services’ tab after the ‘Home page’ tab, it makes no sense as the viewer wants to know about your business first and then about the services.
11. Not doing regular Website Audit:
Another thing that we overlook is not doing a timely website audit. Ideally, you should conduct website audits every month since it is important to check for broken links or any other issues.
Also, google algorithm keeps updating so it is important to keep auditing your website. You can do a website audit with the help of tools like Screaming frog, Google Analytics, Uber suggest and Moz trial. Ideally, you should also keep checking for any website issues/anomalies with the help of Google Search Console.
12. Not checking bad links:
We know that getting good backlinks can help us in the Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP). But what can we do about backlinks from websites which are spammy or low quality? Use the disavow tool from Google webmaster tool to control link juice.
In this way, we are telling Google that “don’t attribute the link being provided by those spammy websites”. Hence it is advisable to regularly find out which links are devaluing your ranking and use the Disavow tool.
13. Not having bing business listing/Not optimizing for other search engines:
We all optimize our websites for Google, but there are other search engines as well. Even though they are not that popular as Google, they should also be optimized. We can get customers from other search engines as well as there isn’t much competition.
Bing, by Microsoft, is a search engine that has a market share of around 2.44% worldwide. If we optimize for Bing, we can get those customers as well. Also, we should not forget Bing business listing, which is similar to Google my business and helps with local SEO.
Since we are talking about local SEO, we should also understand that if our target market is outside India we have to optimize for country-specific popular search engines. For example, Baidu for China and Yandex for Russia.
14. Not using Bing Webmaster tool:
In reality, Bing Webmaster Software is more sophisticated and it offers more resources for SEO practitioners than the Google Search Console. So, when we are already thinking of optimizing our website for Bing, we should not forget the Bing webmaster tool.
Now, that you are aware of the common SEO mistakes to avoid, you should aim to improvise them by 2020. Also, keep yourself updated with the latest SEO updates to remain ahead of your competitors. You should also learn about the entire online ecosystem and know more about other categories of digital marketing since everything is interdependent.
What are some common SEO mistakes?
No h1 tag, duplicate title/descriptions, no xml sitemap, pages with 4xx response, duplicate description etc.
What is bad SEO practice?
Bad SEO is also called black hat SEO, which are the activities done to get rankings in less time by violating search engine's terms and policies for example keyword stuffing, hidden text, etc.
What are the best SEO tools?
There are various free and paid tools for SEO, some of them are: Google search console, Moz, Semrush, Ahrefs, Majestic SEO are some common SEO tools.
What are SEO keywords?
Keywords are the words or phrases that define what your content is all about, in terms of SEO, they're the words that searchers enter into search engines, also known as search queries.