SEO is a powerful tool to reach your target audience and increase sales. In today’s highly digitalized world, high quality and strategic SEO is critical for the success of your business. If you’re finding it hard to reach a wider audience, you might be guilty of committing one of the most common SEO mistakes in the marketing industry. But don’t worry, we’re not going to leave you in the dark. We collected the biggest misconceptions and will teach you how to do better in the future.Let’s start at the beginning. In a nutshell, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the sum of actions you are taking to improve your website’s design and content to rank higher in organic search engine results and increase the number of visitors to your website.
Why You Should Take SEO Seriously
Organic search engine traffic is traffic to your website, or online shop, which you don’t have to pay for. As opposed to paid search results organic traffic is free of charge. Your potential customers turn to Google because they are ready to make a purchase decision or are considering to make one. Their inquiries have a high possibility of converting, as they are taking action to solve a problem. Google has 92.37% of the search engine market share worldwide, according to statcounter. But if you are worried you might miss out on chances to pop up in other search engine’s results, fear not. Once you have optimized your page for Google, you will rank higher in search engines such as Bing!, Yahoo and others as well.
Unfortunately, the typical search engine user doesn’t extend their research beyond the first page of search results. You will want to make sure to stand out in the sea of billions of websites existing today. To reap the benefits of organic search engine traffic, you need to know about SEO best practices and keep up to date with the latest industry trends and developments. Not to mention that you will have to learn from your mistakes - Which even industry professionals still make. Luckily, almost all mistakes are easy to remedy. Sometimes just a few changes are all it takes to see big results. What SEO mistakes are commonly made and what can you do to avoid them? Let us count the ways!
1) Choosing The Wrong Keywords
Remember the good old days, when you could add a meta tag to the website to indicate the pages main keywords? Meta keywords are visible only to search engine crawlers and invisible to the eyes of visitors. Unfortunately, they are redundant by now and no longer have SEO value, as people used to spam this keyword element until search engines started ignoring it. So do not waste your time. Meta keywords may be dead, but keywords are still very much alive and thriving.
The right keywords allow you to reach more potential customers as they search on Google. Firing up the keyword research tool of your choice and coming up with a list of the high search volume keywords however, is going to cause nothing but headaches. Try to be realistic. Choose lower traffic and lower competition keywords, whose domination is more likely to bring traffic to your site.There are a ton of strategies for coming up with great keywords. Do your research and put yourself in the mind of the user. If you were looking for information on a product or service, what information would you be searching for? Optimizing your website for keywords will strategically drive highly targeted traffic to your site.
2) Stuffing Your Copy With Keywords
You are writing for humans, not search engines. Do not put your SEO goals ahead of your common sense. You need to earn links, and you have got to have engagement. But keyword stuffing is not an acceptable practice to achieve those goals and may result in Google penalties. Unfortunately, cramming keywords into ad texts or product descriptions as if your life depended on it, is one of the most common mistakes made and can make your copy sounds pretty awkward. You may be bummed to find out that there is no “one size fits all” solution. We don’t have proof of the perfect keyword density percentage that will secure you a page one spot on Google. So instead of trying hard to squeeze in a keyword at every opportunity, try focusing on your target audience and the quality of your content.
3) Relying On Poorly Written Content
Not all copy is created equal. Always consider what impression you’re making on your website’s visitors. It is often worth hiring a professional copywriter who knows how to weave those keywords into beautifully written articles. An experienced copywriter knows which best practices to use in order to create high ranking pages and provide good quality information without trying to trick search engine machines.
4) Forgetting About Dated Content
Over the years you have probably accumulated a ton of content on your website that hasn’t been looked at since. Some may be great, but most of it is kind of average. Make sure that you give Google only your best, optimized and relevant content. Google Analytics will help you to find your top and worst-performing content and to identify strong evergreen articles that build the foundation of your content marketing efforts.Make data-driven decisions about whether you should improve or remove exciting content. If your copy isn’t useful, relevant or helpful, it will require a bit more attention. Keep continuously updating old content to meet SEO standards. Conduct some keyword research to discover new opportunities for updating your old content to continue or improve your Google ranking. Fix broken backlinks and check if the content is mobile friendly etc.
5) Not Using Unique Tags
A thoughtful SEO practice should always include unique tags tailor-made to the content, as they help search engines understand what your website is about. Title tags are also often the first impression users will get on your page. They show in search engine results, at the top of your web browser and on social media platforms. There are a few things to keep in mind when writing great title tags: keep them under 60 characters short and don’t cram them with keywords to avoid getting into trouble with search engines. Most importantly, give every page a unique title and avoid default titles such as “home” or “product page”. Google will take unique titles as a sign that your page is valuable and you can benefit you in the long run.
6) Poor Internal Link Structure
We clarified that your content needs to be link-worthy to make people talk about it on other sites. External links are undeniably important, but again, they are on other websites, which means that they are hard to control. Internal links, on the other hand, are easy to set up. Internal links are links from one page to another on the same domain. Your website’s navigation is the most basic example of it. Here, we are referring to them more as links in the content itself.
Never just link for the sake of it. You will learn that some links are simply stronger than others. As an underrated working horse of online marketing, internal links are often overlooked. Poor link structure or link quality is standing in the way of getting the most value out of them. Smart use of internal links can provide additional reading material to users and keep them on your page for longer. They also communicate to Google which pages of your website can be considered the most important ones and consequently increase the credibility of your page.
7) Forgetting About Image Alt And Title Tag Optimization
Image alt and title tags are an underrated part of the SEO secret sauce. Adding images to your pages and articles can result in great rankings in the image search results and ultimately help you reach a wider audience. Simply put, the alt tag or “alternative description” is a piece of text, that states what can be seen in an image. It supports the content’s message and increases your website’s accessibility for visually impaired users. When writing alt tags, make sure that they are relevant and useful. They are a great place to put keywords relating to the content, so insert them where fit. Image title tags are the tags that appear when you’re hovering your mouse over the image. Just as alt tags, title tags are used by search engine crawlers to determine the relevance and credibility of the content. Keep in mind… even the image file name is relevant. Once the image is uploaded to the internet, the file name becomes part of the image’s URL. Google and other search engines will take it as an important indicator for the content of the image, so make sure you are choosing the right name.
8) If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It
One of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid is not making the most of Google Analytics, a free tool to measure the success of your SEO efforts. Understanding your website's performance will give you an enormous amount of actionable insight. Google Analytics allows you to monitor both paid and organic traffic to your website and gives you insight into who your visitors are and what they are searching for, amongst many other things. Use this data to your advantage!
9) Not Optimizing for Local Search
Another common SEO mistake made by beginners and professionals alike is ignoring the fact that local search optimization is an incredibly effective way to attract new customers. According to Search Engine Land, an impressive 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. Most often people will look up a service or product in combination with the name of the town or the famous “near me”. Make sure to include region-specific keywords if your business operates in a certain city or country and add them to your meta descriptions and page titles.
10) Not Using Google My Business
Verifying your business with Google to make your listing as strong as possible should be a no-brainer. Yet it is one of the most common SEO mistakes made by business owners and marketers. It is a free and super easy-to-use tool, helping you to manage your web presence across Google platforms such as Maps and Search. “Businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers” according to Google. So if you haven’t taken ownership yet, you should jump straight in and optimize your listing today.
11) Forgetting About Regular Website Audits
Broken links, duplicated content and slow site loading speeds: Technical mistakes accumulate over time and make regular website audits a necessity to assure that you are reaching full potential. An audit should also look at your overall content strategy, which might require reevaluation to ensure a positive user experience and not hinder your SEO efforts.
It is time to put what you have learned into practice. But don’t stress yourself too much. We are all prone to make mistakes now and then. You have already taken the first step in the right direction by acknowledging your errors. Now it is up to you to move on with your new found wisdom and create successful campaigns and interesting content that people will want to read and share!