Beginners make SEO mistakes because they don’t understand SEO best practices, or because they are not aware of the basic practices. SEO is a dynamic industry and is fast changing so the techniques that worked in the past few years may not be valid anymore to give you the required results. It is therefore important that social media agencies and digital marketers stay informed on the latest SEO developments.
The following are SEO mistakes that are commonly made and how to avoid them:
You Are Not Using a Keyword Research Tool
There is a popular myth among writers that the use of a keyword research tool before creating content is cheating. It is very wrong and one of the biggest SEO mistakes. Using a keyword research tool like google keyword tool will show you top queries from google users in the google search box. Including the keywords in your content and pages will make your content more relevant to your users and easier for search engines to optimize it.
You Are Not Making Use of Page Titles and Descriptions That Are Not Unique
This is a common SEO mistake made by content creators. Some webmasters overlook the emphasis given by both Google and Bing and go-ahead to create pages without unique titles. The title of a page is a very important part of SEO and creates a signal. Search engines look and the title to understand what the page is about and visitors to your page also do the same. If you do not have a meaningful title to both search engine crawlers and your page visitors, you won’t only drive visitors away from your page, you will also minimize your chances of ranking high on google and other search engines.
Common mistakes under this category are:
- Using only one title for all pages and content
- Including the website name in the title of the page. You can do this in the homepage without any consequence but it is not necessary to do it for subsequent pages
- Having page titles that exceed 65 characters in length
Below are guides on how to write titles that are SEO friendly:
- Page titles should have a maximum of 60 characters
- The titles have to be natural and provide enough information at first glance on what the page is about
- Keywords should be included but avoid keyword stuffing
- Each page should have a unique title
- Page titles are shown in the SERPs (search engine results page) so you need to make them attractive to receive clicks from internet users
No Meta Description
Just like it is wrong not to have a unique title for each page, it is also wrong not to have a unique Meta description for each page. A good Meta description is like magic and increases your click-through rate. If your page content is as promised in the description, it will also increase your conversion rate as well.
Meta descriptions should have 150 to 160 characters and be attractive to the web user. Avoid stuffing keywords in the Meta description.
You Are Not Active in Social Media
Being active in at least one of the social media platforms is one of the best and most effective ways of promoting your website or web content. It is a huge mistake on your part to be dead on social media. Most experts on SEO agree that signals from social media are becoming a good basis for web ranking and apart from this, it is a good source of the traffic to your webpage.
Being active on social media doesn’t mean you need to be active in all social networks or send your days on end online and socializing with people. What you have to do is find the best platform that best suits you and is best suited for your audience. Follow the steps of other successful businesses in your niche and build authority and trust from there. Be sure to always share new and informative content.
You Don’t Actively Promote Your Blog Posts
It takes more than a good post and top-notch content to have people posting and sharing it on social media for more audiences to see. It will only happen later on but in the beginning, you have to promote your own work and not doing so is a mistake. It will take a lot of effort to get to the point where your followers and audience trust you enough to promote your posts and share your work but once you get to this point, everything becomes easy. Building a decent audience involves lots of email subscribers, a lot of Facebook followers, and also twitter followers.
Here are some of the most effective ways to promote your blog posts:
- Publish your posts on both your personal and business social media pages
- Share it with your followers on both your personal and business pages
- Use Facebook ads and other social media ads to promote your posts to an already defined audience based on the results of your average visitor
- Have a summary of the post and publish it on LinkedIn using LinkedIn publishing platform for long term posts
- Send your posts to your email list
- Have a link to your new posts inserted in relevant parts of an older post (internal linking)
- Publish guest posts on an authoritative website and link it to your post
Not Using Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
It is very important to have your website registered with google search console and Bing webmaster tools. Not doing so is as good as driving on a busy road with your eyes closed. Both Google and Bing Webmaster tools are helpful in allowing website owners to find out more about their web properties. Instead of guessing what is wrong and why you are not getting much traffic to your web page as you are supposed to, these search engines will give you the feedback you need. There is no reason why you should not register your site but you stand to gain a whole lot. It is a simple process and even a beginner can do it.
You Do Not Have a Consistent Publishing Schedule
The rate at which you publish doesn’t matter as long as it is frequent. You can publish daily, every other day, or once a week and still be good. What matters is having a consistent publishing schedule. Have a schedule and stick to it no matter what. Prepare this in advance to serve as a guide. It will help you to prepare a few blog posts in advance so that you can have a few days to yourself to plan for new content and meet up with your schedule. Posting consistently is good for SEO and brings more traffic to your page also.
Your Content Is Not Of Top Quality
The latest trends in SEO is about being an authority in your niche and being trustworthy. What your aim should be is to build trust between your website and users with the correct content, and also be an authority between your website and search engines with original content.
Constantly publishing top-quality content is one of the best ways to build authority. Focusing on any other thing other than content is a huge SEO mistake. It is better to have fewer contents published consistently and that are all of top quality, than to have many pages bearing questionable content. You stand to benefit a lot beyond just top ranking.
The following are features of authoritative content:
- Content that is useful and informative to the user
- Content whose information is accurate
- Content that is insightful
- Content that is analytical
- Content that is unbiased
You Are Not Following Internal Linking Practices
It is important that you interlink your pages together for the following reasons:
- You make it easier for search engines to find more pages of your website
- An internal link is a signal to search engine crawlers that the page is important for your site
- You help users easily find more on the topic they are carrying out research on
Most website owners make the mistake of not incorporating internal links in their pages because they feel it is a waste of time, or because they do not have an idea of its benefit to SEO.
What Is Internal Linking?
Internal linking is the process of linking two pages of the same website. It is great for SEO as it allows you to create your own web by linking all your pages together. This action allows search engines to discover more pages and revisits them, and it also gives visitors extra information about their search. Mistakes that are common with internal linking by webmasters are:
- Not making use of internal linking at all
- Using too many internal links
- Not using good enough descriptive text to anchor the internal link to another page
Google mentions webmasters, the importance of internal linking and encourages them to pay more attention to it as it helps them navigate a website better. Best practices for internal links are:
- Make use of descriptive anchor texts and avoid the use of vague texts like “click here” and others like this. Such words do not allow google and users understand properly what the linking page is about
- Avoid using ta clouds as it is bad practice for internal links
- When possible, include the internal links in the main text of the page and not in the sidebar
- It is not compulsory that keywords be used as the anchor text. Allow the text flow naturally and use the best words as the anchor
- It is better to link old pages with new pages than linking new pages with old pages. It is not easy but effective and you have to add it to your schedule
- Make sure that the pages you want to have a high rank in the SERPS contain the most internal links.
- Aim to have 2 to 10 internal links per page. This, of course, depends on the length and type of content
You Have a Website That Loads Slowly
Underestimating the power of speed as a ranking factor for your site ranking is a great SEO mistake. Google and Bing try on their part to improve your website loading speed and it is up to you to meet them halfway and make this happen. Improving the loading speed of your website is not the easiest thing to do but it is bad to ignore it. A fast website will have a high ranking, bring more traffic, and generate more sales. If you are running ads on your website, a fast loading website will generate more ad clicks and ad revenue.
There are basically two ways you can improve the loading time of your website. The first option you have is to outsource the task to a freelancing team and let them do the work for you. The second option is to do it yourself.
If you want to hire a freelancer, there are great platforms to get professional freelancers like upwork.com. If you choose to do it yourself, you can start with web analysis using google page speed insights service and follow the guidelines.
You Are Building Incoming Links Too Fast
Link building, off-page SEO, and promotion all mean the same thing and is one of the important SEO processes for high ranking. Here are some of the SEO mistakes to avoid when building links:
- Don’t build links too fast as the whole process needs to be natural. Go slow and steady
- Avoid the use of keyword anchor text links. It used to be very important for ranking in the past but it now attracts a penalty instead
- Practice diversification rather than directing all links to your home page
- Avoid link schemes with other bloggers. Do not buy or exchange links with them
Building Low-Quality Links
The description of SEO you will get from someone who has a basic knowledge of SEO will be to create a page, add keywords to content that you want to rank, and build incoming links to those pages. This used to be true and the basic SEO practice in the past but not a practical approach to high ranking anymore. The problem with using such a technique is the fact that Google doesn’t tolerate link building that doesn’t have value.
This doesn’t imply that link building is a dead practice. Google was the first search engine to come up with the idea that websites with the highest links should rank higher than those with fewer links. Different tests have been done to try to eliminate the use of links as a ranking factor but it turns out that the quality of search results is better with incoming links considered. Apart from Google, other search engines like Bing and yahoo use links as part of their ranking algorithm, so how then do you make use of links without being penalized?
You need to, first of all, ensure that your website and its content are of top quality and very professional. After this, build your brand on social media. When applying to guest posts on big websites, they will definitely check your social media profiles. If you have a good number of social media followers and are active, you have higher chances of being accepted. Thirdly, have good connections with those who can recommend you for a guest posting position. If someone who is known as a content publisher with a good reputation recommends you, it will be easier to get accepted. Fourthly, you need to show good samples of published work on other sites too apart from your blog.
Using Press Releases for Building Ranks
Some people still use the technique of adding links to press releases and distributing them through channels. This doesn’t help SEO and you should avoid it. Google made this very clear with the latest release of the panda. This doesn’t mean you should stop press releases as there are still benefits to be gotten from it for promotion. But ensure that the links in the press releases are no-follow.
You Are Targeting Only High Traffic Keywords
The first step in optimizing a website is keyword research. The SEO mistake here comes in when only high volume keywords are targeted because they belief that it will generate more traffic.
High traffic keywords are very competitive and as a new website, chances of your ranking with those keywords are almost impossible. Instead of targeting high traffic keywords, make use of long-tail keywords as you can also get a lot of traffic from there. Longtails keywords are search queries that contain more than 2 words.
You Are Not Using H1 Tag Properly
Several techniques are employed by google crawlers to understand what a page is about. The title of the page is a great signal to crawlers, and also is the H1 tag. Many websites have more than one H1 tag on a page and it is a bad SEO mistake. It could occur if the page is not SEO optimized or due to bad programming but either way, more than one H1 tag is confusing to search engine bots that crawl the page.
The easiest to check for this problem is to visit a page from your site and select VIEW SOURCE from the browser menu. This will show the HTML code of the age and you can find H1 using the FIND menu. More than one H1 occurrence is a sign of a problem and you can ask a programmer to make this change for you if you do not know how to fix it.
You Are Not Formatting Your Content
It is common to see pages with only text content and no proper headings, paragraphing, or proper styling. It is bad for both visitors to your page as they may get discouraged to read, find it difficult to get the information they need, or just leave because it looks unprofessional. It is also difficult for search engines to understand and occurring repeatedly leads to the reduction of the website’s quality.
When you publish content on a page, do not just paste it but try to make it easy for your users to engage by the use of appropriate headings, bold fonts and italics too. It is also important for search engines that you do this and it helps in ranking.
Using Images That Are Not SEO Optimized
The use of images in content makes it more interesting to read and improves the likelihood of the content to be shared. As this is a known fact, many webmasters use images but make mistakes that affect their page ranking. Such mistakes include:
- Use of images that are too large in file size. It slows down the website and is a problem for mobile devices to open such pages
- Except it is appropriate to your content, you do not have to use so many images
- Not using ALT text. ALT tags help search engines understand the image properly and not using ALT texts makes it difficult for crawlers to understand the image.
So if you have a large image, do not publish it as it is but work on it first. Use good photo editing software to reduce the image size and export it for the web. Good photo editing software like Photoshop can minimize image size without sacrificing quality.
If you need to use many images on a page, do not upload their full sizes but use thumbnails instead. If users desire to see the full image, they will click on them.
Always use an ALT text before uploading an image. Make sure it is descriptive and to make it more SEO optimized, include some of your main keywords but avoid keyword stuffing.