Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a necessary undertaking for businesses that wish to excel online. Employing solid SEO tactics will help your website perform better in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), thus increasing traffic to your website (and exposure of your brand), and boosting sales. With thousands of websites vying for the coveted positions in the results pages, SEO is a competitive game— and one you’ll get lost in if you’re not prepared to invest the time it takes to ensure it’s executed correctly.
While there are many important things you can do for your website to succeed at SEO, there are also a plethora of mistakes that can damage your placement. The following post covers 10 SEO mistakes you want to watch out for— and stay far away from.
1. Poorly written/identical content
Don’t write content just to have content— make sure your content has a purpose. Poorly written content not only wastes time and energy, but it will reflect badly on your brand, and discourage potential visitors from coming to your website. Just like your written content, you want your graphic content to be of high quality. Images should look as professional as your content reads. You want visitors to have a positive experience whilst on your site, and be urged to come back, share it with others, recommend it on their social media, etc. Additionally, if you’re using the same content that is found on other sites, you’ll be found out and greatly harmed in the SERPS.
2. Wrong content topics
Your content topics should be chosen strategically and formulated around the most effective keywords. Do your research to find out the topics people are searching for and what subjects are trending and timely. The content you make should be in response to what your target audience is looking for. Structure your blog posts and website pages around these to attract attention and see real results in the SERPs.
3. Poor site architecture
Reevaluate your website’s structure to ensure it’s optimized for hosting visitors. Check and see how visitors are moving throughout your web pages and interacting with your site — can they navigate easily? Are they finding what they’re looking for? Is the page structure intuitive? Is the homepage easily accessible? Is your site search set up? Ensure web pages are organized by categories and keywords, and that your blog posts are also orderly and easy to find by topic.
4. Using the wrong keywords
If you’re going to be investing time and money into creating content around a particular set of keywords, you need to make sure that the keywords are optimal for your industry. Do your research and get help from tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to help you make the right choices. Your keywords will be the building blocks of your SEO strategy, so you want to be positive you get them right.
5. Keyword stuffing
keyword stuffing is basically what it sounds like— overusing keywords in hopes that it will boost your position in the SERPs. While it’s true that using keywords is an important part of any healthy SEO strategy, saturating content with keywords just for the sake of having more keywords on the page will actually end up harming your site in the long run. Keyword stuffing will not only look unnatural and make your content appear unprofessional, it will also be red flagged by crawlers and get you penalized in the SERPs (who reward natural content).
6. Not auditing your website regularly
In addition to the way your website is structured, it’s important to evaluate the way it’s operating. Regularly audit your site to ensure pages and images are loading quickly, media is acting as it should be, there aren’t any 404 pages visitors must contend with, links are working, and the overall user experience won’t induce frustration. The last thing you want is visitors to your site getting aggravated by poorly functioning pages.
7. Not making your website responsive
Over 50% of web traffic is now accessed via mobile device. This means that your website needs to be fully operational regardless of the device it’s visited on. Visitors on their smartphones or tablets should get just as much out of your site as people on their desktops. Media, content, services, etc should always be accessible, or else you risk cutting off a large portion of your clients. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and if a potential customer comes to your website on mobile and can’t access it— you may very well have lost their business for good.
8. Neglecting to pay attention to your analytics info
Installing analytics tracking and knowing how to interpret it is one of the best things you can do for your site. Analytics gives you invaluable insight on your visitors and their surfing behaviors. This information will alert you to any issues on your site and can be used to create an optimized site that’s tailored to your target audience. If you don’t pay attention to your analytics, you’re missing out on a wealth of knowledge that could greatly improve your site.
9. Not using title tags and meta descriptions
Not using title tags and meta descriptions for your web pages is a huge missed opportunity from an SEO standpoint. This content is considered by crawlers when they scan your website, and if they’re executed correctly they can help you achieve peak performance. This includes making sure to use image tags for any graphics— although crawlers won’t be able to see images, they will be able to recognize the image tags and reward you for them.
10. Not taking advantage of paid search
Investing in a PPC campaign will help direct traffic directly to your site. If you have money to invest, take time to do your research and come up with the best possible ads for your business. You’ll be buying traffic to your site, but since traffic will increase sales (which will help your business prosper), paid search is a very worthy investment indeed!
Mastering your SEO is essential in today’s digital age. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can set yourself on the path towards SEO greatness that will prove extremely beneficial for your business.