There were times when the number of keywords on a page was most important to search results. That is long gone. Search engines are constantly improving the algorithms with which they determine the ranking. Tricks that worked at least a year ago are not efficient.
Keeping track of all SEO trends is hard enough because they change too quickly. In addition, it is usually also a challenge to find a balance that optimises your website, both for people and for search engine crawlers. It is therefore certainly not surprising that experienced marketers and business owners make some mistakes along the way.
Today we are going to talk about the 5 most common SEO mistakes you could have made and how to correct them.
1. The wrong keywords
Although most people already know that the quality of keywords (keywords) is more important than their quantity, mistakes are often made when choosing keywords. It is not enough to collect all possible combinations of keywords and phrases. Here are some common mistakes people make with keywords:
Not performing a thorough keyword analysis is the first and biggest SEO mistake. If your keywords are not relevant to the purpose of your website, you will not achieve a good ranking. You won't reach your potential customers with irrelevant keywords. So choose more accurate keywords to reach your audience.
For example, if you sell building materials and another site is blogging about building houses, your goals and keywords will be different. If you have a commercial website, use expressions like 'online building materials store', 'cement price list', 'order building materials online', etc. For an informative site on the same subject, your keywords are 'build house', 'how to build' a house', 'can I build a house', etc.
Now try to remove actual words from these sentences. "Online store," "price list," and "order online" are left for a commercial site, and "how," and "can I" for informational ones. These are the expressions you should use with your current keywords.
Trending keywords are not tracked
Never create content about arbitrary topics. If you want to write a new post, make sure the topic is popular enough. You can use Google Trends for this. Enter the word that best describes the topic in the search field:
The search volume for some keywords may vary depending on a season or country for which you are creating your content. Don't be surprised if people in Sri Lanka don't look for wool sweaters. Analysing trending keywords can not only help you increase your visibility, but also check whether there is demand for a product, service or information you provide.
High keyword difficulty
This factor is crucial for those who have just entered the niche. Most people think that the greater the search volume of a keyword, the more likely they are to get a lot of traffic. Keep in mind that this rule will not work if you are a new player in the market.
If a word is popular enough, some major brands have already written about this topic. So you will have to put in huge efforts to get your site to the top. At the start of your journey, you have many other things to worry about. Start by selecting keywords with a low or medium difficulty. You should consider this parameter to avoid having to fight for a high(er) ranking for years.
Obviously, this is a data-driven choice. There are several SEO tools, such as Serpstat and Moz, that evaluate this data for you.
Using your target keywords in every sentence isn't the best idea. Not only does it provide bad user experience, but it also doesn't bring any gain to your ranking. This simple mistake can ruin your entire SEO strategy.
Filling the text with arbitrary keywords will make your content look unnatural and spammy. Let's see what Google considers "keyword stuffing":
Irrelevant title tags and meta descriptions
First of all, title tags and meta descriptions are pieces of HTML code that are considered by search engines when crawling your website. These elements provide information about the content of your page and can help you improve your ranking easily.
Second, the data in title tags and meta descriptions makes up the snippet displayed in the SERP. It influences users' decisions about whether or not to visit your page. This is the way people see it:
Failure to use relevant meta title and description can also cause deterioration of behavioural factors. What does it mean? Let's imagine you are looking for an iPhone XR and search for "iPhone XR". Search engines show you both informative and commercial results.
You only open those pages with informational intentions, because you are not going to buy anything. If a website that sells smartphones does not mark its commercial intent in its description, you may visit the website but not find the information you want. In this case, the time you spend on a website is very short, creating a high bounce rate. The search engine's crawler (robot) sees it crawling through the website and decides that the page is not relevant to the query. In this case, the page will lose its position in the search results.
2. Technical Optimisation
Are you sure that search spiders are crawling your website and indexing your content correctly? If you don't perform a technical SEO audit, you have no basis for a good ranking. Let's take a look at the factors that website owners don't often consider.
In the lengthy but valuable process of collecting keywords and improving your content, you may simply be overlooking such a crucial factor as page speed. This SEO mistake can have several consequences.
First of all, the user depends on your page speed, as the user has to wait for the page to load completely. If people wait too long, they'll return to search results before seeing your page.
Second, Google announced that it has been taking the page speed ranking factor into account since 2010. Experienced entrepreneurs have benefited from this information for more than ten years. It's never too late to get started!
It is essential to check this parameter every time you add additional information such as images, videos and documents to your page. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to analyze the speed of your website.
Ignore Site Architecture
The number and quality of pages search crawlers crawl in a single session depends on your site structure. If you don't optimise your website's structure, search crawls won't be able to find the most important and high-quality content.
Here are a few factors to consider when organising your site architecture:
The robots.txt file. By crawling your site, search bots will go wherever they are allowed. You have, to some extent, control over this process. Create this file to prevent search engines from indexing pages that you don't want your site to rank for on Google, such as an admin panel.
Site map. This file helps you provide a clear structure for your website so that crawlers can emphasise the most important elements of your site.
Group your content (content) logically.
URL structure. The URL allows you to display your logically grouped page hierarchy for search engines to better understand the structure of your site.
Internal links. These links are important if you want to improve the visibility of your older posts that are relevant to your new ones. Link to the pages within one category. It allows your users to easily navigate between the different resources within your website.
Another thing that's important to note is that when your site architecture changes, for example with a new domain name, you should take a series of steps to ensure that your existing keyword rankings don't disappear overnight. Want to know how? Read our SEO website migration guide here.
Not optimized images
If you don't optimize your images, you will lose huge opportunities to improve your ranking. First of all, limit their size, so that your page speed and loading times improve, among other things. It is very convenient to use the jpg format for photos and png for images. In addition, the webp format is becoming popular and available in more and more browsers.
Another thing to keep in mind is the alt te. Add it to help search engines understand what's appearing on your images. This action will rank your photos in relevant search results.
You may not have noticed, but it is very possible that your website has duplicate content. What is it? It's the same content that appears on more than one page of your website. When such content is found, search engines can't decide which pages to index. As a result, this content will not appear in search results.
Please remove these pages to avoid potential issues related to duplicate content. If you can't delete them for a number of reasons, you can:
use 301 redirects to the original content pages
put the tag 'rel canonical' on your original page.
One of these actions will help you identify the page version with priority for search engines to index.
Not being mobile friendly
While the number of people using mobile devices to search is increasing day by day, by no means all website owners have created mobile versions of their sites.
People use their smartphones almost every time they want to search for certain goods or information. Viewing a desktop version of a site on a mobile device is quite complicated. In order not to lose most of your potential visitors, make your website mobile-friendly as soon as possible.
Most importantly, as of July 2018, Google will consider mobile page speed when ranking websites for its mobile search results. So make sure that optimising mobile page speed is the second thing you do after optimising your desktop version.
Take the Mobile-Friendly Test to measure the responsiveness of your website.
3. Low Quality Content
Copied content is not only easy to spot, but is also penalised by search engines. Create unique, high-quality content to improve your site positioning and attract new visitors.
Always remember that you are running your website for people, not search crawlers. Follow these tips to make sure users stay on your Page once they get there:
Structure the content.
Use visuals (images).
Watch your spelling.
Create content that is relevant to the keywords you select.
Verouderde inhoud is ook niet goed voor je bedrijf. Als niet op de hoogte bent van de huidige trends en interesses van je potentiële klanten, is de kans groot dat de inhoud (content) die je produceert niet relevant is. Gelukkig zijn er verschillende SEO-tools, zoals AnswerThePublic en Serpstat, die hierbij kunnen helpen. Voer een trefwoord in dat gerelateerd is aan je onderwerp en ontdek alle populaire zoekvragen. Deze vragen geven je nieuwe ideeën voor je inhoud.
4. Ignoring Competitor Analysis
Some people ignore this stage of site optimisation. If you don't conduct a competitive analysis, you miss an opportunity to avoid mistakes made by other market players, your competitors. Analysing your rivals can also help you find something new to implement into your strategy.
First, determine who your competitors are. The market is constantly growing, so today's rivals are not the same as yesterday's. Get started with Serpstat, Ahrefs or SEMrush to track your competitors.
Using these tools, you can analyse important data such as:
Keywords they use.
Sites they get backlinks from.
Examples of their meta tags.
Site structure they create.
Their main sources for website traffic.
Remember never to copy your competitors. The information you've found should help you come up with ideas to improve your marketing strategy.
Do not evaluate results
That's it, a nice list of actions... Once you've corrected all the mistakes and worked out your SEO strategy, don't forget to evaluate your results. Trends are constantly changing, so always keep reviewing your analytics and optimising your website. Please also note that technical errors may occur over time.
Keep looking for ways to make your strategy more and more efficient.
Do you want to go deeper and have a good analysis of your current online business? Let our experts do a free SEO scan of your website and discover where your opportunities lie.