11 most common SEO mistakes that ruin your website rankings
SEO is extremely important for every online business, and it is one of the most effective strategies to drive massive amounts of free and quality traffic to your website. The effective implementation of SEO in your business website will boost conversion rates as well.
According to Moz, the first page of Google captures 71% - 92% of search traffic clicks and this statistics clearly illustrates the importance of SEO. Isn’t it?
SEO is not a one-time setup process, SEO strategies are constantly changing, and evolving, due to the search engine’s algorithms. So, we all need to keep improving with the new changes to stay ahead of the competition in the online marketing world.
If you haven’t focused on SEO for your website till now, well! it is time now to focus on SEO. Of course, marketers make some critical mistakes, when they try to keep up with the SEO algorithms and that might not go well, instead of improving, it will hurt your website ranking.
In this article, we have listed the 11 most common SEO mistakes and you should carefully check and avoid them to increase your SEO score.
- Lack of keyword targeting
- Producing Low-quality content
- Ignoring title tags and meta descriptions
- Ignoring User Experience
- Not fixing broken links
- Poor social media presence
- Ignoring local SEO
- Focusing on quantity of links rather than link quality
- Ignoring regular website audits
- Using similar anchor link text for every link
- Ignoring your website analytics and metrics
Lack of keyword targeting
Keywords are always an important aspect of SEO strategy. Lack of keyword targeting is one of the crucial SEO mistakes you should avoid for improving your SEO rank.
Keyword research helps you to identify the search terms that the user used to search in search engines. If you want people to find your page or website, you need to use the right keyword for every page of your website, which requires deep research, investigation, and implementation.
Many small business owners fail to target the keywords properly and sometimes they target the wrong keywords as well. Wrong keyword tagging will affect your traffic, rankings and it will hurt all your efforts.
There are lots of keyword research tools are available like Ubersuggest, Semrush, Google keyword planner, etc. and those will help you to find the right keywords for your business domain or website.
Don’t just focus on too generic keywords, ensure to find more relevant and long-tail keywords as well. The longer and more specific keywords have more chances to get higher rankings in search engine result pages and those keywords are the highest-converting keywords. Make sure to use them naturally in URLs, Title tags, meta descriptions, content, etc.
In our previous blog post, we have discussed the keyword research process in detail with a step-by-step guide for beginners. It will help to kick start your keyword research process. Link: how to do keyword research effectively
Producing Low-quality content
Low-quality contents are another crucial mistake of SEO and that directly hurts your rankings because the ultimate goal of the search engine is to provide quality and relevant content to its users. Nowadays search engine algorithms are very effective to filter low-quality content from its search results.
When it comes to content, one famous quote will come to every marketer’s mind that is “ Content is always a king”, and that is absolutely right too. Isn’t it? Because quality content has the ability to make you stand out from the crowd and it has the ability to build brand loyalty as well.
So, if you like to drive quality traffic to your website, you need to spend some time and effort to produce quality content. Make sure that your content educates and entertains your readers.
You should avoid the below practices to create engaging content
Thin content – Inadequate amount of content at your website is not a good practice for a good SEO strategy. Make sure that every page of your website has at least 500 words of content.
Duplicate content – Search engine algorithms easily detect duplicate content. Copied content won’t help you in any way instead of it will hurt your rankings only. If duplicate content is detected at your website, the search engine will penalize your website.
Keyword stuffing – As I mentioned above, keywords play an important role in SEO strategy. On the other hand, if you use the same keyword many times in your content that will make your content spammy. It will totally affect your rankings and that impacts the user experience as well.
Ignoring title tags and meta descriptions
Well-crafted title tags and Meta descriptions are very important for a good SEO strategy that should not be forgotten because both will appear in search engine result pages. Title tags and Meta descriptions are used to understand what the page is all about by search engines and users.
With the help of unique, compelling title tags and Meta descriptions, you can increase your click-through rates and that will improve your search rankings.
So make sure that every page of your website has unique title tags and meta descriptions and make sure that they should represent the content of the page. Your title tags and meta descriptions are the most important elements to place your keywords but remember it, don’t stuff your keyword in it.
Make sure your title tags should be between 50 – 60 characters and your meta descriptions should be 155 characters or less in length otherwise they will be truncated in search results and that will be affected the user experience.
Ignoring User Experience
SEO is all about User experience. Google and other search engines constantly change their algorithms because they would like to make a better user experience. If your website does not meet user experience criteria, you can’t get a high rank on search engine result pages.
There are some factors that will affect the user experience such as,
Mobile-friendliness – Nowadays, people use mobile phones more than their PCs and Google announces in 2015, mobile optimization is an important ranking factor. If you like to improve your SEO, mobile optimization is a must and you can no longer ignore it.
You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to know your website is mobile-friendly or not.
Slow loading pages – The loading speed of your website is very important for both search engines and users. It is a symbol of professionalism and users trust fast-loading websites.
A fast-loading website will get a higher rank in search engine result pages so you can get more page views. Google page speed insights tool helps you to analyze your site speed score.
In our previous blog post, we briefly discussed why the loading speed of the website is important? And 13 ways to improve the website’s loading speed
Navigation – Website navigation plays a significant role in search engine rankings and navigation is the backbone of your website. Clear navigation acts as the roadmap for your visitors to all the areas and information within your website. It directly impacts user experience and unclear navigation increases bounce rate.
Recommended post: 10 common web design mistakes to avoid
Pop-ups – Pop-ups are very annoying to readers, on the other hand, pop-up ads are favorite to businesses. Of course, Pop-ups ads are great for increasing conversion rates, so you can’t ignore pop-ups at the same time you can’t irritate your readers too.
Google may penalize your website for an intrusive pop-up, so you need to design a non-intrusive pop-up that is acceptable to Google. Make sure that your pop-up occupies reasonable screen space and make sure that they are easily dismissable.
Security – Nowadays security of the website is very essential because if your website is not secured, google and other search engines considered that your website contains malware, viruses, or any dangerous materials. So they advised users that your website is unsafe to proceed.
Google also confirmed HTTPS is one of its important ranking signals since 2014.
Not fixing broken links
Broken links or dead links are really a crucial SEO mistake that you can’t ignore. Broken links are hyperlinks on a web page and when you click those links you can see a 404- page error which means that the link no longer works. A broken link occurs when links, link to an empty or non-existent web page.
Broken links are bad for user experience and they also negatively affect your rankings whether they are internal or external. Broken links are bad for google crawlers as well. If you have lots of broken links, google crawlers waste all of their time to index those non-existence pages instead of, index the quality and relevant pages.
The most common causes of the broken links are,
- Linking to a webpage that has been renamed or moved
- Linking to a web page that has been deleted
- Typos in the URL creation
- The third-party website is no longer available
- Linking to a webpage that was blocked by a firewall or other similar software
Whatever the cause, broken links are really annoying to your visitors, so you need to find and fix them immediately.
There are lots of tools available to detect the broken links on your websites such as online broken link checker and Screaming Frog. You can also use the Google search console to detect the broken links on your website.
Once you find the broken links, now is the time to fix them, use 301 redirects that help to redirect the broken page to the new location.
Having a business website is crucial for every business, and effective implementation of SEO is equally important as well. In this article, we are exploring SEO mistakes to avoid.
Poor social media presence
Social media is one of the best and effective places to promote your website or content in less amount time. Social media presence not only helps to get more traffic to your website but also helps you with the ranking in search engine result pages.
According to Google, social signals aren’t a direct ranking factor. But indirectly social signals such as likes and shares have a positive effect on the page’s ranking.
A website with high social media engagement gets a high rank in search engine result pages compared with websites with fewer social media engagements.
So you have to create a successful social media marketing strategy to boost your website traffic through social media. You don’t need to actively engage in all social media networks, but you have to find which social media platform is best for your audience and your brand.
Ignoring local SEO
Local SEO can’t be ignored by small businesses which target audiences in a specific geo-location. If you do not optimize for local search, your business won’t come on top of the search engine result page. So you may lose your customers to your competitors.
To optimize for local search include region-specific keywords in your titles, meta descriptions, and the body of the content. Register your business with Google my business and some online directories like Yelp, Foursquare, Apple Maps, etc. that help you to increase your exposure and that is free as well.
To register your business with Google and other directories you should include your name, address, phone number, description, opening and closing hours. Make sure that all the details are consistent across all places on the web such as your website, local directories, and your social media profiles as well.
Focusing on quantity of links rather than link quality
Backlinks are really important for SEO, but the fact is quality is more important than quantity. According to Google’s Penguin algorithm update, Google will penalize poor-quality websites based on backlinks. It is good to have 1 link from an authority site rather than have 10 poor-quality links.
The quality of backlinks is determined by a few factors. Such as,
- Backlinks from a relevant source
- Backlinks from reputable, trusted, and famous sites
- Backlinks from high authority (DA and PA) sites
- Position of a backlink in a content
- Number of root domains link to your website
- A good backlink sends traffic to your website
The above parameters help you to decide whether the backlink is high-quality or not.
Don’t buy or exchange links that are the biggest SEO mistake and google may penalize you for that. Actually, poor-quality links can badly hurt your search engine rankings. You can use Google’s disavow tool to disavow the bad or poor-quality links which hurt your rankings.
Creating well-researched, useful, informative content for your audience and creating infographics, videos are the best way to build quality backlinks to your website.
Ignoring regular website audits
You need to audit your website regularly to avoid crawling errors. Google spiders crawl every page of your website via its bot but sometimes the search engine fails to view some pages of your website due to the problems on it. So Google crawlers can not index those pages that they can not find. If the page is not indexed by Google spiders, that page doesn’t appear in search results.
Crawl errors significantly reduce the visibility of your website. So it is highly important to find out the exact issue, fix the issue, and resubmit the page to Google. Google search console coverage report will help you to find the crawl errors.
The following will help you to minimize your crawl errors Create your XML sitemap – The sitemap is an XML document that contains a list of pages of your website and it tells search engines about the structure of the website. An XML sitemap allows search engines to find, index the live URLs on your website.
A sitemap is used for search engine crawlers to follow all the links of the individual pages of your website, so the search engine spider won’t miss any page of your website. It helps to keep your website up–to–date at all times.
There are plenty of sitemap generator tools are available. You can use the XML sitemaps generator tool to create your website’s sitemap easily. Once you created your sitemap, now it's time to submit it on the Google search console, it helps to speed up the indexing process.
Use Internal Links – Internal linking is one of the most important factors for SEO. Internal link refers to links from one page to another page on the same website. Internal link helps search engines to navigate a website better and it gives more information to users about a particular topic. It also helps to spread link equity (page rank) around the website.
Find broken links – As I mentioned above, broken links are links that no longer work. It directly impacts your user experience and SEO rank. Broken links are one of the main reasons for the indexing issue. If your website has too many broken links, the search engine will stop crawling your website.
Using 301 redirects to the most relevant web pages is the best way to fix this issue.
Using similar anchor link text for every link
Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in an HTML hyperlink. Anchor text is very important for SEO and it is also very important for link-building strategy. But using the same anchor text for every link affects the user experience, it looks spammy to them and it affects your SEO rank as well.
Types of anchor text
Branded anchor text – branded anchor text is anchor text that uses a brand name as anchor text.
Generic anchor text – general word or phrase used as an anchor. It looks like Call- to –action. eg: click here, learn more.
Naked anchor text – raw URL used as an anchor text. eg: www.gecdesigns.com
Partial match anchor text – partial anchor text includes variants of keywords on it. eg: “Digital marketing strategies” linking to a page about digital marketing.
Exact match anchor text – it includes exact match keyword with the targeted page. eg: “tips to improve your SEO” linking to a page about “tips to improve your SEO ”
Image anchors – ALT text of the image is used as an anchor text.
Make sure that the anchor text looks natural to both the search engines and the users. Keeping your anchor text relevant to your content and using the right distribution of anchor text is an effective way to improve your search engine rankings. The right proposition to distribute the anchor text is mainly depends upon the page and your niche.
Place your anchor text where you can get more attention from your visitors. If your visitors find that the anchor text is potentially valuable to them, they definitely click those links.
Ignoring your website analytics and metrics
Finally, neglecting your analytics reports is a crucial SEO mistake and a costly mistake too. If you do not track your website metrics, you will never know whether you need improvement or not. Website analytics helps you to identify which strategy works for you and which doesn’t. You can use the Google analytics tool to measure your website’s performance.
You need to focus on some important website metrics such as,
- Organic traffic
- Click-through rate
- Bounce rate
- New vs returning visitors
All the above metrics are very important to develop or maintain your SEO strategy.
The above are the major SEO mistakes that you should avoid to get better search engine rankings. As I mentioned above SEO is all about user experience, so keep users in your mind before optimizing your website for search engines.
Content writer and Marketer
An enthusiastic SEO expert, passion for digital marketing with two years of expertise in writing Digital Marketing and SEO content. She is a Master of Business Administration graduate from a reputed university in south India. Her passion for SEO and online marketing helps her to stay up to date with the trends and strategies. Follow her on social media sites, to stay up to date with SEO, and Digital Marketing, Updates. To contact Raji, visit the contact page.