When I started my blog, I only thought of writing content and how I could rank faster. Without taking into consideration SEO mistakes and factors like keyword research, and image optimization among others really dragged my site down. (learn how to start a blog)
Am not saying my site is old, I started it a few months ago and have really learned what it takes to optimize the site for google.
When you are working on your search engine optimization (SEO), you want to do everything you can to rank high in organic search results.
However, with so many different factors at play, sometimes it’s difficult to determine what the most important aspects are for your business and what is going to have the most impact.
The list of SEO mistakes is endless, however, the majority of them are avoidable.
While you may think that you’re doing everything right with your site, often these seemingly small mistakes can have a big impact on your search rankings.
So, to help you get the most out of your website in 2022, here are 10 common SEO mistakes that you have to avoid at all costs:
List of most common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them:
- Thin, Outdated, and Duplicate Content
- Not Optimizing Your Images
- Ignoring Technical SEO
- Not Optimizing Your On-Page Content
- Poor Internal Linking Strategy
- Targeting the Wrong Keywords
- Keyword Cannibalization
- User Exploitation
- Not Having A Clear Content Strategy
- Your Site is Slow
Let us get started …
1. Thin, Outdated, and Duplicate Content
When it comes to SEO, content is king. One of the most common reasons why websites fail to rank well is because their content lacks depth and value.
Unfortunately, with the way that the web has evolved over the years, there are a lot of websites that have very thin content.
- Thin content can mean “Blog Posts that have little or no value.” This happens if you just want to rank and end up using copied or scraped content. This is against google’s content quality guidelines.
- This can also mean your website is made up of articles or pages with less than 300 words of content.
While there is nothing wrong with a website being filled with articles and pages that are under 300 words, this strategy will not work for every type of business.
The recently recommended number of words per blog post is between 1500 to 2000 words.
The goal should always be to add as much value as possible for your target audience.
- Duplicate content
- Content that is outdated or irrelevant. You should be frequently updating or refreshing your content so that it stays relevant at all times.
Stale content is one of the most common SEO issues. You might have published content so long ago, that it’s no longer relevant to users. Or you might have a lot of thin content with little value to searchers. Whatever the case, it’s clear that updating old content can be beneficial in terms of traffic and leads.
2. Not Optimizing Your On-Page Content
On-page SEO is an integral part of SEO. These include optimizing your content, title, tags, meta description, etc.
- Optimizing your content means having one focus keyword per blog post and writing high-quality content around it.
- The title is very important. It is what visitors are going to be searching for and what they will see first on the search engine results page (SERPs).
- Optimizing your meta description is very important. It helps Google and users understand what your content is all about even before they can click on it.
- Tags are very useful to group the same kind of content in one archive page where it can be accessed faster. One of the main reasons is that tags make it easy for Google to crawl your website.- Google has crawled more tags on my page which helps fasten the indexing process on all the relevant and related pages. See the image below.
If you want your site to rank well on search engines, then it’s important to optimize your on-page content as per guidelines set by Google.
Read my full guide to On-page SEO Techniques that can improve your ranking.
3. Not Optimizing Your Images
Images play an important role in how users perceive your website, but they can also affect your SEO performance.
It is easy to use images without thinking about their file size and naming conventions. Take care of these two things and not only will you see benefits in terms of site speed but also in how relevant your website is to searches for certain keywords.
How to do it?
This means using alt text and file names that include relevant keyword phrases. You should also use image sitemaps and descriptive captions.
Learn more on how to optimize images for Google.
But why is that important?
- Images help boost user experience
- They improve the structure of your site
- Images like infographics can have a deep and clear explanation than the words themselves
- They are easy to interplate
4. Ignoring Technical SEO
It’s important to optimize all aspects of your website if you want it to rank well on search engines.
Apart from optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, and content, you also need to make sure your site is technically SEO friendly.
Technical SEO is an important aspect of your website. Some technical SEO includes; submitting your XML sitemap to Google webmaster tools, Fixing and avoiding 404 error pages, and making your site secure (HTTPS not HTTP).
If there are a lot of issues with your site architecture or other technical factors, then even if you produce high-quality content, it won’t do as well in search rankings as it could if you had fixed those issues first.
Solving all those related issues can help you rank well on the search engine results page (SERPs).
5. Poor Internal Linking Strategy
On the last point, we talked about XML sitemaps but didn’t mention why they are important. XML sitemaps help Google crawl your website faster.
With the added advantage of internal linking, you can boost the process. When google is navigating through your pages it can access those links you linked to other relevant pages thus boosting your indexing and crawl.
Always make sure there are enough links to other relevant pages. The key is to keep them relevant. The best way to do this is by having a cluster topic on your website and then creating content alongside that page.
Before I go to the next point let me define internal links.
Internal links are links from one page on your website to another page within the same domain or subdomain.
They’re different from external links or backlinks that point to other websites or pages belonging to another domain or subdomain.
6. Keyword Cannibalization
Targeting Multiple Keywords In One Page.
Keyword cannibalization occurs when a page targets more than one keyword and competes with itself for those keywords.
This will hurt your site’s ability to rank for either one because Google doesn’t know which page to rank.
For example, if you have a blog post and a product page that each targets “how to use a credit card,” they’ll end up competing with each other for that keyword. The result is neither page will rank as highly as it should (especially if there are other sites out there also targeting that keyword)
You can solve this by only having one focus keyword on your entire website in each blog post. This makes it easy for Google to understand and explain each page differently.
7. Targeting the Wrong Keywords
When you start an SEO campaign, you need to identify what keywords you want your site to rank for. This is where many companies go wrong.
Instead of thinking in terms of “what words do I want people to find my brand under?” they think in terms of “what words do we think people are searching for that relate to our brand?”
The difference is subtle but important. You can’t control the keywords that people use to search the web, but if you make an educated guess about their intent and choose keywords accordingly, you can improve your chances of ranking well.
8. Not Having A Clear Content Strategy
Many websites don’t have a clear content strategy. They simply publish whatever they feel like posting – whether it’s an article, infographic, video, or something else entirely.
This means that they don’t have a clear idea about which topics they should be writing about, how often they should be posting new content, and what form this content should take.
This makes your site lack topical authority and google can’t understand what you are capable of. It ends up taking time to rank your page as it tries to figure out what pages are more important.
Always build content alongside just one topic. Having a topical authority on your site makes it for google to rank your site. learn more on topical authority.
9. User Exploitation
Content that does not match up with the target keyword. For example, you wrote a blog post about “how to start a blog,” but the content only focuses on hosting and domain as you try to sell your hosting affiliate links.
Make sure you have high-quality content that is relevant to the user query. The more users have a good experience on your site, the more they keep coming back.
This tells Google you have authority in your content and it can start ranking on the search results page (SERPs).
10. Your Site Being Slow
Slow websites don’t rank well on search engines, and they are not user-friendly either. Your users will bounce back if your site takes time to load and they will never return ever again!
You end up having higher bounce rates and fewer conversions.
11. Not Optimizing Your Homepage
The homepage of your website is typically the most important page on the site, and many websites are built where most of the internal pages link back to it.
Accordingly, it makes sense that you should optimize your homepage for a keyword or phrase that you want to rank for. However, we’ve seen many websites where this isn’t done at all (or isn’t done well).
This is a big mistake because it means that you’re missing out on an opportunity to rank for a highly-relevant term that can send you lots of traffic.
Mistakes and How To Avoid Them (Summary)
- Make sure your site has enough content, make sure each page of your site has at least 300 words.
- Make sure that the pages on your website are updated to avoid seeing a decline in traffic over time.
- Duplicate content can negatively affect your search engine rankings, and this may be intentional or unintentional.
- Make sure you optimize each of the images on your website for the best results.
- Technical SEO issues such as broken pages, redirects, and sitemaps will affect your rankings negatively.
- On-page content optimization is highly essential for a good ranking with Google.
- A poor internal linking structure will not allow Google to properly index all of your pages.
- If you target the wrong keywords, no one searching for those terms will find you. Targeting too many keywords on one page can confuse search engines and it’s also not user-friendly.
- A slow website will frustrate visitors, leading them to leave without interacting with any of its content. Google’s algorithm favors websites that are mobile-friendly in their rankings.
- Poor backlinks are links created just for the sake of SEO, and they do not help users out in any way.
SEO is a long-term strategy that requires consistency, persistence, and patience.
It’s not an overnight success story where you do a couple of things and then sit back and watch the money pour in.
SEO is about constant improvements. You make small tweaks, test the results, implement more changes and then rinse and repeat.
That’s why it’s important to learn from your mistakes so you can avoid them in the future.
Thanks for reading.
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