Common SEO Mistakes
It’s perfectly normal to make these mistakes when you’re just starting out. After all, it’s better to make mistakes than to do nothing at all if you are doing something you are moving in the right direction. Making mistakes is just a natural part of the learning process and that is why you should think about them.
The most common reason for making SEO mistakes is not understanding enough about SEO basics to really apply them properly.
Search engine optimization is something that you can learn to apply in just a couple of weeks, but to really master it it will take months and even years. Do not be discouraged though, for the rewards that you will reap will be immeasurable beyond belief. There is no stronger power in a marketers’ toolkit than knowing SEO. that is the single best source of reliable traffic that you may equip yourself with.
You are not using a keyword research tool
Keywords are the lifeblood of SEO. Search engines use them like tracks on which they move through the webpages and rate content based on the user’s query. They are not omnipotent of course, nor should you just stuff them in your content hoping that you will get indexed for them alone, but they are still important.
Before you start writing content you should first do your keyword research. Writing your content beforehand and then trying to optimize it for SEO is a big mistake.
You see, the first thing you should do is to find out just what the people are searching for. Keep in mind that you are not writing content for yourself but for the users who are looking for certain information or advice.
If you try to guess what that might be, oh boy, you don’t stand a chance to rank high on Google. Sure, you may get lucky, but that is no strategy.
There are plenty of keyword research tools that can help you with finding out the relevant keywords in your industry or niche and most popular ones are:
- Google keyword tool
Using any of these will give you an idea of the search volume of certain keywords, their popularity and just by knowing those numbers you can guess at what kind of traffic you can expect in the long run.
Now that you have a list of keywords that you want to rank for, you can start writing content that revolves around those keywords. Just including them in your content will give you a much-needed boost on the search results page.
2. Keyword stuffing
Using too many keywords in your content is just as bad as not using any. If you are using keyword stuffing (including too many keywords just for the rankings) you are stuck in times long past. The search algorithms have evolved and they can easily scan your content and deduce if you’re writing it just to rank higher on certain keywords or are you truly answering on users’ search queries.
You see, Google wants to provide users with content that is most relevant to their queries. That is called semantic search and if you just stuff in keywords you will quickly be penalized.
Writing content in such a way appears unnatural and since Google is using a tool known as Latent Semantic Indexing it can quickly deduce whether you are writing relevant content or not.
3. Duplicating content/Plagiarizing
Now, you may even find yourself tempted to quickly plagiarize an article and publish it as your own, but don’t do it. That couple of hours that you have just saved yourself will cost you plenty after search engines are done with you.
You see it’s quite easy for Google and other engines to deduce if your content is unique or not. They have indexed all the pages on the internet after all and if you publish duplicate or plagiarized content don’t expect it to be indexed.
Not only that but you are earning some minus points.
4. You don’t use analytics to find out what kind of content converts
This is something which quite a lot of people forget about. You see, Search Engine Optimisation is about providing users with content that they want and like. When you write something that captures peoples’ interest and imagination they love to read it. And Google and other search engines will love you for it. When you publish a piece of content Google is testing is it any good or not, and it may even give you a boost in rankings to see if the users will click on your content and read through it.
While you may get tempted to write content only for high-volume keywords that will get you a lot of traffic it’s better to start small and slowly move through the ranks. Writing content that is optimized for low-search keywords will ensure that you have a steady stream of traffic that will turn into customers or clients along the way.
After all, you are not running a charity, the purpose of writing content is to attract user’s which will be converted into something more palpable further down the line.
That is why it’s crucial to use analytics tools to find out what kind of content has the best traffic and the highest conversion rate among the ones that you published. That way you can find out more about your audience and you can start writing content that is more suited to their wants and needs.
You should set up conversion tracking so that you can compare keyword phrases to see what kind of combinations produce the best results. Knowing that will give you an idea in which direction you should be moving.
5. You’re not using unique title tags and meta tags
If you are not using title tags and meta descriptions to provide users with some additional information about your content you are missing out big time. That is one of the things that are easy to implement and can give you a huge increase in traffic.
- Every page needs to have a unique title
- Write meta descriptions for every page
The title description is the title of the webpage that will be visible for the users when clicking on your content. Page titles are shown as text when bookmarking a website and are shown when sharing your page on social media.
So now you are probably aware of why having a descriptive and unique title tag is very important for the performance of your content.
Meta descriptions are optional tags up to 155 characters in length and are basically another chance of getting users to click on your page when browsing through the search results.
So, make an effort and really give it your best shot to give every page on your website a unique and descriptive description. Make it as persuasive as possible. For example, your homepage should have a description about yourself or your company and should definitely include any keywords that may be relevant.
Also, make sure to repeat the same process for each and every page so that people would want to click on your listing.
6. You don’t have quality backlinks and have plenty of low-quality ones
Remember, quantity over quality. While having plenty of backlinks is a strong signal to Google and other search engines that your content is relevant since a large number of pages links to your content if the quality of those links is poor, what does that say about your page?
Remember the old saying: “You are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with.”. Well, apply that old adage to your content and you may get something like “ “The ranking of your content is the average rating of the web pages linking to it.”
Well, maybe not entirely true, but you get the point.
When implementing an SEO strategy it’s more important to have one quality link that will give you more traffic than hundreds of low-quality blog links. While those kinds of links are much harder to get, that is the exact reason why search engines value them much more. They will serve as a reliable indicator of your website’s quality.
7. You do not use internal linking properly
Internal linking is a simple process of properly linking the pages on your website and it’s important for plenty of reasons. On one hand, you are helping search engines discover more pages from your website so that they can deduce the structure of your site in general and on the other hand when a piece of content has a lot of internal links you are giving a signal to the search engine that that page is very important for your site.
Internal links are also great for SEO purposes as well as your users. They can better navigate through your website and learn more about its structure. User’s, on the other hand, can stay longer and learn more about a specific topic that they are interested in.
When internal linking uses anchor texts that include keywords relevant to their page’s content. Avoid anchor text like “click here”, “there”, “this” or anything else that doesn’t really help Google nor your users find out what the page is all about.
Also, make sure that the anchor text flows naturally and don’t just keywords stuff it. It will feel unnatural and will repel users from licking.
If you have found yourself doing these beginner mistakes, do not be too hard on yourself. The first step in learning anything is learning about the things to avoid, after some time the entire process of Search Engine Optimization will flow naturally through you whenever you publish a piece of content. It’s important to stick to the basics and make a reliable workflow that will ensure your content’s quality.