6 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid and How to Fix Them
SEO has proven to be one of the most effective digital marketing strategies of our time. The future of your business can change dramatically with just one or two skillfully planned and executed SEO campaigns. Unfortunately, not every business owner can afford to hire a great team. SEO is all about the long game and requires an investment forcing many new business owners into DIY SEO or worse-seeking cheap SEO services.
Trial and error can cost you a lot of time, money, and heartache. This article will help you identify a few common SEO mistakes to avoid and be aware of. You’ll also learn how you can fix them promptly and stay on track to increasing your website traffic and organic positions.
#1. Over Optimizing Your Web Page
Over-optimization is an issue that Google’s algorithm picks up and can slow (or stop) your page from ranking highly in the search results. It’s not just keyword stuffing in the text that makes a page over-optimized (keyword stuffing is loading your page full of keywords you’re trying to rank for). You can over-optimize a webpage by using the same keywords in your meta tags and then linking to the page with the same exact match keyword.
It’s best practice to have your keyword included in your URL, H1 tag, one image alternative tag, and the rest should be keyword variations. If you follow this protocol, you don’t need to repeat keywords in your content. Your keyword-to-text ratio should be less than 1%. An easy way to check how many times your keyword is repeated is to use the “find function” in your browser.
Google has a much better understanding of content and doesn’t rely on counting the number of times a keyword is repeated. An easy way to make sure your on-page optimization is on par with what’s expected is to use a plugin like Yoast. This tool displays a “stop light” rating on how well your page is optimized along with suggestions on how to make it better.
It won’t give you any details on your off-page SEO but it’s a good start to making all your pages optimized.
Use a Free Tool to Check Your Off-Page Optimization
If you’re doing your SEO, you probably don’t have access to some of the paid tools that can provide advanced data. However, if you want to check the backlinks on a web page you can always a free tool like Ahrefs free backlink checker.
This tool will show you the top 100 backlinks on a page but more importantly (for optimization purposes), the top 5 anchor text links on your page.
For best results, analyze the top 10 pages that rank for your target keyword in the search results. Use them as a baseline comparison to get the optimization of your page closer to what Google is ranking in the top positions.
#2. Under-Optimizing Your Webpage
One of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid is under-optimization. At the end of the day, every page should target a major keyword and keyword topic. This means running through your checklist of on-page optimization items to include when publishing or editing your page.
Remember your on-page optimization works hand in hand with your off-page optimization. You can have a beautifully optimized page and then spoil it by repeating exact match keyword anchor text links (or vice versa).
#3. Publishing Content No One’s Looking For in Search Engines
Did you know that 90% of pages on the internet receive NO traffic?! It sounds extreme but those are the real statistics. So many website owners will start a blog without doing any keyword research. It’s a common SEO mistake to avoid because it’s literally like fighting a boxing match while blindfolded.
Without confirming the average number of monthly searches, you won’t know whether your target keyword or phrase is being searched for at all.
It’s also crucial to know how difficult it is to rank of your target keyword. If you’ve selected a highly competitive keyword, you may never rank for it because it might take hundreds or thousands of backlinks! You need to get a good understanding of how long it will take and whether it’s a worthwhile investment of your time and resources.
Keyword research is one of the largest components of an SEO strategy. If you bungle it up you won’t get the most out of the performance of your website. Learn how to read a keyword report so you can make informed decisions on your SEO efforts. There are tons of free keyword tools that you can use to, at the very least, confirm whether your keyword selection will pay off.
#4. Using a Poor Linking Strategy
Link building is one of the hardest components of an SEO strategy. It takes skill and experience to pull it off effectively. There are so many things that will trigger red flags and send your page backward in the search results or just be ignored altogether. If you build a link and your website suddenly falls a few pages in ranking-you know Google didn’t like it.
A sudden drop in ranking could mean you’ve over-optimized your anchor text (as mentioned above). It could also mean you’ve been flagged for unnatural links.
Technically, any form of link building is against Google’s best practices. It’s silly, but Google clearly states that links should happen organically. Look at their page on quality guidelines for link building.
Ironically, many of the listed practices on this page that are “frowned upon” actually work! For instance, people buy paid links all the time. As long as the website you’re buying a link from is doing it right and has great metrics these links will improve the organic position of the pages it links to.
Guest posting remains a common practice for securing quality backlinks that move the needle. Keep in mind if it’s obvious you’ve paid for a link (the webmaster is publicly advertising paid links and making link farms) or doing anything in excess, you’re going to be flagged.
Follow the Criteria for Acquiring Good Backlinks
First off, the biggest factor is that the linking website should be extremely relevant to your own. The content that your link is on should be on topic with the content that’s being linked.
A link from a home improvement website is a good choice for a construction company or general contractor. A link from an architectural website is also a great link for a contractor.
A link from a lingerie website to a general contractor website? No connection, no relevance-no good!
Make Your Links Look as Natural as Possible
Don’t keep linking from the same website, don’t link with the same anchor text. Think of if you were sharing something with a friend. You would probably send them the naked URL or the name of the website or company. Brand and URL links should make up the largest percentage of your link profile.
If you keep using the same anchor text or if you ONLY link with keyword-rich anchor text, things start to look a little fishy. Mix things up and when in doubt use brand and naked URL links.
Mix Up the Type of Links You’re Building
An established website that ranks with great content will naturally build links. It just happens. From crappy news sites to really good articles and mentions. Weird directories sometimes post your site or you might find your link in a “best-of listicle/article.”
The point being is that when you rank, links come from all different types of websites.
Maintain a healthy mix of the links you build. Don’t only go for the guest post links. Throw in some random links too. Mix in some easy links from directories, profiles, and web 2.0’s. They’re not the best link types of links but they do allow you to blend in a more natural appearance of link acquisition.
Save the most important anchor text links for the websites with the highest DR. It’s best to check Ahrefs to identify Domain Rating. For some reason, a lot of websites can manipulate Moz metrics (DA or Domain Authority is a popular metric) and it can throw off planning your optimization. SEMRush is also a great option for SEO data and reporting.
#5. Uploading Large Un-Compressed Images
Whenever uploading images to your website, you need to compress them, so they take up as little space as possible. Page speed has been an important metric for years now. It’s known that people will not stay on your page if it takes too long to load. Google has warned about it as well and includes it as a ranking factor. That makes this one of the common SEO mistakes to avoid.
#6. Publishing Content That Doesn’t Get the Click
If you’re seeing a lot of traffic to your pages but not getting the calls you may have a conversion problem. It’s a well-known fact that high-quality, informative content ranks. However, you also need to think about how your audience is thinking, shopping, and researching the product or service you’re offering.
Even if you write some fantastic, long-form content that ranks for great keywords you may not be getting as many calls or forms sent if your page looks like a concrete wall of text. People shy away from reading so one of the common SEO mistakes to avoid is writing for SEO purposes.
Optimized your web pages for search engines AND users. Make sure that if you’re offering a service, the page looks professional, and appealing, and has a lot of calls to action to get you the click as soon as possible.
Optimization is Not an Overnight Process
SEO has so many subtle facets to the process that it’s common for people to make SEO mistakes. The beauty of the game is that you can fix them and optimize your pages based on your current results and desired results. As long as your page continues to increase the traffic and improve its organic positions you’re on the track.