Search engine optimization is complicated enough as it is, so be sure to make your life easier by avoiding some of the most common mistakes that could end up hurting your website.
It’s not enough to ‘do’ SEO. If you’re going to do it, do it well. Here’s what you need to know.
- Not auditing your website
Before you get started on your website’s SEO, have it audited? This is a great way to see what you are currently doing well and which areas need improvement.
Particularly if you are working on your own SEO without the help of a professional digital marketing agency, you need to make sure that you get this right. The last thing you want to do is to start blindly making changes to your website without a plan of action.
- Keyword stuffing
You’ll likely be aware of the importance of keyword research, choosing a variety of relevant keywords that your ideal customers are actively searching on Google in relation to the products or services that you offer.
However, don’t make the mistake of going overboard when adding these keywords to your website.
Yes, it’s good to have a few mentions in your content, but if you are actively trying to hit a certain ‘quota’ to the detriment of your content’s readability, then you are making a mistake.
- Add the relevant keywords to your headers.
- Mention your primary keyword in the first paragraph of your website.
- Place your keywords as naturally as possible throughout.
Remember, the purpose of your chosen keywords is to: help your website visitors, and Google identify who you are and what you do.
- Failing to do proper keyword research
Just as you shouldn’t stuff your keywords into your website content, you also need to ensure that you conduct the proper keyword research beforehand.
Understand the difference between short and long-tail keywords, user intent, and which are most likely to be highly competitive / lower competition with higher conversions.
There are a variety of tools and guides you can turn to to help you perfect this process.
- Neglecting meta tags and descriptions
While not the end of the world, failing to optimize your meta tags and descriptions well can significantly impact your CTR (click-through rates).
Get your keywords in there and let both your prospective website visitors and Google know precisely what your website is all about. Also, create a compelling CTA (call to action) and attract as many clicks as possible!
- Be specific.
- Be relevant.
- Don’t use the web page content for your meta and create unique content instead.
- Buying tens of thousands of cheap backlinks
If someone approaches you with a ‘cheap deal’ on tens of thousands of backlinks, run a mile. You are not fortunate enough to have found the ideal workaround to your website’s backlink profile needs. These links will be coming from low-quality, irrelevant websites with poorly written content.
If you want to build links, do it the right way:
- Partner with local businesses.
- Be active in your local community.
- Create high-value ‘share-worthy’ content with stats and infographics.
- Develop a guest-blogging strategy and create valuable content for industry-relevant websites.
There is no such thing as cutting corners in SEO, only shortcuts to penalization.
- Having plagiarised and duplicated content
A) Don’t copy & paste content from your competitors. Invest in unique, high-quality content creation instead. If you want to stand out from the competition, don’t emulate them.
B) Don’t duplicate content on your website to save time. This is common when writing service area pages, whereby the content stays more or less exactly the same on each page, while only changing the geographical keyword. It’s a waste of time and won’t yield positive results.
- Having too many outbound links
Only link to external websites when it adds value to your users. Ideally, you want to keep all of your website visitors on your website for as long as possible. However, if there are some instances where they can gain further information (e.g., from a government website), then do so.
Keep it simple. Keep it tidy. Keep it in-house.
- Not linking internally
Internal linking is an excellent way to improve the overall user experience on your website while guiding users to resources they need / never knew they needed.
Hyperlinking between pages is great practice, and Google loves to see it. Just make sure you link with intention.
- Have little to no website content (or far too much)
You need to find the ideal balance of content on your website. Don’t just spam your keywords onto the page and hope for the best. You need to populate your website with as little or as much information as is necessary to help customers find what they need and make an informed decision – ultimately leading to a paid conversion.
Optimize your content for SEO. Write for ‘people-first’. Invest in a gifted sales copywriter.
- Going it alone
If you are a small business owner and you want to save as much money as possible, it may be tempting to try and do all of your SEO by yourself. The fact is, in order to gain genuine and sustainable results, it takes an awful lot of time, resources, and trial and error.
While it’s not impossible to experience some success with SEO using in-house resources, you’ll have far better results if you focus your precious time on running your business and outsourcing your digital marketing needs to an SEO firm.
Treat it less like a ‘cost’ and more like an ‘investment’.
The best way to do this: shop on reputation and results. Look for an agency that has a proven track record of success, a wealth of 5* reviews, and real-life case studies for you to review. If you do this, you’ll be far more likely to achieve an attractive ROI!
Again, if you are going to do SEO, do it properly. Take the time to research each task before you make any changes to your website and create new content with intention.
There are so many costly mistakes that can easily be avoided. Just as there are many minor changes, you can make to your website that can have a massively positive impact on your long-term SEO efforts.
We hope you’ve found this article insightful and wish you the best!