Ranking on a search engine can be a difficult task. Not only are there a number of different factors that go into each search engine’s algorithm, but they are constantly changing the metrics which makes it difficult to keep up. Not to worry, there are several ways to identify areas of improvement on your site. Here is a list of some common SEO mistakes to avoid that your site may be guilty of (and how to fix them).
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1) Keyword Stuffing Meta Data
The Issue: Keyword stuffing was common form in the bygone years of SEO. However, in today’s world, Google will penalize your website for placing too many keywords in your meta tags and on your on-page content. Before the penguin update you could place any number of keywords to best describe your business in the meta tag. However, Google felt that web masters were abusing this by placing a wide variety of unrelated keywords to appear in more search results and draw in more traffic. Tsk. Tsk.
The Fix: The best practice for meta keywords would be to limit your meta tag keywords from 3-5 in order to avoid penalties from Google. You will still get a boost on other search engines like Bing and Yahoo who still use the meta keyword tag.
2) Pages with non-unique titles
The Issue: Search engines use the title tags to determine the information is on each page. Having repeated title tags on multiple pages will cause the search engine to think that you have duplicate content causing search engines to hand out penalties.
The Fix: The best practice for title tags is to place keywords in the tag. This is a great way to optimize keywords, and avoid repeated titles, which will help to improve your search engine results.
3) No ALT tags
The Issue: Alt tags describe photos and links to search engines. Proper use of alt tags place your pages in more categories so that you come up in more search results. Not having alt tags can hurt your website because you are not identifying the subjects of your site. Another way alt tags are misused is by using terms like “click here” or “read more.” These alt tags are not very descriptive and they do not have much relevance to your content.
The Fix: Use relevant keywords sin your alt tags to show search engines that your content, links and photos are all related to the same topic.
4) No Site Map
The Issue: Having a site map on your website is essential to assisting users and search engines navigating your website. They allow users to reach any page on your website with fewer clicks. You want your web site to be as convenient for visitors as possible.
The Fix: Adding a site map for users is relatively simple and there are many tools you can use to help with the creation. Consider these three tools when creating a user site map: Yoast, Google XML Sitemap or build your own.
5) No Blog on Your Site
The Issue: Search engines like to see that you are updating your website with fresh, relevant content. Blogs are a great way to consistently post new content and interact with your audience. Blogs also bring in a steady stream of visitors to your site that are looking to more information. Drawing in a consistent flow of visitors shows that people enjoy your site, making the site appear more important to a search engine.
The Fix: Create content that is relevant to users and publish on a consistent basis. It’s important to note that while blogs are an easy way to add regular content to your site, don’t discount other types of content. New landing pages, refurbished content or link building pieces can also do wonders for search rankings.
6) Repeat (Ahem, Duplicate) Content
The Issue: Search engines look for new unique content. It is not a good idea to repeat content or take content from another site, search engines will pick up on this and penalize you for it.
The Fix: Original content is the best way to avoid any repeated content dangers. Brainstorm, create, repeat.
7) No Link Building
The Issue: Google recently announced the two greatest ranking factors: content on site (see above) and links pointing to your site. Link building involved having other websites link back to your own website(s) naturally. The more links you have, the more popular your site appears.
The Fix: If you haven’t focused on link building yet, now’s the time! Link building can be done in a number of different ways including interacting on forums, using social media, having a blog, running a promotion, or posting reviews on other websites.
8) No Keyword Integration in Content
The Issue: Search engines will crawl your content, but without specific keywords driving that content, there is no point of reference and overarching theme to grasp onto.
The Fix: The keywords you choose should appear in your title tag, meta keywords, meta description, H1 header tags, in the first 25 words of your content on the page, and in your alt tags. Having keywords in all of these locations allows search engines to see your site as uniform, and focused on the specific keyword topic. Be sure to complete thorough keyword & topical research before assigning one to a piece of content.
9) HTTP over HTTPS
The Issue: Search engines take security seriously. Google even went so far as start it’s own campaign around HTTPS. Securing your site is a ranking factor you can’t ignore, and in the long run, helps both you AND users.
The Fix: Migrate to HTTPS. Asap.
10) Unresponsive Site
The Issue: 2015’s “Mobilegeddon” update targeted sites that were not mobile-friendly. In May 2016 another mobile update was triggered. As more and more users utilize mobile devices to search and consume content, Search Engines want to see a responsive, mobile-happy site. The Fix: Work with your developers to ensure all pages of the site are responsive for all different device sizes. Also, ensure that functionalities are not broken from desktop to mobile. The mobile experience is becoming key to user engagement on your site.
Have you witnessed any of these SEO mistakes? Need more advice on these common SEO blunders? Feel free to comment below!