Ten Common Mistakes That Hurt Your SEO
If you want to generate leads and improve your search engine rankings, you have to do more than produce or share content on your website.
If SEO has not been your company’s main focus over the years, you may have to take a step back and look at your website. That’s right…your entire website. Each page must be part of your overall search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, and hidden mistakes in each page could inhibit your
Don’t worry; you’re not the first business that has made SEO mistakes. The following mistakes are very common on websites for businesses of all industries. If you want to get ahead of your competitors and reach readers first, address these mistakes and start optimising your website.
Taking Desperate Measures
Don’t get desperate with your SEO.
Do not expect to improve your search engine rankings overnight. Your business may need to edit and produce content for months before you see the returns that you want. In the meantime, SEO “experts” may try and offer you services and “tricks” that can get you to the top of search results, fast. These tricks may sound like a hack to the top, but in reality, if you are using dodgy SEO tactics, sooner or later Google will catch on, and repairing your reputation will be incredibly difficult.
When agencies offer these tactics, they are engaging in “black hat SEO.”
Black hat SEO practices include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Keyword stuffing
- Buying or selling links
- Any sort of spam
If you find out that your SEO agency is engaging in any of these practices, or they try to convince you to consider them, drop them. Focus on “white hat SEO” practices instead.
Poor Link-Building Practices
Link-building can be an effective SEO strategy if you follow the right guidelines. When you add links to your copy, you offer readers the chance to see your sources or read further about a topic. Crediting sources shows that your content is accurate and that you are not plagiarising information. You can also add internal links throughout your content to take readers to different parts of your site (contact page, other blog posts, etc.)
Hopefully, you can produce content that other people want to use as a link in their blog posts; it’s so important to write relevant, well-researched content. Before websites link to your site, you must use reliable links in your copy.
However, not all link-building practices are created equal. The following tactics will lower your search engine rankings and tell Google that you are not a reliable source for readers.
- Using spammy links
- Linking to sites that are not credible or accurate
- Integrating links by using separate sentences or CTAs (ex: “Read more about how SEO can impact your business.”)
- Broken links
- Creating link farms
- Linking to duplicate content
Integrate links into your copy naturally. Internal and external links should be used to enhance your copy and promote engagement where it is helpful to the reader. Internal links can ease readers along the buyer’s journey, but links that desperately try to improve your rank are not going to help your readers or your site.
When Google sees two pages with the same exact content, they don’t know which one to promote higher…so both pages are knocked down in search engine rankings. You do not want copied or plagiarised content on your website.
A handful of websites and apps offer duplicate content or plagiarism checks. Site audits also place a heavy emphasis on checking for duplicate content or pages. Don’t feel ashamed if your site has a large amount of duplicate content; over 29% of the web is considered duplicate content. Duplicate content could be created by accident. For example, if you have live versions of the same page with http: or https: at the front of the URL, these pages will be considered duplicate content.
The solutions eliminating duplicate content vary depending on what caused the duplicate content in the first place. Website owners can add redirects or attributes to duplicate pages, or take preventative measures to prevent duplicate content from appearing in the first place.
Does your site look beautiful on a desktop? Wonderful. Does it look just as beautiful on a mobile device? In 2017, over half of all global web traffic originated from mobile devices. If readers enter your site on a mobile device and can’t read copy or engage with the site, they will click away fast.
Forgetting to Use Headings
How does Google know what your pages are about and if they are relevant to your readers? Part of this process relies on the headings you use in your copy. H1 and H2 headings quickly sum up the information in your post; 43% of readers skim through blogs. Using these headings also makes your post easier to read. If you can effectively use headings, you can show readers (and Google) that you offer relevant content and encourage further engagement.
Limiting Your Website’s Landing Pages
Think one landing page is enough? Think again. Businesses with more landing pages generate more leads and promote more engagement among readers. Single digits isn’t enough; businesses with over 40 landing pages generate 12 times more leads than businesses with just one to five pages. Even just adding five more pages can increase conversions. Landing pages also give your website more link-building opportunities. As long as each page contains original content, more pages will help you move up in your rankings.
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is another task on the digital marketing checklist. This strategy analyses and tests the way that a business is using their landing pages and other online content to convert readers into leads and leads into customers. CRO and SEO are different processes, but they can be used together to create a positive user experience and generate more revenue for your business.
Relying on Outdated SEO Practices
Optimising your content can feel like a never-ending chore. The SEO practices you were using six months ago may not be your top priority when you are creating content in six months from now. In order to stay on top of SEO, you have to stay on top of updates to the Google algorithm and how the search engine determines your rank.
Forgetting to Measure or Analyse Your Content
So you’ve implemented all of the basic SEO best practices and you’re still not seeing the leads that you want to see. What’s happening? If you don’t have any data to show how users are interacting with your web page, you could all have the wrong idea about what to change or focus on next quarter.
Measuring and analysing your content doesn’t directly show Google that your site is relevant or that you deserve a spot on the top page of search results. The results of your efforts, however, can provide key insight into what your business needs to do to improve user experience or make your landing pages more relevant.
Focusing More on Small Details, and Less on Quality of Content
What is the most effective SEO tactic of all? According to 72% of marketers, the answer is simple: relevant content creation. The format of your pages is important, but readers aren’t coming to your pages for their H2 headings. Readers want answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. If you can produce content that readers want to read, engage with, and share, you are well on your way up the rankings.
How a Site Audit Can Help Improve Your SEO Practices Instantly
Optimising your content to increase your search engine rankings can feel like a tedious process. If your business has been around for a while, your website may have a long list of pages and posts that need quick edits.
Luckily, a lot of these mistakes have easy fixes: rearranging headings or deleting broken links can have a positive impact on SEO without any cost to your business. The best way to ensure that you are optimising your site to its fullest potential is to take your site through a full site audit. If your team doesn’t have time to conduct a site audit and make these tedious efforts, you’re in luck: you can hand off the job to Digital Squad.
The team at Digital Squad can help you optimise your site to reach the right consumers. In addition to an initial site audit, our research extends to see what your competitors and other businesses in your industry are doing to optimise their landing pages. We look at keywords and buyer personas to learn more about who is visiting your site, what they are looking for, and what they are currently finding. As Google updates their algorithm, we continuously make improvements and measure our efforts. When you hire Digital Squad, you form a partnership with Melbourne’s top SEO agency.
Megan Okonsky is a copywriter and content marketing specialist with Digital Squad. She is originally from Philadelphia but has landed in Melbourne after traveling for eight months in Southeast Asia and New Zealand. She also teaches vinyasa yoga online.