title graphic for GrowTraffic blog about most common SEO mistakes

Successful SEO (search engine optimisation) allows our target audience to find our website on search engines, such as Google and Bing. Without it, potential customers wouldn’t be able to find our website when searching for the products and services we offer.

However, good SEO takes skill, knowledge and experience. So, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of common SEO mistakes.

If your website isn’t ranking as well as you hope, it may be because you’re making simple SEO mistakes when optimising your site.

In this blog, we’re going to share the most common SEO mistakes and offer our advice on how to avoid them.

Not Having A Clear SEO Strategy

Before you start optimising your website, you first need to understand your audience. Keyword research, competitor analysis and search trends are just a handful of factors you need to focus on when understanding your audience.

Once you have a better understanding of your audience and the way they use search engines, you can create an SEO strategy. Your SEO strategy should be a clear roadmap with achievable goals. Your team should be familiar with the plan and should be aware of who is doing what.

There are various tools and platforms that can help with your SEO strategy, including SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner, SERanking, Moz and Ubersuggest.

Duplicating Content

Adding content to your website that is already available elsewhere can damage your rankings. And once your rankings have taken a hit, it can take a long time for them to recover. Content should always be fresh and unique.

Also, be sure to avoid using duplicate meta descriptions, H tags, alt image tags and titles.

Creating Low-Quality Content

When it comes to content, quality always trumps quantity. Making content just for the sake of it won’t help you rank higher in Google. Instead, you should be focusing on producing fresh, well-written content that is relevant to the search queries of your audience.

Focusing on user search intent, which is the motivation behind a user’s search query, will help you create content that meets the requirements of your target audience.

Relevant, valuable content is usually link-worthy, meaning it may result in organic backlinks. Considering backlinks are one of the biggest ranking factors, creating link-worthy content is more important than ever.

Your content should be at least 800 words and should aim to answer a question or provide valuable information that your target audience is interested in. Website content should be mixed up too. Include a variety of content, including blogs, How-To guides, infographics and video content to keep things fresh and relevant.

Missing Out Links Within Content

Your content, including your blogs and webpage copy, should include both internal and external links. Internal links take the user to other pages on your website and external links take the user to other websites.

You should always include at least two internal links in a blog. And don’t forget to choose the anchor text wisely.

For example, if I was writing a blog about web design for SEO, I would use the key phrase “web design for SEO” as anchor text and link to the web design page of the GrowTraffic website. I might also link to another blog about web design or SEO that I believe the reader will find useful.

When linking out to external sites, ensure the website is high-quality and relevant to the topic and the reader. Aim to link out to a website that has a higher domain authority than yours.

Overlooking Meta Tags

Meta tags are crucial for SEO success as they let search engines know what your page is about and who should be reading it. When publishing content, you should always aim to write unique and catchy meta tags that include the keyword. Meta tags include:

  • Title tags – Keep the title unique, catchy and to the point
  • Meta description tags – What is the page about? Outline it briefly here.
  • Heading tags – Content should include H2 tags and even H3/H4 tags where necessary
  • Image alt attributes – when adding images to content, ensure to fill in the alt attributes

Yoast is an excellent plug-in to have on your website. It helps you improve the optimisation of your website with simple tips.

Forgetting About Local Search

If you have a business that provides products and services within a specific location, or if you have a physical shop, you should be optimising for local search. Local search allows web users in your area to find your website.

image of map to depict importance of local search

To make the most out of local search, incorporate region-specific keywords and phrases into your web pages and blogs, paying particular attention to the meta tags. You should also include your address and local phone number on specific web pages.

Listing your company on local web directories and review sites can also help increase traffic to your website. Google My Business, Yelp and Thompson Local are just a handful of great sites.

Only Optimising For Generic Keywords

Generic keywords usually have an incredibly high search volume, meaning tons of people are searching for them.

But this also means they have high competition, meaning it’s unlikely that your website will rank high for them. Plus, optimising for generic keywords often attracts web users that have no interest in your business or the services you offer.

Instead, you should be focusing on niche keywords and long-tail key phrases. These will have a lower search volume but will increase your chances of attracting your target audience.

Overlooking Page Speed

Page speed has always been important. If you think about it, there will have been times when you have left a website because it is slow. To keep web users on your website and reduce bounce rates, your website should be fast.

And with Google’s new update, page speed and responsiveness is more important than ever before. The new update, which is currently rolling out, will prioritise page experience as a ranking factor.

Following the update, Google will focus on three core web vitals as part of the page experience ranking signal. These core web vitals are related to speed, responsiveness and visual stability.

So, if your website is slow to load, unresponsive or has unstable elements, it will likely impact your rankings.

Using Old-Fashioned Techniques To Gain Backlinks

Backlinks are crucial for SEO. They show Google that other sites are linking back to your website because it is valuable, relevant and trustworthy. Without quality backlinks, you will struggle to rank high on Google.

However, using old-fashioned (and often black-hat) techniques, such as buying backlinks, can harm your website. In recent years, Google has been cracking down on spammy backlinks and black-hat techniques. And the search giant will penalise your website if you stick to old-fashion techniques.

Instead, you should be focusing on creating amazing, link-worthy content that people want to link back to. You can also build organic backlinks through outreach.

Not Using Analytics

With the right tools, you can track and measure the success of your SEO efforts. You can see which keywords you are successfully ranking for and gain an understanding of which keywords and phrases are converting web users into customers.

The data from analytical tools can also be used to reduce bounce rate, increase session duration and improve user experience.

Google Analytics, Search Console and SERanking are useful analytics tools.

Get In Touch

GrowTraffic is a multi-award-winning digital marketing agency based in Lancashire and Yorkshire. We specialise in  SEO but provide a wide range of digital marketing services.

If you would like help perfecting your SEO techniques, get in touch with our team today. You can call us on 0161 706 0012 or email us at [email protected].

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