Quite naturally, mistakes are commonplace in SEO. However, these 6 SEO mistakes make you look like a loser. They are the SEO mistakes to avoid at all cost!
SEO is a complex blend of art and science.
However, the potential rewards mean that many businesses are investing heavily in SEO. If a business masters its approach to organic SEO, the rewards can be plentiful. Alas, SEO errors are commonplace when a business takes a DIY approach.
Making mistakes in your SEO approach will always have consequences.
At best, substandard SEO practices will stunt and slow your business growth. At worst, your online reputation can take a severe hit – one that takes months or even years to recover from.
Thankfully, help is at hand.
The Top SEO Mistakes to Avoid
In this article, we will discuss six commonplace errors made by web administrators and marketers. These are SEO mistakes that make you look like an amateur.
Our goal is to aid you in avoiding these frequent pitfalls, as well as providing quick fixes if you have already done so.
They are the SEO mistakes to avoid at all cost. Because they make you look dumb.
#1. Substandard website performance
Many SEO consultants will tell you that the most significant issues with an SEO strategy have nothing to do with SEO. Instead, the problem lies with the performance of your website. Ensure that you undertake regular audits and review your Core Web Vitals to keep your site working at full capacity.
The first consideration is speed. Ultrafast Wi-Fi is now standard in most homes, and 21st Century users have no interest in waiting for web pages to load. Website load time longer than three seconds is likely to start leading to a higher bounce rate. Google will notice and penalize your SEO page ranking accordingly.
Search engines have no interest in promoting sites that will frustrate users with slow loading speeds. Rectify this by removing anything that slows down page speed, such as autoplaying videos or oversized images. If this does not help, you may need to rewrite your code.
Just as important as speed on a standard computer is mobile-friendliness. Internet browsing on smartphones and tablets is now more popular than the traditional desktops that many sites are built on. If your website takes a while to reformat itself and adapt to a smaller screen, you risk losing most of your target audience. Even worse, if the website cannot be used online, your page ranking will plummet like a stone.
Finally, consider the user experience of visiting your website. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and ask yourself if the design and performance of your site meet their needs. Is the navigation clear and direct? Is the visitor bombarded with annoying pop-ups or other distractions? Is the site packed with unbroken prose and lacking high-res images? If you answered yes to any of these questions – or notice anything else that leads to a negative user experience – take action immediately.
#2. Focusing on traffic over conversions
All webmasters love traffic. It’s the bread and butter of online business, after all. Traffic will only go so far, though. To enjoy a successful SEO strategy, you’ll need to turn this traffic into conversions. If not, your website is the equivalent of a brick-and-mortar storefront that attracts plenty of browsing customers, none of whom make a purchase.
The key to avoiding the outcome is embracing analytics. Review your keywords (more on that anon), ensuring that they convince visitors to your site to convert. What that entails depends on your business model. Whether you are looking to guide users toward a sale funnel, click on an advert to monetize your site, or hoping to send your content viral, you’ll need to encourage action.
The main reason for this is that traffic alone will not keep the lights on. In truth, it’s not even a reliable barometer of how your website appeals to users. All traffic is not equal, something taken into consideration when Google assigns a page ranking to your website. Organic traffic, achieved through an SEO strategy, will impress our search engine overlords most – but even then, unless the traffic also leads to conversions, its impact is limited.
Review your copy, especially your keywords, if your traffic is not converting. You may be attracting plenty of clicks, but not the right audience. If visitors to your site expect a blue triangle, they will not purchase a green circle. In the longer term, this traffic will harm your business as it will lead to a sizable bounce rate.
Equally, ensure that your SEO campaigns are optimized for potential sales, especially if you’re paying for them through social media. Include compelling calls to action and consider your target audience when choosing a pay-per-click platform. If your products or services are geared toward Generation Z, for example, they are likelier to convert through a video created by a reputable influencer. Older audiences, meanwhile, are likelier to be found on Facebook and will be swayed by solid copy that offers the assurance of quality.
#3. Failure to maximize keywords
Time to discuss the most widely renowned but often misunderstood aspects of SEO – keywords. Contrary to what some people still believe, stuffing a website with keywords is not the way to improve your page ranking. That was the case in the internet’s earliest days, but today it would be considered thin copy. We’ll explain what that means in section 5 of this guide.
So, what is the optimum keyword density when using this SEO tactic in website copy? In an ideal world, aim for around 2%. If you’re seeking to maximize the keywords “blue triangle” in a 1,000-word blog post, you should mention blue triangles around 20 times. Keep it natural, and don’t shoehorn keywords at any opportunity. You need to remember that you’re writing for humans, not just to appeal to Google’s algorithms.
You do not need to use all these keywords in your copy, either. Images are a great way to slip keywords onto your web page under the radar. When adding images or infographics to your site, apply alt text, labels, or meta tags to these components. Users will not automatically see this text, so your site will not look as though it has been spammed, but they will bolster your page ranking all the same.
You should also embrace keywords in your subheadings. It’s considered SEO best practice to break up prose roughly every 300 – 500 words with a sub-heading. When you do so, include at least one keyword in an H2 or H3 subheading – again, sticking with the proviso that it appears natural to a reader. The same applies to hyperlinking, too. Include at least one relevant keyword in your anchoring text when redirecting visitors to third-party websites. In many respects, though, hyperlinks are a potential minefield. So much so that they merit independent discussion.
More SEO Mistakes to Avoid
Now to the rest of the SEO mistakes that make you look like an SEO amateur. You must avoid them like a plague.
#4. Misusing links
Backlinking is a critical element of SEO, but it’s a tricky balancing act to get right. Simply filling a blog post with as many external links as possible will not endear your site to Google. If anything, it will make your content cumbersome to read and negotiate – and may leave users questioning your expertise. If you’re constantly linking to sites that explain what you’re discussing, why bother reading your take on the topic?
Links are best used to provide evidence of a claim, typically involving statistics. In addition, links should always stem from high-authority sites. One link from a site that scores 90 on Ahref’s website authority checker is better than five from sites that score 40 or 50. If your resource comes from a non-commercial source, so much the better.
Another trick to avoid is so-called “link farming.” This is the act of creating a family of websites and constantly linking between them, attempting to drive traffic throughout your network and artificially bolster the page ranking of each site. Google will quickly notice if countless links direct users to and from the same locations, with page ranking penalties following. To this end, avoid linking to the same source more than once in any single blog post – even if it’s considered of high authority.
Finally, review your content periodically for broken links too. The internet moves quickly, and content that you hyperlink to may be removed, edited, or sold without notice. At best, you may be linking to a 404 error message, which will frustrate users. At worst, the site could have been sold or hacked. If your content links to a website of poor reputation, Google’s algorithms will judge you as guilty by association.
#5. Neglecting your online reputation
Every business relies on a positive reputation to thrive, and the same applies online. If you ignore your standing online, your SEO strategy is destined to fail. That means embracing local SEO and interacting with your target audience through social media.
Let’s start by discussing the latter. Social media may seem like a different concern to search engine optimization, but Google pays attention to your social profiles. Link these to your website where possible, treating each resource as a sibling to the other. Perhaps more importantly, ensure you interact with your social media following. Likes and shares are great, but replying to comments will always garner more SEO approval.
This interaction also applies to online reviews. It’s highly advisable to set up a free Google My Business (GMB) account. Not only will this make it likelier that Google’s algorithms will pick you up, but it provides further opportunities for consumer interaction – and visible approvals of your products or services.
A GMB account will also bolster your local SEO, which should never be neglected. While the internet has made the world a much smaller place and enabled global trading, nearby audiences deserve unique consideration.
To keep your local SEO strategy on-point, check your business listings in the many and varied online directories. Ensure that each has an identical – and correct – set of information, such as opening hours and contact information. If consumers are subjected to frustrating misinformation about your business, your reputation will suffer.
#6. Creating inferior copy
We’ve saved arguably the most commonplace yet avoidable mistake for last. We cannot stress enough that, when it comes to SEO performance, quality matters. Google is a business boasting exacting standards that users expect. Google is only interested in directing visitors to the best, most authoritative, highly relevant content possible. It’s your job to convince the search engine’s algorithms that your links meet these criteria.
The first thing you need to pay attention to is Google’s algorithms.
At the time of writing, the two most prevalent are EAT and YMYL. EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This means that your content should speak with confidence, positioning itself as a firm opinion leader on your chosen niche – backing up any claims where necessary.
On the other hand, YMYL as an acronym stands for Your Money, Your Life. If your site revolves around health, finance, or anything else that could negatively impact a user’s life if they follow your advice, it is unlikely to rank. If your site operates in the YMYL niche, be very careful about the language that you use. Avoid bold claims and promises, such as, “Product X will prevent disease Y” in favor of claiming that “Product X contains ingredient Z, which can be effective in combating disease Y.”
Your next concern is keeping your content strictly relevant. Google denies that word count influences page ranking, but anecdotal evidence suggests that longer posts are more likely to appeal to EAT. However, you need to ensure that these additional words remain on-topic.
It’s a similar argument to our discussion back in point 2. If you only have 500 words to say about blue triangles, do not post a 1,500-word blog that meanders into a debate on the equivalent merits of green circles and red squares. These should be three separate posts.
Plagiarism is to be strictly avoided for obvious ethical and business reasons.
In addition to damaging your reputation, you could end up in legal trouble for breaching copyright law. You’re unlikely to see much SEO joy from using spinning software to create minor variations to text from reputable sources, either. This may trick Google in the very short term, but when discovered, your page ranking is likely to stagnate at best. You certainly will not be rewarded with a promotional push.
The same also applies to poor spelling, grammar, and formatting. One perfect post will be considerably more valuable than three substandard alternatives.
Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid – Your Turn
We all make mistakes. That’s why pencils have erasers.
And SEO mistakes are no different.
However, as we’ve seen, some SEO mistakes are so bad, they make you look dumb. Thankfully now you know.
Hopefully, you will take heed 🙂
Do you make any of these 6 common SEO mistakes and school boy errors?
Leave a comment below and join the conversation.
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Join The Conversation
Lindsay P says
These are great tips!
I just started a blog and will definitely be using these tips when thinking about SEO!
Thanks for sharing.
Pedro Okoro, Chief Editor says
Thanks for stopping by.
Joe has done an amazing job in producing an amazingly detailed article on the 6 common school boy SEO mistakes that make one look like a blogging amateur.
Delighted you found the article useful.
Ramil Hinolan says
I am not so good in SEO. I hope one day, we can optimize our site.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks for the tips! I needed to hear some of these for sure, since I’m just starting out.
Super valuable post – I’m just learning how to optimise SEO so this is very useful for beginners!
Great stuff! #1 especially grinds my gears. You HAVE to have a website that performs well, otherwise, not only will your SEO tank, but people won’t wait for your page to load. Thanks for the informaation!
Thanks for putting together all these times. I know that my load time really affects my SEO… any tips for improving that when you have a Squarespace blog?
Celebrate Woman Today says
SEO is more that just keywords. Content is also important to gain and keep the audience.
Great post! I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts! For me, the inferior copy is the worst part as well as only thinking about traffic. it makes avoid this resource in future even if it was just one or two misses.
Amazing tips!!! I don’t know much about SEO but I definitely need to educate myself about it.
Wow, this is fantastic! Aa a new blogger, these are so valuable I am saving them for future reference.
These are all great SEO tips and all round amazing information to know and put to use.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks for sharing these tips, I love using ahrefs a lot cos it shows me all the necessary things I need to work on.
This is a great compilation of some really important things to keep in mind when it comes to SEO practices. Thank you for sharing!
Marjie Mare says
This post speaks to me and makes me realize that I have to revamp my blog. I am making all these mistakes. Thanks for sharing these informative tips with me.
Pedro Okoro, Chief Editor says
The fact that the article spoke to you is music to our ears 🙂
The difficult part is to take steps to make amends and stop making these mistakes.
John Ravi says
It was a great share! I think SEO is one of the most important tasks of any business, and I am so glad that you highlighted these mistakes through your article. I learned a lot from them. In the beginning, I used to make some of these mistakes. I have grown, and I will share this article within my network to help aspiring SEO experts on my list. Thanks a lot for sharing such an insightful article, it was a great read, and will be a great share as well.