Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid
In the process of trying to improve your SEO, you may have actually been making things worse without realising it. The SEO tips you can find online can be a valuable resource, but believing everything that you read, especially outdated content, has potential to be ruining your SEO.
Being a digital marketing agency, we’ve seen a lot of SEO mistakes in our time!
Keep reading to find out the most common SEO mistakes you might be making…
Not focusing enough on content
Off page SEO is important for building brand awareness, improving brand reputation and building an authoritative backlink profile. However, if you are focusing primarily on link building as a primary source of traffic and aren’t improving your on-page content, you may not be getting the amount of traffic to your website that you could be.
Content is an essential element for online visibility and SEO success, on page elements should not be forgotten as they are a main factor of what Google takes into consideration when ranking websites.
Producing Content for the sake of Content
A lot of brands think that because they have the ability to post and share content across multiple channels, they must provide a constant stream of content no matter the platform. They believe that visibility will result in engagement when, in reality, flooding a platform with information diminishes interest. Quality over quantity! Content should be created with your audience in mind first, and search engines second. You should identify what content is engaged with more by your target demographic and produce more of this; producing content that is irrelevant to what you are offering will only lead to irrelevant traffic and a lower site conversion rate. If you have a large and active social presence it could be beneficial to run a poll to get your followers to vote on their favourite type of content from you, you can use this to create a stronger content development plan.
Not being Realistic with your Targets
Whether you are just beginning in the digital marketing world or have years of experience behind you, effective digital marketing requires setting realistic goals.
No matter how long you have been doing digital marketing always remember to set ‘smarter’ goals.
Not having a Mobile Friendly Website
Mobile friendliness has never been more important. It was announced late 2015 that mobile searches overtook desktop searches in the UK, meaning you could be missing out on a large percentage of your demographic by not catering to their device preference. As well as this, non-mobile friendly websites could actually be penalised and see their rankings drop because of this. There are three methods you can choose from when making your website mobile friendly.
You can have:
- Responsive web design: Serves the same HTML code on the same URL regardless of the users’ device (desktop, tablet, mobile, non-visual browser), but can respond differently. For example, if the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities for optimum user experience.
- Dynamic serving: Uses the same URL regardless of device, but generates a different version of HTML for different device types based on what the server knows about the user’s browser.
- Separate URLs: Serves different codes for each device on separate URLs. This configuration tries to detect the users’ device, then redirects to the appropriate page.
Not Using Outbound Links
Outbound links aren’t the enemy; they can actually make your content more valuable! Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, has even said that outbound links “can bring value to your content and that in turn can be relevant for us in search”. So, whilst outbound links aren’t necessarily a direct ranking factor, they sure hold some weight in improving the quality of your content, so we shouldn’t fear outbound linking.
Using Outbound Links Incorrectly
Over the years webmasters have grown to fear outbound links, which is why many think guest posting is a dead technique, but this isn’t the case. If you have links to external sites in your navigation that aren’t your social media profiles, then yes – these could be seen as spam by Google and should be removed. However, naturally linking to a resource of information or an author in the body of the text will do you no harm as long as you make sure to quality check the URL you are linking to.
Incorrect URL Architecture
Your URL structure should be at the forefront of your mind when developing a new site, the way your URLs are structured have a major impact of your SEO and any changes should be made with caution as to not undo your other SEO elements. Whilst creating pages and blog posts many errors can occur, including:
- Listing blog posts under multiple categories which creates duplicate content as the same blog post is listed in more than one category folder
- All URL’s coming off the parent domain with no other categorisation. Whilst your priority pages should come straight off the parent domain, further subpages and subcategories should be categorised further to create a clear URL structure
- URL’s where the parent folder results in a 404 error page can be confusing to users as for example, the user would expect www.example.com/cafe to be accessible if the URL structure for the café menu is www.example.com/cafe/menu
- URLs that make no logical sense and contain only numbers and letters. URLs are helpful to both search engines and users; they should be able to know what your page is about before clicking on the URL. For example, www.weareinfront.com/seo-management/ contains much more useful information than www.weareinfront.com/sfdg7848645
Incorrect Use of Image Alt Tags
Search engines can’t interpret images so image alt attributes allow you to provide a text alternative for not only search engines but for visually impaired users who use computer technology to read the text on the screen aloud to them. However, webmasters often use the alt tags incorrectly by stuffing them with keywords. If the alt tag should naturally include a keyword, then that is fine but above all the alt tag should explain what is happening in the image.
There are a multitude of mistakes commonly made throughout the management and setup of an SEO campaign. As SEO is ever changing and evolving, learning and understanding SEO can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.
We have long since moved on from webmasters hiding keywords in white text to gain any link possible. Despite this, there are many old-school SEO myths that are still widely believed and are damaging the success of our business’ SEO campaigns.
What are these SEO Myths?
Keywords = Rankings
Whilst keywords are an essential part of any SEO campaign, they are not the only factor that matters and a page full of keywords does not equal first page rankings. With the release of the Google Hummingbird algorithm, Google can understand the context of searches including location and past behaviour to get a better understanding of what search result should show to each user, so whilst keywords should occur naturally throughout the content of your pages, the focus should be on the quality of your content as Google favours high quality content.
The More Links, the Better
Links and keywords are equally as important as each other but again; links are not a one-way ticket to success.
Link building is often frowned upon due to the fact that many webmasters and black hat SEO’s use link building to gain hundreds of spammy links in order to ‘boost rankings’ which is completely false and a guaranteed way for you to lose your rankings or get slapped with a penalty. Whilst gaining citation links for your local SEO and collaborating with other webmasters are good ways of gaining links, the best way to guarantee links is to write good content that is interesting enough to be shared.
Guest Blogging Is Dead
Since the beginning of time webmasters have used guest blogging to gain links back to their site and it remains to be a valuable technique, if done correctly. Guest blogging can be frowned upon because you will always get webmasters with malicious intent who will write a guest post for an irrelevant site that is stuffed with keywords and links – this method of guest blogging is dead. If you genuinely have an article idea that you are passionate about and want to share with a trustworthy site to get in front of your community and build relationships (as well as gain a link), there is nothing wrong with this at all. Don’t write off guest blogging completely; it is still a great way to drive traffic, links and authority into your site!
Why Do People Believe SEO Myths?
Misinformation spreads rapidly when it is repeated enough times. Even subtle mentions in forum posts, articles and podcasts can help people form the idea that the myth is fact. We have worked with clients who strongly believe in one course of action, when we know Google will see the tactic as black hat and potentially penalise the client website. Educating your team and clients on SEO myths will help keep you all on the same page and stop further spread of bad information.
Often these myths are believed because they are the ‘easy’ answer to a business query and means putting in as little time/effort/budget as possible. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. These ‘free’ and ‘easy’ techniques can be catastrophic to an SEO campaign and take a lot of time to undo, some brands never recover.
Well Ranked = Correct?
There is a misconception that if an article ranks well in Google, then it must be true. Google doesn’t have time to fact check every webpage on the Internet, it is down to the reader to do their own research. Even the most convincing article with ‘expert’ backed facts and figures should be taken at face value.
Need help with your SEO? Get in touch with the In Front Digital team now to discuss your project.Back to Blog