Search Engine Optimization (SEO) approaches are constantly evolving because of the advancement in search engine development as well as users changing their preferences. Even though SEO is constantly changing, it is still a prevailing marketing strategy as it is an effective and lucrative way to drive traffic to your website. Unfortunately, because of the ever-changing SEO landscape, many businesses do not know how to properly execute SEO on their website’s. While it’s tough to avoid all mistakes when implementing SEO on your website, if you avoid these 8 common SEO mistakes; you should get the results you desire for your website.
1. Targeting the Wrong Keywords for Your Business
The first step in optimizing your website is to choose the right keywords for your business. Too many businesses do not optimize their websites for user intent. For example, if you are a roofing business in Atlanta, your main customers are going to be local. It would be useless to optimize for a generic global keyword such as “roofing” as you would not only face stiff competition but would attract global customers to your website when you service local customers. It is better to be as specific as possible. A better keyword that you could implement in your roofing SEO strategy would be to target a keyword such as “Roofers in Atlanta GA”. By adding a location to your keyword phrase, you are being more specific and also tailoring your roofing business to local customers.
It is in your best interest to do your background research for keywords your business should target. Using tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends can help you find the keywords that customers are searching for when looking for your services.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Once you do find a keyword to optimize for your business,ensure that you are not over-using it on your website. Many businesses think that by using their keyword as many times as possible that they are boosting their SEO efforts. The exact opposite could be said, as Google penalizes sites that they find guilty of keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing not only hurt user experience as it makes content unreadable, it is also viewed as spammy by search engines. An alternative to keyword stuffing would be to find alternative phrases that are similar to your keywords. For example, if your target keyword is “Facebook Advertising for Realtors” you could also use “How Realtors Can Use Facebook Ads”. Search engines such as Google have actually implemented a semantic search called LSI that will recognize your keywords in your content without the need for stuffing.
3. Forgetting About Local
With Google’s new Pigeon update it is now imperative that you optimize on your local SEO. Optimizing your local SEO means making sure that your Google My Business is complete to its fullest extent, listing your business in as many relevant local directories as possible such as Yelp, ensuring that your listings are NAP consistent, and targeting local keywords; just to name a new. By improving your local SEO you not only increase your chances to rank higher for the local keywords you are targeting, but you also may rank higher on Google Maps in the local 3 pack, which could drive more traffic to your website and business.
4. Thin Content
When users are visiting your website, they are looking for answers and solutions to their problems. Google’s Panda update now penalizes sites that have thin content that provides users with little to no value. An example of thin content are duplicate pages, automatically generated content, cookie cutter sites, and pages with little to no content. When creating pages on your website, take the approach of quality over quantity. Search engines reward websites with high authoritative web pages throughout the website that satisfies user intent. So, if you have a website with pages that have little to no content, try deleting them or combining content on pages that are similar, to create a more authoritative web page. When you create content on your website always put the users in mind. A good rule of thumb is to make sure all of your pages exceed a 300-word count, contain pictures, and have proper headings. If you follow these rules on every page, you should not have to worry about thin content issues.
5. Non-optimized Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
A title tag gives users gives users an insight on the content of a page while meta descriptions give a brief summary on what a webpage is about. When creating your title tags, you want to ensure that every page on your website has a unique and descriptive title. You also want to ensure that you are implementing your keyword into your title so that users know what your page is about, and search engine crawlers can easily identify your keyword. Ideally, your title tag should be 70 characters so that it is not cut off on search queries.
Your meta description should also contain your keyword. You should think of your meta descriptions as a short sales pitch as they summarize what a page entails on search queries. If your meta description is not optimized users may be inclined to click on a different search results bringing your website less traffic. As a rule of thumb, ensure that your meta description is only 150-160 characters long so that it does not get cut-off in search query results.
6. Website Not Mobile Friendly
As of 2018, 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic was generated through mobile phones. That is why it is imperative for you to ensure that your website is mobile friendly. In fact, as of 21 April 2015, Google penalizes websites that are not mobile friendly. In order to remedy this problem, ensure that your website is responsive. This means that the same content and information is displayed, regardless of what device it is being accessed on. You may need a skilled web developer to re-design your website, but it is worth the investment. Some other ways you can make your website mobile friendly is by eliminating Flash from your website, as it makes it much slower, and compressing your CSS and images so that your website speed is optimized on mobile.
A tool you can utilize to ensure that your website is mobile friendly is Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. It will not only tell you if your website is mobile friendly, but also what is causing the problem as well.
7. Unsecure Website
Having a secure website means that your website provides a secure connection when users share their personal information with you. They can trust that the information provided such as phone numbers and credit numbers will be secured. When your website is secure, you should have https instead of http. As of July 2018, Google Chrome will mark non-https site as unsecure and even Google states that having a https site is a ranking factor. Not having a secure website could be losing your business money, as many customers, especially on e-commerce websites, turn away whenever they see a red bar stating that a website is unsecure. When more people leave your website the higher your bounce rate will be, which will eventually lead to a drop in your rankings.
8. Not Monitoring Your Website’s Analytics
You want to ensure that your SEO efforts are actually being put to good use. What’s the point of implementing SEO on a website if you’re not monitoring how much traffic and conversions your website is attaining? By installing analytics such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics on your website you can track things such as: keywords that are bringing you traffic, pages that are converting well, and pages that need to be optimized because the bounce rate is high. Tracking this data can be the difference from a website that garners traffic to a website that garners traffic and converts.
By being aware of these 8 common SEO mistakes, you save yourself from the myriad of mistakes that beginners make and become one step closer to the rankings you deserve on search engines.