When it comes to SEO and website’s rankings, you want to be extra cautious. SEO mistakes are ones that you don’t want to make because it could take weeks, or even months, to fix the damages.
Often times, these SEO mistakes were tactics of the past, and they may have even worked well to put your website at the top of search engine result pages. However, updates and algorithms have changed to make these old habits a trouble for your current SEO efforts.
So, what are the most common SEO mistakes that marketing experts see? We asked several industry experts and they shared their experience with SEO mistakes!
Starting with SEO and Marketing, Before Defining a Content Strategy
“I’ve seen this done so many times, where companies ask for ‘natural links’ and there’s no content to attract those links. But they are ready to pay huge money!” said Ann Smarty, Owner of MyBlogU. “Companies launch websites and ask ‘to optimize,’ but there’s zero content… Companies refuse to invest into content on their own site, but would gladly spend thousands to buy links.”
In fact, many companies that have lots of potential make this mistake. They fail to realize the importance of content marketing for their SEO.
Sure, links are extremely beneficial for their business, but as Ann said, “Any online strategy starts and ends with content. There’s no natural links without content. There’s nothing for search bots to crawl without content. Content is what stays on your site. It’s your company asset. It’s what at least 60% of your overall marketing budget should go into. Content strategy defines your budget going forth. It’s the foundation of whatever you do online. I can’t believe so many companies just ignore that step!”
Duplicate Content and Keyword Over Optimization
When it comes to content, Google isn’t a big fan of copycats. Google likes to provide their searchers with original, evergreen content.
Sujan Patel, the VP of Marketing at When I Work, stated that, “The biggest SEO mistakes I see way too often are duplicate content or keyword over optimization. The real problem is that business owners or webmasters don’t put enough time or resources into creating compelling web copy. It’s not only important for SEO, but also for a good user experience.”
When you’re optimizing your keywords, it’s important that you don’t over do it. Steve Counsell from Segment Digital points out a problem that many marketers have experience in the past, keyword stuffing.
“I remember seeing an blog post on a clients site that sounded so awful that it really stood out as a spammy post. That made me really reassess how I used keywords,” Steve said. This is a mistake that businesses and marketers have made in the past, which is also why this tactic should remain in history as well.
Poorly Executed Heading and Lack of Title Tags
Part of creating compelling content is ensuring that all the details are correct. The heading and title of a web page is the first element that readers see, which is why you need to make the perfect first impression for them to keep reading.
“The worst SEO mistake I find small businesses doing is having no title tag. After all, when the site is viewed in search results or anywhere else, you would think the owners would want people to know who they are and what they do,” said David Leonhardt the Chief SEO of The Happy Guy Marketing.
In addition to lack of proper title tags, David stated, “Rather than having topical <h1> and <h2> tags, many businesses have just a single heading, often without any tag at all and often unrelated to the topic. The heading might read ‘Welcome to our website’ or ‘We are eager to serve you.’ In other cases, the only heading might even be an image, unreadable by search engines.”
Use of Exact Match Anchor Text
Another mistake David pointed out is the request for exact match anchor text.
“Many writers don’t realize that these are bad for their SEO…Perhaps they want to exchange links, perhaps they want to buy them, but they insist on exact anchor text, exact title, and alt attribute texts. As I always say, you can’t fake authenticity.”
These are mistakes that I see very often when I receive blog articles. When I review guest blogs on TechWyse, I’ve come upon many articles that request for exact match anchor text in their article. In fact, many writers fail to realize the importance of having a strong, compelling title that will attract users to click on their blog.
Lack of Keyword Research
Keywords play an important role for SEO. Many users tend to have difficulty in optimizing the correct keywords, that’s why it’s crucial to research keywords for your company.
“So many people in marketing, SEOs included, spend hours and days a week trying to secure links and create content, but have spent only a fraction of time on keyword research.” Cormac added that, “Spending time on keyword research, especially long tail keyword research, can herald all sorts of golden opportunities for easy traffic.”
Businesses understand the importance of building links for specific keywords, but they don’t spend enough time finding what the best keywords are to optimize. You want to compete for relevant keywords that provides a high conversion rate, but low cost-per-click. As Content Strategist Wendy Kelly said, “Keyword research is important, certainly, but it needs to be done holistically.”
Not Taking Advantage of Meta Descriptions
If your title is the first impression you make, then your meta description would be your elevator pitch to convince your readers to click on your link. However, many businesses neglect the power of meta descriptions.
“Too often people simply leave the default title that their CMS produces,” Graeme, the Online Strategy Manager of The Zen Agency, shared. “This will dramatically affect your rankings within the search engines and the click through rate that you achieve.”
Although meta descriptions don’t have a direct effect on rankings, they’re beneficial to have.
Anthony Mcloughlin, the Digital Executive at Tone Agency, said that, “The primary goals of a meta description is to inform users what your page is about and to get them to click.” This is true because your title is often limited and doesn’t share enough information to allow your users to know what your page is talking about.
Anthony also added, “You can learn a lot by looking at your competitors title tags, meta descriptions and also PPC ads. What keywords, features, benefits and unique selling point are they using? The goal here isn’t to carbon copy, but to glean inspiration, work out what sets you apart, and then write better descriptions.”
Building Links without Quality Guidelines
Link building is an art that is hard to master. We all know the importance of having links to our website, but it’s about building qualitative links rather than having hundreds of links pointing to your site.
Unfortunately, for many businesses in the past, link building was about quantity rather than quality.
Erik Emanuelli, a professional blogger and freelance writer, shared with us his journey with blogging, where he was, “Building backlinks like crazy, without respecting any quality guidelines…accepting link exchanges from anyone and spamming social media with blog posts.”
Some businesses are still making the mistake of thinking quantity of links over the quality. However, if you’re creating strong content that is worth linking to, quality links should happen naturally. That’s why Erik recommends, “To avoid ‘building links’ and aim to gain natural mentions, if your target is to create an authority site.”
Not Monitoring Your SEO Performance
With any projects you do, it’s important to track your performance to ensure that everything is on the right track.
Donna Duncan from B-SeenOnTop shared with us that one of the most common mistakes she sees with businesses is, “Not establishing a process and ownership for ongoing SEO site monitoring, maintenance and improvements.”
Many business owners may find this to be a tedious task, but tracking your performance is the best way to find improvements and building your SEO. There are many analytic softwares that allow you to investigate your top keywords and website ranking. It’s important to refine your strategies because there’s only something better you can do to improve your SEO performance.
Undefined Strategies and Miscommunication
As a marketer, communication is key when you’re working with your clients and even your colleagues. Lead SEO Specialist of River Bed Marketing, Tom Gunson, found that the lack of understanding can lower the ability to provide positive results for the client.
“Having a solid and well-defined strategy on what assets are required to achieve the agreed upon goals and how we collectively plan on acquiring them is a must. As failing that can significantly impact the marketing team’s’ ability to generate the results your business deserves,” says Tom.
Similarly, if your client is unfamiliar with SEO, it’s your responsibility to ensure he understands how it could benefit their business. Therefore, make sure that everyone understands the goals and strategies you’re trying to implement. If there are any miscommunications, it can affect the results and performance of your client’s SEO.
Wrapping it up
Although many of the mistakes were tactics of the past, some marketers and business owners are still committing these SEO crimes. Identify and admit the mistakes that we’ve made so you can avoid them in the future. What SEO mistakes have you made or seen others make? Share with me your experience in the comments below!