10 Mistakes You’re Making When It Comes To SEO : A blog about what companies are doing wrong with SEO
Your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate. SEO mistakes you should avoid.
One reason could be that your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate (HTTPS). HTTPS is not a new standard but it has become increasingly important in the last few years. In August 2014, Google announced that HTTPS would be a ranking signal.
As you can see from this chart on MOZ, the percentage of websites using HTTPS as opposed to HTTP has been steadily increasing since October 2014.
Google’s initiative to move the web towards HTTPS is part of its commitment to giving users more secure browsing experiences. Typically, websites with an SSL certificate will use this protocol signified by a green “Secure” tag in the browser search bar and a padlock icon:
By securing their sites, companies are also making sure that their visitors’ personal information isn’t vulnerable to hackers or other malicious attackers (who can steal credit card numbers and other private information), and protecting themselves from being penalized by Google on mobile searches (when Chrome displays a “Not secure” warning label next to sites without SSL certificates).
In some cases you may need to purchase an SSL certificate from your hosting provider but there are also plenty of free solutions out there like Let’s Encrypt!
The process for installing one varies depending on what platform you’re using for your website builder so if you need help implementing one, ask your developer or hosting provider for instructions (or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org).
You aren’t mobile-friendly.
When you’ve been in the SEO game as long as I have, you start to notice some patterns in what makes a site rank well and what doesn’t. One of the most common mistakes that I see businesses making is that they are not catering their websites for mobile devices.
Think about it: how often do you browse sites on your phone compared to your desktop? Google’s mobile-first index means that it uses the mobile version of a site to index its content, so if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, then search engines won’t be able to crawl and understand your pages properly.
This can lead to lower rankings and reduced traffic. Moreover, if users view your website on their phones or tablets and don’t enjoy their experience because of slow load times or small text, they’re less likely to purchase products or services from you.
Thankfully, Google offers up an easy way to test whether your site is mobile-friendly! Just go here [https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly], enter your URL, click “Test URL”, wait a few seconds while Google crawls your page…and voilà!
You will instantly find out whether there are any issues with how users access and interact with your site on their phones or tablets. If it says “page is not mobile-friendly”, then don’t panic—all hope is not lost!
Follow the checklist [https://developers.google.com/search/mobile-sites/get-started] from Google’s Developers Site (specifically the section titled “Learn how to improve this score”) for an explanation of each error code as well as ways you can fix them so users can have a better experience when visiting from their smartphones or tablets!
You don’t optimize for user intent.
Another mistake is to not optimize for user intent.
User intent is basically the reason why a user performs a search query. Consider the following example: [“How do I write good copy?”] It’s pretty clear that the user who searched this question has some sort of issue, and they need help. They’re looking for information on how to write something themselves.
This type of query would be considered the [informational intent].
In contrast, someone might search [“Content Writer”] or [“Copywriter”], and their intention could be different.
They could be an employer looking to hire a writer, or maybe they are looking for someone else’s contact info as a reference for finding other writers in their area. This type of intent would be considered [transactional intent].
In order to avoid making this mistake, it’s important that you know how to identify user intent in your keyword research from the start so you can cater your content accordingly. But how exactly do you do that?
You aren’t optimizing your meta description, title tags and URLs correctly
Leveraging keywords in your page’s title tags, meta descriptions and URLs is a great way to tell search engines what your pages are about. This can make it easier for people to find you online.
When creating content, you want to ensure that your title tag, meta description and URL include the keywords that you’re trying to rank for.
You also want to keep these elements within the guidelines that search engines have set. For example:
- Title tags should be 50-60 characters or less
- Meta descriptions should be 150-160 characters or less
- URLs should be short, descriptive and keyword dense
- URLs should be lowercase
- URLs should contain dashes and not underscores
You’re not diversifying your keywords.
In the SEO world, we like to talk about being “audience-aware” and “search engine-aware,” meaning that your content should appeal to both human readers and search engines.
Writing naturally with a diverse set of keywords is one of the best ways to be thoughtful about both audiences.
What’s more, using a diverse keyword list is good for readers because it makes your website more interesting and readable. Plus, it keeps you from using the same words over and over again.
So how do you diversify? First, think long-tail instead of head keywords. Head keywords are one or two words (e.g., “SEO”), while long-tail keywords are four or five—or even longer (e.g., “best practices for local SEO companies”).
For most businesses, it’s easier to rank for long-tail keywords than head ones because there’s less competition for those specific searches.
A tool like Google’s Keyword Planner can help you find the right mix of long-tail keywords that are relevant to your business but aren’t so competitive that they’re impossible to rank for on Google—which will ultimately help you reach more people searching online and get them interested in what you have to offer as a business owner.
Once you’ve found some relevant long-tail key phrases, use them throughout your website—in different places so as not to repeat yourself too much and confuse readers or users who may be skimming through different pages on your site quickly on their mobile devices rather than reading every word from beginning to end (although we hope they do!)
You’re not optimizing your images.
If you’re one of those people who feels like SEO is complicated, maybe you should take a cue from Google and start with images.
It’s easy to forget that images are the main thing that search engines use to figure out what content on your site is the most relevant and important to those searching. And when it comes to your Google-optimized website, the first place they go is images.
There’s nothing wrong with not caring about SEO. The problem is that you shouldn’t rely solely on search engine optimization (SEO) when it comes down to making a decision about which web page should be at the top of a search engine results page (SERP).
If a particular image has no relevance to users, there’s a good chance that other information in your post will do far more for them.
You’re using the wrong types of keywords.
One of the most frequent mistakes we see when it comes to SEO is how people approach keyword research. It’s absolutely crucial that you use keywords in your content, but you need to make sure they are the correct kind.
When it comes to keywords, those with low competition and high search volume can be extremely valuable, but they are also very hard to rank for. If you are going after such a keyword, it’s probably best if your site has some authority behind it first or if you have a paid campaign running at the same time.
You can use Adwords Keyword Planner tool (or any other) and set up filters based on search volume and competition level until you get what you want. For example:
<img src=”seo_keyword_planner_example.jpg” alt=”Alternative Text” style=”width:100%; max-width:500px; border: 1px solid
You’re only focusing on page rather than domain authority.
You’re only focusing on page rather than domain authority.
Before you freak out about having to start from scratch, don’t worry!
This isn’t a suggestion to abandon what you have and start over. The goal here is to understand where the rankings come from and how they work so that you can make sure you are using your resources properly.
Often I like to think of SEO as a game of poker: you’re playing against thousands of other players, all fighting for their piece of the pie, but only one will take home the pot (the number 1 ranking spot). So if everyone else is spending time on their pages, why not use that opportunity to go after something more valuable like getting backlinks or improving your domain authority?
Your internal links are broken or nonexistent.
Mistake #4: Your internal links are broken or nonexistent.
Failure to include internal links is a common problem among businesses new to the world of SEO, but it’s also one you can fix quickly. If you don’t have any other way to link relevant content on your site, consider adding a sidebar with a list of links (and yes, this should be included in a mobile-friendly version of your page as well). On the other hand, if you already have internal links on your site but they’re broken or outdated, it’s important that you clean up and update them (or eliminate them completely if they’re no longer useful or relevant to the content). Broken internal links can be frustrating for users trying to navigate your site while also negatively affecting your SEO and overall credibility. There are several plugins that help keep track of these issues, so take advantage of them!
Your business doesn’t have a Google My Business page or Yelp page.
If your business doesn’t have an active Google My Business page, you’re missing out on a lot of local customers. When someone searches for a business related to yours in Google, the results that pop up are not just there by chance. Depending on where the searcher is located, Google will show a map with three businesses highlighted near the searcher’s location. Yours should be one of those three!
To get started, create a free Google My Business profile here: https://www.google.com/business/. Make sure to fill out all information and include photos showing off your business and products or services offered by your company. Also, make sure to add keywords relevant to what you do in your description so that people searching for those things can find you easier!
Once you have created an account on Google My Business, it’s time to optimize it for search engines! This means using relevant keywords throughout all sections including titles and descriptions as well as making sure that any photos uploaded have alt text assigned which describes them (you can do this under “Photos”). To get started with optimizing your GMB profile go here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=4564335
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