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9 Common Mistakes in SEO and How to Avoid Them

About 97% of Americans own a smartphone.

Whenever we want to know something, the easiest thing to do is to Google it! Every day Google fields searches ranging from “Why is my cat trying to kill me” to “What to do after a car accident.” After entering a search, readers are directed to websites that have the answers.

Do you want your website to be one Google trusts to answer questions? Then you’ll need to up your SEO game. A great place to begin is by learning some of the biggest mistakes newbies make in SEO, and how to avoid them. 

What are the most common mistakes in SEO? Read on to find out.


1. Forgetting the Bigger Picture

One of the most common mistakes in SEO that companies make is forgetting the bigger picture. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it involves a special complex algorithm. Search engines like Google use this algorithm to determine what website pages would be most appropriate to answer a reader’s question.

In other words, Google wants to provide value to its readers. In the past, Google could only process 30 to 50 pages a second. Today it can process millions of pages per second.

It is the search engine’s goal to constantly deliver high-quality, relevant answers to gain your trust. Search engines like Google constantly look for the best answers by searching through millions of pages. If your website isn’t providing value, you’re not going to rank well.

Why do you need to understand how SEO works to get the best results? If you fall into the trap of believing that SEO is all about, then you’ll wind up missing the point.

The truth is that SEO is all about providing a quality experience for online users. When you focus on providing users with valuable content and efficiently answering questions, you’ll be able to improve your SEO.

Technical Tips

Search engines have automated, digital spiders. These spiders are going to collect all sorts of information about your website and the pages that you make up on your site.

The information lets the spiders determine whether your website can help a searcher by providing them with good answers. The type of things the digital spiders collect includes title tags, social signals, backlinks, internal linking, and page speed.

There are hundreds of ranking factors that search engines use in their algorithm. By taking advantage of these ranking factors, you’ll be able to optimize your website.

2. Ignoring Both Aspects of SEO

SEO involves on-page and off-page practices. You need to pay attention to both aspects of SEO, or you won’t get the resulte you’re looking for.

All on-page SEO strategies are going to take place on your website. There are also off-page SEO strategies that happen off of your website, like backlinks.

Working together on the page and off-page, SEO will make your site more friendly and trustworthy for users and search engines. When the search engine explores your site and finds valuable information, you’ll be able to rank better for different searches.

3. Forgetting External Links

As you learn more about how SEO works, you’ll hear a lot of experts talking about internal and external links. A link is something that a user can click on to go to another part of Your website or a new website altogether. Internal links are easy to get right since they’ll direct readers to another part of your website.

External links involve a little more planning. The goal is to link to authoritative sites that provide good resources for readers.

Good External Link Example

Let’s say, for instance, you run a website that helps entrepreneurs grow their startups. On your website, you decide to post an article about thriving as a startup despite covid.

You could provide an external link to a success story, like Green Whiskers, to help motivate readers. Green whiskers is a mobile pet grooming company that was able to thrive during the pandemic.

The company did so well for itself that it wound up hiring extra help and even had to operate for more days out of the week. Linking to external stories like this or resources that readers can use is a great way to boost your SEO.

4. Linking To Unsecured Sites or Competitors

So what’s the mistake everyone’s making with external links? Linking to bad sites! If you link to an unsecured site, you’re going to hurt your SEO in a number of ways.

Not only will you lose credibility from potential customers and readers, but search engines will also drop you like a hot potato. Bad sites include any type of site that’s not unsecured, false, or simply outdated. If the site you link to is slow and difficult to navigate, users aren’t getting any value from it.

You also have to keep your competition in mind.

Are you linking to a site that will lead customers directly to your competitors? Even if the site isn’t within your industry, is it going to wind up stealing away your sale? Avoid linking to websites that are trying to attract new customers of their own.

Instead, stick to informational sites or quality blogs. When you focus on link quality over link quantity, you’ll get some great results.

5. Using Poorly Written Articles

Posting content is going to be a big part of your digital marketing strategy. In today’s digital age, marketing businesses online is all about posting shareable content. Shareable content could be anything from a photo to an entire blog post.

As long as the content is something that grabs the reader’s attention and relates to your industry in some way, you’ll be good to go. The problem a lot of companies run into is that they wind up posting poorly written content.

Rushing to keep up with their demanding content schedule; companies will outsource blog writing needs. It’s perfectly fine to outsource your content needs, but you have to make sure you’re going with a reputable company.

Low-quality companies are going to produce low-quality results. If your articles are difficult to read and full of grammatical errors, readers will not share them. If your articles aren’t being shared, you’re missing out on a lot of the juice that quality content can provide.

Not to mention, you’ll lose potential customers over poorly written articles. The way you do anything is the way you do everything. If you cannot produce a well-written blog, why should customers trust you with their money?

The good news is you don’t have to be a professional writer to create blogs that people love. Instead, you’ll simply need to learn a few copywriting basics, along with some of the best writing practices, and you’ll be good to go. Are you an E-commerce store? Then you’ll want to find out what type of articles rank for ecommerce search engine optimization.

6. Slow Site Speeds

Another one of the common mistakes in SEO is failing to provide a user-friendly website. Speed is a big ranking factor for search engines, including Google. Monitoring speed goes back to Google’s main goal, putting users first.

Along with affecting your rankings directly, speed can also have indirect impacts by reducing your dwell time. A 3G loading speed is considered to be very slow.

If you have a website that uses a 3G loading speed, it’s time to upgrade. On slow sites, users leave within their first few seconds of arriving. If customers aren’t staying on your page, it’ll affect your rankings.

Site vs. Page Speed

You mustn’t confuse page speed with site speed. For SEO purposes, you’ll want to focus on page speed.

Page speed refers to the amount of time it takes for content to display on the screen. In other words, it is time it takes for the browser to receive its first bite of data from the webserver. There are online tools to help you evaluate your page speed for free.

Start Compressing Large Files

One of the best ways to improve your site speed is by enabling compression. Find a software application that specializes in file compression. The software will then work to reduce the size of your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files that are too large.

When it comes to image files, you can use a program like Adobe Photoshop. Programs like Photoshop give you the ability to maintain control over the image while still compressing it. Enabling compression makes it easier for the user’s device to upload the data quickly.

7. Forgetting About Mobile Users

If someone has a great website with great content, will they reach the top of the rankings? Not necessarily. You also need a responsive web design that works on every device from computers to smartphones.

Marc Benioff understood the need for platform accessibility, which is one reason the SalesForce has grown so much. After a humble beginning back in 1999, the company is now worth billions of dollars. You can bet that if SalesForce wasn’t mobile responsive, they wouldn’t be around today.

Having the right type of content on your website only matters if readers are able to access it. A lot of companies make the mistake of forgetting that SEO and web design go hand in hand.

Your website has to be able to convert for mobile users, or you’ll be missing out on a big part of your customer base. When it comes time to optimize your website for smartphones, you can take a few different approaches.

Responsive Theme

One of the easiest ways is to use a responsive WordPress theme. A responsive theme will be rendered properly, no matter what devices are using it. Someone will be able to read the content on your website whether they have a small phone, large phone, tablet, computer, or another device.

Most of the themes available nowadays on WordPress are fully responsive. However, you’ll want to double-check before installing any one thing. Simply take a peek at the description of the theme, review all of the features, and make sure responsiveness is one of them.

8. Not Using a Reliable Web Host

Another way to make sure your website will work across every platform is by choosing a reliable web host. Your web post is going to do a lot of work to determine how well your site is performing.

When it comes to mobile optimization, speed becomes more important than ever before. Mobile users need the fastest answers, and if you can’t keep up, they’ll go to another site. With that in mind, you’ll need to choose a web hosting plan that can consistently guarantee high performance and minimal downtime.

Managed Dedicated Server

If you need even more help from your web host, looking to get a managed dedicated server. You’ll be able to use a server that is specifically reserved for your site. You can customize the server to your exact needs and enjoy increased speed and security.

9. Recycling Old Content

Finally, when it comes to SEO and social media, duplicate content is a big no-no. What is duplicate content exactly?

It’s the content that appears on the internet in more than one location. If you can find the content on more than one URL, then it’s duplicate content.

There’s technically no penalty for duplicate content, but it can poorly affect your search engine rankings. When there are multiple similar pieces of information, search engines have trouble deciding which ones are more relevant.

The search engine will be confused as to which version it should trust. It’s unlikely for search engines to show multiple versions of the same piece of content. As a result, it’ll be difficult for your content to rank properly.

How Duplicate Content Happens

Duplicate content issues can happen for a variety of reasons. There could be URL variations, or someone may have decided to copy your content.

We find that the best way to solve duplicate content issues is by setting up a 301 redirect. The 301 part references the HTTP status code for the redirected page. You’ll be communicating with search engines that you’re permanently moving a web page from one place to another.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in SEO

It’s clear to see that SEO is all about marketing businesses online. The most common mistakes in SEO happen when businesses forget to put the customer first. Similar to a traditional marketing campaign, a quality SEO strategy involves providing value to the users.

Since having a website that works across multiple platforms is so important, we suggest starting there. Double-check that your website’s theme is responsive, and if it’s not, get a responsive website today. For more advice, see what the rest of our website has to say.

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