7 Common SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When you’re updating your website’s SEO, be careful. Many of the methods that use to be common can now get you penalized by Google. And some of the techniques that were a waste of time are now super helpful.

With so much going on in the world of SEO, it can be challenging to know the best actions to take for your website. 

Not to worry, we’re here to help. Here are seven common SEO mistakes to avoid.

1. No Call to Action for Visitors

Once visitors arrive at your website, you generally want them to take some sort of action – sign up for a newsletter, purchase a product, or browse additional content. You don’t want them to leave after skimming just one page.

That’s why you need to add a call to action (CTA) on each page to keep visitors interested, browsing, and converting. While it may seem obvious, many people miss this critical SEO method from their digital marketing strategy.

One common way of keeping visitors on your website is to create a CTA button that provides an action to your browser. For example, it could be a ‘Buy It Now’ button on a product page or a ‘Read More’ button on a blog page.

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2. Forgetting That Faster Is Better

A fast website = happy users = happy Google = better search rankings. Google is all about providing users with relevant, high-quality search results, and a good website experience.

Let’s say you have two websites with equally solid content, but one loads slow, and the other is lightning fast. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get why Google would favor the faster site.

One simple way to speed up your site is to optimize your images. Ditch the high-resolution, large images, and resize your images so that they load quickly. If you run a WordPress website, you can easily resize your uploaded images by installing a plugin that does all the hard work.

Another good idea is to enable browser caching and gzip compression. This will speed up your website.

Browsing caching allows your website to load quicker for returning customers, while gzip compression reduces static files. This makes the files load faster in the browser. 

Last but not least, make sure that you have a quality web host! If your site is hosted on a slow server, all the optimization in the world won’t make it fast enough.

Here’s are some other tips to make your website faster.

3. Neglecting to Write Great Content

You’ve all likely heard that content is king. At the end of the day, Google wants to send searchers to websites that have relevant and high-quality content. It’s not enough to just have the right topic; you need to have content that is unique, useful, engaging, and high-quality. 

Every page of your website should offer clear and easy-to-read content of at least 300 words. Many SEO experts believe 1,000 words or more is optimal, but it really depends on the topic. If you’ve only written two sentences on a subject, you can’t expect Google to view you as an expert. Without much information and detail on a topic, this proves to Google that your page probably isn’t the best for the search query.

Writing excellent copy also means writing original text. You can get a big penalty from Google for stealing someone else’s content.

You should also avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is repetitively using the keyword that you are trying to rank for. While this may seem like a good idea to help you rank higher, Google favors pages that flow and are easy to read for visitors. Stuffed and unnatural placement of keywords decreases the readability of the text. Focus on natural writing and Google will reward you.

4. Focusing on the Quantity of Links Over Quality

The more backlinks your website receives, the better, right? Wrong.

Buying backlinks is super simple and pretty cheap too. After a quick browse, you’ll come across plenty of SEO agencies who will organize a bunch of links. But, when it comes to link building, quality is always valued over quantity.

If the links bought are of poor quality, they could be detrimental to your SEO marketing rather than beneficial. This is especially true if the websites linking to you are penalized or have a low DA.

When creating a link building strategy, we recommend putting extra time and effort into gaining quality links, such as through guest posting, for example.

5. Creating Too Many Pages

Another mistake many marketers make is creating many pages in the hope of gaining more traffic. After all, Wikipedia is a content-rich website that’s popular, right?

Unless every single page is high quality, they won’t rank well in Google. Adding too much content that’s flat or mediocre can hurt your website.

Instead, focus on producing high-quality content. A site with limited but quality content will generally rank much better than a large volume of low-quality content.

6. Not Optimizing Your Website for Mobile

In 2019, Google moved to mobile-first indexing. That means Google assesses the mobile version of your website to decide your ranking.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that your website is mobile-friendly. If your desktop website is organized wonderfully, but your mobile site is weak, your SEO will suffer. A mobile-friendly website is also known as “responsive” or “adaptive” – it responds to the device used so that it looks great no matter the screen size.

Surprisingly this is a very common SEO mistake. Many websites were built several years ago and with the ever-changing mobile technology landscape, these sites no longer function well on mobile.

The best way to check how well your website works on mobile is to browse your mobile device. Is it running smoothly? Are all the pages displayed as planned? Here’s a great tool from Google to check your site’s “mobile-friendliness.”

7. Trying to Rank for the Wrong Keywords

If you want to rank well in Google, you’ll need to optimize your pages for the right keywords. But one huge mistake many marketers make is optimizing for generic keywords.

For example, if you’re a startup business that wants to rank for “ice cream,” you’re aiming too high. Ice Cream has over 1.8 million monthly searches on Google! The competition is fierce and unless you are an established brand, you’re not likely to rank well. Instead, you need to be more specific. 

Try adding your location after the keyword, such as “ice cream downtown Richmond.” Or get super specific in your niche. If you sell specialty socks, don’t target “socks,” target keyword phrases such as “quarter ankle breathable running socks.” These longer keywords are called “long-tail keywords.” Their search volume is lower, but they are usually easier to rank for.

Don’t Make These Common SEO Mistakes

If you’ve already made some of these blunders, don’t worry. Even the best SEO specialists have made some of these mistakes in the past and have learned from them.

One of the main principles of SEO is to provide quality content and a quality experience for your visitors. Google (and other search engines) want to send their users to websites with the best content and user experience. If you help them do that, you’ll be rewarded.

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