If you’re just starting to work on your site and brand, it can be easy to fall into some common SEO mistakes.
Without a strategy or plan, it can be difficult to grow the visibility and trustworthiness of your site when it comes to search engines.
So, what are some of the common SEO mistakes and how do you fix, or avoid them?
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One of the most common SEO mistakes is reusing or copying content.
Duplicate content refers to any content that you’ve either uploaded to your site or as part of a guest post somewhere else.
The reason it’s bad is that it confuses Google, forcing the search engine to essentially pick one that it thinks should rank higher. If you’re just starting out, it’s more than likely that the site you published on will get the upper hand in this situation.
To avoid this, make sure that all content you produce either on your own site or on external sites it totally unique. Each piece should be thoroughly researched and well-written. Content should be neither a near-duplicate nor completely identical to existing content. Originality is what helps to drive SEO results.
You can also fall victim to poor ranking as a result of duplicate content on your own site. This can be easily done if you’re selling products that are very similar.
For example, if you sell tiles, you might be tempted to copy and paste the general description for all of your products as they are almost the same in most aspects. However, while this does the job quickly, it also leaves you vulnerable to poor SEO performance.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, you should be creating bespoke product descriptions for each individual product. While time-consuming, this pays off in the long run with notable improvements to SEO performance on these product pages.
Not optimising your website for mobile
Mobile-friendliness is fast becoming one of the more important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. In fact, Google included it in one of its Core Vitals updates earlier this year. This means that the algorithm now uses mobile performance of websites to determine part of their ranking.
So, it’s more important now than ever to make sure your site is optimised for mobile.
Typical mistakes when it comes to neglecting mobile optimisation is layout and design. What might look great on desktop, might not translate well to mobile, which can lead to poor user experience.
You can easily check how well your website performs using the Google Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool. You simply pop in your URL and Google will tell you some of the issues that need fixing or improving.
Inconsistent contact information
You might not think much of contact information, but it does actually play an important part in your ranking abilities. If your contact information is difficult to find or is inconsistent, users are less likely to trust your site.
It’s imperative that your contact details are easy to spot and are the same across all networks. That includes when you create a Google My Business account too.
Not utilising local search
If your business aims to serve or sell to consumers in a specific area, you should be optimising local search capabilities.
If you’re focusing your efforts on targeting and trying to rank for general keywords, you could be potentially doing more damage than good. A lot of keywords are incredibly competitive, and you could spend years working towards these rankings with very little to show for it.
Instead, tailor your keywords to the region you operate in. Include these in your page titles and meta descriptions. You should also put your address and phone number in headers and footers on your site too. This will help you to show up in search results of consumers in the area you’re targeting.
Optimising the wrong keywords
We briefly mentioned this earlier, but ranking for the right keywords for your business is essential.
Business owners can sometimes find themselves trying to rank for keywords that have an incredibly high search volume. While relevant, targeting these keywords can add years to your SEO success.
Some of the common mistakes include:
- Trying to rank for global keywords even though you’re a local business.
- Generic keywords that don’t actually offer any insight into your brand.
- Keywords that serve information results rather than customers looking to buy.
- Targeting broad keyword terms that even full-time SEO experts struggle to rank for.
Where possible, you should be narrowing down your keywords to those that are specific and fitting with your brand. For instance, rather than trying to rank for keywords such as ‘brand designer’ try ‘brand design services in Leeds’.
Not varying your anchor text on internal and external sites
While you should always aim to use optimised anchor texts for your links, it’s just as important to make sure you’re switching them up too. People can spot odd-looking links like a sore thumb.
Your links, whether internal or external, should look natural and organic. If you’re using anchor text with CTA’s (call-to-action) like ‘click here’, users are going to be far less likely to click through. Plus, it’s not just humans who notice these spammy looking links, search engines are just as sceptical.
Links should be included in relevant anchor text that provides users with further information or value. Try to keep this in mind when you’re linking to avoid one of these common SEO mistakes.
Focusing on link quantity over quality
Links are the bread and butter of SEO. In order to improve the overall ranking and metrics of your site, you need to be getting links from authoritative external sites.
These external links get picked up by the Google algorithm which then starts to recognise your site as trustworthy and high-quality. After all, if another well-ranking site is linking to your site, you must be good – right?
Where some businesses fall short is focusing on quantity over quality. As with anything, having more of something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Mass outreach and link building to lower quality sites can damage your performance. Google’s algorithm is smart enough to know when you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
When building links, you should use “white hat” SEO methods to ensure you’re not violating any guidelines.
Great natural links can come from press releases, guest posts and working with influencers and bloggers where appropriate. This is why content strategy is an important part of any SEO campaign.