Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website on search engines. The higher your website rankings, the more likely your website will attract customers to your business. However, many business owners make common mistakes that negatively impact rankings, traffic, and profits.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at 10 of the most common SEO mistakes made by business owners.
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Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid
SEO is constantly changing, so it’s no wonder so many business owners make common mistakes. The best way to avoid these common SEO pitfalls is to keep up with the latest trends and developments or turn to a professional digital marketing agency that offers SEO services.
Like all aspects of digital marketing, SEO requires ongoing time and attention in order to stay up to date with the modern technological landscape.
Google constantly makes changes to its algorithms to improve the user experience. As a result, common SEO practices that may have worked in the past no longer work today. This can be frustrating for business owners trying to do everything themselves or working with a search engine optimization agency that isn’t keeping up with the latest trends.
Here are 10 common SEO mistakes that cost small businesses customers.
1. Not Optimizing for Mobile Devices
Let’s start with the first SEO mistake.
With over 60% of web traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s more important than ever to make sure your website is optimized for mobile. Mobile-friendly websites load quickly and are easy to use on a small screen. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re likely losing out on a lot of potential customers.
Mobile optimization can make all the difference between attracting customers to your website and missing out. If your website doesn’t perform well on mobile devices, like phones and tablets, search engines might not rank you as prominently as your competitors’ websites. This is especially important if your target customers tend to use mobile devices when searching for information, help, or services.
2. Not Doing Any Keyword Research
Before optimizing your website, you need to know which keywords to target. This SEO mistake is one of the most common. Keyword research helps you identify which keywords are most relevant to your business and have the highest search volume. Without research, you could be wasting a lot of time and effort optimizing for keywords that nobody searches for.
For the best results, it’s important to look at your competition and discover which keywords are working for them. At that point, you can create a digital content strategy that supports your SEO strategy and goals as a business and attracts customers to your website. This step is critical as it provides you with a digital marketing path to follow as you pursue your business goals.
A few tools that you can use during the research process to discover the best SEO keywords for your goals include the following:
Related: What are the best SEO tools for keyword research?
3. Not Optimizing Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions are two of the most important elements of on-page SEO. This SEO mistake is one of the most common because title tags are the first things people see when your website appears in a search engine, so it’s important to ensure they’re optimized. Include your target keyword in your title tag and meta description to improve your click-through rate and attract more customers to your website.
While Google has been known to change titles and descriptions based on the search query and relevance, it’s still important to pay attention here. Ignoring it could result in less appealing titles and descriptions that don’t attract clicks from your future customers. This is why it’s important to understand why Google makes the changes it makes and strives to align with its goals to provide a great user experience for its users. At the end of the day, the goal is to create an SEO strategy that acts as a safe bridge people can use to cross from the search engine to your website.
4. Not Creating High-Quality Content
Content is king for search engine optimization – we’ve been saying that for decades. Creating high-quality, relevant, and informative content is the best way to improve your website’s ranking and attract more visitors. If your content is poorly written or irrelevant to your target audience, you will not rank well in search engines or you will rank for the wrong keywords.
Google is constantly trying to hone its search results to provide the best experience for its users. If you’re not careful, your website might be hit by certain algorithm updates, such as the Helpful Content update. You may experience a sudden decrease in rankings, traffic, and customers.
5. Not Optimizing Images
Images can be a great addition to your digital marketing campaign and help improve organic website traffic. However, if you don’t optimize your images properly, they can hurt your SEO. To avoid this SEO mistake, include relevant keywords in your image file names and alt tags to help Google find and index your images.
Google has become exceptional at image recognition. In most cases, they can tell what an image is without you having to optimize it. However, there are occasions when optimizing your images can give you an edge over competitors who haven’t done it. This is especially true if you have a lot of images on a page and/or if the file names and alt tags are very generic.
Optimizing images is important – not just for search engines but for people with various abilities. This is where ADA compliance comes into play and why you should consult with a professional web designer. Describe your images clearly when necessary and try to create context.
6. Not Building Backlinks and Internal Links
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for SEO. Backlinks are links from other websites that link back to your website. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank. There are several ways to build backlinks, such as guest blogging, directory submissions, and more.
To build your website’s authority, trust, and rankings, you need to build your backlink profile. This means reaching out to relevant websites and asking the webmaster or business owner to include a link. This is often one of the most time-consuming tasks with SEO and requires 3rd-party support and delivery.
Fortunately, a professional SEO will usually have a database of categorized websites and relationships with webmasters in an effort to streamline this process.
Create content that others can use and link to as a resource for their audience.
- Eric Sachs, CEO
It’s important to understand it’s not about how many backlinks you generate. It’s all about the quality. Many SEOs will promise hundreds or thousands of backlinks for a low cost, but this simply isn’t effective. Moreover, it may even trigger a manual penalty from Google, which could result in your website being de-indexed from Google. In addition, if you do explore lower-quality backlinks, you will likely end up with broken links that hurt your rankings. This is an easy SEO mistake to avoid.
For the best results, trust an SEO professional regarding backlink development.
In addition, you must build internal links.
Internal links provide crawlers paths to discover related content on your site. Every new blog post you publish is an opportunity to build more internal links that point to relevant content. This helps human visitors learn more about your site and allows crawlers to discover more, learn how it relates, and possibly rank content higher. Search engine bots use these links to make connections between point A and point B, which factors into your capability to rank for your target keywords. The search engine is just trying to make connections and understand how content relates … the more you can help, the better.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your links, as these might become broken links over time and need repair. You can use several tools to monitor broken links, including several WordPress plugins and 3rd-party platform features. Suppose you’re not ready to invest in the higher-end tools most SEO teams use to monitor this activity. In that case, you can evaluate the index coverage status report in Google Search Console to discover 404 pages. This approach requires time and energy, but it’s free.
Search engine bots are hungry to learn, so feed them with these types of links.
7. Not Using Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track your website’s traffic and performance. Without Google Analytics, you won’t be able to see how your website is performing in search engines or where your traffic is coming from. Google Analytics is essential for any business owner serious about SEO.
If you’re not measuring your progress, you won’t be able to improve your results. Google Analytics allows you to see how well your website is doing in search engines, what keywords you’re ranking for, where your traffic is coming from, and more.
Make sure to set up Google Analytics on your website and check it regularly to see how you’re progressing. This tool is provided by the Google search engine, which provides you the opportunity to analyze the same metrics and activity Google sees. It may be a fraction of what the search engine analyzes, but it’s always nice to be on the same page.
If you’re not sure how to do this, hire an SEO professional to help you.
8. Not Tracking Your Rankings
If you’re not tracking your website’s rankings in search engines, you won’t be able to see how your SEO efforts are paying off. There are a number of free and paid tools that allow you to track your rankings for specific keywords. Tracking your rankings is the only way to see how well your website is performing in search engines.
It’s important to track both your target keywords and overall keywords. In addition, you should track the progress of your competitors so you can strategize. This allows you to create a content strategy and might reveal what your competitors are doing well that you’re not.
Reverse-engineering your competition’s search results can help accelerate your own results.
- Chris Rice, SEO Manager
9. Not Doing Regular SEO Audits
An SEO audit is an analysis of your website to identify any potential issues that could be holding back your ranking in search engines. SEO audits can be performed manually or with the help of specialized software. Regular SEO audits help you keep your website up-to-date and improve your ranking over time.
This is a technical SEO aspect of managing an SEO campaign that requires ongoing time and attention. Issues surface month after month, so it’s important you keep a close eye on this and audit your website regularly.
If you ignore this, technical SEO issues can negatively impact the user experience of your website and result in decreased rankings and traffic.
10. Not Staying Up-To-Date With Google’s Algorithm Updates
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest updates. Google makes hundreds of algorithm changes every year, and some of these can have a big impact on your website’s ranking.
Here are four websites that provide excellent, up-to-date information about SEO news.
Bonus – Not Managing Your Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile is one of the most important aspects of local SEO. If you’re not managing your Google Business Profile, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your ranking in search engines.
Make sure to claim your Google Business Profile and fill it out completely. Include high-quality images, accurate business information, and regular updates. You should also encourage customers to leave reviews.
Managing your Google Business Profile is essential for any business that wants to rank higher in local search results. If you’re not sure how to do this, hire an SEO professional to help you.
Optimizing your Google Business Profile can dramatically boost the visibility of your brand and services to local customers.
- Chris Rice, SEO Manager
SEO is an ever-evolving field, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in order to maintain your website’s ranking. Google makes hundreds of algorithm changes every year, and some of these can have a big impact on your website’s SEO.
Keep an eye on industry news sources and Google’s Webmaster Central Blog to stay up-to-date with the latest algorithm changes. You also need to be aware of the common SEO mistakes that can hurt your website’s ranking. Make sure you’re optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, images, content, and backlinks for maximum search engine visibility. Regular SEO audits will help you identify any potential issues that could be holding back your ranking. By following these tips, you can make sure your website is performing at its best in search engines.
Have you made any of these common SEO mistakes in the past? How were you able to overcome them? What impact did it have on your business?