Are You Making These SEO Mistakes?
4th March 2022
SEO or search engine optimisation is a vital part of digital marketing. It helps your website rank higher in search engine results pages, increases traffic and ensures that your target audience can find exactly what they are looking for.
Search engines like Google and Bing place a strong emphasis on good quality content that benefits the user. They have little tolerance for bad practices which means that errors can be costly. If you’ve found that your site has many issues, then it is vitally important to fix and optimise sections of your website. For best practices, use SilverDisc’s Ultimate On-Page SEO Checklist.
Here are some of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid:
1. Generic or non-existent title tags and meta descriptions
When a user searches for a query, the keywords in the meta titles and descriptions are displayed in bold, making it vitally important these are included as they impact how your site appears in search engine results pages. Failure to include the meta title and description means that search engines will write the meta description for you, giving you less control over these elements and potentially negatively impacting your SEO.
It is important to follow guidelines and stick to title length, which for the meta title is 50-60 characters and for a meta description is 50 to 160 characters. The title tags and meta descriptions are key elements and both will ensure the page is ranked well and displayed correctly. If you’re still getting to grips with this and need help, our guide Everything You Need To Know About Metadata For SEO guide has you covered.
2. Keyword stuffing
When a user types a query into Google or Bing, it will only display a website if the correct keywords are being used. Great for businesses, however, it can be a deterrent for the user if used incorrectly. Businesses will often take advantage of this and include as many keywords in their content or SEO campaigns as possible, whether it be short-tail, mid-tail or long-tail keywords.
This is one of the more common SEO mistakes and while some businesses believe that keyword stuffing will ultimately gain the traffic they desire, this will have the opposite effect. Having an abundance of keywords is often a sign of poor-quality content and can affect a site’s ranking. Not just limited to rankings, the page will gain a high bounce rate and create a negative user experience which will mean they are unlikely to visit your website again.
Identifying words and phrases relevant to your business is a great starting point. Rather than having an endless list of keywords, focusing on phrases, queries and relevant keywords will help you gain the high-quality traffic you desire. There are plenty of tools at your disposal. Google’s free keyword research tool, SEMRush keyword magic tool and Moz’s keyword suggestion tool are our personal favourites to use.
Our How To Use Moz For SEO article will guide you through the best practices when it comes to SEO, search results and keyword research.
3. Using duplicate content
To feature and score higher on a search engine results list, quality content is key. Unfortunately, businesses are often too busy to create new and engaging content, so rely on duplicating content as a means to fill in the gaps. This is one of the most common SEO mistakes that businesses make, so investing time and money into creating new content is vital. Otherwise, your website will continue to fall lower on the search results and not gain the traffic you hoped for.
Search engines like Google and Bing will rarely show multiple versions of the same content, so you mustn't duplicate content, however tempting it may be. Copying text from another website or reusing content is bad practice and will hamper any chance you have of appearing on search results pages. Remember, new and informative content is key, so if you can’t create new and original content then it’s better to leave your website alone until you can do so.
New content that is informative and corresponds with your target audience will mean that your readers will not have to go to another website to find out more information. Google Analytics is a great tool to use as it shows how each page is performing and how visitors are engaging with your content. If however, you are stuck on content ideas, refreshing existing website pages and blogs will provide your audience with up to date content and can help to give your SEO a boost.
4. Slow website and mobile page speed
Over the past few years, slow website and mobile page speed were seen as low on the priority list compared to other aspects of SEO like content and keywords. However, they are both playing a greater role in SEO and are regarded now as important aspects due to the increasing amount of traffic on both devices, particularly mobile. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United Kingdom, 46% of respondents to a survey conducted at the end of July 2020 said they had increased their smartphone use.
When it comes to SEO, page and site speed has become an essential part of how search engines rate your web pages now more than ever. Not only does it address loading times but improves your ranking and also user experience. Businesses have often uploaded images and files to the website without much thought, however, reducing file sizes is just one essential way to improve your website speed.
5. Neglecting Google Analytics
Google Analytics is such a powerful tool and plays an important role in SEO. It can tell businesses everything they need to know about their website and how it is performing. From acquisition to engagement, these analytics are incredibly invaluable to any business as it enables them to improve campaign performance and identify pages that need improvement and investing in. Google Analytics can highlight:
- How much traffic the website is getting
- Where the traffic is coming from
- How keywords and campaigns are performing
- Demographic overview
- Bounce rate
- How long visitors spend on specific pages
- Where conversions are coming from
Google Analytics allows you to monitor, review and adjust what is working well and what is not working well on your website. Focusing on performing pages and fixing poor performing pages allows you to work more efficiently without wasting valuable resources. Google Analytics is so much more than just analytics; it allows you to have all your data in one place, making it easier to compare the different platforms and channels.
The data displayed on each platform and channel will allow you to make informed decisions based on the findings, what is performing well and what needs improving. Focus on new content and pages that need improving to help drive traffic to your website and ultimately improve your overall ranking.
Following these five key areas will help you avoid making the same mistakes made by businesses around the world and drastically improve your SEO. If you would like help with your SEO, get in touch with SilverDisc.