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10 Common Mistakes of SEO and How to Avoid Them

10 Common Mistakes of SEO and How to Avoid Them

Last updated: November 29, 2022

Any self-respecting website owner knows that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the lifeblood of a website. It's a vital process that puts your content in front of your target audience. It's what makes your business visible on Google and other search engines.

SEO is not as difficult as many people make it out to be, but it can be easy to mess things up when you overlook some important steps. It happens even to the best of the SEO pros. To ensure that your SEO efforts are not wasted, you must know the 10 common SEO mistakes so you'll know how to avoid them.

1. No SEO strategy and roadmap

Many businesses make the mistake of not having an SEO strategy and roadmap. This can be a costly mistake that can set your business back significantly. Without a solid SEO plan, you run the risk of your website not being found online, which can lead to lost customers and revenue.

A well-thought-out SEO strategy will help you get the most out of your marketing efforts. By taking the time to understand your audience, identifying the relevant keywords, and creating quality content, you can set your business up for success in search engine rankings.

Without an SEO roadmap, it can be easy to lose sight of the overall goal and get bogged down in the details.

How to avoid this mistake

Before you even start keyword research and content creation, you must first design a comprehensive SEO roadmap that outlines the SEO strategy for a website. It includes the target goals, the tasks needed to achieve them, and the content creation strategy.

An SEO roadmap keeps everyone on the same page and makes sure that everyone is working towards the same goal. It also ensures that no important task is forgotten or neglected.

Creating an SEO roadmap can be a daunting task, but it's worth taking the time to do it right. Doing so will save you from frustration and will ultimately help ensure that your website reaches its full potential, gets better ranking, and achieves business growth.

2. Not doing keyword research

Keyword research is vital to SEO. Without it, you'll just be relying on "hope marketing", which very rarely works. Businesses that skip this part of SEO are making a costly mistake. They're spending money on content creation only to have zero traffic from search.

By doing keyword research, you'll get a better idea of what people are searching for on the internet and how you can rank for those keywords and drive organic traffic to your site.

How to avoid this mistake

Create a keyword research strategy. It's a plan for how you will find the most relevant keywords to target when you create content for your site. Keyword research requires brainstorming, critical analysis, and common sense. When combined with keyword research tools, such as Ahrefs, Semrush, and Ubersuggest, it can improve the chances of your content appearing in search engine results pages (SERPS), which drives traffic to your site.

3. Ignoring search intent

Search intent is the purpose behind a person's search query—it can be informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional. If you want to rank well for a particular keyword, you need to make sure that your content matches the searcher's intent. For example, if someone is searching for "best shoes for arthritis," they are likely looking to make a purchase. So, you must create content that answers the search intent satisfactorily.

How to avoid this mistake

Make sure that your keyword research efforts are based on various user search intent. Knowing this piece of the puzzle gives you the opportunity to create content that will present your product or service as the best possible option for potential customers.

When a user types a query into the Google search box, they are expressing an intent. This intent could be any number of things, from wanting to learn more about a topic to looking for a specific product or service.

As a business owner, it is important to be able to determine what the user's intent is when they perform a search query. By doing this, you can ensure that your website and its content are aligned with the user's needs, and you can also make sure that your ads are targeting the right audience.

4. Targeting difficult keywords

Not all keywords are created equal. If you're new to SEO, you may be tempted to target the most popular, high-traffic keywords, thinking that it's a good strategy. The reality is that these keywords are often difficult to rank for and require a lot of time and resources to achieve a high ranking, if you even rank on the first page of the SERP.

How to avoid this mistake

Instead of going after the big keywords, start with smaller, less competitive ones. Once you've built up your authority and ranking for these keywords, you can then move on to targeting the more difficult ones.

Long-tail keywords tend to have less search volume but they are easier to rank for because they are less competitive but can still generate a lot of traffic from their target audience.

Free tools like Google Autosuggest is useful for finding popular long-tail keywords that people are already searching for. However, it doesn't always show all of the results that are available.

If you have money to spare, you can use Ahrefs, which is better at showing a wider range of results, including some more obscure long-tail keywords.

Both of these tools can be helpful in finding long-tail keywords that you might not have thought of otherwise.

5. Not having a mobile-friendly website

Mobile friendliness is no longer an option; it's a necessity if you want to rank on Google SERP. In fact, Google rolled out its "mobile-first" indexing in March 2018, which means that the search engine now primarily crawls and ranks website pages based on their mobile versions instead of their desktop versions. This makes perfect sense because most people on the planet use their mobile phones to consume online content.

How to avoid this mistake

If your website isn't mobile-friendly, you're essentially invisible to mobile users and your SEO will suffer. You can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check if your website is usable in mobile devices. Simply enter your website's URL and click "Test URL".

The desired result is "Page is usable on mobile". If your website returns a "Page isn't usable on mobile" result, then it means there is one or more issues that are affecting your site.

Possible errors include:

  • Use of incompatible plugins
  • Text is too small to read on mobile devices
  • Buttons, navigational links, and other clickable elements are too close together
  • Viewport not set properly because web design is not responsive (i.e., content may appear inconsistent to users because it does not scale to fit the screen)

If you need to make changes, Google provides a list of things you can do to improve your website's mobile friendliness.

6. Not optimizing website speed

It is no secret that site speed is a key ranking factor. Site speed refers to the time it takes for a page to load. Faster sites lead to a better user experience. A slow site can frustrate users and make them less likely to return. In fact, studies show that site visitors abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Not only does site speed affect your SEO ranking, but it also affects your conversion rate and overall user experience.

How to avoid this mistake

To check the speed of your site, go to Google PageSpeed Insights, a speed testing tool that will analyze your site and give it a score on a scale of 0-100. The higher the score, the better.

There are many factors that affect site speed, including the size of the files on the page, the number of files on the page, and the server speed. You can improve your site speed by optimizing codes and images and using caching techniques. Another is to minify your CSS and JavaScript files. You can also use a content delivery network (CDN) to improve loading times for users who are located further away from your server.

Fast websites provide a better user experience, which can lead to higher engagement rates and conversions. They tend to rank higher in search engine results pages since Google prefers websites that load quickly.

7. Not doing internal linking

In SEO, internal linking refers to hyperlinking one page to another within your own website. This is done to guide users to more relevant content and help search engines crawl and index a website more effectively. But more importantly, internal linking helps search engines understand what your website is about and how it is organized. It also helps to distribute PageRank evenly throughout your website.

How to avoid this mistake

Every time you write a blog post, you must do internal linking, either manually or with the help of a plugin. To find linking opportunities, you can do a search within your content management system or through Google search command site: “keyword.” This will show all the related articles pertaining to your site. Just make sure you are linking to relevant and contextual posts.

8. Poor on-page content structure

Websites with poor on-page content structure are likely to experience a drop in traffic and engagement. This is because search engines like Google consider the structure of a website when determining its ranking.

If your website's content is not well-organized, it will be difficult for search engines to understand and index it, which can lead to a lower ranking. Additionally, visitors to your website will have a difficult time navigating the pages.

How to avoid this mistake

To ensure that your website is optimized for both search engines and visitors, make sure to follow these tips for proper on-page content structure:

  • Use headlines and subheadings to break up your content. Use the proper tags (i.e., H1 for page title, H2 for main headings, and H3, H4 for subsections).
  • Use short paragraphs and bullet points to make your content easier to read.
  • Optimize your images and videos for SEO.
  • Add table of contents for long content.

9. Buying backlinks

Backlinks are links that point to specific pages or resources on your website. They help build your domain authority. They can pass along what's known as "link juice", which can help improve your site's visibility and ranking.

Google uses two main factors to determine the quality of a backlink: the relevance of the linking website to your website and the quality of the linking website's content.

Backlinks are quite difficult to acquire and it can take a long time for it to happen. In an attempt to hasten the process, some people intervene using black hat SEO techniques, including buying backlinks.

How to avoid this mistake

Google's Terms of Service strictly prohibit the purchase of backlinks. This is because backlinks are supposed to be earned, not bought. When a website buys backlinks, it artificially inflates its link popularity, which goes against the spirit of Google's algorithms. It can result in serious penalties.

To get high-quality backlinks you need to create great content that other websites will want to link to. You can also reach out to relevant websites and ask them to link to your content.

Buying backlinks is a shortcut that doesn't pay off in the long run. It's better to invest time and effort into earning high-quality backlinks from reputable websites.

10. Thinking that SEO is one and done

SEO is not a one-time process but rather an ongoing effort to improve search engine visibility. Even if you're on top of the SERPs today, you can easily lose your position at any time. This is because SEO ranking is a competition. If a competitor does a better job at SEO than you, then your site's in trouble.

How to avoid this mistake

SEO is vital to the success of any online business. Creating high-quality helpful content is the most important part of SEO. However, there are many other factors that contribute to a successful SEO strategy, including link building, social media engagement, and site architecture, to name just a few. By continuously working on these various elements, you can ensure that your site will not fall behind.

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