Home Business Common SEO mistakes – and what to do instead

Common SEO mistakes – and what to do instead

by Olufisayo
Common SEO mistakes

There’s understandably a lot of pressure for entrepreneurs, startups and new brands to rank well in search engine results. Unfortunately, this pressure often means they’re tempted to try and outsmart some pretty sophisticated algorithms and take shortcuts to try and boost their rankings.

Not only does this simply not work in the long run, trying to trick giants like Google is likely to get your website penalized and create a problem that’s a lot harder to unravel. Here we explore some of the most commonly made mistakes in the world of SEO and look at better options that will boost your rankings for all the right reasons.

Employing best practice SEO techniques may take a little more time and effort, but it’s definitely worth it.

Common SEO mistakes

Using black hat tactics

From hiding text by formatting it as white, or stuffing your content with irrelevant keywords, to straight out stealing content from another website, taking shortcuts and thinking you can outsmart search engines never pays off in the long run. While you might see a temporary spike in traffic (although even that is now unlikely) you run the risk of getting your website delisted entirely – meaning you won’t show up in any searches. Remember that if a company offers results that sound too good to be true, they’re almost certainly taking you for a ride. Putting out good quality, original and engaging content that genuinely answers people’s questions is always going to be the best SEO technique of all. If you simply don’t have the time to do this yourself or would feel better leaving it to the pros, companies like Ruby Digital are an excellent place to start.

Using lots of images that may look great, but end up slowing your website down

Everyone wants their website to look impressive butremember that search engines can’t “see” images, and only have your text to go on. Providing a rich user experience with lots of different types of media is one thing but having your website load so slowly people simply click away to one of your competitors is counterintuitive. Search engines like Google monitor how much time visitors spend on your site before clicking away and use that as an indicator as to whether your content answers their question or not. Even if your content is top-notch, slow load times can skew results against you. Remember also that users might be accessing your website from a region with slower internet speeds than yours. If in doubt, keep it simple!

Not optimizing for mobile

In 2018, the number of internet users accessing the web through mobile devices exceeded desktop for the first time, and that percentage is growing rapidly. As smartphones, tablets and other devices become more ubiquitous, it becomes increasingly important for your website to be responsive and mobile friendly. Keep this in mind when creating and formatting new content too – using paragraphs and subheadings that allow a user to scan through quickly and get a feel for what you have to offer.

Using internal links randomly

If you link to another page on your website, there should be a clear and logical reason why. Helping to guide your visitors to the answers they’re looking for and create a natural ‘journey’ is great, but linking to another service you offer on a page which has little to do with the user’s original search intention is confusing to readers and search engines.

Remember that external links – i.e. those pointing away from your website – are also an indicator that you’re genuinely interested in offering the information they’re looking for, and is a positive signal to search engines, especially when the sites you link to are trusted and reputable.

Failing to do a technical audit from time to time

With the best will in the world, links can get broken, redirect errors can crop up, and images can be formatted incorrectly for SEO, among other technical glitches. If your website has been around for a long time, the likelihood that these have been building up over time is pretty good. There are several free tools you can use to perform a basic SEO or a full technical audit of your site.

Fixing any errors you find along the way will make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website, as well as improving overall user experience, and can improve your rankings.

Forgetting local optimization

When people are looking for a product or service in a hurry, they increasingly make use of a search which includes the words ‘near me’ or their nearest city. As the use of mobile devices with GPS tracking increases, Google is better able to direct a user to the company which is literally nearest to them – if, of course, you have an active Google My Business listing. Don’t forget this potentially powerful tool, as aside from helping SEO, it’s a great place for potential customers to ask questions, quickly get your contact info, and leave positive reviews.

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