I was sitting on my bed doing keyword research for this article when my friend asked me a question, “what is SEO?” I was surprised because I expected her and everyone else on the planet who owned a business to know what SEO was.
I explained that every business, no matter how obscure, needed a website. If they had a website, prospects would find their business online. Those who desire website traffic know that a good SEO strategy gets you to the top of the hill.
Customers make a ton of purchases online. Hence, businesses that implement Google best practices and avoid costly SEO mistakes have a higher chance of ranking for their money keywords.
Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2019
1. Keyword Stuffing:
It may seem hard to believe that we’re talking about keyword stuffing in 2019. Keyword stuffing is an unsavory SEO tactic that unscrupulous websites use to increase visibility on search engines.
According to Alexa, these are the types of keyword stuffing:
- Inserting the same keywords repeatedly
- Repeating the same phrases and words
- Adding words that make no sense
- Using irrelevant keywords in the content
- Using text in the same color as the background to make it visible to search engines but hidden from readers
- Repeating text in the title tags and meta description as well as the page’s code and alt attributes.
Optimize your keyword for SEO juice. Use the key term in the right places. Create quality content that is useful and relevant to the user’s search query.
Write first for your audience and second for search algorithms. If your writing is natural and easily understood by readers, higher search rankings will follow.
Don’t forget about prime real estate for keyword placement.
For maximum SEO value, ensure that you insert the keyword in the meta descriptions, title tags, heading and the first paragraph of the content. It’s easier to focus on writing great content when the keywords are well placed.
Don’t be afraid to use long-tail keywords. Secondary keywords tell search engines that your page content is relevant to its primary keyword.
Google bots crawl for related terms and phrases to determine the context of the page and rank accordingly.
2. Failing to Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
A mobile-friendly website displays properly on mobile and desktop devices. It is a responsive web design that ensures a uniform experience when viewing your website.
Here are some interesting statistics from infront.com
- Roughly 60% of all online access is through a mobile device
- 77% of adults own a smartphone
- 72% of online users want a mobile-friendly website
- 94% of people judge a website based on responsive web design
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you’ll suffer in terms of visitor retention, user interest rates, and dwell time on your website.
Even at its’ lowest, most online businesses get 25% of their traffic from mobile devices. It’s not a figure you should ignore.
A mobile-friendly website leads to a positive ranking signal, faster-loading website, improved conversion on mobile devices and enhanced user experience on your website.
Tips for a responsive web design
- Learn how visitors interact with your website on mobile. Use Google Analytics to determine the pages and elements they access the most on mobile.
- For easy navigation, ensure that the most important menu items are visible on small screens. Use a hamburger menu for the rest of the pages.
- Optimize images for mobile. Use TINYJPG to reduce image sizes. It saves bandwidth and ensures faster loading time.
- Use media queries. It allows content to adapt to screen resolution by checking for width, resolution and device orientation.
- Use easy-to-click buttons on small forms
- Ensure generous space around your CTA buttons so it’s easy to identify and understand.
- Design a mobile version first to see how text, images, and other elements appear on a small screen.
- Include keyboard triggers in forms
- Buttons should be easily clickable on mobile screens
3. Uninspiring Titles
Keyword-heavy titles do not lead to high click-through rates. You need creative page titles to increase click-through rate. It enhances your brand personality and entices users to view your landing pages. It shows Google that your website is the best for a user’s search query through strong positive signals.
A few tips to guide you when writing click-worthy headlines:
- Use emotional triggers in your titles. Think of the feelings you want to evoke in your readers.
- Use a descriptive numbered list
- Use powerful words such as guaranteed, premium, amazing, proven and secret
- Tie in emotional hooks with words like seamless, fun, luxury, safe, relaxing and adventure.
- Write 10 unique title tags for the same page and test each one
- Use a headline tool such as CoSchedule to write better headlines
4. Ignoring 404 error pages
Don’t use a generic 404 page. It makes your audience angry when they can’t access your content. The best webmasters create a customized 404 error page that is funny, witty and lighthearted.
It’s an inconvenience when a visitor lands on a 404 error page. It means there’s a problem with a page(s) on your site. Make it less frustrating with a customized 404 page.
A few tips to help you optimize your landing 404 pages include
- Include a search bar for users to find the information that brought them to your website.
- Witty always wins
- Add internal links to the most popular pages on your website
- Re-emphasise USPs, branding, trust signals, and value proposition. It reminds users of the reason why they came to your website.
- Redirect to appropriate pages where necessary
- Use Google Analytics behavior flow to review the 404-page data and find broken links.
5. No brand signals
Did you know that brand signals add a layer of trust to your website? No matter the age of your website, you need to continuously increase signals and brand awareness. Create accounts on social media and video hosting sites such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Quora.
Nathan Gotch shares a few ways to build brand signals for SEO
- Secure your brand name across all the major social media channels.
- Secure second-tier properties with services such as KnowEm and Lock My Brand
- Sign up for niche relevant platforms where most of your audience hang out. You can find relevant platform by searching “niche + signup”
- Populate these accounts with great content
- Increase your page authority by linking to 3-5 of your social account
- Use link building strategies to increase your profile authority
- Consider using business citations to build brand signals and dilute your link profile.
6. Plagiarizing Content
Almost every information is already online. Businesses are faced with the struggle of generating unique, high-quality content.
Original content is the only way to promote white-hat SEO practices and to stand out from the sea of competitors.
Search engines have evolved. They easily detect duplicate content and won’t rank your pages. Companies who plagiarise content will lose their search rankings and reputation.
You don’t have to come up with a fresh topic for every article. Keyword research, Google Trends, news, viral content and highly performing articles can inspire creativity.
However, ensure that you establish a personalized structure, tone and style for your content. It distinguishes you from other publishers.
7. Ignoring the Importance of the Site Architecture and HTML
The architecture and the HTML of the web pages are important SEO elements. A beautiful and appealing website without a clean HTML or proper architecture prevents search engines from accessing, crawling and indexing the content on the website.
This is where the relationship between good website design and great content must interact for overall website performance.
Use the right meta tags in the content. These include meta description tag and title tag. Other tags to incorporate depending on the site optimization requirements include
- No follow
- No index
- Href lang
Removing these tags could affect the SEO visibility and the performance of your website. Use JSON schema markup to provide Google bots with more information about the web page.
Alternatively, it could be implemented using the microdata and RDFa within the HTML.
8. Ignoring Older Content
There’s so much to do every day that it’s hard to create fresh content regularly. Hence, it’s crucial that you update older content on your website by adding target keywords, new links, relevant meta description, ALT text and more.
Add more information to under performing posts on your website. Remove spammy comments and broken links on the post. Images and outbound links make your post more engaging and comprehensive.
9. Failing to Optimize for Voice Search
In 2016, 20% of search queries on Google was from voice search. Today, the figure has increased to over 50% of all Google search queries. Teenagers are the major patrons but statistics from Thrive Analytics revealed that people from all age groups including individuals aged 54+ also use voice search.
Here’s how you can optimise your website for voice search
- According to Backlinko, site speed plays a major role. The average voice search result loads in 4.6 seconds. The typical result is short because that’s what Google prefers. Ideally, its only 29 words in length.
- Focus on mobile search to meet consumer demand. Some specific keywords are used more in voice search, especially mobile searches.
- Use long tail keywords that begin with “how”, “what”, “when” and “who”. Most people conduct voice search on the move with queries starting with “near me”. It includes topics that are ok to say out loud. Such as “Sushi restaurant near Brooklyn” or “bowling alley near me”.
- Create long-form content that answers questions and draws them to you. Avoid thin content. Research by serpIQ shows that the top 5 results in a search query have an average word count of 2300-2450 words.
10. Failing to Validate your Business Credibility
A few tips to help search engines validate the credibility of your business include
- Add a business name, phone number and address to the site. It shows search engines that the website is real, not a virtual business.
- Maximize organic search visibility, Ensure that the business name, phone number and address are consistent across social media and business profiles.
11. Ranking for Non-Competitive Keywords
Keyword research might be time-consuming but it’s a task worth doing well. It’s the only way to understand what your audience wants and create content accordingly.
Choosing the wrong keyword means your website won’t drive relevant traffic.
The top free and paid tools for keyword research include:
You might be making some of these SEO mistakes without realizing it. Use these tips to improve your website SEO and drive better results from search engines.
Want to pick my brains for your next SEO project? Schedule a call and I’ll be happy to help.