Every day millions of websites are created around the world (1.9 million per day in 2017) and they need search engine optimisation in order to be found in search engines and get the most out of the investment. People make mistakes either because they are not aware of basic SEO best practises or because they don’t understand them. If SEO is a “mystery” to you, then you need to understand these basics and how to avoid making mistakes, because sometimes small SEO mistakes (maybe a little bit of code or words in the wrong place) can cost you a lot in terms of losing traffic, ranking and ultimately money.
Here are some of the most common mistakes that every webmaster and website owner needs to be aware of when optimising their website.
Choosing The Wrong Keywords
When optimising your site you might be tempted to target keywords with a high volume of traffic, and so you might select broader search phrases. Broad keywords are common by nature and are therefore competitive but often they are also targeting the wrong audience. Broad keywords have high competition and might not exactly relate to your business’ products or services. Instead it makes sense to target local and “long tail keywords”, which focus more specifically on your customers. There are plenty of keyword research tools on the web such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner, keywordtool.io, SEMrush and so forth which can help you to target the right keywords to find the right audience for your website.
Content is king, and you may be in a hurry to make your website live as soon as possible, but don’t make the mistake of adding duplicate or low-quality to your website. No one likes to read the same information that is already published somewhere else, so you should always try to provide something different and helpful to your visitors so they come back and refer others to your site as well. After all its a matter of trust and authority: if you produce good content, you will go beyond achieving high rankings – you will win the trust of your site visitors.
Technical Issues That Affect SEO
An error-free website can help to bring more traffic and in turn can help to generate more enquiries. Technical SEO problems are site-wide problems and in some cases, page-specific issues. Technical SEO includes site indexing, robots.txt file, XML sitemaps, broken links, schema, social channel integration, URL redirection, website loading speed optimisation and many more. Beginners can make mistakes here because they don’t have the technical knowledge to fix these. The best way to find out if there are technical issues with your website is to add your site to Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console). This is a free tool from Google which allows you to find a variety of relevant technical SEO issues on your website and potential problems which need to be corrected. If you’re a little perplexed about the above, give us a call or contact us for some advice.
No, Unhelpful OR Duplicate Meta Tags and Titles
Basically, meta tags and page titles are an overview of your page that helps visitors to understand what a particular page is about in search results. It also helps search engines understand what each page of your website is about. Common mistakes include:
- Page titles being the same across the site. This is generally a global setting that has been enabled or the result of a poor CMS.
- Page titles that are not descriptive or unhelpful, such as if you have a single word page title or it is a bunch of keywords strung together. It’s not helpful to potential visitors and they may not want to click through to your website in search results.
- Meta description is missing or just full of keywords. A meta description is often used under the page title of a web page that appears in search results. Nonsensical keywords or not having any meta description means you’re missing out on an opportunity to encourage people to click through to your website from search results.
Meta tags need to be unique for each page, and if they are meaningful and helpful, it can be beneficial in the form of more potential visitors and increased search engine ranking.
It’s true that link building has changed nowadays but it still an important aspect of your website. We are not recommending to do aggressive or spammy link building tactics such as random directory submission, social bookmarking, article submission in multiple websites, etc. Instead we want you to focus on authority links, for example, if you are a local business owner you can use local listing websites and submit your business for local people. Make sure your link building strategy is natural and not a link scheme designed to manipulate search engines.
Social media is a great way to promote your new or existing content, as well as news about your business, and generate trust with your audience. If you are not using social channels then you are potentially missing out new visitors and ultimately customers. Depending on the nature of your business, social media integration should be in your strategy list. Activity on social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc. will boost your authority in the search engines and help you to move further in terms of inbound traffic.
No Google Analytics Or Webmaster Tools
Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console) are extremely important for any business. Google Analytics can generate accurate visited audience data which can help you find out how visitors are using your site and where they come from. Google Search Console informs about onsite improvements, schema, crawl errors, indexing, backlinks and search terms. As these are free tools powered by Google, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use them on your website.
The above list is not comprehensive. There are many SEO mistakes that even the experts can make, but it’s important to be able to recognise them and correct these issues as soon as possible.
Google has also provided some key information on why you might need to hire an SEO.