7 Deadly SEO Mistakes to Avoid
Search engine optimization is an essential aspect of your online presence, and no matter whether you're new at SEO or not, you can't afford to ignore it.
The longer you build your online reputation with low regard for SEO, the higher the chance your site will rank poorly. So, set yourself on the right track from the start and avoid making SEO mistakes when you can easily avoid them.
Following are the slip-ups you should be on the lookout for before they endanger your online visibility.
1. Without SEO, there are no SEO mistakes? Wrong.
Sure, poor search engine optimization is one of the reasons why your blog doesn't get enough traffic. But not tapping into the pool of benefits SEO provides is an even deadlier mistake.
Laziness will not keep you ahead of the competition; SEO will. Once you get familiar with search engine optimization, it will get easier to add new skills and upgrade yourself over time.
True, SEO is continually changing, and it is not easy to keep up the pace. This implies that, just as search engines evolve, so does optimization. However, it pays off to do your homework, conduct audits, and frequently apply modern techniques.
2. Failing to conduct an SEO audit regularly
Mistakes happen, but luckily for all of us, some mistakes are meant to teach us and make us better. From time to time, you need to conduct an inspection of and discover what's going wrong and why. The same goes for your SEO strategy.
What should you focus on in your SEO audit?
- Review your strategic objectives first.
- Analyze if you're targeting the right keywords.
- Check out your competitors and compare with them.
- Test your website loading time and especially if it's mobile-friendly or not.
- Examine the effectiveness of your landing pages.
- Inspect the quality, uniqueness, usefulness, engagement, and length of your content.
- Analyze user experience that's evident in bounce rate and time spent on your site.
- Check your links! Relevance and authority of your backlinks are vital, as well as their diversity and targeting.
3. Not understanding search intent and targeting
If you want your website to reach top positions with the help of SEO, you should make sure that
- your content answers the search intent of your visitors, as well as
- fits the terms for which they are searching.
People will come to your website for three main reasons. It either offers a solution to their informational, navigational, or transactional intent.
In other words, either your page provides the information they're looking for, or they're looking specifically for your website, or you're offering a product they wish to purchase.
If you make the reason for their visit easy to find, offer quality content, and invest in user experience, your work is (mostly) done.
4. Disregarding structured data
While structured data will not directly help your site rank better, it will explain to Google what your webpages are offering.
Technically, with structured data, you're ensuring that your pages show as results only in relevant searches. If you fail to standardize the way you're offering the information on your site, you will likely miss out on significant organic traffic.
Finally, structured data will help your website get into Google's Knowledge Graph, adding heightened visibility to your brand. This will also bode well for your website's authority and trust it builds among your potential visitors.
5. Overlooking internal linking and backlink building
Internal links are essential for your SEO because they will help search engines find pages and content on your website through other, already known pages. Furthermore, internal links serve to inform Google and other engines that the page containing them may be important. Without internal links, you are decreasing your page's authority.
Ignoring internal linking is one of the SEO mistakes that eliminates the chance to draw on the authority of your better-ranked pages and boost your new ones. But internal links are not the only links to rely on.
Backlinks boost the authority of your content by supporting what you write about. They are among the three most important ranking factors Google uses, right next to the content and RankBrain (a part of their search algorithm, Hummingbird).
For the best results, focus on links coming from reputable websites, make sure their anchor is your target keyword, and that their site and yours are related - for example, they belong to the same niche or explore the same topics.
6. Poor quality and plagiarized content
High-quality content is the foundation you need to boost your search rankings later. Nothing good can sprout from poorly written, useless copy, thin or duplicate content, or content taken from others.
Even if you're impressed with another website, that doesn't mean that a rip-off will land you closer to its ranking. On the contrary, plagiarized content will get you penalized anywhere, not just on search engines. And don't think that Google is the only search engine on the web.
Focus on what you have to offer and educate your audience about it. Also, update your content regularly to maintain its value and relevance.
7. Not defining site architecture nor making a sitemap
To begin with, these two terms aren't the same and should not be used interchangeably. A good sitemap is based on well-defined site architecture and is a hierarchical listing of all pages on a site.
By providing a sitemap, you list and explain the relationship between various types of content on your website. This doesn't just help your visitors get a better grasp of what your website offers. It helps search engines to discover all your pages in one single visit and crawl them properly.
A sitemap is a critical player in your SEO strategy because it helps search engines navigate your website and lets them know which segments are more important than others.
Moreover, a list of the links to the most important sections on your site will help you rank better, even if your internal linking isn't competently executed. Failing to add it is one of the deadly SEO mistakes that can bury your site under a pile of other search results.