30 second recap:
- SEO has become a key practice area for online businesses to gain exposure. If it’s done poorly, however, it can stagnate or even sabotage your online visibility
- From filling an entire page with nothing but images to creating tons of bad keywords or spending too much time on meta keywords
- Here is a list of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid and be prepared for the future
It’s easy to make mistakes when doing SEO for a website. I’ve even caught myself making silly mistakes here and there. That said, it’s important for webmasters to know what some of the bad things to do are when it comes to SEO.
Error-free sites stand a better chance against the big ones. Sites that have a lot of backlinks, but have some markup issues, can quickly rise in search results when the SEO issues are addressed. Luckily for webmasters, most of these errors are extremely easy to fix and can be completely fixed in minutes.
For those with search engines crawling their sites regularly, changes can be made almost instantly on the search engine side. Those with slightly slower crawl speeds will naturally have to wait longer, but the changes will have their benefits over time. I also want to add that this article will reflect the changes in SEO over the last few years as meta keywords for example are definitely not as important as they once were.
Here are the most common SEO mistakes and how to fix them:
SEO error no. 1: nothing to read
You’ve filled an entire page with nothing but images OR you’re using development methods that aren’t crawler-friendly, such as a site that uses nothing but Flash. The search engine has no text (or anything) to read.
You may have a well-written, keyword-rich article that can be beautifully displayed in flash or images, but search engines may not be able to read it. Therefore, you will not rank very well for your keyword rich article.
According to Google’s official webmaster guidelines,
“Try using text rather than images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler does not recognize the text contained in the images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the ALT attribute to include some words of descriptive text“.
Also, I would recommend that you choose more and more plain text on your website. And just because it’s called plain text doesn’t mean it has to look plain. There are some very beautifully designed sites that are easily readable by search engines. You don’t have to sacrifice beauty so that search engines can crawl your site.
SEO error no. 2: Anonymous URLs
You might have a great web page on your website with a keyword rich description about let’s say strawberry cheesecake. Learn more about how gorgeous and deliciously moist your cheesecake recipe is in your article. Your URL, however, just says www.somesortofsite.com/node61. Search engines value not only the URL, which should somehow describe your site, but also the slug which, in this case, I called node61.
Get a URL that describes your site. If you have a website about affiliate marketing, for example, try getting something like https://affiliatemarketing.com. If you’re writing an article about affiliate marketing tips, insights, or anything else, make sure the slug represents it in some way so that the URL is something like this article about affiliate marketing programs. There are many ways to do this depending on the content management system you use. You can configure WordPress to automatically give you a descriptive slug based on your post title or you can also enter your own slug.
SEO error no. 3: Meta keyword obsession
You are spending too much time researching and finding the BEST keywords to use in your meta tags.
Don’t spend too much time doing this.
According to Neil Patel, the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar:
“Meta keywords are no longer relevant in today’s SEO. Google may decide to change the rules in the future, but don’t waste your time for now“.
“If you are a WordPress user, you don’t need to add any other tags that you think are relevant to your content,” He added.
While there are still many webmasters who still think otherwise, they are definitely not as important as they used to be. they were so important in the past, that I still have an article on nothing but meta keywords! Now, however, meta keywords have much less meaning than they used to. I must confess that I still enter information into those pretty metadata fields, but I don’t spend as much time on them as I used to. Neither should you. Grab a few quick tags and a cute little description and call it a day. Basically just set it and forget it.
SEO error no. 4: missing alt tags
No “alt tags” on your images.
Add alt tags to each of your images. This way, you provide search engines with information about what’s in the photo. You don’t have to describe the whole picture, but at least put something descriptive there!
According to Google:
“… If you must use images for text content, consider using the ALT attribute to include some words of descriptive text“
Everyone likes to know what’s in a photo, even if they can’t see it. Many people don’t have the time to insert alt tags for every single little icon or part of the design. You don’t really need to have alt tags on ALL images, just the important ones. The topic of alt tags is getting more and more controversial, but it doesn’t hurt to add them and personally, I’ve noticed a difference since adding them.
SEO error no. 5: Using HTML instead of CSS
Everything on your site is HTML. You love HTML and can’t get enough of it.
If your site’s design is in HTML, you’re committing a serious development sin. What year is this – 1997? The site design should be written in CSS. Why is this a problem? Search engines can have a hard time differentiating what is design and what is content if your site is written strictly in HTML.
Another difficulty faced by those whose sites aren’t in CSS is the painstaking process of making changes to a layout.
SEO error no. 6: No backlinks
Your site has no backlinks.
A site’s on-page SEO really helps, but off-page SEO is what will take it to the top. Websites need quality backlinks and backlinks.
According to Patel:
“When deciding how to rank for your website, Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines look at how many links lead to your site (and the quality of those links)“.
“The higher the quality, trustworthiness and authority of the sites that link to you, the more your blog posts and sales pages will appear on search results pages,” He added.
In fact, one of the most important parts of SEO is backlinks. It is important to include keywords in backlinks as well. It’s important that backlinks are natural… or at least appear natural, so webmasters need to be careful not to build too many backlinks right away.
Too many backlinks in a short amount of time look suspicious and sites have been penalized for it. Take it easy. Add a new backlink here and there. Taking it easy gives you plenty of room to dabble a bit – to see what works and what doesn’t without a large investment of time or money.
SEO error no. 7: Incorrect keywords
You picked a great keyword, but you have 50,387 backlinks and you still don’t rank for the keyword.
You have chosen some wrong keywords. If you already have a lot of backlinks and want to stay in your niche, you’ll probably bring in a lot more traffic with slightly less competitive “ahem” keywords.
Every niche has those extremely competitive keywords, but those with a little creativity and research, you can find some good keywords – ones that people search for often, but is something your website can rank for.
Jacob McMillen is a copywriter, marketing blogger and inbound marketing consultant. He can be found on Twitter @jmcmillen89 and LinkedIn as Jacob McMillen.
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