November 7, 2018

Are You Making Any Of These Common SEO Mistakes?

By Sam Woolfe at Inspiring Interns

An effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is absolutely essential to any business’ success. A comprehensive SEO plan will allow you to boost organic traffic to your site and increase your brand’s credibility and visibility.

SEO is also one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, with a much better return on investment (ROI) than normal advertising. This is because SEO targets users who are already looking for your product or services.

Given these wide-ranging benefits, it’s important to avoid common SEO mistakes. Many businesses repeatedly make these mistakes, which can be highly detrimental to their marketing strategy and broader business goals.

Poor Choice Of Keywords

One of the most common SEO mistakes is choosing the wrong keyword. Businesses neglect the fact that Google and users prefer long-tail keywords to short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords contain at least three words and are very specific to whatever it is that a brand is promoting or selling.

While you may think that certain keywords will best apply to your products or services, it’s crucial to keep in mind that potential customers may use completely different keyword phrases to refer to them.

In order to figure out the best keyword to use for your business, you should do some prior research. Useful SEO research tools include Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Google Trends, SEMrush, and Moz Keyword Explorer.

Duplicate Content

Google doesn’t like seeing copied or plagiarised content online.

The algorithms it uses means that any website guilty of such practices will be punished for it in terms of rankings. This is why you should always seek to produce original and meaningful content.  Not just for the sake of engaging your readers and making an impact, but also to make sure you don’t get downgraded in search results.

Copyspace is a helpful tool that allows you to check for duplicate content.

Poor Quality External Links

 In terms of achieving high Google rankings, the quality of the external links is more important than quantity. Ensure that you only link to websites that are reputable, relevant, and rank high on Google. Also, if you link to a site that has already linked to you, this will help to drive traffic.

Another key tip is to refer to a variety of websites. If you include the same websites in your text, even if they’re high-quality sites, this could negatively impact your SEO strategy. Search engine bots favour link diversity.

One more error that businesses commonly make in their SEO strategy is how they choose anchor texts. If your clickable text is always “click here”, then this can be seen as spammy, which can affect your SEO.

Readers and search engines want to see anchor text that is relevant; it should tell you what the link is about. Moreover, using a variety of anchor texts, rather than the same text or generic text (e.g. “a new study”) is likely to enhance your SEO.

Keyword Stuffing

It used to be the case that you could just stuff keywords into your text as a way to boost your rankings. However, Google now views this overuse of keywords as spammy, which will hurt your SEO performance.

Trying to cram a keyword into every sentence in your text looks unnatural and inelegant. Keyword stuffing diminishes readability and search engines consider this when they rank webpages.

When producing optimised content, you want to opt for a certain keyword density (the percentage of the number of times a keyword is used).

There is some disagreement about optimal keyword density, although Yoast recommends aiming for a keyword density of 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. This will vary depending on different factors, such as how long the text is and how long your keyword is.

Creating A Mismatch Between Content And Keywords 

Many businesses will focus solely on including targeted keywords in the text, with the right kind of density, without creating a consistency between the keywords and the content itself. While this can be an easy way to include multiple keywords in a piece of text, it results in low-quality content.

Ultimately, Google wants to offer its users the most relevant content for the search terms they’re using. So, if there’s a mismatch between your keywords and the content, then your webpage won’t rank well. Additionally, when you focus on creating content that matches the needs and questions of your target audience, then you increase the likelihood of ranking well.

Forgetting About Performance On Mobile Devices

SEO isn’t just about content quality and keywords. An effective SEO strategy also depends on how your website performs on mobile devices. Your website on a mobile device needs to be just as user-friendly and fast as it is on a desktop.

Smooth running, fast websites don’t just keep users on your site, they are valued by search engines as well.

You can use an online tool like Pingdom to analyse your site’s speed and pinpoint where the problems lie and how to resolve them. The highly acclaimed entrepreneur Neil Patel has detailed how you can use the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) plugin to create a more mobile-friendly experience for your users, and reduce load time between 15 per cent and 85 per cent.

Going forward, it’s worth experimenting with the plethora of online tools and resources at your disposal. Furthermore, be sure to utilise Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools so that you can see how your SEO strategy is working and what changes need to be made. By avoiding common SEO pitfalls, you can deliver high-quality content that will take your marketing strategy to the next level.

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By Sam Woolfe at Inspiring Interns