Are you committing some common search engine optimization mistakes that are making your site sink in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? We will identify SEO errors to avoid so you can get the Google ranking you desire, along with all the traffic-related perks that come with it.
SEO Errors To Avoid
With the right SEO, you could land on page 1 of a Google SERP. Why is that so important? Because research reveals that a whopping 71 percent of searches end up in an organic click of that first page, with 68 percent of all clicks going to the top five results.
How can you end up as one of the top five results? By avoiding these common SEO mistakes that even the experts occasionally make.
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Improper Use Of Headers
Search engines use headers – also known as H1, H2, H3, etc. tags – as a way to look for relevant content by searching the keywords in those headers to see what a given topic is about. If your page lacks or misuses them, your SEO will suffer, and your rankings won’t be all they can be. As if that was not bad enough, your visitors won’t be happy either, as headings help guide them through a page quickly. Without proper headings, visitors will spend less time on a page, and all of the above will hurt your SEO.
To make your headings SEO-friendly, do the following:
- Always use an H1 heading.
- Only use a single H1 heading per page, so you can avoid having multiple titles.
- For clarity, list your headers in a logical order.
- Use keywords throughout your H1s, H2s, H3s, etc.
Read: SEO Headers: Best Practices and Tips
Using The Same Keyword On Different Pages
If you use the same primary keyword on different pages, you will be competing with yourself. Put in the extra work and use different keywords for each page to get the most bang for your SEO buck. Although it may seem confusing, you can make this task easier by using more long-tail keywords.
Your Content Is Not Long Enough
As you browse the Internet, you may have noticed that content is getting longer. If yours is not, you may need to change that to get the best SEO boost.
How long is long enough? That depends on who you ask, but many suggest a bare minimum of 500 words so that Google has something to work with. To play it safe, go even longer than that, as studies have shown that first results in SERPs tend to be longer than those further down the line.
To ensure your content meets length standards, go through your pages and do a word count. If any pages have fewer than 300-500 words, do some research and add content to flesh them out a bit. A quick trick to accomplish this is to see what your competitors are writing, or you could hire a freelancer to start composing longer content.
Not Optimizing Your Meta Content
Your tags or meta content tell search engines what each of your pages is about. By helping search engines understand your page’s content, they can index it correctly to help your rankings.
Some developers make the mistake of not using meta content at all or incorrectly. To ensure you don’t follow in their footsteps, remember the following quick tips:
- Meta titles should not exceed 11 words.
- Meta descriptions should be between 150-300 characters.
- Target keywords should be incorporated in both the meta title and description.
- The slug should be optimized with the keyword, and any unnecessary words should be removed from the URL.
Read: Essential On-Page SEO Tips
Too Much Duplicate Content
When it comes to content that boosts rankings, originality and uniqueness are essential. You do not want to copy your competitor’s content, but you also do not want to duplicate your own.
In short, be careful about publishing duplicated content elsewhere on a guest blog. It can be particularly harmful to rankings if you not only use duplicated content on both sites, but also the same titles and meta descriptions, as it will send mixed signals to search engines.
Poor Site Performance
A site that performs poorly can lead to unhappy visitors while leaving Google unimpressed. To get that first-page ranking, improve your site’s performance by:
- Using a tool like PageSpeed Insights to boost speed.
Keeping The “Noindex” Tag In Place
If your robots.txt has a noindex tag, that will tell the search engine not to index your page. In other words, that tiny little tag will negate your SEO efforts, which is why you must remove it.
Can you keep the noindex tag on certain pages you want to keep off search engines? Sure, but if you have pages you are looking to rank high in the SERPs, you will have to ensure that their robots.txt listing has the noindex tag removed.
Using Accelerated Mobile Pages Improperly
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a tool that optimizes load speed on mobile devices. The faster the speed, the better the user experience, and this can help you skyrocket up the SERPs.
Having Too Many External Links
Can external links add value to your content and improve your SEO? Sure, but you do not want to overdo it, or you will outdo yourself.
Try to use external linking only when necessary, and be picky with your links. Only link to reputable sites when you need to include sources to statistics and studies, and never link to your competitors. Lastly, if you have keywords you are trying to rank for, do not use them as external link anchors.
Again, we are not saying that external links are bad, as you should use them strategically to boost your content and SEO. But when you do use such links, do so with caution.
Incorrect Anchoring Of Internal Links
Internal links can help your SEO, but if they’re not anchored correctly, you’re wasting your time. Be sure to use relevant anchor text when linking to other pages on your site. What isn’t relevant? Text like “Click here.” What is relevant? Using the other page’s keyword as the anchor text.
Not Making Your Page Accessible Enough
Forgetting to be inclusive can negatively impact your SEO efforts because your rankings will drop if everyone cannot access your site. To increase inclusivity and make your site more accessible, add some alt text to your images. In doing so, you will help vision-impaired visitors figure out whatever story your page’s pictures are trying to tell.
Instead of focusing on keyword density, try to be as accurate as possible. An easy rule to remember when writing alt text comes from Penn State University’s Accessibility and Usability Department, which states: “Include what you might say if you were talking on the phone.” By being descriptive, you will create a better user experience and get that SEO boost you desire.
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