Are your campaign goals falling short? Maybe the time to reevaluate your search engine optimization (SEO) practices has arrived. From fluctuating customer priorities to unstable marketing conditions, keeping up with the seemingly constant changes in the world of SEO can be difficult.
However, the fact of the matter is: having less than optimal strategies is costing you customers and money. Reflecting on previous errors and oversights may be the push needed to modify current tactics and implement new ones.
Below are 8 of the most common SEO mistakes to be familiar with and to steer clear of in the future.
Common SEO Mistakes
- Poor audience recognition
- Weak or misaligned content
- Content lacking originality or relevance
- Website not optimized for mobile
- Unproductive links — broken, lacking quality, etc.
- Image issues
- Ineffective keywords
- Inferior website performance
Poor Audience Recognition
A profound slip-up is misidentifying and mistargeting an audience. Having a good understanding of your audience is critical. Without it, capturing the correct “voice” to speak to them can be challenging to say the least.
Marketers need to be able to conceptualize how their consumers behave in their markets and their desired outcomes. Not knowing your audience could lead to irrelevant keyword choices, meager ranking and overall campaign washout.
Weak or Misaligned Content
Along the same lines is producing content that just doesn’t fit. When an audience isn’t being addressed — due to poor recognition or other factors –the content and therefore, its success are negatively affected, too.
Hitting multiple topics within one piece, keyword stuffing, and creating content short on expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) are significant errors to avoid. As you create future content, be sure to adhere to Google’s best practices regarding E-A-T and search quality.
Content Lacking Originality or Relevance
Another common content mistake is to write for Google, not for your audience. While certain quantifiable components are required to rank well, qualifiable content is what’s needed most nowadays.
To perform well in the future, write original, easy-to-read content demonstrating expertise in the topic. Remember, quality content is always relevant to the target audience. It serves their purposes by genuinely corresponding to their questions and needs.
Website Not Optimized for Mobile
Traffic has switched lanes from desktops to mobile. If your site still isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s being left behind in the dust. In fact, mobile-friendly websites now make up more than half of the search results on Google.
Optimizing for mobile can reformat your site to perform better on various devices and can improve speed and design structure. These pro-mobile optimizations and beyond enable a site to rank higher on SERPs.
Unproductive Links — Broken, Lacking Quality, Etc.
Encountering a 404 error is certain to make a bad impression. Not only is a user’s experience affected by broken links, but the search bots in Google algorithms might also pass over the page leaving it unindexed. Prevent this mistake by routinely monitoring for broken links and by constructing a link building program based on best practices.
Keep in mind the quality of external links included in content is more essential than quantity. Be sure to link to well-ranking sites relevant to the content and link back to sites that have linked to yours. Lastly, use effective anchor text. Avoid spammy text by opting for variety and pertinence to better signify the link’s usefulness to readers and search bots.
A site with broken images can be quickly dismissed by users. The same goes when images are slow to load or irrelevant. Such problematic images affect rankings because they cause substandard customer experiences.
On top of that, images that don’t comply with SEO best practices are also troublesome. Missing or spammy alt tag text is a common on-page issue in need of repair. Properly executed HTML image attributes relay the content to the search bots as they cannot “see” them. Skipping alt tags can affect how the information is indexed and communicated overall.
Keywords are still an important factor in SEO success, but utilizing them correctly is not the main issue. It’s selecting the right ones. One of the most common blunders is overlooking the preference for long-tail keywords by both search engines and users.
Short, generic keywords are not going to help your site stand out among the countless competing sites. Specific, localized and long-tail keywords are what’s necessary to gain traffic and to help your page rank higher.
Inferior Website Performance
Last, but certainly not least, a huge SEO mistake is having a slow and poorly designed website. A user’s page experience is a big factor in ranking and essentially, the faster the site, the more favor it receives from Google. In addition to fast load speed, websites today require a responsive design to make accessing and browsing more straightforward for their users.
Everyone makes mistakes. What’s important is to recognize these SEO missteps, repair them and avoid them in the future. Likewise, focusing on improving site performance and delivering high-quality content are vital. All these combined will work towards increased user engagement and better campaign performance.
Aaron Wittersheim is Chief Operating Officer at Straight North, an Internet marketing agency. He has helped startups, middle-market firms and Fortune 500 companies improve organizational structure and grow through his expertise in process conception, task automation and internal project management.