Top Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid

When thinking about what to do to improve SEO, we must remember some of the more common mistakes. Some of the simplest things that are often overlooked when trying to set up or improve our site. While we’d like to cover everything, this article is to show you just five of the top common mistakes to avoid.

Site Speed

The search engines are always trying to ensure aspects of a site that would usually dissuade a human from it will also score low on the search platforms. The biggest reason that a user will click the dreaded ‘close tab’ is typically page loading times.

Did you know that 40% of mobile users will leave your site if the landing page takes more than 3 seconds to load? Yeah, speed is important. A lot of the time, the focus can be solely on design and content without sorting underlying SEO elements. There are many simple ways of improving the speed of your site such as deleting any unnecessary plug-ins or themes, reducing image sizes and ensuring your web host is reliable and fast. Plus, Google is more likely to favour your site and rank you higher if your page load speed it up to scratch. Gzip compression and browser caching can also significantly help your speed when enabled.

Some CRM’s and sites will opt for an asynchronous approach to loading their pages to get around this. Loading just the base of the page (the building blocks and the layout of the page), then deferring the loading of content, images and ads. While this will reduce the load time overall, it may not necessarily be the cure to the problem. If your content is loaded after the main detail of your page but takes a long time to load, the crawlers will still pick this up. So the key rules of keeping things small in terms of file size always apply. Resize and optimise those images for web people!

Using the Wrong Keywords/ Keyword-Stuffing

Whether you’re just starting in SEO or an expert, you’ll know the importance of keywords/phrases on your site. It used to be a decent SEO practice to stuff your content with the same or similar keywords/phrases. The more you used, the more likely you were to rank higher on search engines when people searched for that keyword. However, algorithm updates mean that sites found to be using this method of keyword-stuffing were either removed from Google’s index completely or suffered huge losses in rankings due to penalties by Google.

The best thing to do is a little keyword research. Being too general with your keywords will mean you have too much competition for rankings. You can to try and be as specific and descriptive as you can while still being relevant. It’s better to keep your keywords short and sweet with just a single word or two. You need to avoid crossover in those search terms too. Having 10 references to ‘best design agency’ and another 10 to ‘local design agency’ will flag as spam for the ‘design agency aspect’.

Don’t Compromise Quality Content Over Quantity

This is possibly one of the biggest SEO mistakes to make. While it’s always important to remember to include everything to ensure your best shot at a good ranking, doing so can sometimes result in poor content. Your amount of content is another thing to consider when writing. You want to write enough engaging, fresh content so your users have something interesting and relatable to and interact with. But on the other hand, you don’t want to write so much that you end up with too much content where users are easily bored or distracted and end up leaving your site.

While it’s important to include all of the essential SEO practices, you need to remember to write your content for humans, not Google - You want to create a positive experience for the user, not a search engine. Crawlers will also take into account the statistics of real people on your sites (if you integrate with things such as analytics engines). If your content is getting read by people for long periods, those search engines will know. - This is also the best way to get references in other peoples articles and similar, which is a great way to improve your rank! Never underestimate the power of internal and external links.

Not Optimizing for Mobile

Statistics show that currently, more than 52% of worldwide traffic is via mobile devices. With over half of the online presence being mainly on our phones, it’s all too common to see sites that have a beautiful layout, display and user interface (UI) on a larger laptop/computer screen, but when you view it on a phone device with a smaller screen, things have been nudged to fall half cut off the page or your images overlap and it’s all just a bit of a mess. It’s so imperative to optimise your site for mobile traffic. - The best scaling websites don't just have an adaptable template but will consider the mobile customer directly, and often will design from the ‘device up’, rather than the ‘web down’.

Poor Site Maintenance

Nowadays, it’s essential to have the most up to date lifestyle. We’re always upgrading our phones, contracts, CVs, and adding more and more content. But your general site maintenance is usually forgotten about once you’ve got your set up and layout sorted. Not having an up to date site can negatively impact your rankings and, in turn, your traffic & interaction. If the crawlers notice that nothing interesting is happening on your site (no new posts, no content being released, stagnating traffic etc), then you’ll never be able to increase your rank. The big players at the top are doing everything they can to stay up there, so if you don’t keep your site up to scratch, you’re already playing a losing game!

Of course, there are so many different elements to consider, and we have only just touched base on 5 of them. While there are more aspects to consider when improving your SEO, we hope we’ve given you some of the fundamental basic mistakes to avoid to get you started.

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