There are a ton of SEO mistakes one can make. Some so blasphemous in the eyes of search engines that they could get your entire website penalized.
Unfortunately, there are many website owners who had learned the hard way, failing to identify the errors of their ways before it was too late.
And like with everything in the SEO world, it’s always important to know what not to do. So without further delay, we share 6 common SEO mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
SEO Mistake #1
Poor Mobile Design
Many website owners are unaware of how user experiences and the power of effective mobile design influences search rankings. With mobile search queries being more popular than desktop, users today want a seamless and stress-free digital experience.
If you didn’t know before, websites that fail to pass Google’s mobile-friendly test are demoted in mobile ranking. This means that anyone who has a website with a mobile-friendly design will be ranked higher than websites that do not have a mobile-friendly design.
Why? It’s because of Mobilegeddon, a Google search algorithm update that was rolled out on April 21, 2015, rewarding mobile-friendly web pages.
Ignoring mobile design is a huge SEO mistake. So be sure and try testing your site on Google’s mobile-friendly checker – it’s free and easy.
If you pass, then you’re in the clear. If you fail, then you’ll have to find a developer to help you out. If you’re on a low budget, try finding an affordable option like WordPress and Shopify. Most of their sites are mobile-friendly.
SEO Mistake #2
Failing at Keyword SEO Optimization
It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many websites forget to include important keywords on their website, and it makes a world of a difference.
If you don’t know how, here’s what you can do. Before writing content and filling out your metadata, you’ll want to use a tool like Google Keyword Planner.
Type in one keyword in the search field and wait for the keyword results. You can export Google’s Keyword Planner list of words into a spreadsheet with one click.
From there you can shortlist the top 50-100 keywords that are relevant to you and your brand. Narrow that list down to your top 10.
Remember, for each page you’ll want to target one keyword. So you’ll want to repeat that process per page. Also, you’ll want to make sure your primary keyword of each page is also included in the URL, title tag, meta description, meta tags, and across the web page in the copywriting.
You’ll also want to include keywords in categories, subcategories, breadcrumbs, images and in navigation as well.
When you find the right keywords you’ll be able to signal to search spiders what your website is all about.
SEO Mistake #3
Failing At SEO Image Search
Not only is image search an easy way to boost organic traffic, but also a great way to passively build quality backlinks. Many people forget to optimize their images on their website and miss out on a golden opportunity at wheeling in organic prospects from image search — a huge SEO mistake!
Be sure to get descriptive with your image file names. For instance, if you want to put a picture of the Statue of Liberty on your page, save it as: statue of liberty.jpg or png.
You’ll also want to include the ALT attribute or the ALT tag as well in all your images. Keep their descriptions short and less than 125 characters but be descriptive using keywords without keyword stuffing.
It’s better to be short and to the point. Let’s consider our Statue of Liberty example. If you Photoshopped her in red, type: ‘Statue of Liberty in red.’
SEO Mistake #4
Joining The Wrong Link Directories
Adding your site to too many or to the wrong link directories is another SEO mistake to avoid. There are two neighborhoods in SEO. The good neighborhood where you’re sourced and cited on authority sites.
Then there is the bad neighborhood. This is where you’ll find the spammy link directories and link farms that have a horrible reputation and are totally irrelevant to you, like older article directory sites. Make sure to avoid link schemes as well. Google will penalize you.
Even directories that in the past may have seemed good or were mentioned by many marketers as being good, can be pointed out by Google and even found by using tools like SEM Rush, that point out that many of your peers have selected these links as toxic.
SEO Mistake #5
In the words of Google, “Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site ranking.”
This is one of the oldest SEO mistakes in the book. Keyword stuffing is a huge mistake because it offers poor user experiences and offers little value.
If you haven’t seen what keyword stuffing looks like, the following is an example. Say you have a website about local coffee beans and your customers visit your site and read:
I love local coffee beans. Do you love local coffee beans? I love local coffee beans and like drinking at local coffee beans stores. If you’re looking for a place to buy local coffee beans visit our local coffee beans shop.
This is a classic SEO mistake that many make. Users will most likely drop off this site and move onto another page, increasing website bounce rates and destroying search engine rankings.
So how much is too much? There’s no magic number. A safe ratio a web page should aim for is between 2 – 5%. Make sure to sprinkle keywords across your web pages, like in your title, drop it in the first 150 characters of each page and naturally across your copywriting.
SEO Mistake #6
Unnatural Anchor Text
Another overlooked and subtle SEO mistake is unnatural anchor text. Say you wanted to get your website ranked online for popular keyphrases. Naturally, you’d want to build backlinks with rich anchor text from other authority sites.
For example, if you are selling local coffee beans and become a credible source of information for local coffee beans in your city. Other websites will be inclined to add you as a resource and link to your website.
In other words, and in this particular case, you want another website to hyperlink the keyword phrase ‘Local Coffee Beans’ instead of linking to the website www.localcoffeebrandname.com.
At the same time, you’ll get penalized if you feed the web with an unnatural number of keyword rich anchor texts. It’s best to keep your natural anchor text to 10% across all attempts and come up with other variations of keyphrases in the other 90%.
Everyone in business wants to rank for their keywords. A lot of entrepreneurs will try to bootstrap SEO themselves. This includes website owners who unknowingly execute blackhat SEO techniques and make sinful SEO mistakes.
If you’re bootstrapping SEO, remember it’s always a good idea to know exactly what NOT to do before you go out and practice what to do. The last thing you want is to lower your current ranking or worse. Get blacklisted altogether.