SEO can be quite complicated to control and put into place. It’s influenced by so many factors that keeping track of everything can be overwhelming. To save you some headache, we have listed the 11 deadliest SEO mistakes you should avoid this year.
Take your time and audit your website to find if there are certain weak points you should reinforce important steps that were skipped or potential opportunities that aren’t being pursued. Here is what to focus on:
Not Satisfying Search Intent
Search intent is the reason behind a specific search query: why did that user search for those keywords?
Looking at how the users behave once they are on your page will give you a clear idea about how well you matched the search intent. High bounce rates mean that you are not offering what they are looking for, and perhaps you are targeting the wrong keywords, or providing poor user experience.
To make your task easier, you can organise your content by the main types of search intent:
- Informational: the user wants to find out more about a subject;
- Navigational: the user searches for a certain website or web page;
- Transactional: the user is looking for something they want to purchase;
- Commercial research: the user is looking for information to help him decide what to purchase
Matching your content with the intent behind search queries will compel your visitors to actually read your content, explore the rest of your website, and indirectly increase your search engine rankings.
Ignoring Your Competitors
While you are trying to figure out what is the most effective SEO campaign for your website, your competitors are doing the same thing. If they aren’t, then you shouldn’t worry about them.
Researching the tactics used by your peers is valuable, as it shows what works for the target audience that you have in common.
Competitor analysis includes:
- Seeing what keywords they rank for the highest;
- Identifying your SEO competition (which can be different from your business competition;)
- Assessing the difficulty of competing for certain keywords – choose your battles;
- Check out where they are getting their best backlinks;
- Gathering tips on off-page and on-page optimisation.
These are just a few of the useful things you can find out while analysing your competition.
Using a Weak Site Architecture
When you run a website, it’s very easy to get caught in the details. Many webmasters are unaware that their websites have weak site architectures that can make visitors confused and frustrated.
Check how easy it is to navigate through your website and see where visitors bounce off the most and what search terms they used before getting to you. If you do have weak points in your site architecture, it’s time to reinforce them.
A good way of improving your site’s architecture and SEO is to use internal linking to improve the traffic flow and bring visitors to less frequented pages. When you write your content, try to have a consistent categorisation in mind. If you think you are ready, try to migrate towards the topic cluster model.
Not Updating Old Content
Most people will write an article, optimise it, start generating some traffic, and then completely forget about it. Old content will still be on your website, though. And it still gets traffic.
Make sure to update the information in your old content, when needed. Fix broken links and redesign old content to match improvements on your website. In other words, keep your old content as fresh as you can.
Ignoring Long-Tail Keywords
Focusing only on the main keywords your content should rank for is a mistake, as it will not be indexed for people who will use related terms to look for the same thing. Long-tail keywords are often driving traffic to your website more than the main ones do, especially in the time it takes your content to reach the top of SERPs for the main keyword.
A useful tip is to look at the search terms suggested by Google when you enter the main keyword phrase.
Writing Stale Meta Titles and Descriptions
The meta title and description of your blog posts or articles are what users will see on the search engine’s results page. It’s great that you got there, but what will make them click on your website next?
If you totally ignore or don’t put enough effort into writing attractive meta titles and descriptions, you can miss many opportunities.
Include the main keywords in your meta tags, a call to action in the descriptions, and write in an active voice.
Using Black Hat or Outdated SEO Techniques
This mistake is one of the most damaging ones you can make. If you aren’t aware of how SEO has worked in the past few years, you might be tempted to use black hat or grey hat tactics or to stick to what you knew about SEO 10 years ago.
Here are some of the most common faux pas in SEO:
- Using link schemes for link building;
- Spamming for backlinks;
- Keyword stuffing;
- Using hidden text or sneaky redirects.
Avoid shortcuts that don’t add value to the users and search engines.
Ignoring Structured Data
Structured data is what helps search engines understand what is on your website. Of course, they can read text themselves, but interpreting the text as a human would, will not happen unless you label your information.
Tell Google and the other search engines what type of information your website contains and you will get a chance to be featured as a rich snippet in the search results. This means having a far more attractive listing in the SERPs.
Creating Only Written Content
Maybe your website doesn’t need visual content to get its message across. But this doesn’t mean that you should ignore other types of content. Written content is the greatest for SEO, since web crawlers can only read the text. But users actually like dynamic, easy to comprehend, quick to absorb content in the form of videos, images, infographics, etc.
Google will also give ranking points to a website that complements its written content with high quality, relevant and optimised images and videos.
Not Having a Mobile-Friendly Website
This is a major mistake for 2020 since visitors use their mobile devices frequently to browse the internet. This is especially important for local SEO, since the chance that you are visited by a mobile user increases.
Check how mobile-friendly your website is by performing a simple test with this Google tool. If you get a poor score, it’s time to investigate what you need to repair.
Focusing on Crawlers, Not on the Users
SEO is great, and the satisfaction of ranking higher by applying SEO tactics is quite rewarding. But, in the end, your actions should be about your users. No matter how well-optimised your website is, you can only grow your business if your products, services, and customer relationships are good.
Try to create or find a group of people who are interested in your industry, your brand, etc. Keep active on social media, go to peer events, and respond to your customers every time. This will give you leverage and super valuable word of mouth promotion.
Need Help With Your 2020 SEO Strategy?
Whether you want to outsource your SEO services, your website needs an SEO audit or you want to learn what SEO tactics fit your business best, our Search Engine Optimisation experts are here to help.
We at Australian Internet Advertising can help with all of that and guarantee better results for your business by using modern SEO to your advantage.