Search engine optimization is a fairly straightforward thing – all you need is high quality unique content and authority backlinks pointing at it and you are good to go.
However, those two main factors of SEO contain a lot of smaller sub-factors which creates a lot of opportunity for mistakes. And mistakes are not something absent in the world of search engine optimization.
What You’ll Learn
- The 100 most common SEO mistakes that people make – I asked 100 experts for the number one SEO mistake they see people make and I will share their responses with you.
- SEO mistakes ranking – at the end of the article, we will rank the most common mistakes by their number of mentions. Usually, I would filter out duplicates from people that I interview, but on this occasion, it is actually better to show them all as everyone has a different story to tell.
The 100 Most Common SEO Mistakes That People Make
Now, before we get to the mistakes, I just want you to understand that SEO is very situational. So what that means is, if someone tells you, for example, that low quality link building doesn’t work at all, you should understand that sometimes, it might still work.
I mean, there are still people ranking their websites solely by using automated link building tools such as GSA SER – their target keywords might have low competition but still.
Now, I’m not encouraging this approach because I believe in simple SEO and the two main factors I mentioned at the beginning of the article but, sometimes it’s just more efficient.
So, the point I’m trying to make with this intro is that you should be aware that there’s always an exception to everything and that what you need to do is find what works best for your scenario. Now let’s see what the 100 most common SEO mistakes include.
SEO Mistake #1: Writing For Search Engines
Chris McGovern, Owner & CEO at Presh Marketing Solutions, thinks that some people focus way too much on writing for search engines:
The most common SEO mistake we see is actually trying to write for SEO and game the system. This worked 2 – 3 years ago, but the bottom line is Google has got to a point where there are so many factors in play, that quality ultimately trumps a keyword stuffed website.
Websites that focus on quality are visited and shared often, creating the inbound links that actually matter. The number of keywords on a site is just a minor part of the full “SEO equation” but some individuals still think it’s very important.
SEO Mistake #2: Lack Of Consistency
Will Schneider, President of FulfillmentCompanies.net, wants people to be more consistent with their SEO:
In my perspective, I think one of the most common mistakes is a lack of consistency. Especially in the current landscape, SEO requires a great deal of work – from actively building relationships and developing great content.
Great SEO work takes a great deal of time over an extended period of time. Many growing companies simply start and stop the efforts in an inconsistent manner, which ultimately hampers their long term development.
SEO Mistake #3: Not Using Google Search Console
James Rice, Head of Digital Marketing at WikiJob, reminded us of a very important SEO tool that people seem to be overlooking:
The biggest mistake small businesses make is not using Google Search Console. Google Analytics is great, but it can’t tell you which of your pages are not being crawled or indexed, or if there are issues with your sitemap.
Search Console is also the place to go for accurate organic keyword and landing page data, and will alert you if your site is being penalized or has security issues. Frankly it’s indispensable.
SEO Mistake #4: Forgetting About ALT Tags
Alice Bedward, Junior Marketing Manager at Helpling, urges SEOs not to forget about their images’ ALT tags:
It’s a newbie mistake but without ALT tags, search engines have no idea that your website contains images. They will crawl your pages, pick up on keywords, headers, and links etc., but they won’t detect the images.
Add keywords to your images’ ALT tags to enhance the quality of your content, and to see your traffic rates improve.
SEO Mistake #5: Keyword Cannibalization
Adam Vowles, Head of Digital Marketing at TWDG, wants people to stop abusing keywords in their different pages’ content:
An SEO mistake I see people making all the time is keyword cannibalization. With niche sites they target every page at a couple of keywords. When the site doesn’t perform they build more links and add more content.
When in reality all the pages are competing with each other. Simply adding a canonical to competition pages or correctly keyword targeting your site are the easiest ways of fixing this. I have seen pages jump from page 40 to page 1 in a couple of days.
SEO Mistake #6: Including Keyword-Optimized Content On Social Media
Jessi Carr, an SEO Specialist at Inseev Interactive, sees way too much keyword over-optimization for social media:
One of the biggest SEO mistakes that I commonly see is companies trying to include keyword-optimized copy on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Although these companies have the right intent, Google does not place a high emphasis on user-generated content like social media, meaning that their time spent on creating this content for social media is often wasted.
These platforms are much more suited for developing a brand’s unique voice and identity, while the more optimized copy is best left for on-page SEO efforts.
SEO Mistake #7: Shooting For The Stars
Dustyn Ferguson, an SEO Specialist at RunningSEO, wants people to start simple and easy:
The most common SEO mistake that I see with tons of websites and eCommerce stores is that they don’t go after low hanging fruits, both on page and off. They are blinded by the best of the best opportunities, and ignore everything less.
Instead, taking advantage of low hanging fruits such as minor on-page adjustments and easy link opportunities like resource pages and manufacturer links can make all the difference. Start with these “easier” opportunities and then work on those other long term and scalable ones.
SEO Mistake #8: Ignoring Meta Descriptions
James Armstrong, the Digital Marketing Manager at SteadyGo, says that you absolutely must not forget about meta descriptions:
Lots of people neglect meta descriptions especially on larger sites, often saying they’re not a ranking factor, so why bother?
While they’re technically correct, they’re also making a mistake! A well thought-out and well written meta description is your primary opportunity to improve click-through rates from the SERPs, and help reduce bounce rates from users finding content they didn’t expect. And both the click-through rate and the bounce rate are ranking factors!
I’ve personally seen page rankings improve month-on-month, in a competitive niche, when the only significant change made was rewriting meta descriptions to better reflect the content on those pages.
SEO Mistake #9: Lack Of Authoritative Outbound Links
Tyler Brooks, Founder of Analytive, says that many people forget about linking out to authority websites:
The most common problem we see in SEO is a lack of outbound links to authoritative sites. Google wants to know you’re referencing other sites. Many people just focus exclusively on inbound linking.
They miss huge opportunities for outbound links. Outbound links help build credibility for the site.
SEO Mistake #10: Keyword Stuffing
Rob Boirun, CEO of PopNet Media, is amazed that people are still keyword stuffing their websites:
I have helped many small and mid-sized businesses over the years and the most common thing I see still (unbelievably) is that the sites I come into are all keyword stuffed in the titles and on-page text.
And these companies are always wondering why they are not ranking. Please just don’t.
SEO Mistake #11: Optimizing For The Wrong Keywords
Sam Ruchlewicz, a Senior Digital & Marketing Strategist at Warschawski, let us know about the most common SEO mistake in his experience – and it’s a very costly one:
One of the most common (and costliest) SEO issues we encounter is optimizing for the wrong terms. Companies are laser-focused on the basic, generic, industry focused terms – all of which are hyper-competitive – and they ignore the long-tail (3+ word) keywords that tend to produce the most meaningful and profitable on-site activity.
This is the same flaw companies make when they focus on ranking for keywords nationally, but ignoring local rankings. Especially for companies with brick-and-mortar locations, the local rankings around their stores often drive more business than the national rankings.
SEO Mistake #12: Not Following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
Bob Shirilla, the Marketing Director at Simply Bags, urges SEOs to at least be aware of Google’s webmaster guidelines:
Just listen to Google. A big SEO mistake that people make is not following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and not reading the Google Quality Raters Guidance.
SEO Mistake #13: Not Researching SEO Companies You Hire
Luke Bastin, an SEO Specialist at TinderPoint, says that people need to research the companies they hire to rank their website and shares 7 tips on doing just that:
The #1 mistake most business owners make is not performing proper due diligence on the firm they hire to rank their site. Before entrusting someone with your business, make sure they:
1. Do SEO full time – high quality results are dependent on expertise in this area.
2. Do not outsource the work – shortcuts in SEO typically lead to low standards and poor results.
3. Have a website of their own which ranks for several competitive terms – if they cannot jump in the trenches and win for themselves, what makes you think they will jump in the trenches and win for you?
4. Manage your expectations over how long SEO takes to kick in – it currently takes seven to eleven months for most semi-competitive markets.
5. Do not insist on long-term contracts – if they are not performing, why should a client be forced to stick around?
6. Do not use standard pricing models – cookie-cutter solutions have no place with SEO: each project has unique starting points and competition. Pricing should therefore be unique to reflect this.
7. Fails to ask what your close ratio, profit numbers and income figures are – if they are not looking at your relationship as a ROI positive one for you at the outset you will usually end up disappointed.
SEO Mistake #14: Forgetting About On-Page SEO
Jen DeVore Richter, Co-Founder of Rock My Image, shared a very common SEO mistake that people make:
A big SEO mistake people make is not optimizing their blog content for SEO. If you’re using WordPress, you could install a simple plugin like Yoast to make this process simple and easy.
The benefits are better content, and a fully optimized site without having to be an SEO pro.
SEO Mistake #15: Not Optimizing For Local Search
Brian Gill, CEO of Gillware Data Recovery, wants you to not forget about local search:
A common mistake I see business owners make is not optimizing for local search. If you happen to be running a brick and mortar business, it’s vital that you include specific keywords in your meta descriptions and page titles that are specific to the region that you’re located in.
It’s also important to have your address and local phone number on your website, ideally in the header or footer. Also, if you don’t have a Google My Business page set up, do it now! It’s free, and the benefits are extremely worth it.
SEO Mistake #16: Disconnecting Site Merchants & The SEO Team
Antonella Pisani, Founder of Official Coupon Code, wants you to keep things connected to the SEO team:
The number one SEO mistake that I’ve seen made is not maintaining a direct line of communication between site merchants and the SEO team. In many companies, the site merchants have control of navigation, as well as adding and removing pages.
When the communication breaks down between these two groups, high value pages are often lost if not properly redirected, and new pages do not get optimized before going live. By helping educate site merchants on the value of SEO, a better relationship can be formed, which leads to more success for both teams.
SEO Mistake #17: Not Optimizing For Mobile
Tom J. Cameron, President of Digital Pudding, says that still, many people forget about mobile:
You’re likely getting more than half your website traffic from mobile devices these days. Yet many business owners haven’t designed their website to work right on a smaller screen.
Search engines now penalize that, and all the SEO in the world won’t fix a site that’s broken on mobile. So before paying for SEO, make sure your website is mobile friendly.
SEO Mistake #18: Not Researching Your Competitors
Matthew Baron, President of Gourmet Nuts And Dried Fruit, urges SEOs not to forget about their competition:
Please, choose your competitors. Research them and their websites. Understand who they are and what the differences are. Do not tell me that Amazon is your competitor! Amazon sells everything.
SEO is not just for Amazon. It is for the entire universe of eCommerce. Know as much information on the companies and websites that are not using affiliates like Amazon. Not every company needs to or wants to sell on Amazon. Trust me, it is expensive.
SEO Mistake #19: Forgetting To Focus On Backlinks
Joe Goldstein, the Lead SEO & Operations Manager at Navolutions, says that too many people get caught up with the not-so powerful factors of SEO and in doing so, they forget about one of the best ones:
With all the news about Google Penguin, HTTPS, AMP, and other rank components, it seems like more and more people are forgetting that good links are still a stronger ranking factor than just about everything else combined.
Unless your site has fundamental SEO problems (like no-indexed landing pages), you’re competing in a local market (which has more complicated factors like categorization and proximity) or your target keyword triggers some odd Google behavior (like Query Deserves Freshness, which gives more weight to newer pages), your URL’s PageRank will make or break your ability to rank.
SEO Mistake #20: Being Afraid To Link Out To Other Websites
Donna Duncan, Owner of B-SeenOnTop, wants you to overcome your fear of outbound links from your own website:
People mistakenly believe that if you link out to another website, you bleed SEO equity and end up ranking lower in search results. That’s just not true. The decision to link out to another website should be based on whether the link and content it points to provides value to your audience.
If it does, and the source of that link is high quality, it can actually help boost your rankings because Google will infer a relationship, a co-citation or value by association, between you and the target website.
SEO Mistake #21: Non-Relevant Backlinks
Jake Tully from the Online Marketing & Public Relations department of Truck Driving Jobs, shared the biggest SEO mistake in his experience:
I think the largest mistake people make concerning SEO is canvassing a link exchange network that is too large and not at all strategic. As someone who works in marketing and who also regularly presses the web, it’s always interesting and slightly aggravating to see sites that have resource pages with links entirely unrelated to their industry.
SEO Mistake #22: Forgetting About Old URL Redirects
Don Halbert, CEO of The Real Estate SEO, warns about site upgrades and re-works:
The most damning SEO blunder has to go to when a large website decides to upgrade their web design and the web designers have no clue how important on-site search optimization is and especially the importance of URL structure.
What happens more often than not is that after the new website is approved, no one considers what will happen when it is launched and the entire URL structure of the site has changed and now Google Search Console (if they even have it setup) starts to report hundreds of 404 error pages.
The proper way to do this is to map out the old URL structure to the new and write custom redirects accordingly to prevent Google from adversely affecting your ranking.
SEO Mistake #23: Not Focusing On Website Speed
I see too many SEO experts not focusing enough on page speed and load times. The average millennial now has an attention span of less than 8 seconds which is less than a gold fish (you can read more about this topic here: http://www.optimizemybrand.com/2015/11/08/marketing-to-millennials-attention-deficit/).
SEO Mistake #24: Having Too Many Categories & Tags
Kara Carrero, Owner of Kara Carrero Consulting, thinks that there are too many misconceptions about SEO, but one of the biggest ones is:
The number one misconception I see with my clients is that they can have infinite categories and tags and that the more the better. Whereas, it’s actually much better to treat a website with a bottom up approach, giving it structure with 5 – 10 relevant categories and approximately 150 – 200 tags.
I have my SEO clients brainstorm how they would want their blog to be read if it was published into a book. The idea that there are a few chapters, lots of references in the index, and it’s well-organized.
SEO Mistake #25: Using The Default Yoast Titles & Meta Descriptions
Sue Laurent, a Marketing Coach at NSMarketing, wants SEOs to stop using the defaults of the Yoast WordPress plugin:
If you use WordPress and the Yoast SEO plugin, the most common mistake I see is that the website owner just uses the default title and description that Yoast SEO comes up with for their post or page.
While Yoast is a great tool – you need to make sure your title and description is not only SEO-optimized, it also sells your search result so that searchers will click on it. So don’t accept the defaults – do the work to make sure your title and descriptions stand out from the pack of other results in the SERPs.
SEO Mistake #26: Not Using SEO To Its Full Potential
Joe Balestrino, Founder & CEO of 4PointDigital, says that people need to think about all of the factors of SEO:
People are worried about being mobile friendly or that their site needs to be secure because it helps with SEO. But every audit I did over the last 3 months has mobile readiness and SSL, but they don’t rank anywhere.
Why waste time on doing these things, while important, what good is a boost if you aren’t even doing SEO? They feel that doing these things gives them the ability to rank better, but it doesn’t unless you are doing full SEO.
SEO Mistake #27: Writing Weak Titles
Ian Wright, Founder of Merchant Machine, shared the number one SEO mistake he sees people doing:
The #1 SEO mistake I see small businesses make over and over again is to not include compelling title tags for their pages. This is what appears in Google and having a poor title tag means people will be unlikely to visit your website even if you make it to position 1.
For example, which would you rather click – “Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe” or “The Last Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe You’ll Ever Need”?
SEO Mistake #28: Believing SEO Guarantees
Emily Kent, the Marketing Manger at LyncServe, shared the biggest SEO mistake that nearly all people commit:
The #1 SEO mistake for nearly all the businesses we come across is hiring an agency that guaranteed them a #1 ranking on Google, or on all search engines. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking, not even Google, those claims are impossible to substantiate.
Trustworthy agencies will be upfront with you about the complex process involved in search engine rankings. They will treat you as a partner and lay out a detailed strategy plan for you, operating with transparency.
SEO Mistake #29: Untrustworthy Link Building
Simon Jones, a Digital Marketer at Miromedia, told us about an interesting conversation he has with his clients on a regular basis:
I was having a conversation with a potential client and running through an initial strategy that I had put together when I came to a section on link building.
Upon just mentioning the words the client interrupted me and said – “Oh, don’t worry about link building, I’ve had a chat with my neighbor and he said he could get 1,000 backlinks for a fiver from a great website he knows”. Needless to say, the next 15 minutes of the conversation were me pleading with him to promise not to do that.
SEO Mistake #30: Focusing On Link Quantity VS Link Quality
Brandon Schroth, the Marketing Coordinator at The Gantry Restaurant & Bar, wants people to focus more on quality as opposed to quantity:
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is focusing on link quantity over link quality. It’s easy to go and get a huge amount of low quality links. The hard work comes from getting high quality links that will have a positive impact on your search rankings.
For example, one high value link from an editorial source could potentially have more benefits than hundreds of low quality directory links. Make sure the links you’re going after are relevant to your site, and aren’t spammy.
SEO Mistake #31: Avoiding Analytics
Brandon Welch, the CEO of Doxy.me, wonders why people are still not using analytics:
One thing I never understood was how website owners avoid analytics. If you’re implementing strategies, the only way to know if they’re working or not is to measure the data on your website. Some website owners don’t even have Google Analytics setup and configured correctly.
This is critical for assessing which parts of your site are doing well and which parts might need to be optimized. It’s also important to set up conversion goals and make sure you’re reading your weekly or monthly reports to analyze the data.
SEO Mistake #32: Forgetting About Content Distribution
Josh Brown, the SEO Manager at Soldsie, wants you to have a solid content distribution plan:
A lot of people hear that one of the keys to increasing organic traffic is to create great content. The problem is, if you you’re a new site or have relatively weak domain authority, the chance of your content ranking within the first page is slim to none depending on how competitive the keyword is.
While there are multiple ranking factors that are taken into factor by search engines, links are still the predominant one.
If you want to get those natural links, then you need to come up with a plan to get your content in front of the right people in order to increase the chances of getting links back.
That could mean reaching out to journalists & website/blog owners in your vertical to make them aware of your content and why it would be useful to their audience, working on your social media campaigns, using forums, Reddit, etc.
SEO Mistake #33: Targeting The Wrong Keywords
Devon Bate from SEO Brothers wants you to target the right keywords:
Targeting the wrong keywords is one of the most common SEO mistakes that specialists and businesses make. Whether they target keywords that are too competitive, low volume, or don’t have the proper searcher intent, building a campaign on the wrong set of keywords is like multiplying by zero – it doesn’t matter what you do after, the results will still be the same.
SEO Mistake #34: Not Promoting Your Content
Jeremiah Rizzo, the Content Marketing Director at Theatre Solutions Inc., wants people to reach out with their content and not just wait for magic to happen:
I think the #1 mistake people make is not promoting their content. Instead they hold the belief – write great content, and I’ll rank! When in reality that’s only half (or one third?) of the battle.
SEO Mistake #35: Not Keeping The User In Mind
Ria Fiscina, the SEO Department Manager at Active Web Group, says that with everything you do in SEO, you must not forget about the user:
Keep the user in mind! This applies to keywords, copy, navigation, images, really anything you can think of. Optimization comes back to knowing your audience, being in the right SERP at the right time, and actually being what they’re looking for. If the site doesn’t deliver on the promised experience then you’re going to miss out on conversions.
SEO Mistake #36: The Trickle Down Authority Boosting
Sean Thomas Martin, the Content Marketing Manager at Directive Consulting, shared the number one SEO mistake that he comes by:
The number one SEO mistake I can think of is what I call Trickle Down Authority Boosting. When people try to increase their DA and PA (domain and page authority), they too often focus on their domain’s authority over their individual pages.
They link build only to their main domain page and increase its traffic generation and DA, but the actual content pages of their sub folders wither and die. Instead, focus on improving the PAs of each of your individual pages.
This will get traffic flowing to your actual content and boost the authority of the pages that matter. Increasing your individual PAs will automatically boost your DA as a whole, anyway. Instead of trickle down, its Bottom Up Link Building.
SEO Mistake #37: Overusing Keywords
Victoria Rice, a Graphic Designer & the SEO Manager at Serious SEM, shared the SEO mistake that still blows her mind:
This really isn’t the biggest mistake I see, but it is the one that drives me the most insane – the dramatic overuse of keywords. Although search engines want you to have clear keywords in your content, stuffing your paragraphs to the brim makes your site look like spam.
When someone comes to your site and reads your keyword-forced content, they won’t stay long and that is demise for your business.
SEO Mistake #38: Going For The Wrong Keywords
Marisa South, the General Manager at Vet & Pet Jobs, shared the number one SEO mistake people make in her experience and it’s very familiar by now:
The #1 SEO mistake that I see people make is not optimizing for the correct keywords. I often see people optimizing for global keywords when they only offer their products or services to a local market.
I also see generic keywords that tend to bring in customers who aren’t actually interested in what you’re selling. The flip side is using keywords with a huge amount of competition, which you might never be able to achieve because there’s a team of full time SEO professionals guarding the first page ranking.
The best rule of thumb is to target more specific keyword phrases, which is usually helpful in leading to more qualified traffic in less time.
SEO Mistake #39: Flooding Your Content With The Same Keywords
Nick Santora, VP Business Development at BuyFastWebTraffic.com, shared the most common SEO mistake he and his colleagues come by:
One of the most common SEO mistakes we see made is keyword stuffing. Sure the old days you used to be able to stuff all your keywords and rank pages no problem with just a few links.
Now, your writing style, difficulty, and even readability are all taken into account for SEO. Natural writing will naturally include the keywords you want to rank for and quality is dominant over quantity.
SEO Mistake #40: Duplicate Titles & Meta Descriptions
Sean Hall, the Owner of TekBoost, wants SEOs to come up with uniqueness for their titles and descriptions:
A big SEO mistake that people still make to this day is not having unique title tags and meta descriptions. I saw a website the other day that had their company name as the title of every page of their site. What a mistake.
These need to be unique for a number of reasons. The title tag is your headline. Meta tags are also important – they act as a sales pitch for each page when seen in search engine results. They need to be unique, but also persuasive so that people will want to actually click on your page.
SEO Mistake #41: Not Focusing On Local Search & Target Audience
Ajao Boluwatife, Founder of Nigconnect Forum, shared one of the bigger SEO mistakes that people make:
The greatest SEO mistake I have seen people make is not optimizing for local search and target audience. This can make traffic from search engines useless.
For example, you sell a local product in your country and your page titles and meta descriptions do not have region-specific keywords, you will surely get traffic from countries that do not need or can not reach your product. This is literally the same as not having search engine traffic at all.
SEO Mistake #42: eCommerce: Not Focusing On Purchase-Oriented Keywords
Jeremy Levi, Director of Marketing at Mars Wellness, shared a big SEO mistake eCommerce businesses make:
If you are in the eCommerce world make sure your SEO is geared towards purchase-oriented keywords. For example, if you want to rank for the search term “fresh coffee beans” you will find yourself up against stiff competition.
However, many of the results are not competing against you in eCommerce and many of the searches will include a purchasing keyword such as “buy”. All you need to do is simply add the term to your SEO efforts and now you’ll be optimized in a less competitive niche for the keyword.
SEO Mistake #43: Content That Doesn’t Match Search Intent
Bernard Huang, an SEO Specialist at Mushi Labs, shared a very common SEO mistake that people make:
Creating content that doesn’t match the searcher’s intent is the most common SEO mistake that businesses are making in 2016. What does that mean?
Google “how to chop an onion” and look at what’s ranking – results #1 – #4 are all videos and the rest of the results on the first page all include lots of photos. So, if you want to rank for that query, you better include a video or pictures in your content.
SEO Mistake #44: Underestimating Google
Will Coombe, Co-Founder & Director of Sharpe Digital, wants SEOs to stop underestimating Google:
By far the most common mistake made by people who are new to SEO is wildly underestimating just how advanced Google’s algorithm is, and thinking they will be able to easily outsmart it!
Trying to use quick and cheap techniques to trick Google and rank your website in the search engine will get you into a lot of trouble. There are very effective cheap tactics you can use, and there are very effective quick tactics you can use but, there are no cheap and quick tactics you can use for good, safe SEO.
If you find yourself using a quick and cheap tactic, it’s very likely you will be sniffed out by the Californian-Based behemoth, and your site will be punished.
SEO Mistake #45: Not Localizing Marketing
Elle Morgan, a Marketer at Woopra, think that people need to focus on local more:
The single biggest SEO mistake I’ve seen brands make is not localizing their marketing. Brands put so much effort and energy into maintaining their main brands pages.
For example, Dunkin Donuts may post frequently on their main Facebook page, but it’s the content localized pages that boost SEO. By claiming and posting to the Facebook, Foursquare and yes – even Google+ pages that correspond to the physical brick-and-mortar locations – brands see an incredible SEO boost.
SEO Mistake #46: Not Using Anchor Text For Internal Links
Chasen Nick, an SEO Strategist at RAMS Home Loans, said that internal links should also include anchor text:
One of the main mistakes that I see on a lot of sites is not using anchor text for internal links. Have you ever seen a link that says “click here” or “link” or some other basic text?
It’s a complete waste of anchor text from an SEO standpoint. While it might increase clicks slightly, it’s costing you the chance to custom tailor your anchor text, which is one of the most important elements of SEO. If a call to action is 100% necessary, do your best to at least include some relevant keywords.
SEO Mistake #47: Focusing On Quantity Content VS Quality
Chris Watson, CEO of EverSpark Interactive, wants people to understand the real meaning of the very popular “content is king” phrase:
The number one SEO mistake I see companies making is in the area of content creation. If you think about the notion “content is king” – companies have been addicted to this mantra for over 10 years now, and it’s created a very clogged internet.
Google doesn’t like this clogged internet and have recently begun to ping websites for “dead content” + “low ctr rates” + “high bounce rates”. If a company is dedicated to putting out 5 blog posts per week, there’s a very good chance these posts aren’t of high quality, and then they wonder why Google doesn’t give them higher rankings and question their agency about why they can’t get inbound links – it’s all connected.
I think SEO in a post spam world, is actually quite simple. Build fantastic, well researched content, then know what to do with that content so that relevant thought leaders will share it and link to it – it’s kind of that simple.
SEO Mistake #48: Not Doing Keyword Research In The Beginning
Matt Smith, CEO of Modmarco, said that skipping keyword research is a very bad decision:
One of the biggest mistakes people make with SEO is not doing keyword research in the beginning. You can have the most optimized site on the Internet, but if no one is searching for the terms you have included in your content, you have wasted all that time and effort.
There are plenty of free resources on the web that allow you to see which keywords and phrases are the most searched-for, and just taking this one extra step can really make a huge difference in your search engine rankings.
SEO Mistake #49: Following Yoast’s System
Angela Zade, a Digital Analyst at seoWorks, is reasonably not so fond of Yoast’s system:
The biggest SEO mistake I see other SEOs make is following Yoast’s green light, orange light, red light system. SEO cannot be reduced to a cookie-cutter formula. There are more than 200 ranking factors to consider that often reach beyond what Yoast deems good SEO.
There are big wins to be made on-page with a little extra keyword research and a solid understanding of an audience’s needs and wants. Yoast makes SEO more of a fast-food restaurant order style and limits what you can do to truly engage with your online users.
SEO Mistake #50: Not Including The Right Keywords In Your Posts
Kelvin Jiang, Founder of Buyside Focus, wants to see the right keywords in blog posts:
A common mistake is not optimizing posts for the right keywords. People often target popular and generic keywords, which have a lot of competition and attract less relevant visitors.
Be specific with your keyword selection. Pick long-tail keywords that have less competition to rank well and specifically target your audience. Write quality long-form content to achieve the top 3 rank for that keyword.
SEO Mistake #51: Trying To Rank For High Search Volume Keywords Instead Of High Converting Keywords
Jeffrey A. Hensel, the Marketing Director at North Coast Financial, said that your focus should be on high converting keywords:
It may be tempting to try and rank for keywords with the highest search demand but the focus should be ranking for keywords that will result in the highest amount of conversions.
Putting the effort in to get top rankings for keywords with high search demand but a low amount of conversions can be a major waste of time and resources. The quickest and easiest way to figure out which keywords convert well and which don’t is to run tests in Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
SEO Mistake #52: Optimizing For Keywords No One Uses
Claire Alezraa from Enclosed, says you should be careful with your keywords selection:
We had to optimize for the word “panties” instead of “knickers”, because although it is cute, knickers is not used in the USA. We re-worded much of our website to switch the two in order for maximum optimization, and it has worked out great.
SEO Mistake #53: Underestimating Time On ROI
Zhelinrentice L. Scott, Owner of The SEO Queen, wants people to quit expecting instant results:
Common mistakes I see business owners make is to underestimate time to return on investment and not leveraging the written word. Search engine optimization is not instant. Search engine optimization requires strategy, brain power, and more patience than most like to admit.
Google’s Hummingbird and Panda updates make content vital. Preserving the brand appears to conflict with rankings because business owners want to keep the page blank instead of complying with Google’s requirement for unique and rich content, 500 – 900 words per page for best results.
SEO Mistake #54: Reckless Link Building
Oren Greenberg, the Marketing Director at Kurve, wants SEOs to take it easy with link building:
A typical SEO mistake that has detrimental results is reckless link building. Backlinks are a prominent factor that determine rankings and inexperienced SEO practitioners and website owners tend to chase backlinks without looking at the linking websites metrics, penalty status or even relevance.
The search engines nowadays are far more sophisticated than they used to be and they will flag any unnatural link as spam, which in turn will lead to your site being penalized.
SEO Mistake #55: Overusing H1 Tags
Ryan Raplee, Co-Founder & CTO at Legal InSites, said to watch it with the use of the H1 tag:
One of the biggest SEO mistakes I see constantly is the overuse or misuse of H1 tags. I’m often seeing websites with many H1 tags on every page, sometimes I even see the logo wrapped in an H1 tag. It’s mind boggling.
SEO Mistake #56: Succumbing To Laziness
Josh Waldron, Founder of Par 3 Near Me, wants you to get off that couch and get to work:
The #1 SEO mistake that I see is laziness! People are lazy about keyword research, lazy about building good content, and lazy about networking with other sources in their industry. When people invest very little SEO effort, they should expect very little reward!
SEO Mistake #57: 404 Errors Because Of URL Changes
Larissa Murillo, the Marketing Manager at MarketGoo, warns SEOs about changing their URLs:
Everyone is telling you that URLs should be “SEO friendly”, so you make all of your URLs include keywords and they look great. The mistake comes when you neglect to redirect the old URLs to the new ones, and get stuck with 100+ pages on your site that return 404 “not found” errors.
Your rankings didn’t tank because of Google’s algo tweaks, they tanked because you made these major changes and now no one can find the pages you want them to.
SEO Mistake #58: Preventing Search Engines From Crawling Your Website
Max Robinson from Ace Work Gear, mentioned a very big SEO mistake that can easily be fixed:
When our new website was launched, we assumed that it would instantly be visible on Google. But after 2 months, we still couldn’t find ourselves in the search results. When we contacted the company that designed our site, they admitted that they had edited the robots.txt file to prevent Google from crawling our site during the redesign, and had forgotten to change it back.
I’ve spoken to many business owners and this seems to be a very common issue. Luckily it’s an incredibly easy fix, but if you aren’t SEO savvy then you might never realize.
SEO Mistake #59: Keyword Jamming
Connor Hitchcock, a Digital Marketing Specialist at One Click Ventures, warned us about keyword stuffing yet again:
The biggest mistake that I see in SEO is keyword jamming. Individuals think that using a keyword on their website or pages multiple times will have a higher rank for that specific keyword.
Doing this offers up two problems – keyword cannibalization and Google’s suspicious spiders. In regards to keyword cannibalization, if someone used a keyword on multiple pages, such as product pages and homepage, those two pages would be competing against each other in SERPs rankings.
Additionally, using keywords excessively is a red flag to Google’s spiders that crawl and index webpages for SERPs. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to keyword overuse, however, if the use of a keyword begins to effect readability and user experience, that is a good sign you’re overusing them.
SEO Mistake #60: Not Optimizing Page Load Times
Andy Reese, a Content Specialist at ONTRAPORT, wants SEOs to reduce their page load times:
Ignoring your website’s page speed performance is a massive SEO mistake I see made all the time. If a web page takes longer than three seconds to load, most people will simply abandon your site.
Google takes user signals like time on page and bounces rates into consideration when determining the search rankings, so make sure you’re optimizing your website’s page speed performance! Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see your site speed problems and how to fix them.
SEO Mistake #61: Not Getting A Second Opinion
Jenny Tian, the Junior SEO Manager at MOVU, says that SEOs should always get a second opinion:
The #1 SEO mistake you can make is listening to only one opinion. When you start SEO for your website or business, you will realize, that there are a lot of SEO experts. And all of those experts have different opinions about what is most important in SEO.
That doesn’t mean, that they are wrong. It just shows how complex SEO is. In my experience, it’s clever to ask different SEO experts about their opinion on a certain topic and apply the ideas you like the best.
SEO Mistake #62: Overselling In Your Content
Haley Steed, an Outreach Specialist at Direct Online Marketing, says that people shouldn’t be so forceful when trying to sell in their blog posts:
The biggest mistake I’ve noticed businesses make is being way too sales-y in their blog content. Don’t pitch customers on your blog. Create value for them. Answer a question, put up a “how to”, or a tutorial, or create a list of helpful resources.
An insane amount of people turn to the Internet as a means of finding a solution to a problem – if you provide answers to search queries, not only will you rank higher on the SERPs, but you will increase traffic to your site.
Generally, if you create value, a prospective customer will feel gratitude, and then be inclined to click around on your site.
SEO Mistake #63: Bad URL Structure
Ben Randolph, CEO of Agency Entourage, wants SEOs to stop using impossible to understand URLs:
URL structure is the #1 mistake we see companies making – they do not take the time to customize their URL structure and their ranking suffers. By having your URL list your company name and a capability you are then indexed appropriately for industry and capability.
SEO Mistake #64: Ignoring On-Page SEO
Toby Balsiger, CEO of Website Tigers, says that people need to optimize their content before they get to promoting it:
The #1 mistake that most people make with their SEO, is forgetting to optimize their on-page SEO. Most people are simply too busy trying to get links and get their content featured on other websites that they never fix the mistakes staring them right in the face.
Before you start reaching out to blogs and trying to get your content recognized, you need to optimize your content for search engines with proper on-page SEO. Otherwise you’ll never rank!
SEO Mistake #65: Not Understanding Google’s Purpose
Dan Gehant, Owner of Copper Insights, wants SEOs to understand what Google’s ultimate goal is:
Many people don’t understand that Google is trying to emulate human behavior. This misunderstanding causes individuals and businesses to obsess over reverse engineering the inner workings at Google and leads to an overemphasis on technical and non-human factors.
This rarely leads to exploring human relationships, community, or trust. As a result, many businesses fail to simply connect with their human customers and audience. Human connection is powerful and very unlikely to be impacted by others in the animal kingdom.
SEO Mistake #66: Forgetting About The Human Element Of SEO
Jillian Wood, the Content Marketing Manager of Influitive, wants you to remain human:
The #1 SEO mistake people make is forgetting about the human element of SEO. Stuffing blogs with keywords isn’t a mature SEO strategy. What about relevance?
What about off-page SEO? First, SEO/content folks need a team of advocates to help them create insightful, relevant content that ranks well. Secondly, they need advocates to build their brand’s authority through social media shares, online reviews, backlinks, and blog comments.
Being able to leverage a community of real people who love their brand is the most powerful weapon companies could have to organically increase their reach and augment their SEO strategy.
SEO Mistake #67: Forgetting About Google My Business
Brian Pendergraft, an Attorney & SEO Consultant at The Pendergraft Firm, wants Google to know about your business:
The #1 SEO mistake that businesses make is easily not having a Google My Business local listing. The Google listing is the king of listings. By not having one, many businesses are missing out on a lot of customers.
It gives a business an extra place to be seen on Google searches in the local results. It allows your satisfied customers to give reviews of your business. It makes unknowing potential customers aware of a local business that may be able to help them.
It has an overall net positive effect to your SEO and reach. I was able to start my law practice with SEO, and this is my #1 tip and the easiest to implement!
SEO Mistake #68: Over-Optimizing For Keywords
Matt Antonino, the Marketing Manager at Ultimate Shutter, says that SEOs should take it easy with the keyword optimization:
The top SEO mistake, by far, is over-optimizing for keywords. If you build a very useful, insightful website that has plenty of unique content & delves into the interesting details around your niche, you are far more likely to rank than if you say the same exact phrase over and over 20 times on a single page.
Similarly, don’t optimize your entire website for the same keyword. One key phrase per page, plus the near match keywords can all be one page, not every page on your whole website.
SEO Mistake #69: Not Using The Canonical Tag
Sacha Ferrandi, Founder & CMO of Source Capital Funding, said that the canonical tag needs to get more attention:
Hosting the same information across multiple pages on your website, or syndicating someone else’s content without using the proper canonical HTML tag (rel=canonical) can have a negative impact on your SEO.
Google likes to serve the original source of information to users and if it finds that your website is posting content that has already been indexed by someone else, it is an indicator that your site is low quality and this will impact your SEO.
Furthermore, not using the canonical tag to self-canonicalize your original content is another SEO mistake as websites may scrape your content, post it on their own site, and try to index it first. With the self-canonical tag, Google will know that you were the original source of information.
SEO Mistake #70: Not Using Headings
Derek McLane, the Marketing Coordinator at Petplan NZ, said that headings must be included in blog posts:
A common SEO mistake that lots of people make is to not use headings in their posts. Headings help readability, but they also help Google understand your article’s structure and what it’s about, which can dramatically improve your ranking in the search results.
SEO Mistake #71: Writing Too Short Or Too Long Articles
Gregory Golinski, the Marketing Coordinator at Love That Pet, said that people need to hit the sweet article length spot between too long and too short:
The one SEO mistake people make is to write articles that are too short, or too long. You should find the right balance. Google loves long articles, so you should write a minimum of 300 words to rank in the search results.
At the same time, you don’t want to bore your readers, because people have short attention spans nowadays. Keep your article at around 700 words to keep them coming back.
SEO Mistake #72: Over-Optimization
Joshua Uebergang, the Head of Strategy at Digital Darts, wants SEOs to quit over-optimizing and focus more on natural looking website metrics:
Over-optimization became a serious SEO problem for many in 2012 with the Penguin and Panda updates to Google. Keyword-rich text means you have a lot of links pointing to your site that are similar and disproportionately unbranded.
If you sell shoes and all your links have the text “order shoes online” and “buy Nike size 11“, it’s doing your SEO more damage than good. Use ahrefs.com or Moz’s Open Site Explorer to discover your anchor text and aim for 75% branded.
SEO Mistake #73: Going After Extremely Competitive Keywords
Jason Lavis, Founder & Marketing Director at Out of the Box Innovations, said that extremely competitive keywords shouldn’t be a target for most businesses:
Attempting to rank for keywords that they could never rank for in a million years. High competition keywords have organisations with whole teams and 5 or 6 figures in monthly spend to stay on the first page of Google.
We all know that page 2 is a waste of time, so pick a target that is achievable. Don’t be a 100 pound weakling trying to fight a heavyweight world champion boxer!
SEO Mistake #74: Trusting Cheap SEO Programs
Sam Romain from Dominate with SEO, said that people need to be more careful with cheap SEO:
The number one mistake people make is assuming that the cheap SEO programs
will actually work. Most of the time those cheap programs result in someone using automated tools to build spammy low quality links to your website in bulk. This usually results in your website actually getting penalized by Google and you losing all of your website traffic.
SEO Mistake #75: Not Keeping The Customer In Mind When Writing Copy
Carlo Barajas, Founder of Surface SEO, said that people need to keep in mind the customer at all times:
I see so many companies who obviously created their content for the search engines without considering that getting found is only half of the equation – they still have to convince people to actually purchase their products or services.
Boring, unengaging, or convoluted copy stuffed with keywords that don’t fit naturally are only going to drive away the traffic you worked so hard to gain.
SEO Mistake #76: Skipping The ALT Tags
Jennifer Boaro, a Designer at The Cat Ball, said that people are still ignoring ALT tags on images:
Once I received an email newsletter from a company that specializes in making branded marketing materials. The newsletter included a large photo demonstrating a printed sweatshirt design they had recently completed for a client.
Whoever made the newsletter had not added alt tagging to the photo, so when the image didn’t load, all I saw was “00264.jpg”.
SEO Mistake #77: Thinking You Know Everything About SEO
Timothy Backes, Owner of timothybackes.com, wants people to understand that SEO is way too dynamic to be learned overnight:
There are so many people that read a few articles on SEO and think they are an expert. However, they miss a lot of the intricacies of the industry, and many people don’t keep up-to-date with all of the changes.
That’s a big mistake because in SEO, things can literally change over night. One of the more common mistakes I see is the way people use keywords. They will focus on one major keyword for a page, and stuff it into every nook and cranny of that page no matter how clunky or unnatural.
Google is looking for more and more natural language, and to ignore that for robotic keyword stuffing is a strategy to leave in the past.
SEO Mistake #78: Underestimating The Power Of Internal Links
Sumit Bansal, Founder of Productivity Spot, wants SEOs to include interlinking in their strategy:
One of the common mistakes I see people make is not using the power of interlinking in their posts/pages. It is the easiest way to pass some SEO juice to new and under-performing pages. It also gives you complete control of using relevant pages with suitable anchor text.
To do this, identify the pages that have high Page Authority (use Moz’s Open Site Explorer) and use these pages to link to new or under-performing (but related) pages.
SEO Mistake #79: Not Collaborating Within Your Niche
Jonathan Whitney, Founder of Bloggeroid, said that people need to be active in their own niche:
Often, people start an SEO campaign and pour so much money into beating their competitors that forget one simple fact – backlinks from websites with related content are the most important types of links.
Establishing relationships with others in your niche, especially key influencers, is a core strategy in a successful SEO campaign. Ignoring this can be costly.
SEO Mistake #80: Re-Designing URL Structure Without 301 Redirects
Steve Morgan, an SEO Consultant at Morgan Online Marketing, said that people need to be very careful with URL re-structuring:
Often the biggest SEO mistake I see is when a company redesigns its website and changes URLs, but doesn’t 301 redirect the old URLs to the new URLs. This might be because it’s simply forgotten about or because the web designers don’t think to do it. It’s a missed opportunity for a few reasons:
1. Google has to “learn” the layout of your website from scratch again.
2. It’s bad user experience as people might click on those old links to be greeted with a 404 page.
3. You can “restore” your site’s SEO by redirecting the old URLs to the new URLs/pages.
SEO Mistake #81: Do SEO Later
Andres Tapia Almansa, Head of SEO at Project A Ventures, said that you need to change your attitude when it comes to SEO:
The main SEO mistake is the attitude “we will do the SEO later on”. Also decisions like using a single-pager vs classic multi-page design, lazy loads vs pagination or international independent sites vs connected, affect SEO.
Integrating SEO from the beginning of the decision process will save companies months of work trying to “hack in” some SEO in unoptimized architectures.
SEO Mistake #82: Ignoring Content Promotion
David Attard from BeeWits, said that posting and hoping for the best is one of the most common SEO mistakes he comes by:
The most common SEO mistake I see is the one where people post and hope for the best. Hope is of course a very poor strategy for ranking a post. They do all the on page SEO recommendations by their plugin of choice, but then forget that the most important part of SEO happens after the post is ready.
One of the most important signals for ranking is getting good quality backlinks to the post. The hard work of getting links via outreach, social, promotion starts after your post is done and is not something which you can leave to chance. As a general rule, you should spend most of your time getting backlinks to your content, rather than writing it.
SEO Mistake #83: Multiple URL Versions
Bill Scully, a Digital Marketing Resultant at Digital Marketing Fuel, warned us about multiple URL versions of the same domain:
One of the things I commonly find on big sites is multiple URL versions of the same domain, creating duplicate content and indexing problems. This happens when a developer builds a site with relative URLs and someone mistakenly creates a link with the domain incorrectly formatted.
A relative URL looks like this – /en_US/blog/file.aspx vs absolute www.domain.com/en_US/blog/file.aspx. What you end up with is complete duplicate sites with URLs starting with www.domain.com or www.Domain.com or /domain.com. A couple ways to fix this is to add an absolute URL in the canonical tags, and 301 redirect wrong versions to the right ones.
SEO Mistake #84: Believing In Deadlines
Nick Van Huis, the Senior Web Optimization Manager at Rebuild Group, said that you need to stop thinking about SEO deadlines:
The number one mistake I see in SEO is companies believing that SEO has a deadline. SEO is a continuos process wherein the rules always change. If you’re not maintaining your SEO, your competitors will leave you in the dust – at best or you could receive an algorithmic penalty – at worst.
SEO Mistake #85: Not Contacting Local Papers
Max Page, Owner of CouponHippo, wants SEOs to get more local if need be:
When you have any business, whether it’s online or brick-n-mortar, your local town paper will cover you. Contact your local paper as many times as it takes to get in.
They will then write a piece that goes in the paper but they will also get you a really powerful link from their website as virtually all papers have e-versions now. Medium size cities often have a couple local papers to get in. This works for town/village websites as well if they have a blog that likes to feature local businesses.
SEO Mistake #86: Wrong Google My Business Info
Antonella Weidman, a Marketing Strategist at WebTek, wants you to be careful with the GMB info data:
The #1 SEO mistake that I have seen people make is not having their client’s information correct on Google My Business. If the wrong phone number, address, or business hours are listed on Google My Business for a company that you represent, they could be losing important potential leads or customers.
SEO Mistake #87: Underestimating The Power Of Backlinks
Brock Murray, Co-Founder & COO at seoplus+, said that backlinks are not to be underestimated at all:
Many businesses make the mistake of overlooking the importance of backlinks in their overall SEO strategy. While there are certain technical changes to make on your website, including optimizing meta descriptions and improving site speed, and having relevant, quality content on your site plays a key factor, having a strong backlink profile can have a substantial impact on your SEO, as well.
To begin gathering more backlinks, use your connections, whether it be business partners or community affiliations, to add links on their website back to your website. This could be through leaving reviews and testimonials, being featured as an expert in an article, or even writing a guest blog post.
SEO Mistake #88: Forgetting About Google Analytics
Ahmed Khalifa, Founder & Director at IgniteRock, wants SEOs to remember about GA:
One of the biggest mistake I’ve seen is when people do not make full use or make any use of Google Analytics at all.
You may think that it’s not directly related to SEO, but it is. If you haven’t set up Google Analytics on your site, or haven’t even set up the basic settings such as goals or eCommerce tracking, how can you measure the success of your SEO tasks?
Tracking your success, whether it’s conversion, traffic, engagement, etc. is a huge part of measuring the success of your SEO tasks and ultimately the performance of your website.
SEO Mistake #89: Drooling Over The Wrong Metrics
Jeff Ferguson, CEO of Fang Digital Marketing, said that people need to focus on things that matter the most:
Your goals don’t change when your media choices change. If your goals are sales for everything else, why are you chasing rank or some other diagnostic metric with SEO? Stop it.
Rank, impressions, clicks, and all that other jive are ways to determine why you’re not making money from your efforts, not the goal. In the end, if you’re ranking #1 for a term you love, but it’s not making a dime for you, then you’re wasting your time.
SEO Mistake #90: Forgetting About Local Search
Garett Smith, CEO of InboundMD, said that people tend to forget about local search optimization:
At InboundMD we work with doctors who want to attract new patients in their immediate area so the biggest SEO mistake I see is that that they’re not optimizing for local search.
Their websites, if they even have one, is missing simple information such as an address and phone number. Once their site is optimized for local search we then help them set up a Google My Business profile and manage their reputation on doctor review sites.
SEO Mistake #91: Thinking There Is A Silver Bullet
Jen Seitz, the Content Manager at Boatsetter, said that there is no silver bullet when it comes to SEO:
The biggest mistake I see people make is thinking there is a silver bullet. In other words, one single thing that is going to propel their organic traffic or Google rankings . SEO is a holistic effort with incremental gains from lots of different angles.
SEO Mistake #92: Forgetting About Broken Links
Swapnil Bhagwat, Senior Manager at Orchestrate Technologies, said that SEOs must not forget about broken backlinks:
One of the most common mistakes by SEO personnel is forgetting about the broken links. After clicking a hyperlink, if users find out that it leads to nowhere, they are of course going to get disappointed and confused
Websites usually accumulate broken links over time due to the change in the addresses the links point to. This can earn a bad reputation for the site, forcing most search engines to downgrade its ranking.
SEO Mistake #93: Not Using SEO At All
Amanda Basse, the Marketing Coordinator at Hawthorn Suites Lake Buena Vista, said that people need to give SEO the attention it deserves:
The #1 SEO mistake companies make is not having SEO. Many companies overlook the power of SEO because they think link building and on-site optimization is no longer needed. With how rapidly the online space is growing, SEO is needed more now than ever.
Marketers spend so much time beefing up content and social media output, that they overlook how a user interacts with your site. The search engines are getting smarter, and content alone is not going to get you found. You need SEO to keep up with Google’s constant algorithm changes to provide the user exactly what they are searching for.
SEO Mistake #94: Not Maintaining Your Website
Alex Barshai, Owner of Third Temple Digital, wants you to keep things in order:
Not keeping the website in proper order, i.e. not maintaining it after it was made is really a bad way to go. First of all, it is very important to take care so that broken links do not pile on the website.
Websites with broken links will quickly fall into obscurity of third and fourth page search results. However, even before this happens, there is a really big risks of driving visitors away by constantly sending them to the place they don’t want to visit.
SEO Mistake #95: Prioritizing Search Engines
Emily Brady, Director of SEO at Scorpion, said that SEOs need to get their priorities straight:
On the SEO front, the biggest mistake you can make is catering to search engines before your audience. Contrary to what most people think, SEO is not an exact science.
We don’t know all the rules, and even if we did there’d still be competitors vying for page one. So the best way to make your website the most relevant search result is to give people – not algorithms – what they’re looking for. And if that doesn’t line up with what Google is looking for too, Google isn’t doing its job.
SEO Mistake #96: Not Updating Your Blog Regularly
Emily Sidley, the Director of Publicity at Three Girls Media, said that a blog must be consistently refreshed with new content:
One mistake I see all the time is people not updating their blog regularly. For SEO, it’s really important to publish new, quality content as consistently as possible – down to the same day of the week and time of day.
Most website platforms allow you to upload and schedule your posts in advance, so write your article ahead of time and set it up to go live at the same day and time each week to help increase your SEO.
SEO Mistake #97: Giving Social Media Too Much Credit
Jacob Dayan, Co-Founder of Community Tax, said that the good old link building outreach should be the main thing you focus on in terms of backlinks:
I’ve seen and heard lots of small business owners and even creative agencies without SEO expertise overstate the importance of social media in SEO. Many of these people make the assumption that social media buzz can give them all the SEO momentum they need to improve search results and put all their outreach eggs in this basket.
There’s a broad consensus that search engines incorporate social signals in their algorithms, but these are by no means enough to move the needle on their own. It’s smart to have social share and page/account like buttons on your site. It’s also sensible to reach out to influencers where your content warrants it.
But experienced SEO practitioners know there is no substitute for comprehensive off-page approach with link-building outreach leading the way.
SEO Mistake #98: Submitting Too Many Guest Posts
Marta Calligaro, a Content Editor at Homes and Villas Abroad, wants you to take it easy with the guest posting:
A common mistake people make is to submit numerous guest posts – often to dubious sites – and then repeatedly use exact-match keywords in the anchor text. Eg, Would you like to hire a “best building company, New Jersey”?
It sounds awkward to the reader, leads to a very unnatural link profile and puts them at risk of a Google penalty.
SEO Mistake #99: Not Calculating SEO Spending
Alona Rudnitsky, a Managing Partner at Helix House, said that you need to do some math before investing in SEO:
Not matching SEO spending and deliverables to your market size and competition. In summary, if you don’t allocate enough money to SEO efforts to match your market competitors spending, you’re wasting money at that point.
Even if a company needs to wait a few months to match their competitors spending, it will 100% be worth the wait. Thank you, and I hope that you find our answer valuable!
SEO Mistake #100: Thinking That More Is Better
Eric Price, Owner of SpendRush, said that SEOs need to focus more on quality:
They buy spammy links thinking that more is better. They don’t understand that Google is catching up on spammy links. People who want to rank should be more concerned with providing quality content and getting more quality links.
Ranking The Most Common SEO Mistakes
As promised, at the end of the article, we will rank the most common SEO mistakes by number of mentions (1 mention = 1 point) in the above quotes. We will basically count those and put in the top 10 of SEO mistakes as per the interviews. Here we go:
- Keywords with 18 points – this includes keyword cannibalization, keyword stuffing, bad keyword research, wrong keyword analysis, etc.
- On-page SEO with 15 points – this includes titles, meta descriptions, writing for search engines only, etc.
- Backlinks with 12 points – this includes spammy link building, lack of internal and external backlinks, not focusing on backlinks and other common mistakes relevant to this part of SEO.
- Local with 5 points – this one includes not optimizing your website for local search, wrong Google My Business info, not Google My Business listing, etc.
- Redirects with 5 points – this includes forgetting to redirect old URLs to the new ones, different domain name variations, etc.
- Content promotion with 4 points – this includes either focusing too much on content promotion or not giving it enough credit.
- Analytics with 3 points – this includes focusing on the wrong metrics, not using Google Analytics at all, etc.
- Forgetting about ALT tags with 2 points.
- Not optimizing for website speed with 2 points.
- Not knowing who you hire with 2 points – this includes getting a second opinion before you hire an SEO firm and researching their company.
As expected, keywords, on-page SEO, and backlinks are the 3 most common parts of SEO where people make mistakes. Now, you might say keywords can be both part of on-page SEO and off-page SEO and that’s a fair point, however, I wanted to separate them in the rankings as way too many people reported noticing problems with them.
But in general, the most common SEO mistakes come with on-page SEO and link building. And that’s completely normal considering the fact that those 2 things are the most powerful ranking signals as of now. So the next time you are writing a new article or you are building backlinks, be careful and mindful of the common SEO mistakes reported in this article. Good luck!