A simple Google search for face masks returns over 920 million web pages to peruse. On Bing, 87 million. Chances are, searching keywords for your niche brand returns numbers just as high – so it’s time to improve your ranking on the most popular search engines by avoiding the following common search engine optimisation (SEO) mistakes!
Writing for algorithms and not for people. By writing mediocre content, or content intended to trick search engines, you are less likely to satisfy the search intent of the user (search intent is the goal the user has when they perform a particular query). Thinking like a real person will mean you naturally create engaging content that algorithms notice organically.
Reposting old, duplicate content. No-one wants to see the same content across multiple pages and in fact, this is classified as a low-quality user experience by search engines and will negatively affect your SEO. The last thing you want is to have your own pages competing against each other for that spot in the rankings! Here at Seren Global Media we can ensure you get unique, engaging content that satisfies SEO - why not relieve the pressure and leave it in experienced hands?
Only adding new content. If you’re just adding new content and ignoring low quality and out of date work, it could lower your SEO. This is because older content isn’t always relevant or useful to your audience. Ideally, you will regularly sort through and salvage old content, updating as you go. Sounds like a slog, but it will be worth it in the end!
Creating low word count posts. Short and snappy is good, but studies show that even though search engines don’t prioritise the word count of a page, there is a correlation between longer content and higher rankings. This is because you can fit in more backlinks and keywords into longer content, which generates more organic traffic. Avoid shorter pieces and get that valuable content in there.
Neglecting keyword research. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves - without researching what your audience wants (and how they are searching for it) how do you know what your keywords are? Check out Ask The Public – a fantastic service that visualises search questions. You may just find what you want and what your audience wants are two vastly different things!
Competing against big companies. Once you have several keywords it would be a mistake not to run a Google search on them and make sure you aren’t up against some big, powerful sites – after all, how many small brands can compete with them?
Not including enough keywords. While you’re writing all that fascinating content, not slotting in some of these keywords (yes, including in your title, URL and metadata) is one way of making sure that no-one gets to see it. In fact, you should strive to hit a keyword density of between one and five per cent for each webpage and use synonyms beyond that.
Including too many keywords! At the other extreme is keyword stuffing, or over-optimisation, which involves littering keywords across a page despite the content making little sense. The sneakier offenders even hide keywords against the background by choosing a font colour that matches. Users get frustrated at this sub-par experience and Google addressed this by implementing their Google Panda and Hummingbird algorithm updates – now, if you’re caught, your page could either be demoted in rankings or removed altogether!
Not fixing broken links. Reaching a 404 page when the search snippet sounds perfect is one of the most infuriating things about running a Google search. A common mistake is not fixing those broken links and letting your blog maintenance slip away from you – it’s an easy fix, don’t let it affect your SEO!
Ignoring internal linking structure. Orphaned pages, or those with no links from within the same website, are considered as unimportant by search engines. Ideally, there will be one cornerstone article per topic that is a relatively long, important and informative piece that all other posts in that category link to.
Buying backlinks. One of the best ways to get noticed by search engines is via backlinks, which are links from other pages back to yours. The more you have, the more credible and useful your page appears in the eyes of the search engine algorithms. “Where is the mistake?” I hear you ask. Well, there are those that make the mistake of buying these links, rather than letting them grow organically. However, in their haste, they fail to realise that most link-sellers use a list of the same websites from which links are sold. Now search engines are equipped with the same lists and devalue any pages that are linked to them.
And one more thing…
Not optimising for mobile.
It’s 2021, and your long, unique blog post filled with backlinks and keywords will still fail to get noticed by search engines if the page isn’t optimised for mobile devices (where more than 50% of traffic now originates from). To avoid this mistake, make sure you have a responsive theme – meaning that photos and text are automatically resized to fit the device. While you’re at it, make sure that your web host is fast and reduce the sizes of those images to ensure that your page loads in under three seconds – the last thing you want is people clicking that back button before reaching your content.
SEO trends vary frequently; however, a well-designed webpage will avoid all these common mistakes. Carry out an SEO audit regularly to catch any issues and contact an expert like Seren Global Media to ensure you don’t slip down in search engine rankings!
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