New automated tools are making the optimization of websites for search engines easier than ever. Nonetheless, some common SEO errors may still be overlooked by those responsible for managing those technologies as they seek to ensure they deliver the desired results and boost the business’s search engine page rankings.
Whether your company has a team of specialists working on a comprehensive strategy to “own” certain terms and phrases your target audience is searching for or you and a handful of new hires are tag-teaming the effort to draw traffic to your site, being aware of the most frequently made SEO mistakes can give your business a leg up on the competition.
While some can be more easily rectified than others, recognizing that there is an issue that needs to be addressed is the first step. To help you learn more about how to fix these all-too-common missteps, the members of Forbes Agency Council list some of the SEO mistakes they see most often and explain how to fix them.
1. Having Broken Links And Dead Pages
One of the most common SEO errors our agency comes across frequently is having broken links and dead pages on a site. As a website owner, it’s important for you to regularly review your pages and ensure that all existing on-site links are updated and dead pages are removed and de-indexed. If this isn’t done, you could risk having a negative impact on your Google rankings alongside a poor user experience. – James Blake, Vindicta Digital Marketing Agency
2. Crafting Content Around Keywords Instead Of Vice Versa
Many copywriters who are mindful of SEO begin developing their content marketing pieces with the SEO keywords they would like to include in the article and start from there. In order for content marketing to be effective, the inverse has to happen. Start with the content idea that is driven by the answer to the question, “What problem does my audience have that I can address?” SEO optimization can then occur. – Mario Carrasco, ThinkNow
3. Not Taking Steps To Improve Slow Load Time
Slow load time is a common issue affecting SEO results, but in most cases, it’s an easy fix. More websites are managed by individuals with less formal training, which can affect a site’s efficiency, especially when they upload images that are too large. Photoshop and other design software offer easy ways to “save for the web” and can reduce the website’s size significantly, reducing its load time. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
4. Creating Content Before Doing SEO Research
It’s a commonly held belief that SEO considerations come into play after content creation. It’s actually the opposite. SEO research should be completed as a first step in the content creation process. Use keyword research to understand audience needs and motivations, and analyze search results to understand who’s winning and why. Only then can you craft the best, most competitive content. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures
5. Ignoring Technical SEO Factors And The User Experience
Search engines are becoming more and more concerned with the end user’s experience on the website. If your website has poor loading speeds or a bad user experience, this technical SEO will hinder your rankings, and these factors are quickly becoming more critical for SEO success. Be certain that the website you’re trying to optimize is technically sound and has a good page ranking and speed scores. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC
6. Over-Optimizing To Hit A Certain Keyword Density
Over-optimization of keywords used to work ten years ago, but today, Google will ding you for it. It can be tedious but not terribly difficult to correct. Go through your content and look for ways to rewrite it more naturally. Instead of trying to hit a certain keyword density, focus on making sense. In a 2,000-word post, your keyword shouldn’t appear more than six times. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative
7. Having Poor Internal Linking
Google looks for cues on your website, such as how the pages, blog posts and other content link to one another, to determine which pages are most important and for which topics and keywords they are most relevant. The fix is easy: Go through your site, and when something on one page or post relates to other content on your site, link them. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove
8. Overlooking Meta Descriptions
Poor (or missing) meta descriptions are still a common oversight for many businesses. These descriptions provide critical context for search engines and customers, and not adding them is a fast way to tank your content marketing efforts. Luckily, most website platforms, such as WordPress, have built-in sections for completing meta descriptions. They are simple to add and should never be overlooked. – Bernard May, National Positions
9. Using News Wire Services To Distribute Press Releases
Many companies pay for news wire services to get their press release out on news sites, thinking that this will help with their SEO. It doesn’t. In fact, no one will ever see your news story when you pay for it using a wire distribution service. Instead, engage with a professional PR person who can generate quality links for your SEO campaign and pitch your story to top news sites across the globe. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR
10. Putting Too Many Keywords On A Single Page
The biggest mistake I’ve seen websites make is putting too many keywords on a single page. Website pages are supposed to be built as pillar pages, with one main keyword and sub-keywords, such as long-tail keywords, built into those pages. By making one keyword the focus of that page, Google will love it much sooner and get you that low-hanging fruit traffic. – Stefan Katanic, Veza Digital