Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid

Avoid 15 Common SEO Mistakes - In Short And Simple Words

A woman gesturing to stop by hand

In this blog, I share my observations of most common SEO mistakes from many of the posts and comments from Facebook and Reddit platforms, and my SEO audits.

Daily, I find many posts about optimization problems and few of you contact me directly for help on Facebook and Reddit. You seem to be confident (in some instances, very confident) about your website but, still wonder why it's not performing good. I have following points to share (all points may not apply to all of you):

  1. Search Intent. Few of your websites are doing good in handling search intent but, many of you need to improve on this. This is a very vital factor. Many of you argue that you have written a lengthy content but, I see that it does not properly match search intent hence your efforts are wasted. As not satisfying search intent is one of the most common SEO mistakes, make sure to understand your target searchers' intent and accordingly build content.

  2. Keywords. Keywords help top or tank your site's rankings. Period. Merely interspersing keywords in your content is not enough. Their contextual relevance, placement and style also matters. Judiciously use them in titles, meta descriptions, headings and through out the content. Some of you are still doing keyword stuffing, this is not a good SEO practice and you should avoid them. Say no to keyword stuffing.

  3. Content quality. This tops the list of most common SEO mistakes. You seem to be confident about content quality because the website is your baby and you look it from your perspective. Trust me, I was in the same boat. But, when I reached people for feedback, I was astonished to learn different perspectives. I will not get into details about 'quality' as it differs from case to case. But, with reference to your specific context, I found many of your website's content can be optimized for best. Think about it - if your content is strong then why isn't it ranking? And, every other ranking factor depends on content, including speed. Google favors quality content over speed. What's the point of having a super speed load factor of a page and having all greens for Core Web Vitals (CWV) when content itself is not worthy enough?

  4. Content length. Some of you think writing lengthy content is good for SEO. It's a myth and a very common optimization error to write a long content. Content length must depend on your audience tastes. For instance, if your target audience is millennials (There are exceptions to this point like educational subject etc...) , do you thing writing 3k words will attract them? They hardly have an attention span for 1k words and if you give them 3x of that, they just bounce. There are pages/blogs that have 500-1000 words and still outrank greater number of words pages'. So, decide on content length keeping in mind your target users. Quality over quantity matters.

  5. Content type. Most of you only depend on blogs. Well, if a video is more relevant, then leverage that medium. Don't just stick to writing blogs. This is a one of the worst SEO errors because if SERP show videos for your targeted search intent, then writing blog does not have a chance to rank at the top. So, all your efforts are wasted. And, now a days even podcasts are appearing on the scene. Think of alternatives that best suit your audience.

  6. Thin content. Some overdo with content and others have hardly enough content. When this is the situation, what will the page rank for? Without sufficient content, it's impossible to rank. I also noticed product collection/category pages and product details page with hardly any description and for some even that was missing! All you have is a dump of images with 7-10 words of product description which is not compelling enough to take an action. Even product details page do not have description, just product specification details - that's it!?. These pages will not help in conversion. Period.

  7. Titles. This is one of the key areas for improvement, after content, as they are gateway to your page. Keyword stuffing is a common problem. And, to my shock, I even found unrelated words in titles. Your titles can be much, much, optimized for the best. You hardly get a second or two's attention for it. Don't just copy competition, be unique and make sure they are impressive.

  8. Meta description. Same as titles, they are gateway to your page. Hence, make them compelling enough to take an action. Describe about the page as best as you can. Don't stuff keywords. I even found grammatical mistakes. These small things make a big impression. Make sure to convey your intent within first 25 words matching search intent with impressive wordings.

  9. Page Headings. Where are your H1s and H2s? Some of your sites don't even have H1s. WTH? Few of your sites have just a dump of images at the top with hardly any good description. That's not acceptable. Every page must have a good title that must be contextually related to the page. And, do use sub-headings to describe pages sections. Avoid "Welcome" headings in the home page.

  10. Image's ALT attribute value. This is one of the most common errors - to omit ALT value. Most of my SEO audits find either missing or improper or keyword stuffing for 'ALT' attribute values. This is not good. Well, I agree that all images need not have a value but, where required provide a good value. Again, avoid keyword stuffing and writing two or three words just for sake of providing a value. Rather, describe about the image.

  11. User Experience (UX) And User Interface (UI). Most of your websites have good user interface but, lack in user experience. And, few need a lot of optimization for both of them. Actually, UX encompasses UI but, many treat them differently hence specifying them separately. There's and art and science behind UX & UI. This is a specialization in itself. Make sure to have a wow factor.

  12. Expertise Authority And Trust (EAT). Most of your content does not handle these factors properly. Though some of you have information to establish trust factor but, you are not properly utilizing it. There are ways to convey expertise and authority for your business / profession and you must use them to the best. Ignore them and your site suffers ranking.

  13. Speed. Remember the count down seconds: 3.2.1. Try to load the page within 3 seconds. All small sites must achieve this goal. I found, even, some basic sites with few images take lot of time to load which is not acceptable. If your site is on a shared server, move them ASAP to dedicated one which is a must for all shopping and professional sites. Some of your shopping sites are really good at loading, I must congratulate. Google is very serious about page speed. Take care. Having said all this, try to improve page load but, do not get obsessed with it. Remember from point #3? "Google favors quality content over speed."

  14. Internal links. Overlooking to connect internal pages is a common mistake that I had observed. They are very, very, important both from user and Google standpoint. For users, they help navigate to another page which is very obvious but, while auditing I found missing internal links from your websites! No internal links result in high bounce rate. And, for Google, they help discover and index others pages. So, make sure all pages are contextually connected to each other.

  15. Backlinks. Boy, backlinks! Most of your sites have contextually irrelevant and poor quality backlinks. Having spammy links is one thing and having backlinks that try to manipulate rankings is another thing. The difference being you don't desire earlier one. They happen without your intention. But, you explicitly put efforts on later one to build authority. Rather than investing your time, effort and money to build on thousands of contextually irrelevant and poor quality backlinks (which are not only worthless but also worst common SEO mistake as it affects ranking directly), focus on creating high quality backlinks from niche specific and authoritative sources. Few good backlinks are much better than thousands of shoddy backlinks.

These are the most common SEO mistakes to avoid that I find from posts on forums and groups, and from my SEO audits. But, the list goes on...

Few of you want to impress Google. But, understand that Google will be impressed if you impress your target users. So, focus on users and not just on Google.

Google is merely a recommender, impress the king - your users.

What I strongly feel is that you are thinking from your perspective only - this is the most and worst mistake to avoid. Give your websites a chance for new eyes to have a look. You are unable to see it but, your websites are screaming for help for optimization. And, they have a very good potential to rank and achieve conversions.

I highly recommend you to get your sites audited. Many SEOs are willing to carry out an audit for free on Facebook and Reddit groups. I too did free audits for many from these platforms and everybody (from Reddit) were highly satisfied. This can be corroborated from my posts if you can dig into history of my Reddit profile. But, I stopped auditing for free. Nevertheless, these group have many SEOs who are ready to audit for free. Get your website audited for their recommendations and optimize it ASAP.

May the G be with your site!

LABELS: Blog-SEO, Blog-Mistakes, Blog-Tips

Note: Prefix "Blog-" to lables to narrow search results.

Image source: Pexels