Search engine optimization (SEO) is much more than just targeting keywords. At times, SEO can be very complex. There are many factors to consider to ensure that your SEO efforts are a success, including both on-page and off-page strategies. Let’s take a look at some of the most common SEO mistakes—and how to avoid them.
1. Site Speed Issues
Your website should always prioritize the user’s experience (UX). Site speed plays a large role in user experience, whether good or bad. A poor UX has drastic effects on a good SEO strategy. The dreaded loading sign can signify a slow site speed, which can result in a significant loss of traffic.
How to Fix Site Speed Problems
Often, site speed issues start small and build up over time. The best way to combat this is by frequently performing site maintenance. Mobile sites are often visited more frequently and should take priority. Mobile users always expect a quick and easy experience, so a fast mobile site speed is vital.
Below are some common culprits of site speed issues and how to fix the issue:
- Large media files: A site may have too large video or photo files. This issue can be fixed by resizing and compressing the content for optimal web use.
- Increased traffic: Sometimes, the site’s hosting platform can’t handle the amount of traffic. The best fix to this issue is upgrading to a hosting plan that is better equipped to handle the volume.
2. Indexing & Crawlability Issues
There are many factors that can inhibit Google’s ability to index and crawl a website, some being more extensive than others. Neglecting to fix indexing and crawling issues can result in the loss of some, if not all, visibility on SERPs.
How to Make Sure Your Website Gets Crawled and Indexed
If a site is lacking visibility, we suggest checking the following properties:
- Check your settings: A common issue is that certain posts or category taxonomies are set to no index by default in WordPress or Yoast. This problem can be easily fixed by changing the settings.
- Look for broken links: Another issue could be that pages are not redirecting correctly, or a page contains broken internal links. Both can be fixed through some simple edits.
- Make sure your site is crawlable: Finally, there’s the nightmare of a whole site being hidden, which can signify a much larger issue, or that a site has been penalized by Google. To ensure that this does not happen, websites should be crawled regularly.
3. Lack of Locally Targeted Terms & Pages
If your organization sells products or services targeted toward consumers within a specific city or region, then implementing locally targeted pages and content should be a top priority. A mistake that many websites make is lacking information that is location-specific. 43% of Google searches have local intent, so providing locally optimized content that caters to these searches can bring a substantial increase in web traffic.
How to Improve Your Local SEO
To tackle this issue, we suggest creating quality content that targets the issues and needs of consumers in the regions you’re targeting. For example, a roofing company in Florida would want to write about roof replacement after hurricanes, while a company in Michigan would want to write about roof replacement after a blizzard.
We also recommend creating a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google my Business). Making sure you have updated hours and links to contact your team or purchase your product can greatly increase conversions.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to build location-specific landing pages for your services. Doing so will greatly increase local visibility.
4. Ignoring Best Practices for Titles, Heading & Meta Descriptions
Content creation is a vital part of a successful SEO strategy. You can spend hours researching keywords and writing content, which will be fruitless if Google cannot index and display it correctly. Google has best practices for how content should be constructed, which should be followed to ensure that your piece has a chance at ranking. A very common mistake is negating such practices, which can cost you both time and money.
How to Write to Satisfy Both Searchers and Search Engines
Here are some of Google’s best practices that you should account for when writing your next piece of content:
- Use headers: Heading hierarchies should follow a logical construct that allows the Google algorithm to scan and understand what your content is about. Neglecting to do so can decrease the chance of a piece ranking.
- Pay attention to metadata: Title length should be between 55–60 characters, and meta descriptions should be between 130–160 characters to ensure that all valuable information is visible.
- Stay away from duplicate content: Avoid duplicating content titles and descriptions as it can inhibit Google’s ability to crawl the pages. Never duplicate an entire page or post from your competitors or even from yourself—content that is an exact or even near copy of existing content will not rank.
5. Neglecting Analytics & Conversion Tracking
The work of an SEO does not end once a website has ranked. One of the biggest errors made in SEO is neglecting to monitor analytics.
Analytics tracking provides much more than the basic traffic numbers. It also provides a plethora of data, including where the traffic is coming from, click-through rates, bounce rates, domain authority, and most importantly conversion rates. It is important to evaluate all of this data and make necessary adjustments to ensure that your SEO strategies are actually performing.
How to Track the Right Metrics
When evaluating, be wary of vanity metrics. Many users see that a site has gained traffic and assume that the job is done; however, just because there has been an increase in traffic does not mean that there has been an increase in conversions.
Conversions are what provide ROI. Good-looking data can be deceptive at times. It is important to not get distracted by the numbers. Instead, evaluate factors that are actually helping with goal completion.
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