Here are the five I see most often:
- Sluggish page speed
- Not optimised for mobile
- Zero social media presence
- Not creating engaging content
- Not promoting your content effectively
Check out the infographic for more detail.
The search engine optimisation landscape changes continuously and it’s vital to stay on top of the latest SEO trends and learn what works and what doesn’t.
To help you, we’ve compiled our roundup of the 26 most common and costly mistakes that can hurt your site’s rankings and keep your business from reaching its full potential online.
SEO Mistake 1 – Sluggish PageSpeed and Response Time
Slow load times and a slow-responding site can result in a lower conversion rate, which will hurt your rankings down the line. Use a tool like GTMetrix or Pingdom to test your site’s speed from different locations around the world, and optimise accordingly.
The good news is that many of these adjustments should be easy fixes—clear out unused CSS or unused plugins from your WordPress install, add cache control headers to reduce page load time, etc.
SEO Mistake 2 – Poorly Designed Landing Page
When you design a landing page, be sure your design elements work together. Don’t make visitors click through several pages before they find what they’re looking for.
If possible, keep it simple and clean with a single call-to-action that leads them where you want them to go. And, use clear images that describe your product or service—don’t rely too heavily on text.
SEO Mistake 3 – Not Having a Sitemap
If your website doesn’t have a sitemap, you should consider creating one. A sitemap is essentially a visual overview of your website, which search engines can use to better understand your content.
And since not every visitor will navigate directly to certain pages, creating a sitemap can be helpful because it allows web crawlers to find additional pages they might otherwise miss.
SEO Mistake 4 – Unclear Call-to-Action
Many businesses still have unclear calls-to-action. When a user lands on your page, what do you want them to do? If you’re not clear about that, then your marketing might be suffering a bit.
Keep a well-defined call-to-action. What does it say and why should they listen? A few examples: learn more, buy now, sign up today or something similar.
SEO Mistake 5 – Zero Social Media Presence
Not having a social media presence at all is bad news. Having a Facebook page, but never updating it is as good as not having one. The same goes for Twitter and other platforms you might have that are meant to be followed or interacted with by your customers.
Having an inactive social media presence will keep you from being found organically online by those searching around on those platforms.
SEO Mistake 6 – Unoptimised Social Sharing Images
Poorly optimised images can prevent your post from showing up when someone searches it by image or hashtag, which prevents people from seeing your content at all. So make sure any images you share are perfect quality with good coloring.
These little details can make a huge difference!
SEO Mistake 7 – Not Creating Engaging Content
Creating engaging content is paramount when it comes to attracting and retaining visitors. If your content isn’t interesting, you can find yourself losing valuable visitors.
And if your site isn’t engaging, even though it ranks well, people are less likely to stick around.
SEO Mistake 8 – Writing Content That Is Not Benefit-Focused
It’s easy to fall into old habits when writing content. Your blogging should be focused around how it helps your readers. Not necessarily how you hope they’ll perceive you or what image you want them to have of you or your business.
Instead, try describing why a topic is important and take an unbiased approach when weighing advantages and disadvantages. The more benefit-focused your content is, the better chance it has at ranking highly in search engines.
In addition, providing benefit-focused pieces will help build trust with prospects and customers alike, making them more likely to convert.
SEO Mistake 9 – Uninteresting Headlines
One of my biggest pet peeves with a lot of websites is their boring headlines. Readers visit a page based off an intriguing headline—if it fails to deliver, they’ll never read another post on your site.
Read some popular sites and see how many times you find yourself asking, Is that all there is? Chances are that if your reader feels that way too often, they’ll stop visiting.
SEO Mistake 10 – Not Updating Older Content
Content is still king, but only if it’s quality content. No one has time to go back and update old articles—make sure you’re publishing new content with your keywords regularly.
If you want your site to be successful, you need fresh material that will help bring traffic back to your website regularly.
SEO Mistake 11 – Using Boring & Irrelevant Images
If your images are boring and irrelevant they won’t serve any real purpose; make sure that when choosing images they tell people what you want them to know about your business or post.
For example, using an image of a business owner smiling if you’re trying to convince people it’s a fun place to work. Irrelevant images can also impact users who are looking for something specific, if their search yields an unrelated image they may not click through.
The perfect image should be relevant, descriptive, engaging, and lead your user towards action.
SEO Mistake 12 – Not Using ALT Tags For Images
The most important part of an image’s HTML tag is its alt attribute, which serves as a textual description of what is being shown in that image.
If you don’t give it a thorough and compelling description, then people using screen readers and search engines will be very unhappy with you. Simply adding Image1 or Image2 isn’t enough; craft your ALT tags carefully.
SEO Mistake 13 – Ineffective Keyword Research
Keyword research is a foundational element of any SEO strategy.
Keywords are what search engines use to determine what they should serve up when someone does a query, so it’s important that you target words and phrases that have high search volume and low competition.
On top of that, your keywords have to be relevant to your content—if they aren’t, you’re just spamming readers. Unfortunately, many organisations still aren’t doing keyword research correctly.
SEO Mistake 14 – Keyword Stuffing
Many businesses will try to stump or stuff their content with multiple keywords in an attempt to trick search engines into ranking them higher.
The truth is, they won’t fool Google at all, but will instead likely appear as spam or worse, not even show up at all. Be careful about keyword stuffing and ensure your content is authentic.
Keyword stuffing will hurt your rankings in ways you can’t imagine!
SEO Mistake 15 – Not Optimised for Mobile
Since 55% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, your website needs to be optimised for these users.
In other words, if a potential customer can’t get what they need from your website because it’s not mobile-friendly, they will move onto a competitor’s site instead.
This is an easy mistake to avoid – simply hire a website designer who knows how to create websites that work well across mobile devices and search engines. And as mobile technology continues evolving, make sure you keep up with those updates as well!
The importance of being mobile first cannot be stressed enough.
SEO Mistake 16 – Not Testing Different Browsers Compatibility
Although Google is pushing towards a mobile-first index, they are far from done with desktop users.
If you aren’t testing your website on different browsers, you could be missing out on new visitors, who may have chosen a different browser than you think.
A lot of people use Windows browsers, but some still use Macs. Some use iPads or Android tablets. There are other browsers besides what you see here.
Look at other platforms and make sure your website looks good and works well across them all!
SEO Mistake 17 – Too Much Clutter Above the Fold
Many websites feature too much clutter above-the-fold (the part of a webpage that is visible on initial page load).
This results in slow loading times, which are more of a turnoff than anything else. To ensure your website loads quickly and looks good above-the-fold, keep your website simple.
If you must have an image or block of text above-the-fold, make sure it loads first so visitors can get right to the content they want without having to wait for images or animations.
SEO Mistake 18 – Lack of Proper Interlinking
An interlink is a link from one internal page to another. Interlinking your pages, posts, and resources together will provide more value and authority to all your pages.
This is because links will transfer authority over from one page to another. It can also help visitors better navigate your website if they have a choice of where to go next.
SEO Mistake 19 – Not Linking Out To Quality Sites
Nowadays, Google looks at a website’s interlinking as a strong signal of authority and relevance, which is why you should link out to reputable sources.
This is an easy way to indirectly boost your credibility and rank higher. Linking out will also help with your social signals if you choose quality sites that are already influential in their niche.
Remember, links matter more than ever when it comes to SEO—you don’t want to leave any money on the table.
SEO Mistake 20 – Not Optimising for Local Search
Local search makes up more than half of all mobile searches, according to Google. If you’re not optimising your site for local search, you’re missing out.
You can either optimise your existing content or create new pages that are specially targeted to local searches. Don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be difficult; just ensure you use local keywords in H1 tags, meta descriptions and page content.
SEO Mistake 21 – Not Replacing Broken Links
Keeping your link structure intact is one of your most important tasks, especially if you’re moving from a content strategy that relied more heavily on link building. Broken links have been known to cause a 50% or greater loss in traffic from search engines.
While it’s hard to stop bad links from appearing (especially when there are malicious players in your niche), keeping track of and replacing broken links is an easy way to keep your SEO efforts consistent and effective.
SEO Mistake 22 – Ineffective Use of 301 redirects
Use of 301 redirects is a critical aspect of your website’s SEO, as it helps improve how search engines crawl and index your site. Failing to use 301 redirects effectively can lead to major problems later down the line, so take care when implementing them.
One error you want to avoid is using 301 redirects for non-canonical (or duplicate) pages. This could negatively impact how well your other pages rank, especially if you have many links pointing at these lower-ranking pages.
SEO Mistake 23 – Failing To Track Results
Not tracking your results is a sure-fire way to ensure you’re wasting your time and hard work. By tracking your SEO efforts, you can easily see which keywords are most effective and how best to optimise future posts with that information.
Plus, if one tactic doesn’t seem to be working, it’s easy enough just to try something new without having wasted time and money on an ineffective method.
SEO Mistake 24 – Not Promoting Your Content Effectively
The more eyes you get on your content, the more likely it is that people will enjoy it. If they enjoy your content, then they are much more likely to share it. If they share it, then other people are going to read what you have written! Great job!
SEO Mistake 25 – Inconsistent Content Publishing
One of your most important goals as a marketer is to establish yourself as an authority. If you’re not providing fresh, quality content consistently, there’s no way you can succeed.
The only exception is if you have a legacy website that has already earned credibility through years of dedication and hard work. For new sites—the ones that are just starting out—consistent publishing should be one of your top priorities.
SEO Mistake 26 – Ineffective Outreach Strategy
A bad outreach strategy is a leading reason why many marketers fail at their SEO efforts. There are a lot of techniques you can use to get your content shared, but if it isn’t properly executed, there won’t be any results.
Be sure that you have a solid plan laid out before sending an email or making a phone call.