Due to search engine developments and changes in consumer behaviour, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a constantly evolving field. This can make it difficult for businesses to keep up with SEO trends and rank highly in search engine results, which is important for increasing website traffic and conversions.

However, the ever-changing nature of consumer trends isn’t the only reason why businesses can struggle to increase traffic and sales. Indeed, there are many common SEO mistakes that businesses make that can severely damage rankings. In addition to not having a strong SEO plan based on thorough market research, not paying attention to easily fixable mistakes such as technical errors and duplicate content is a recipe for disaster. So, if you want to improve your rankings and therefore increase sales, here are the biggest SEO mistakes you should avoid.

Why Is SEO Important and How Does It Work?

As mentioned above, SEO is important for ranking highly in the SERPs and thus generating more clicks from consumers, which can lead to increased engagement and sales. But how does this work? For Google to rank your pages highly for a specific keyword, Google must be able to crawl and index your pages. This means that Google needs to be able to discover and read your pages and then analyse and organise them based on the content. Once your site has been crawled and indexed, it is then ranked according to its quality and relevance. Therefore, if there are issues with Google being able to discover and categorise your pages, they won’t be able to rank well.

What Are the Biggest SEO Mistakes?

Since Google must be able to read, understand and categorise your web pages before you can be ranked highly in search engine results, many common SEO mistakes revolve around technical issues that make it harder for Google to read your page and content issues that interfere with correct indexing and ranking. With this in mind, here are five of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid.

1) Poor content

On-page SEO refers to the optimisation of your website’s content to improve SEO rankings, so getting your content right is an important part of your SEO strategy. Therefore, one of the main on-page SEO mistakes you can make is to have low-quality content on your website.

For example, some people who are familiar with the basics of SEO will try to stuff keywords into their content in order to rank highly, without considering the quality and relevance of the content itself. However, this keyword stuffing won’t convince Google to rank your pages higher. In fact, Google can analyse the quality of your work and its relevance to the user’s search terms, and the user won’t continue to browse your site if your content doesn’t properly answer their questions.

One way to avoid keyword stuffing is to use conceptually related terms to vary your language and also help search engines to better understand the content, which will help with indexing and ranking. You should also make sure to write high-quality, relevant content that will keep consumers on your website rather than push them to leave.

Another thing to avoid is duplicate content. It’s never a good idea to copy content from competitors or other pages on your website as this tactic won’t trick Google, and if the search engine detects duplicate content, this will damage your rankings. Always write original, high-quality content if you want to avoid on-page SEO mistakes.

2) Issues with meta titles and descriptions

The issue of duplication doesn’t just include your main text. Duplicate meta titles and descriptions are also common on-page SEO mistakes that can damage your rankings. Therefore, just like with your main content, you should always write original meta titles and descriptions for your web pages.

Another one of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid is not writing meta descriptions at all. When you don’t provide a meta description, Google will create one by scanning your text and selecting a section that it thinks is the most relevant to the search term. However, this process isn’t perfect, and therefore your meta description may not be optimised as much as possible for attracting consumers.

To solve this issue, you should always write your own meta titles and descriptions to optimise your page as much as possible. Google also prefers meta titles and descriptions that are not too long or short; too many characters (over 60 characters for titles and over 160 characters for descriptions) will lead to your title or description being cut off, and if your title or description is too short, this means that there is still room to optimise your page further to improve rankings.

3) Broken and low-quality links

If you’re familiar with SEO, then you’re probably aware of the importance of internal and external links. Crawling is often dependent on links as Google will follow links to your web pages in order to ‘read’ them, and since sites need to be crawled before they can be indexed or ranked, ensuring that your web pages can be crawled is a key part of SEO.

Therefore, using internal links will allow Google to crawl all of your web pages and then index and rank them. These links can also help Google to understand your content better, which will improve rankings. However, one of the most common SEO mistakes is to overuse internal links, as this makes Google see your content as low-quality spam.

In addition to being careful with your internal links, you should also consider how you use external links. The quality of external links is very important for SEO, so you should always link to high-quality, well-ranked websites that are relevant to your content. Once you’ve created your links, you need to ensure that they continue to be functional. One of the biggest SEO mistakes is having broken links on your website because this can hinder crawling and worsen the user experience.

4) Technical SEO issues

Broken links are just one example of things that can impede the crawling or indexing process. Optimising a website for crawling and indexing rather than focusing on content (on page SEO) is referred to as technical SEO, and links fall within this category since they can either help or prevent crawling.

To avoid common SEO mistakes related to technical SEO, you should ensure that none of your links are broken and there are no server errors. These issues prevent crawling, and if your website can’t be crawled, then it can’t be indexed or ranked. 404 page not found errors are a good example of a common technical SEO issue that can affect your website’s crawlability.

To prevent these common SEO mistakes, you can use online tools such as Google Search Console to fix technical issues like broken links and check your website’s performance. This is very important because performance factors such as page loading time can also have a big impact on rankings and user experience.

5) Not optimising for mobile users

Finally, one of the biggest SEO mistakes nowadays is not optimising your website for mobile phones.  Since Google announced that they are predominantly using your mobile version of your content for indexing and ranking, not considering your mobile users when building your website, could be holding you back. Therefore, while you should be working on optimising both your desktop and mobile site speed as they both are important for your user experience, your main focus should stay on improving load speed on mobile devices in order to improve your SEO rankings.

How to Improve Your SEO Rankings

By learning about the common SEO mistakes to avoid, you can work on improving your rankings and therefore increase website traffic and conversions. Most importantly, you should avoid on-page SEO mistakes by optimising your content and avoid technical issues by fixing your website errors. If you want to learn more about avoiding common SEO mistakes and improving your website’s ranking in the SERPs, then get in touch to find out how we can help with your SEO strategy.