10 Common SEO Mistakes That Prevent Your Content Pages from Ranking
Here’s why you need to embrace SEO.
First, generating leads through search can grow your sales quickly. Why? Because the conversion rate can be high. According to SaaS Brand, “on average, search traffic converts 10x higher than the social media on desktops.”
Search engine optimization is a long-term game. Taking shortcuts no matter how interesting and promising it looks would only hurt your rankings.
However, before you can implement the best practices, you need to know the common mistakes and stay away from them. We found many of these from consulting with an SEO company in Atlanta.
Without much ado, let’s examine each of the mistakes and how you can fix them:
1. Optimizing for irrelevant keywords
Here’s the deal: Google doesn’t care about your entire website as much as you think. In fact, they proved it by ranking individual web pages for most keywords.
In essence, what you should improve is your web pages. When you’re creating content (e.g., a blog post), the keyword you optimize that page for is what would drive your visibility.
If the keywords are irrelevant, then you’re not going to rank highly, it doesn’t matter how much domain authority that page has. So, don’t optimize your page for “social media CRM” when your content is about “social media scheduling tool.”
2. Not using Google Analytics
You might think there’s a ton of website analytics software out there, and you’re damn right. But here’s how I look at it:
Most of these Google Analytics alternatives get their data and insights from Google—just the same way other keyword research tools use Google API to get keywords.
Therefore, don’t make the mistake of choosing another third-party website analytics tool, or better yet, choose another tool in addition to Google Analytics.
Because you want to rank in Google and getting primary data from their search engine seems smarter and makes business sense. Don’t you think so?
3. Creating content with no keyword in mind
Inasmuch as user intent has become the norm of modern search engine optimization, Google still cares about keywords. Why?
Because, without the keywords, Google can’t understand the “intent.”
This means that creating content with no keyword in mind is a suicide mission. You can’t aim to rank a keyword-less page. It doesn’t add up.
Caution: Don’t stuff that content page with too many keywords, but at least target a long-tail or head keyword with the hope of improving its rankings over time.
4. Not optimizing for local search
Let’s analyze this scenario: Say your business caters to customers in Miami, do you think it makes sense to target these people when choosing keywords and creating content?
I think so.
Even if you serve an international audience, don’t be too engrossed with international targeting and forget your locality.
If you own an online store for example, and you ship globally, it’s awesome—but also optimize your product pages for customers in your immediate environment. Trust me, you’ll generate more sales.
So in addition to optimizing your page for “best men’s wrist watches online”, for example, don’t forget to shoot for “buy men’s wrist watch in Miami” keyword as well.
5. Keyword over-optimization
There’s no way using your target keyword in every sentence can improve your rankings. That may have worked in the past but there’s a new algorithm right now which began with Panda all the way to Hummingbird update.
You can no longer stuff your page with keywords and expect magical rankings. But rather, you can expect a Google penalty.
If you escape Google’s manual review, users will be unhappy with your page and all of your efforts will be lost.
There’s no set rule though, but here’s what I recommend: Mention your keyword “naturally” in every 200 words. If you can, use it a few times in your subtitles and H2 tags. But again, if the keyword doesn’t sound natural, don’t use it.
6. Having too many broken links
Broken links are okay, as long as they’re not too many on your domain. More so, it’s no big deal for an authoritative website.
Sadly, if for example, you have a fairly new website with less than 100 pages, you need to be mindful of these 404 links.
Broken links are dead links—when users click on them, they don’t redirect the user to the appropriate page—but rather to a 404 page. The truth is, users and Googlebot don’t like this dead links and you should do your best to fix them.
7. Using duplicate title tags and meta descriptions
This SEO mistake is popular with ecommerce sites. I still see a lot of these product pages having the same title tag and meta descriptions.
This mistake might not be obvious when users stumble on your website, but how can you even entice them to click through to your page if your title tag is boring, generic, and irrelevant?
The same thing applies to your meta description—make it unique, clear, and add the LSI keyword persuasively and naturally.
8. Not using user-friendly URLs
Your URL must be easy to remember. You’re not Amazon or eBay, so don’t make the mistake of using a long and quirky URL that makes no meaning.
Although, I haven’t seen any proof that shorter URLs perform better than longer ones, however, you need to look at it from the user’s perspective. Users love short URLs.
Include one keyword in your URL and add some modifiers. This is the strategy that Brian Dean, Harsh Agarwal of Shoutmeloud.com, and several A-list bloggers use for all their blog URLs—and as you can see from the organic rankings screenshot below, they are definitely doing something right.
9. Ignoring mobile users
Therefore, you need to consider mobile users in your search engine optimization best practices.
The Mobilegeddon update redefined the way SEO experts optimize their web pages. Personally, I learned that improving search rankings isn’t all about creating high-quality content and choosing long-tail keywords (though, vital).
The quality of the website, in terms of speed and mobile compatibility, is the ultimate focus. Remember that your users are mobile, you ought to be where they are as well.
10. Using irrelevant anchor text links
Links with anchor texts such as “click here”, “visit site” and the like, are prevalent today. Of course, using naked terms and words that convey no specific meaning based on any keyword might work—but not in the body of the content.
Everything within the body of your content should be relevant, beneficial, and clear.
For example, if I want to link to Brian Dean’s course (i.e., SEO That Works), I’d rather use the anchor text “good SEO course” or it’s exact match: SEO That Works.
I’ll then link this to his sales page from the body of my review or post.
On the other hand, if I’m writing a social media post, using “click here” as my anchor text and linking it to the homepage would work.
In all, stop using irrelevant anchor text that obstructs the reader when they’re reading your content. But rather, make it relevant and only use the “irrelevant anchor texts” sparingly.
Search engine optimization can take your content marketing efforts to another dimension. But you must be willing to invest time, money, and other resources if you truly want to see results.
You can print out these 10 mistakes so you can always refer to them whenever you’re setting up a campaign. Trust me, it’d be invaluable to your overall SEO strategy.