There is more to designing a website than just the aesthetics. Although visual elements will get you more attention, they won’t hold up in the long run. Great web designs require that you consider and improve the backend. This is because a flashy exterior will not help you unless the actual digital selling machine is working. In this guide, we will cover the top 10 common SEO mistakes made when building a new website. Read on to learn more:
1. Ignoring Search Engine Optimization
The glory, the glam and the glitz of the design elements might make your site look a piece of heaven. However, you should never forget to pay attention to what is not apparent to the eye.
To this end, you should work on ensuring your new site truly resonates with your target audience. The best way to go about doing this is by ingraining SEO in your website design strategy from the get go.
Therefore, one of the biggest mistakes you make during the design phase is to ignore SEO until it is too late. Without SEO at the initial strategy and planning session, you will end up losing what took so much of your effort, time and resources to build.
SOLUTION: Everything, from the meta description of the site pages to the structure of the website, is important and needs to be taken into serious consideration.
2. Not Auditing Your Existing Website
Before destroying your current website, you need to take time to check it. Find out what is working and what isn’t.
SOLUTION: When auditing your website for search engine optimization, consider the following:
- Monthly average of unique visitors and visits
- Top performing keywords (with regards to lead, traffic and rank generation)
- Number of inbound linking domains
- Total number of pages indexed
- Total number of pages receiving traffic
3. Avoiding Keyword Integration
Today, you cannot just keyword-stuff your website and achieve a higher rank on search engines. By so doing, your rankings and credibility could take a serious hit that you might never recover from.
Still, this does not mean that you should totally avoid using keywords. In fact, if you have high quality content on your websites, the keywords will work their way naturally into your web pages.
SOLUTION: While creating information-rich and helpful websites, ensure you include pages that accurately and clearly describe your topic. Consider the words most users type into search engines while looking for what you have to offer. Then, include these words into your website.
4. Ignoring 301 Redirects
301 redirects provide permanent redirects from one URL to others.
SOLUTION: Whether you wish to switch domain names, restructure your URLs, or consolidate content while building a new website, it is imperative that you set up 301 redirects. It will ensure all SEO link juice transfers to your new URLs.
5. Not Considering Your URL Structure
If your website is littered with indecipherable and lengthy URLs that don’t match with your website pages and content, you should think about restructuring the URLs. Search engines are smart these days. Therefore, they think and read like normal human searchers. This is why they prefer URLs that can easily be tied to the content on your pages.
SOLUTION: Therefore, whenever you create new URLs, use “-” (dashes) in between words (and not underscores). Search engines like Google treat dashes as separators, meaning they return results when people search for single words appearing in a new URL.
On the other hand, they treat underscores as connectors, meaning they will only return results when people search for groups of interconnected words appearing in the URLs. By using dashes, you will be able to capitalize on more opportunities for your website pages to be discovered.
6. Using Shady Backlinks
Getting inbound links (backlinks) from trusted websites boosts search rankings. However, these backlinks come with their own unique, and often ignored and avoided, dark side.
If search engines suspect that the sites linking to yours are low quality and spammy, your rankings might suffer. This is referred to as negative search engine optimization. At times, spammers purposely direct tons of these low quality links to affect your rankings.
SOLUTION: To avoid this error, which ranks among the 10 common SEO mistakes made when building a new website, ensure you analyze your backlinks. Remove all shady ones and only have legitimate inbound links.
7. Forgoing Responsive Design
Responsive design is the preferred configuration for websites that are optimized for mobile search. Without it, it would be difficult for your new website to deliver a great browsing and search experience to mobile users.
SOLUTION: Ensure that your website is responsive from the get go. This way, all your URLs will be the same on different devices. They will also serve up similar HTML code.
8. Failing to Block Crawlers
When you are ready to launch your new website, you might be surprised that you are not even showing up on search results. The problem might have been that you blocked search engines from checking your new website before you launched.
SOLUTION: Solving this problem is pretty simple. You just need to unblock search engines so that they know where they can find you.
9. Forgetting Web Analytics Tracking
You need to use analytics software to benchmark your new website against set goals and aspirations. From the moment you go live, it is imperative that you collect data on your new website performance.
SOLUTION: Paste proper Google Analytics code into your new site. Then, use analytics tracking and conversion code to check the website and ensure it has a higher conversion rate.
10. Thinking like a Machine
The last of the 10 common SEO mistakes made when building a new website is failing to think like humans do. Today, search is becoming more conversational. This is why search engines deliver answers, and not just results. The best answers are derived from websites crafted with human visitors in mind, and not from content farms.
SOLUTION: Ensure you add value in all your online content. Also, be yourself and keep everything natural. By simply focusing on these two, the search engine optimization on your new website will take care of itself.
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