20 Most Common SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021 and Beyond
SEO is a growing field both in terms of demand and the business opportunities it offers. It is projected to reach $1.6 billion in valuation by 2027. SEO has been emerging as a significant revenue channel ever since its earliest versions as a siloed service. What makes it even more exciting, but also somewhat confusing, is its integration with content marketing.
SEO tactics are constantly evolving with advancements in search engine algorithms and changes in online consumer behavior. As a result, it has become more difficult than ever to stay on top of SERPs. Post-failure recovery can be challenging, painful, and time-consuming.
We have compiled a list of most common SEO mistakes that people frequently make and tips to avoid them. We can divide these mistakes into five major categories.
A. Keywords and Search Intent Related Mistakes
Here are some of the mistakes website owners make when it comes to search intent and keywords:
Mistake #1: Not Knowing What Your Audience is Searching For
Most SEO professionals will agree that finding the right keywords can be tricky. It’s part science and part intuition. Good keywords reflect what your audience is searching for. But now, Google offers several tools to help you decode your audience’s online behavior.
SEO tools such as SEMrush provide a lot of data about what keywords are being used and how often.
This search query data is precious for an online marketing professional since it reflects how people engage with your website and what kind of terms and keywords they are using to find your products and services. At DashClicks, our dashboard offers numerous functionalities which only some expensive SEO tools offer, so you don’t have to buy these tools separately.
Mistake #2: Not Researching User Queries
There are specific queries and questions people use in the search engines to look for products and services that are similar to yours. These questions trigger the related keywords that are used in your industry or niche. Your SEO campaign is incomplete without addressing these questions. Google flashes “People Also Ask” and “Related Searches” in search results to enrich the search experience of an individual. You can also use tools like “Answer the Public” to find such questions.
Mistake #3: Lack Of Natural Keywords Targeting
You should include natural keywords on your page to match the content with the customer queries. These keywords can be added to the URL, content, and title of the page. Adding such questions or queries to your content can be the best way to help people find your website. If you create and align your content with popular queries, you can achieve top rankings and traffic easily.
DashClicks’ white label SEO services can help you with keyword optimization of your site including the crucial on-page optimization where you add keywords in strategic locations such as URL, content and page title, and meta-description. When you use our white label services, you don’t need to hire SEO experts, which can be expensive for a small agency.
B. On-Page or Technical Mistakes
Here are some of the on-page and technical SEO mistakes people frequently make:
Mistake #4: Not Optimizing for location-based searches
Google My Business is considered the starting point of your brand’s SEO trajectory. Since many businesses want high visibility on local search, you need to claim your location to feature highly in all “near me” searches. Provide all the information about your business and make sure you answer users’ queries.
Mistake #5: Not fixing page titles and meta descriptions
It’s pretty basic practice, but most website owners tend to ignore it. It is not uncommon to find “Home” as their page title. If we invest a little time writing informative meta descriptions and meta titles, it will give your on-site SEO a big boost.
The good news is that most of the CMS, such as WordPress, fix it by default. But, if a business owner is a novice and is designing their website independently, it can easily be overlooked. It’s important that you know on-page ranking factors as they can be the game-changer for your website’s rankings and traffic.
Mistake #6: Retaining old URL structures while revamping your site
Many business owners start rebuilding their websites without changing the old URL structures. The best way to fix such issues is to redirect the old URL to the new page. If you don’t do it, Google has no way to find out where they should redirect the traffic, and you may lose all such traffic as a result.
Mistake #7: Placing informative text in images
Sometimes, web designers add important text to the image. Google can’t read the text hidden in an image, so such content loses its SEO value by default. It is imperative to use informative text outside the images so that Google bots can read it and use it for indexing.
Mistake #8: Not following latest trends
The problem with startups is that they don’t invest in SEO as a top priority. Furthermore, they practice old-school SEO and don’t follow the most recent trends. If you don’t follow the latest trends and SEO best practices such as voice search and rich snippets, you may lose traffic and rankings. Here are some hot SEO trends in 2021:
Schema.org is used to mark up web pages using HTML so search engines can understand the nature of the content on those pages. The Schema vocabulary is used along with the Microdata to add information to your web content.
2. Structured Data:
Structured data provides explicit clues about the content of a page to Google. For example, on a recipe page, adding structured data will help Google understand the ingredients, temperature, cooking time, calories, etc.
3. SERP Optimization:
It includes various factors search engines use to provide a unique search experience to the user.
4. Knowledge Graphs & Entities:
Recently introduced by Google, knowledge graphs take the search experience to a new level. These are a collection of interlinked descriptions of entities – objects, events, or concepts.
5. Core Web Vitals:
It’s a Google initiative to provide quality signals about the search results to deliver a better user experience.
6. Mobile SEO:
Mobile responsiveness is an important ranking factor since the number of mobile users is growing rapidly. Therefore, your website must be optimized for mobile and tablets.
7. Marketing Automation:
There are many repetitive marketing activities that can be automated using marketing automation software. Such activities include social media publishing, email marketing, and running ad campaigns.
C. Strategy Related Mistakes
Strategy-related SEO mistakes can also cost you dearly. Using analytics to your advantage, conducting website audits to detect major issues, and avoiding black hat tactics are some of the crucial strategy-related factors you should consider. We’re listing some of them below:
Mistake #9: Paying Little Attention to Your Website
Some business owners get their websites designed by inexperienced people, which can lead to disastrous results. Such websites may lack various SEO factors considered crucial for ranking such as quality content, meta-descriptions, page names, and title descriptions. If your website is not professionally designed, it can suffer from severe navigation issues which can be counterproductive from an SEO perspective.
DashClicks brings to you an affordable option to create professional-looking and SEO-optimized sites with their advanced tool InstaSites. InstaSites transforms your prospecting methods into action-packed value within seconds. With the help of this amazing tool, you can create a professional in seconds using niche-specific templates.
Mistake #10: Not Using Analytics to Gauge Conversion Rates
In a mad rush for traffic, people forget that conversion is an even more critical metric than traffic. Yet, they waste precious hours in team meetings that provide very few answers. Most of the time, these keywords are highly competitive, and it isn’t easy to rank on them regardless of the tactics you use.
But, if you examine the analytics, you might be in for a surprise. The truth is: most keywords don’t help you with conversions. However, specific lower-traffic phrases will convert much better based on the search intent. These keywords are more specific, and if you get first page rankings for any of these terms, they may even drive a few random sales.
Set up conversion tracking in your analytics framework and constantly track it for the search terms you are targeting. These insights will help you optimize your site for better results.
Mistake #11: Conducting Website Audits at Irregular Intervals
Regular website audits are a must to assess your website’s performance both from the client’s perspective and for the search engines. Some of the performance issues can have damaging consequences, such as poor user experience. When critical information is difficult to find, it is most likely a red flag. The speed of your website’s mobile version is also a critical factor. You will be able to detect any performance issues in your website after a careful evaluation. These issues may be related to SEO, site speed, navigation, checkout process, and content quality.
Mistake #12: Buying Backlinks
The old-school SEO professionals sometimes think of backlinks as a quick fix to clear the path for a newly constructed website. However, this can be counterproductive because most of these backlinks can be from spammy sites, already spammed by Google. You will not drive any SEO value from those backlinks. On the flip side, Google may also penalize your website. The actual link value is extracted from high-authority websites through natural methods such as guest posting and earned links.
Mistake #13: Focusing Only on Onsite SEO
Digital marketing agencies are often tempted to think that their job is done once they are through with the on-site SEO. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Onsite SEO is an integral part of your website’s SEO, and it contributes substantially towards tracking, but on its own, it’s often not enough. It would help if you also focused on off-site SEO, such as getting backlinks from some popular directories and publishing guest posts. If you have good-quality content pieces published on third-party websites which point to your website, you will achieve your SEO goals faster.
Mistake #14: Taking SEO As a One-Time Activity
Many people think technical SEO practices can help them accomplish all their marketing goals. In reality, however, it is a routine activity that needs continued investment. There is no such thing as permanent SEO friendliness. To keep yourself updated, you need to continually add high-quality content about your products and services and optimize it with the right keywords.
Mistake #15: Not Having Clear and Predefined SEO Goals
Having predefined and clear goals helps you to steer clear from focusing on pointless vanity metrics. These metrics can be confusing and misleading and may not always help you achieve your core business objectives. SEO professionals think that if you increase traffic, conversions will automatically increase, too. However, data suggest that a website that attracted the traffic of 10000 unique monthly visitors was able to convert only one percent of it into sales. It means that even though your website includes popular keywords to attract traffic, its design is not conducive to increasing revenue. Whatever may be the case, you can always audit your website to figure out the reasons you are falling short of receiving targeted traffic and conversions.
Mistake #16: Not Having Knowledge about Google Ranking Factors & Algorithm Updates
Here are the major ranking factors Google employs that every SEO professional or agency should be familiar with:
- Domain Factors: These factors include domain age, features, and keywords in the top-level domain.
- Page-Level Factors: It includes keywords in the title tag, description tag, table of contents, LSI keywords, keyword density, and content length.
- Site-Level Factors: Content that offers value, insights, contact us page, site architecture, and mobile-optimized site.
- Backlink Factors: It includes linking domain age, number of referring domains, the total number of linking pages, backlink anchor text, and links from .edu or .gov domains.
- User Interaction: It includes RankBrain, which is Google’s AI algorithm. Google uses it to know how users interact with the search results and it ranks the results accordingly. Google also considers a higher CTR as a ranking factor.
- Special Google Algorithm Rules: Google may consider content freshness, add diversity to the SERPs, and use featured snippets, etc.
- Brand Signals: It includes the brand name, anchor texts, and brand searches.
At DashClicks, our white label SEO services are designed to provide standard solutions where we keep track of all these ranking factors and algorithm updates. Our teams are trained in providing white-label SEO solutions as per the latest changes in Google algorithms, so you can resell these services without worrying about fluctuations in rankings.
D. Content Related Mistakes
Here are some of the content-related mistakes that SEO professionals frequently commit to. You must be familiar with these mistakes to attain high rankings.
Mistake #17: Not Following the E-A-T and YMYL Factor
Google’s ranking policies are often considered mysterious as they aren’t that vocal about it. In 2015, Google released the complete version of Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines in response to a leaked version that was making the rounds on the web. These guidelines emphasized the three golden rules to remember when creating web pages. They also explained how Google differentiates high-quality content from the rest. These guidelines are a goldmine for online marketers and SEO professionals. For your convenience, we present them to you:
1. Beneficial Purpose:
Google explains it in the following manner:
“Websites and pages should be created to help users.” Specifically, a web page should fulfill its intended purpose, but it should also be user-centered. Websites and pages that are created to harm the users, deceive them or make money off them with no attempt to help them, receive the lowest page quality ratings from Google.
2. YMYL (Your Money or Your Life):
According to Google, “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content is the type of information that, if presented inaccurately, could directly impact the reader’s satisfaction, health, safety, or financial well-being.” A YMYL page with potentially harmful advice could affect people’s lives and livelihood. As a general rule, only experts should write YMYL content. This particularly includes news, current events, legal or financial information, health, safety, fitness, nutrition, shopping, civic and communal matters.
3. E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness):
Expertise generally refers to the creator of the main content (MC) on the page. They should be subject-matter experts and must possess the necessary credentials. Authoritativeness refers to the lead content creator, his creation, and the website on which it appears. It’s associated with a generally recognized authority such as a certified professional or an influencer so that readers can trust it as a reliable source of information.
Mistake #18: Not Paying Attention to Content
You must always have fresh and high-quality content on your website. But most of the webmasters make the mistake of not paying enough attention to the content of their blog section. As a result, their blog either dies with little to no activity, or they have sub-standard topics that add no value. Paying attention to the content is the key to success in content marketing and SEO. Make sure you have loads of high-quality content on your website, and that you are regularly adding fresh content that is valuable to your audience.
Mistake #19: Creating Content Only For Robots
Google algorithms are constantly evolving, but that doesn’t mean that you should create your content strategy around those algorithms alone. Instead, the standard approach should be to have a content strategy that offers the big picture. Your content must strictly be written for your audience. It should address their pain points, solve their queries, and highlight your competitive advantage. Your content should also boost your branding. It should be engaging and full of insights so that it can attract and retain audiences. Such content will give you a competitive advantage and attract desirable traffic to your website.
E. UX/UI Related Issues
Mistake #20: Ignoring UI & UX of your Website Pages
Not paying attention to UI and UX can be a grave SEO mistake. Here are a few UI/UX factors you should consider for the best SEO results and user experience on your website:
A. Focus on usability
Many business owners emphasize creativity, but they forget an essential factor — usability. If your website doesn’t offer usability, creative efforts are of no use. It’s the reason most websites resemble each other. It helps, as most users are familiar with this structure, and they know where they can find the information they are looking for. If a site doesn’t offer a good user experience, users will likely bounce off and never return.
B. Don’t follow design trends blindly
You should be careful not to follow design trends blindly. Choose a design that offers reliable utility. Design helps, but you shouldn’t use it at the cost of functionality.
C. Avoid too much animation
It’s best to avoid too much animation. If it helps to make the content feel natural and easy to understand, it’s probably in good use. But, be careful to avoid too many popups that may ruin the UX on your website.
D. Use visuals to support text
When appropriate, use visuals rather than text to communicate things effectively.
E. Offer better readability and insert valuable content when necessary
Don’t use poor contrast if it offers a bad reading experience. The most important thing is that a good design should accompany useful content. When it is missing from any section of your website, it’s as good as having no content at all.
F. Create mobile responsive websites
Make sure that your website design is adaptable. It should fit different screens without distorting the content and its intent.
G. Don’t stuff keywords into your content
Gone are the days when there was no way to rank your web presence other than stuffing SEO keywords into your content. Thanks to constantly changing Google algorithms, Google can now differentiate between high-quality content that addresses the needs of the end-user and poor content that is loaded with keywords but offers little value. Quality content must be thoughtful and informative, and not written to dupe the search engines.
Search engine optimization is an integral part of content marketing, and we know that businesses rely heavily on content marketing as the only reliable long-term strategy for digital marketing. But, even the most competent people can make mistakes, and it becomes even more prevalent in the case of SEO. It’s best, therefore, to learn from other people’s mistakes and avoid them at all costs.