Don’t Make These 7 SEO Mistakes

Lithographic style hand holding magnifying glass with eye inside

We all want more traffic to our websites, and search engine optimization is one of the best ways to build and maintain a healthy flow of organic traffic to your website. In order to execute a successful SEO strategy, it’s important to avoid the most common SEO mistakes. 

7 Common SEO Mistakes

  1. Not knowing your audience
  2. Forgetting search intent
  3. Not creating original content
  4. Letting your content go stale
  5. Skipping the small details
  6. Not using the right tools
  7. Forgetting to optimize for user experience

SEO Mistake #1 – Not Knowing your Audience

For your SEO efforts to be truly effective you need to have a good understanding of who your audience is. Take for example you sell car parts to auto retailers. It’s important to understand what your audience is and is not searching for. For example, an auto retailer may be searching for information on the different types of spark plugs. Whereas a consumer may be searching for how to replace spark plugs. Knowing who your ideal customers are will help guide you towards creating and optimizing the right type of content for your audience — the audience that is most likely to convert. 

SEO Mistake #2 – Forgetting Search Intent

When you optimize your site, make sure you’re optimizing for the search intent. Search intent is the reason someone is searching or the goal behind their query. Going back to the auto parts example, if you title an article “Top 10 tires for all weather” the content better list out 10 all-weather tires and how to purchase them. Google wants to ensure that their search engine is always answering the searcher’s intent. The better your content is at answering a searcher’s question the higher it will be ranked. This is why tactics like keyword stuffing and click-bait titles are bad SEO practices. 

SEO Mistake #3 – Not Creating Original Content

For SEO to be successful, you have to continue to create new content and most importantly you need to create original content. In August, Google released their Helpful Content Update designed to ensure the content ranking at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) are actually helpful to the searcher.

In their blog post about the update, Google asks creators to “avoid making content for search engines” and discourages people from creating content that “mainly summarizes what others have to say without adding much value”. Simply put, reposting content from other sites will not lead to better search rankings. You have to create your own content with your own perspective and add value for the reader. 

SEO Mistake #4 – Letting Content Go Stale

One of the biggest SEO mistakes businesses make is letting their content go stale. What might have been a high-performing page five years ago can easily be outranked if you don’t go back and update it. Search engines are looking to rank relevant content and that means it’s up-to-date. 

As a rule of thumb, if your content is more than two years old, it’s time to update. Updating content doesn’t have to be a heavy lift. Look for opportunities to replace old links, remove out of date references and freshen up the content for today’s audience. A lot can happen in two years. 

SEO Mistake #5 – Skipping the Small Details

SEO can be very technical, which is why having an eye for detail is critical to its success. Don’t skip the small stuff. Simple things like adding schema markup, setting title tags and meta descriptions, adding alt tags and proper anchor texts are all small but important details. These steps are how your site will tell search engines what each page is about. Skip these steps, and your content will go undiscovered. 

SEO Mistake #6 – Not Using the Right Tools

In order to know whether your SEO efforts are working or not, you have to have the right tools in place. Not only to track your progress, but to find new opportunities as well. 

Here are some common SEO tools:

  1. Ahrefs 
  2. SEMRush
  3. Screaming Frog
  4. Google Search Console
  5. Google Keyword Planner
  6. Clearscope

A good SEO professional will need access to most if not all of these tools. This is why, working with an agency that specializes in SEO, like VSSL, is often more cost-effective than hiring a team in-house.

SEO Mistake #7 – Forgetting to Optimize for User Experience

This last mistake is the one that transcends beyond just your rankings. If your website is not optimized for the user experience, it might be time to build a new website altogether. Website user experience takes into consideration things like site speed, mobile experience, navigation, and other details that impact how users interact with your site. 

Websites should load within two to three seconds, unfortunately, the average site loads in just over 10 seconds on desktop and even longer on mobile. Those 7 extra seconds are more than enough time for a visitor to leave and try a competitor’s site. Your site speed is a critical factor in your business’ conversion rates — don’t overlook it.

Another factor that can derail your SEO goals is your websites’ user interface (UI). We love a well-designed website as much as the next person but not when it hinders the user experience. If your site’s UI makes it slow to load, hard to navigate, or generally confusing, it’s not going to benefit your business, let alone your search rankings. Improve your user experience, and achieving your SEO goals will get a lot easier. 

Partner With VSSL for SEO

Now that you know what SEO mistakes to avoid, you can get to work improving your online visibility. Learn more about how VSSL can steer your SEO strategy in the right direction.