There are countless SEO mistakes you could make that would hinder your ability to rank well in search engines, but these seven big ones stand out above the rest as most likely to cause you ranking problems with search engines like Google and Bing. These are all common SEO mistakes that I have seen countless times in the past decade working as an SEO consultant and I'd like to share them with you now so you can avoid making them yourself!
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they want to optimize their site for search engines is that they don’t include keywords in important places. There are a number of places on your website where you should definitely include your main keyword.
First, be sure to include it within your title tag, as well as within your meta description tag. These two tags have an incredibly high ranking with Google and Bing, so be sure not to overlook them!
Second, make sure to include your main keyword within your first paragraph of text. The first paragraph is what will show up in search engine results if someone searches for that particular term. If you can get a searcher to read even one sentence of your content, there’s a good chance he or she will click through to read more.
Third, be sure to include your main keyword within all of your internal links throughout your page. Internal links help tell search engines which pages are most relevant to each other, and therefore help improve your rankings.
Finally, be sure to include your main keyword within any images on your page.
Alt tags allow you to add descriptive text that will show up as a pop-up if an image can’t be loaded. The alt tag is important for accessibility, meaning that search engines and other users without images turned on can still understand what your site or post is about. They’re also important for your page’s ranking; a page with relevant keywords in its alt tag will get more link juice, meaning it will rank higher. If you don’t have time to make all of your images accessible, just focus on those that are most likely to appear in search results.
Search engines look at a website’s URL structure as part of their ranking algorithm, so improper structure can hurt your SEO. Make sure each page on your site has its own unique URL; otherwise, you could hurt your rankings. Also make sure that every page has a descriptive title tag and meta description that includes your target keyword. These two things will help search engines better understand what a given web page is about, which helps with rankings as well.
Internal linking (linking between pages on your own site) is a great way to help search engines find and rank your content. It’s important to build these links organically—never use keyword-heavy anchor text. Think of it as creating a natural flow through your site: Readers are going to want to explore other topics on your site after they’ve finished one, so make sure there are enough links back to that page for Google to follow.
Duplicate content is a huge no-no in search engine optimization. Google knows that you already have an original copy of your content somewhere on your site. If it finds another version of that content, it will penalize you for trying to deceive users (and it doesn’t like users being deceived!). Don’t just remove duplicate content, though; make sure all instances of your duplicated material are actually different and unique.
This is perhaps one of the biggest, and most common, mistakes many new marketers make. It’s a mistake that comes from a good place—you want to rank for everything! Don’t do it. If you try to optimize your content or site for every keyword under the sun, you’ll end up diluting your efforts and spreading yourself too thin. Instead, focus on creating great content around a small number of keywords that have enough search volume to warrant ranking in Google.
A lot of people use smartphones to access the internet, and it’s very important that your website is optimized for mobile. For instance, if you don’t have a responsive website, then users might accidentally bounce when trying to read your content on their phone.
Google has also stated that they will be ranking websites based on how well they work across multiple devices. That means optimizing your site for mobile isn’t just good practice—it could also mean higher rankings in search results!