Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Like anything good in life, SEO takes time, patience, and a whole lot of TLC. It’s a relationship that may feel one-sided at times, but I promise you, it’s worth the love! As you start to slowly build momentum and see results, don’t let a few simple SEO mistakes drag you down.
Here are 8 critical mistakes that we see all too often, along with tips and tricks to set you up for success.
1. Not Optimizing Your Page for Local Search
As Google continues to place importance on “near me” searches, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity if you haven’t claimed your business on Google My Business.
According to Hubspot, mobile searches for local services continue to rise, and by 2021, mobile devices are expected to influence $1.4 trillion in local sales.
By managing this listing, you establish your presence (for free!) on search engines and show up on Google Maps when searchers are looking for local services “near me.” This really is one of the simplest and biggest opportunities out there for small businesses today to be discovered.
To optimize your Google My Business listing, make sure that you:
Claim your business and verify your listing
Provide accurate information including: your logo, hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, and relevant images
Encourage your customers to review your business online
Respond to customer reviews in a timely and sincere manner
People searching online for local services is now more prevalent than ever before. Get on this!
2. Cramming Too Much into Title Tags
According to Search Engine Round Table, the folks at RankRanger are now showing data that the title snippet length shown in the Google desktop search results have gone down from 55.3 characters to 50.9 characters on average.
What does that mean for you? You have to do more with less.
You can still use your current title tag length, but your click through rate might drop if searchers aren’t able to read that enticing description.
Want to see if you title tags are too long? Check out RankRanger Google SEO Tags Preview Tool.
3. Not Having Unique Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
If you’re thinking… hmm I think we might be guilty of this, you’re not alone. It’s amazing how many websites still use their company name as the title for every page. But no longer. You’re better than this! This is such an easy thing to fix and is a very important to SEO. Schedule time on your calendar right now to review every title tag and meta description and ensure that each one is unique and as persuasive as possible. Need other tips? Check out our blog on how to write effective meta descriptions for SEO.
4. Not Optimizing for the Right Keywords
It’s important to find the right balance between targeting keywords that are actually getting traffic - and are being searched by your target audience - but aren’t TOO competitive. We've all been there: trying to rank a website with no authority for highly competitive keywords. It’s a never ending up-hill battle. Instead, try to focus a little more on user intent and hone in on what they are actually trying to find. You’ll find it beneficial to optimize for long-tail keywords and specific phrases that will target more qualified traffic vs. global keywords that won't produce results.
5. Using the Same Anchor Text for Every Internal Link
Anchor text is valuable data that tells search engines a little more about what your page is all about. Don’t get sucked into the “click here” clan for all of your internal links. It’s not helping you. Ensure that you’re using variations of relevant keywords and phrases that accurately portray what the page is all about.
6. Not Keeping Your Content Simple
Like you, your audience is busy. Keep your content clear and simple and try to answer their question(s) as quickly as possible.
But how do you know what types of questions trigger a search for your keywords? An easy way to find out is to search your target keyword and then look at “Related Searches” in search results. You’ll get a whole list of ideas here. Another great tool to use is Answer The Public - as you type you are presented with an aggregated view of the questions and therefore a hint of the motivations and emotions of the people behind each search query. This can improve not only SEO, but user experience and conversion rates as well.
7. Overcomplicating Links
As we’ve mentioned before, link building can be a tricky and finicky beast. If you don’t have the time right now to dedicate to a link building strategy, keep it simple. Want links? Link to people. Want comments? Comment on other people’s work.
Another effective strategy? Guest posting. Publishing on established sites will rapidly expand your reach and the credibility of your brand. More importantly, it gives you instant ranking power for competitive keywords. It's an effective tactic that can deliver big results when executed properly.
8. Slow Load Speed
Page speed is one of the most important ranking factors in SEO. The quicker your page loads, the higher the rankings it can receive, according to SEMrush. Needless to say, fast-loading pages will positively affect user experience and may increase your conversion rates.
So how can you increase your page load speed? To start, you can optimize images on your site.
According to our friends at Moz, Be sure that your images are no larger than they need to be, that they are in the right file format (PNGs are generally better for graphics with fewer than 16 colors while JPEGs are generally better for photographs) and that they are compressed for the web.
Learn more about SEO best practices on page speed.
The internet is constantly changing and we need to adapt along with it. I hope that these tips will help you steer clear from a few of the most common SEO mistakes we see again and again!
About the Author: Carolyn Cummings is RHM’s SEO Guru, bringing over seven years of digital marketing experience to the team. Her expertise in the ever-changing SERP landscape relies heavily on creative ways to drive quality traffic to sites of all shapes and sizes. Her blogs focus on simple, yet effective SEO strategies that marketers can adopt to generate more organic traffic and leads.