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Common SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020

Common SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020

If you want to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions, you need to stay updated about the ever-evolving Google search algorithm. 

With an attempt to keep up with the SEO, businesses are often seen making critical mistakes. These SEO mistakes are only going to hurt your search rankings. 

To help you avoid the same blunders, I’ve listed the 14 most common SEO mistakes we see people making day in and out.

14 common SEO mistakes to watch out for

1. Not selecting the right keywords for optimization

As a marketer, your first instinct will be to target generic keywords. 

But the problem with generic keywords is that it might attract visitors who have no interest in your products or services.

Similarly, targeting high search volume keywords with a lot of competition, you will be competing against big SEO giants who are working full time to rank on the first page. 

You don’t want to swim in the pond that is over-crowded already. 

What can you do? 

For starters, you should focus on targeting specific keywords. 

By targeting long-tail keywords, you will have a higher chance of ranking for them.

Instead of targeting ‘red belts,’ you can try to be more specific by using ‘red belts for women’ or ‘red belts for men.’ It will be easier to rank for long-tail keywords and start producing results immediately. 

The good news is that you can easily search for the right long-tail keywords using keyword research tools like SemRush.


2. Not writing intent-based content

If you want to rank on top of the SERPs, you need to understand your user intent when they type a specific query. 

Search intent is the reason behind a query made. 

Google is continually trying to enhance its users’ search experience by displaying results that satisfy their intent. 

Let’s say you want to rank for ‘best motivational books.’ If you try to create a product page for the same, there’s no chance you would rank on the first page. 

Your best attempt would be to create an informational page.

What can you do?

To understand your user’s intent, you can run an extensive SERP audit using the OnPage Champ tool.

It will help you identify the type of search intent for a particular keyword – informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional. 

Based on that, you can create your content accordingly.


3. Ignoring on-page SEO

People generally tend to focus more on off-page SEO. But all your attempts are futile if you don’t optimize for on-page elements.  

On-page elements help search engine crawlers to understand the meaning and context of your pages. 

Here’s a snippet of on-page elements displayed when you perform a search for something.

What can you do? 

When you create a web page, you should focus on optimizing the title and the meta description tags. 

Besides, marketers often forget to include image alt text. But the problem is that search bots can’t see the pictures. 

Alt tags help them understand what the image is about.


4. Not reviewing the on-page SEO impact

Optimizing your on-page elements doesn’t finish once you include meta titles, descriptions, or image alt texts. 

You need to continually monitor the results to see if it’s really making any impact. 

If not, you might want to re-optimize your on-page elements. Otherwise, it will just be a wasted effort. 

What can you do? 

One way to check the impact of your on-page SEO activities is to track the rankings for your targeted keywords.

Using SEO tools like OnPage Champ, you can keep an eye on all the changes made and how it is affecting your search rankings. 

OnPage Champ Tool

Here’s the case study that shows you how to monitor on-page activities of your website or your competitors using OnPage Champ.

If you see a sudden drop in your rank, you can take immediate actions to rectify the situation. 


5. Not updating the old content frequently

Depending on your industry, your content can get outdated as fast as you publish them.

Besides, Google loves fresh content. 

Yes, you can continue to create new and original content every day. But it can take up a lot of time and effort. 

Instead, you can refurbish your old content, which will take up less time and deliver faster results. 

What can you do? 

You don’t have to rewrite the entire article. 

Make tweaks to it to boost its performance. For instance, an article on ‘Best SEO tools in 2020‘ can be easily updated several times in a year by including new tools. 

At the same time, it should be updated each year. 

Updating old content may not seem like an exciting task, but it is always good for your SEO.


6. Not using the anchor text properly

Anchor text helps signify to the readers as well as search bots what the link is about. 

So when you use links in the body for ‘click here,’ ‘learn more,’ and other generic text, you are wasting precious SEO opportunities. 

If you use the same anchor text for every link to a page, it can again hurt your SEO efforts. Search engines might think that you are trying to manipulate your rankings. 

What can you do? 

Avoid using ‘click here’ as an anchor text. 

If you want to include a CTA button, you can at least try to add some relevant keywords in the link. 

For instance, ‘click here to know more about web designs.’ 

Similarly, try to include a variety of anchor text so that you are not seen as spammy. It is generally suggested that you shouldn’t use the same keyword more than 50% of the time.

Pro tip: We have a complete guide on some of the best practices on how to use anchor text. It will help you notch up your SEO efforts.


7. Not focusing on link quality

Not long ago, Google gave more importance to quantity over quality. 

But then again, it also believed in keyword stuffing once upon a time. 

SEO keeps evolving. It’s no longer the concept of ‘the more the backlinks, the better.’

In other words, having one or two backlinks from a high-authority site is any day better than having random 20 backlinks from low authority sites. 

What can you do? 

Of course, you need backlinks. But your focus should be building links on merit and not on paid schemes. 

In fact, Google might charge a hefty amount or even ban your website from ranking if they find out about it. 

While building backlinks, you should also consider factors like follow or no-follow links, anchor text being used, and more.


8. Not making your website mobile-friendly

More and more people search for using their mobile devices. 

That’s why Google decided to prioritize mobile search results. In 2008, they started working on mobile-first indexing

They will be rolling out mobile-first indexing for the whole web from September 2020. 

What I’m trying to say is that if your website is not mobile-friendly, Google will automatically discard it as an unfriendly site for its users. 

What can you do? 

You can check if your site is mobile-responsive by running Google’s mobile-friendly test

Google even lays out various guidelines on how to make your website mobile responsive.

And the full-proof plan is to visit your site on your mobile phone and see if the site is working fine.


9. Not using Google tools to its full advantage 

If you are not tracking your SEO and content results, consider your efforts wasted. 

How else would you know if you are doing things right? 

Google offers a lot of SEO tools to help website owners find out more about their web status.

Yet, many users fail to make use of it. These tools help you stay upfront with all the latest Google updates, and you can make the necessary changes with ease. 

What can you do? 

Begin by registering yourself on Google tools like Google Search Console.

It is a platform that offers free detailed insights into the performance of your website. You will get useful tips that will help you optimize your site to improve its organic visibility. 

Besides, your ultimate goal should be conversion. Google Analytics can help you set up conversion tracking for your keyword phrases.


10. Not optimizing page speed

Another common SEO mistakes marketers are seen doing is that they neglect page loading speed altogether. 

Google is all about improving the experience of its users. 

If you don’t have a fast-loading speed site, get ready to see an increase in bounce rate, which directly impacts your ranking. 

What can you do? 

Google favors sites with fast loading pages. 

It offers a handy tool to help you check your site speed: Google PageSpeed Insights. 

It also gives you an overview of things that need improvement to boost the speed of your web pages. 

In addition, do optimize your website for common page speed improvements.


11. No call-to-action (CTA) for the users

A CTA is a button that helps promote offers and links to a landing page. It is about converting visitors into leads. 

You must have come across buttons like ‘Buy now,’ ‘Click here,’ ‘Sign up,’ or more. 

Without CTA, your visitors will immediately bounce back to Google after they are finished reading something on your site. I don’t think you want that. 

What can you do? 

You should try to add one CTA button on every page. 

Do not use multiple buttons; they will act as a distraction for the readers.

A few points to follow while creating a successful CTA –

  • Make it action-oriented by using action verb such as ‘Download’
  • Make it stand out by using high-contrasting colors or accent colors that align with your branding
  • Include keywords in your CTA
  • Test changes and analyze results

12. Not realizing the full potential of social media

Having a strong social media presence is of utmost importance. 

Google analyzes the ways people interact with your brand on different social media channels, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, and more. 

That being said, having a good customer interaction on social media can benefit your SEO. 

In fact, content on Twitter and Quora are indexed by Google. You will find results from Twitter and Quore showing up on the search listings.

What can you do? 

You can craft an effective social media marketing strategy to overcome common SEO mistakes.

Here are a few pointers that can help you build a strong social presence: 

  • Create a remarkable social media content plan
  • Set SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) goals
  • Meet your audience where they are
  • Tie your efforts back to ROI

13. Not having an XML sitemap  

An XML sitemap is a blueprint of a website containing a list of all the URLs present in your website.

What most marketers don’t realize is that having a sitemap increases the chance of their website getting crawled and indexed by search engines. 

Moreover, a sitemap helps Google understand the website structure before it starts crawling. 

What can you do? 

The sitemap should be in XML format for search crawlers to understand it. 

Google has complete guidelines laid down on how to build and submit a sitemap.


14. Having duplicate content

There could be many reasons for having similar content on multiple web pages. 

For starters, you might be selling the same dress in different colors. The description of the dress will almost remain the same.

This duplicate content can create a problem when search engines try to crawl. Google can’t decide which page to show on the SERPs. 

Thus, Google dislikes duplicate content, which hurts your SEO. 

What can you do? 

You can easily avoid getting penalized for duplicate content by using canonical URLs.

A canonical URL helps Google identify which URL is preferred over the other. 

Here’s how it looks like: 

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.sample.com/blog2/” />

Setting up a canonical tag is quite easy. You can check our guide on the canonical tag for more information.

In addition to the SEO mistakes mentioned above, here’s the infographic from MobileMonkey that talks about other SEO mistakes.

SEO-Mistakes-You-Need-to-Avoid


Conclusion

Now that you are aware of the most common SEO mistakes, run a quick audit of your website. 

You will now have a good understanding of how you can avoid SEO errors and optimize your website for search engines.

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