Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become a core part of digital marketing strategies. It’s a highly valuable tool that helps position a site as trustworthy and relevant, building up brand awareness, authority, and traffic.
However, keeping up with SEO strategy trends and the ever-changing algorithms can be challenging. Efficient SEO is not only a constant learning curve, but also a practice that requires conscious effort.
There are quite a few common SEO mistakes that can thwart your efforts to rank. To avoid them, we’ve compiled them in a list, with some tips on what you should actually be doing.
Going in blind
It is vital that you set yourself up for success by outlining an SEO strategy, with a clear plan of action. This will allow you to think ahead, incorporating all the necessary tools and approaches, in order to get the most out of everything.
However, your plan should be flexible, leaving room to adapt to any developments and changes.
Not knowing your audience
Understanding your target audience is one of the foundations of SEO implementation. It is vital to research consumer behaviour within the industry market, figuring out what they want/need. At the end of the day, you can’t connect with your potential customers without knowing who they are.
Having the wrong content
SEO is a tool to optimise content, not the other way around. It’s important to ensure your content is providing relevant answers and information to the audience you are targeting so that it serves a real purpose. Having irrelevant content will be detrimental, regardless of how much SEO you apply.
Having subpar content
Having the right content isn’t enough, it also needs to be good. Make sure your content is original (duplicated content is penalised by Google), come up with strong headlines, and provide actionable information that is meaningful.
No keyword research
Keyword research is the backbone of SEO, you won’t get far without it. If you want to increase your site’s traffic, you need to know what people are searching for. You can then create relevant content that will actually appear in people’s searches.
Targeting keywords badly
Keyword research is vital, but it needs to be done well. When choosing your target keywords, for example, you need to consider more than just their ranking. If you target a highly popular keyword, there’ll be more competition, narrowing down your chances of becoming visible. Sometimes, it’s far more worthwhile to target a slightly less popular keyword, more niche to the topic your content covers.
Skipping the context
Optimising your content with the right keywords isn’t enough. You also need to provide context so search engines understand it, and then rank it higher. This is done through the use of meta descriptions and title tags, which should adhere to the correct character count while also including the primary keywords.
Not having internal links
Internal links allow users to discover new content within the content, which improves the flow of information. Google sees this as a positive, so having good internal links can help improve the PageRank of your site.
Not utilising tools
It doesn’t make sense to implement SEO unless you’re going to keep track of the numbers and monitor the progress. Not only to verify that it’s working but also so that you can tweak your approach and use the right strategies. To do this, you should regularly review your analytics, through tools such as Google Analytics, Semrush, Ahrefs, and more.
Not implementing relevant search intent
Search engines strive to provide relevant content to users, narrowing down the intent behind their search. Your SEO should implement this intent, so that the keywords you use, and the content you provide, become the answer/solution that people want. Do this by thinking about why certain keywords are used, and the types of results they accomplish when searched.
Going against Google
It can be tempting to be a little sly when it comes to SEO, seeking out shortcuts that will provide you with fast results with little effort. However, practices such as buying backlinks are frowned upon in Google’s terms of service. Going against Google can lead to your site being penalised, negatively affecting your ranking and traffic.
Failing to use SEO across digital channels
Most marketing campaigns involve utilising several different digital channels. It is vital that SEO is implemented across all of them, for a consistent effort that will yield results. If you fail to integrate SEO practices into all relevant digital channels used, you’ll be missing out on achieving its true potential and impact.
Disregarding site speed
Did you know that page speed is a factor Google takes into account when ranking your site? This is because site speed affects the user experience, and let’s face it, nobody likes a slow page. Taking care of the web core vitals is a big part of SEO optimization so don’t overlook it.
Using SEO as a one-off
SEO isn’t a one-off trick to fix your site’s ranking problems. It’s an ongoing process, a strategy that should be implemented consistently, throughout the creation of online content. Integrating it into your overall marketing practices will allow you to ensure your site is always optimised.
Expecting instant results
If you’re looking for instant gratification, SEO isn’t for you. Instead, SEO is for those that are looking for long-term results, which are based on quality and dedicated effort. You can usually expect to start seeing results after a few months, but it always depends on the approach, and the starting point.
There are other mistakes you might make throughout your SEO journey, as there’s always something new to learn or improve. But avoiding these common mistakes will help set you on the right path, setting your site up for success… So re-read them if needed!