Helping or Hurting? The 10 Biggest SEO Mistakes You Could Be Making

Helping or Hurting? The 10 Biggest SEO Mistakes You Could Be Making

Content is the gift that just keeps on giving. And that’s true regardless of which party you’re talking about. Good content provides endless entertainment for viewers and a steady flow of cash for content creators.

Perhaps that’s why so many people have turned to blogging as a means of making six figures a year.

Businesses aren’t far behind these bloggers. Content has become an essential part of building a business today. And one of the most important elements of this content is its SEO friendliness.

Unfortunately, though, many businesses still make glaring SEO mistakes that cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run. So what are some of these mistakes?

Below you’ll find a list of 10 common SEO mistakes that you might be making.

1. Stuffing Your Content with Keywords

For the longest time, many people believed that the density of keywords in online content played a huge part in the content’s success. And they weren’t wrong. When Google was but an infant, stuffing your content with keywords would certainly have worked.

But Google–and every other search engine–has evolved.

Yes, keyword density matters, but not nearly as much as you think. Not only that, but search engines actively punish content creators for stuffing content with keywords.

What, however, counts as keyword stuffing?

The most obvious sign of keyword stuffing is the needless repetition of a keyword. Using a keyword in each sentence, for instance, is clearly keyword stuffing.

Your troubles, however, don’t end there.

Some people unintentionally stuff their content with keywords. For example, some content creators include their primary keywords in every header and all of their content’s anchor text. That strategy might sound solid, but Google often recognizes it as keyword stuffing.

So what’s the fix?

Just write naturally. If you wouldn’t use the term “Nintendo Switch gaming console” 100 times while having a conversation, don’t use the term 100 times when creating content.

If you want to learn even more, there’s an Anchor Text Optimization Guide from Outreach Mama that really dives into the details.

Your readers will have an easier time digesting your content. And you’ll avoid those nasty Google penalties.

2. Shooting for the Wrong Keywords

Since we’re on the topic of keywords, let’s talk about another major SEO mistake people make:

Selecting the wrong keywords.

How, though, could anyone mess up this step? If, for instance, you sell winter boots, wouldn’t you just target the keyword “winter boots.”

Well, not necessarily.

As it turns out, keyword selection is about more than specificity. So even if you sell something quite specific, the best strategy might now always be to target an obvious keyword. That’s because:

  1. A lot of other vendors already have the same idea. Consequently, they’re all targeting the same simple keyword as you.
  2. Obvious keywords aren’t always as specific as we believe them to be.

Let’s take a second to hone in on the second point. We’ll use our previous example about the keyword “winter boots.”

Technically speaking, a company that sells winter boots is right to think that targeting that keyword is a solid strategy. But there’s just one problem with that logic:

The company must make the keyword more specific to get the best results.

If, for example, the company sells winter boots for men, women, and children in Chicago, perhaps it would be wise to use three separate variations of the keyword:

  • Men’s winter boots in Chicago
  • Women’s winter boots in Chicago
  • Children’s winter boots in Chicago

All three of these keywords are more specific than the base keyword. There are, though, ways to make them more specific. That said, always tinker with your keywords until you find the right keywords for your business.

3. Failing to Utilize Influencers

Some people make the mistake of thinking of SEO as mere content creation. They believe that if they consistently create good content, they’ll see results in the long run.

These people are sadly mistaken.

A lot of good content goes to waste because businesses fail to promote it. And one way of promoting content is by working with influencers. Influencers have massive social media followings, and they’ll leverage them to your benefit for the right price.

And speaking of social media:

There’s no excuse not to have a strong social media strategy. There are countless social media management tools on the market today. Not only that, but there are currently 3.2 billion active social media users on the planet.

As an added bonus, social media sites are the most frequented haunts of many influencers these days. So if you’re active on social media, reeling in influencers will be a little easier.

4. Using Subpar Linking Strategies

Not all links are created equal. On some level, we all know this. That’s why many of us would prefer a backlink from Forbes over a backlink from some shady website no one visits.

But good linking strategies are a bit more complex than that.

Sometimes, for instance, a link from a site with a lot of traffic isn’t as good as a link from a super niche site with a decent amount of traffic. And that’s because the niche site’s visitors are likely looking for something in particular whereas the popular site’s visitors are just browsing.

Of course, you have more to consider than the backlinks you seek out. You should also be thinking about the external and internal links you include in your content.

Your external links should always point to relevant, reputable content. That’s because quality external links build trust.

Your internal links should also point to relevant content. Further still, you should have a plan for how you want your internal links to guide people through your site’s content.

5. Publishing Bad Content

Let’s get real for a second:

Most of the content you encounter online isn’t great. In fact, most of it is pretty bad.

Needless to say, you want your content to be a step above the rest. In order to do so, you should always do the following:

  1. Make sure your content is well-written (at the very least)
  2. Ensure that your content speaks to the correct audience
  3. Write content that provides information that other content doesn’t

We’d like to expand the third point on this list because it can be difficult. So how do you tackle the task?

Well, you have at least a couple of options. You can create content that:

  • Combines the best of all of the information available on a topic
  • Examines a topic from a new perspective

And the list goes on. Regardless of how you distinguish your content, just remember to be creative.

6. Not Having an Overall Content Strategy

“Without strategy, execution is aimless.” Many sources attribute these words of wisdom to Morris Chang.

And Chang isn’t wrong.

Too many content creators just start creating content with no plan in sight. Some of these creators believe that their quality content will speak for itself. Others believe that the content itself is the strategy.

Unfortunately for these content creators, much of their content is doomed to fail because they’re working without direction. They haven’t asked themselves some of the most important questions about their content:

  • Why does my business need this content?
  • Who will read this content and why?
  • How will I promote this content?
  • What products or services will my content push and how?
  • How much am I willing to spend on content promotion?

You can easily spot content creators who haven’t at least thought about these questions.

Their collection of content isn’t as focused as it could be. Efforts to promote their content are minimal. And they’re unwilling to spend any amount of money on content promotion.

Don’t be one of these content creators. Be one who thinks about what your content will do in the long run.

7. Neglecting Metadata

When browsing the web on any given day, what stands out to you? Perhaps the images you find in the midst of blog posts? Or maybe the banners on websites jump out at you?

Now here’s another question:

Have you ever thought about the data that lies underneath the images and content you see?

That data is called “metadata.” The term may sound complex, but it’s just a fancy way of saying “data about data.” If, for instance, a page contains an image which presents statistics, some possible metadata includes:

  • The author of the image
  • The size of the image
  • The date on which the image was modified

So why does this data matter to you?

Ordinarily, it wouldn’t. But it matters to search engines.

Search engines view this metadata and use it to assess the quality of your content. For this reason, you have to optimize your metadata for search engines.

Many images, for instance, contain “alt descriptions” or “alt tags.” These elements provide search engines with a text alternative to images. Search engines can use this text to determine what your content is about.

So if, for instance, the alt description of an image includes the term “dog food,” the search engine might surmise that the content is related to dog food.

Needless to say, you’ll want to include relevant keywords in your alt descriptions. You should also make sure that the names of your uploaded files include relevant keywords.

8. Neglecting Data

Neglecting metadata is a big SEO no-no, but neglecting data is even worse. We live in the age of big data, so there’s no good excuse for ignoring data.

So what type of data are we referring to here? In the world of content, some of the most important metrics are:

  • Conversion rates
  • Bounce rates
  • Organic traffic

Of course, this list isn’t complete. There are several other metrics to consider.

Unfortunately, however, deciding which metrics to take into consideration isn’t as simple as it seems. In fact, one of the biggest SEO mistakes you can make is using the wrong metrics to measure your success.

Imagine, for instance, that you’ve started a podcast. Imagine also that your primary goal is to get users to subscribe to your podcast. In other words, podcast subscriptions are the conversion you want to track.

Now let’s say that you also have a small online merchandise store and are using the store’s sales to measure the success of your podcast. There’s just one problem here:

Your primary goal isn’t to sell more merchandise. It’s to increase your podcast following.

The bottom line:

Use data to your advantage, but don’t lose track of which data is important to your long-term goals.

9. Not Optimizing Your Content for Mobile Devices

Some of us like browsing the web on our desktops. Others take a liking to surfing on mobile devices.

And sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that people browse the web using our preferred methods.This way of thinking can harm netizens’ experiences.

Let’s say, for example, that you’ve just recently redesigned your company’s website. During the process, you made sure that everything displayed correctly on the desktop version of your website but neglected to thoroughly inspect the mobile version of the site.

So a lot of mobile users are going to be complaining after visiting your site on their cell phones or tablets.

But user complaints aren’t the worst of your problems in such scenarios.

As it turns out, Google penalizes websites that aren’t optimized for mobile use. These websites can see drops in rankings and receive less traffic. In other words, the hard work you put into your SEO strategy will be useless if you don’t make sure your site functions well on mobile devices.

10. Relying on Blackhat Techniques

We’re going to be brutally honest with you:

Stop using blackhat techniques as an essential part of your SEO strategy. They’re not going to help you rank higher on Google.

Sure, they might help you rank higher on Google for a week. But what happens when Google catches on to you or pushes a new update?

You’ll see your rankings instantly plummet. And your sales and conversions will likely follow.

The only way to see long-term results is to rely on legitimate strategies. Yes, these strategies take hard work and don’t provide immediate results. At least, however, they get you where you need to be and keep you there in the long run.

Are You Making These Common SEO Mistakes?

So are you making any of these common SEO mistakes? If so, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. SEO gets the better of us all sometimes, and the rules are always changing.

Luckily for you, you don’t have to go things alone. We’re always here to help you put together solid SEO strategies. Just drop us a line to start unleashing your SEO potential today.

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