7 Common Mistakes Webmasters do that Harm SEO
By Fernando BiZ
In the pursuit of achieving a high SEO, crucial decisions must be made to adapt to frequently changing SEO factors and requirements. Despite the best intentions, these decisions are sometimes wrong and will ultimately harm a page’s SEO. Here are some errors to avoid:
- Choosing the Wrong Keywords: Keywords are crucial to a website’s SEO, as they are how a search engine categorises each web page and part of how its significance is determined. However, there are two key errors people make when deciding which keywords to use.
The first is choosing the regular, generic keywords that everyone else has chosen. This means that when a search is conducted, a website has to compete with all the other sites that have also made use of the same keyword. For instance, when a user needs website design services and keys in “web design Birmingham”, the site which uses relevant keywords in that area will pop up at the top. This puts most smaller sites at a disadvantage. There’s a fairly simple solution however, which is long tail keywords. These are slightly less common words that mean the same thing. For example, rather than using the keywords ‘SEO mistakes’, the keyword for this article would be ‘SEO oversights’.
The second error is the use of keywords not known to the audience. Each industry or niche has its own terminology; when taken out of context, they might mean something entirely different. It is therefore always best to stay within the industry meaning when choosing keywords. There are many tools that help to show keywords currently in use, including Google AdWords, SEMrush and Moz Keyword Explorer.
- Keyword Stuffing: Keyword stuffing refers to the number of times a keyword is mentioned in an entry against the number of words in that particular article. A high keyword density was encouraged previously, as it was believed to improve a page’s SEO. The thinking was that the search engine would see the words constantly repeated and take the page more seriously for that keyword. This is certainly no longer the case. Using keywords too often in an article is now understood to be counterproductive, as overly high keyword density will see a page regarded as spam. Keywords should be mentioned in articles, but in reasonable quantities.
- Duplicate or Plagiarised Content: Content is the core of any webpage. Whether it be stories, pictures, videos, music, games, applications or a combination of any, it’s still the most important component of any website. However, some websites don’t give due regard to the quality and originality of their content, and how it relates to their SEO. They try to skip steps by plagiarising entire contents or parts of them from other sources. This has been taken into consideration by search engines, which now label some pages with duplicate content as spam. It’s therefore well worth taking the time to create original content, which will help to attract new viewers.
- Linking to unpopular or unrelated sites: Search engines have been programmed to investigate and rank pages based on a number of factors – one of these being the links that exist within these pages. Such links help to confirm the authenticity and relevance of the page. While this makes it a good idea to include links within a page, it’s just as important to carefully curate these links. When including them, it’s best to keep quality in mind over quantity. Links should be made to relevant sites whose content is related to the article in question. The standing of the site being linked to is taken into consideration by search engines, so it’s prudent to link to well managed and respected sites. The anchor texts used should be varied to avoid the content being labelled as spam or low quality.
- Neglecting Mobile Optimisation: These days most people look for ways to get information with less hassle. This has led to a boost in smartphone ownership, and lots of people spend a significant portion of their day on one. In fact, it’s previously been documented that more searches are conducted on smartphones than on computers in over ten countries, including the USA and Japan. This fact is obviously taken into consideration in search engine SERPs. Webpages that gives users a great experience on mobile phones have become an industry standard. Subsequently, websites not optimised for mobile users will have a much lower ranking than those that are.
- Ignoring Meta Tags: Meta tags have been less regarded in recent times, with many people ignoring them or making minimal effort when filling them out. This is a huge SEO error, as these tags are still considered by search engines. While meta keywords are less relevant as they once were, meta descriptions are still highly regarded by Google. They are also the first thing seen by those using search engines, and determine whether a particular site will be chosen by users or not. It also doesn’t hurt to set the keywords, as this shows good page management.
- Ignoring Basic Search Engine Optimisation Techniques: This is a basic error many people make, especially those with large or already popular websites. Here, there is an assumption that once a website has effective content or an already established audience, all content will automatically receive viewership. This is not true however, as the sheer amount of websites, blogs, applications, and other web based platforms mean that there is always fierce competition for audiences. This is the case even amongst the titans of industry, who each have to continually improve SEO simply to sustain their audience.
Since the advent of synapse SEO, search engines are constantly working on the algorithms for ranking pages. It’s often difficult to stay on top of this at all times, but it’s nevertheless still required. For those who would like some help, there are experts who specialise in keeping clients up to date on the changing SEO trends.