We get it; SEO can be a slippery slope if you’re not used to optimizing your website. You can always hire an SEO specialist to take care of the optimization tasks for you, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do this independently. As long as you know all the SEO best practices, you should earn decent rankings on the searches. Here are common SEO mistakes that you should avoid and ways to fix them:
One of the most common mistakes that new entrepreneurs make is optimizing with general keywords. Keywords that are too broad – called short-tail keywords – have the highest competition rates between businesses. These keywords do not convert easily because everyone and their mother are using them for marketing their businesses.
If, say, you’re a Long Island baker, and you’re using the keyword “cakes” to optimize your content, you won’t stand out because a million other bakers are using the same keyword.
For better results, use keyword phrases, called long-tail keywords. These keywords are about 3 to 5 words long, and actual users often use them. People are more likely to find your business online if you’ve used the keyword phrase “New York gender-reveal pastries and cakes” because the words you’re using are precise, and not many companies are using these.
A permalink is a content’s full URL or link. This link leads people to your specific post, page, etc., and it contains your domain name and the slug or info related to date, category, etc., where the content belongs to. Most bloggers forget to set up their permalinks properly, and that’s a huge mistake because you’re ruining your SEO without even knowing it.
Ideally, your permalink should only include your domain name and the content’s title: [your domain].com/Common-SEO-Mistakes/ no dates, no unnecessary info. Keep your permalinks as simple and straightforward as possible. If you want to update your permalinks right now, simply go to the settings and set up the permalinks to “Post Name.” The update will be implemented automatically.
General SEO is something that all entrepreneurs and companies use to market their respective businesses worldwide. On the other hand, local SEO is all about marketing in specific localities so that people who are in the area could find their businesses. While general SEO is, no doubt, necessary, do not ignore local SEO either. You could attract many locals to your business if you’re optimizing your business for local SEO.
To optimize your business for local SEO, start with geographic-based keyword phrases like the example we used earlier: “New York gender-reveal pastries and cakes.” You can use something like this or narrow down the local area even more to, say, “Queens gender-reveal pastries and cakes.”
Check Google MyBusiness to see if your business is on their directory. If it is and it’s unclaimed, claim it and update the info with your business details. Look for business directories and add your business. Include your business name, address, phone number, and all details related to your business. We suggest creating listings on Yelp, Yellow pages, Merchant Circle, and Four Square. Finally, check for review networks in your local area and add your business to the listings.
Google is on to your headings. If your headings are not set up correctly, you can bet that your rankings will be affected. The reason why headings are so important is that Google uses these as markers for tracking content. If your header is not set up the right way, Google will detect it and de-value your website.
If you’re using WordPress, you have a choice between Headings 1 to 4. Use Headings 1 for the title and heading 2 for the sub-title. Headings 3 and 4 are used for the body of the content.
If you’ve been dutifully optimizing your content, but you forget about the images, you could be holding back the potential of your SEO efforts big time! Never forget about image SEO because Google has been prioritizing image searches. If you’re not optimizing your photos right now, you’re seriously missing out.
Make a habit out of adding alt-texts each time you upload an image. Your alt-text should be short and descriptive. It should come with your keywords too. Just create a short description in your image’s alt-text field before inserting the image in the post or page, and that’s it.
Because online users are an impatient lot, you only have less than 3 seconds to catch and maintain their attention. If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, users will likely take their business elsewhere.
There are many ways of speeding up the loading times, but the most effective involves compressing large image files into lighter sizes. You can do this for free using:
Avoid using heavy graphics because these could slow down the loading times. Also, disable plugins that you don’t use, or you don’t need. Stick to the basics to keep your website running smoothly and quickly. Finally, have your speed times audited each month to make sure your loading times are up to par.
Google likes organized websites, and if yours is a mess, it will sink to the bottom of the searches. To keep your website in Google’s good graces, keep your content organized. Choose a single category for every blog post.
When choosing multiple categories for a single blog post, the blog posts will start competing with each other in the searches. This will inevitably confuse the search engines, and eventually, your website will lose its place in the searches. If you’re conflicted about what category to choose, focus on the blog post’s core message and choose the most relevant category.
It’s easy to make simple SEO mistakes when you’re still getting a grasp of how blogging and maintaining a website works. Hopefully, these tips have inspired you to update your website and resolve issues working against your SEO efforts.