SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a key aspect every website owner needs to take into account. Without proper SEO knowledge though, it’s easy for someone to destroy their websites’ reputation with search engines. Being able to rank well in search engines and having a search engine friendly website is of key importance in building your popularity and getting noticed on the web.
Below we will cover some of the most common SEO mistakes that people make and we will explain in detail why these mistakes can hurt your website.
Keyword targeting is one of the bigger mistakes people make and that is why most of the following mistakes we have listed are to do with keywords.
1. Targeting Unrealistic Keywords
This is one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to do SEO on their own. Trying to target keywords that get 100k+ monthly searches is going to get you no where and will be near impossible to rank in. The best thing you could do is target low competition keywords that get 25k or less monthly searches, these will be easier to rank high in.
2. Targeting Too Many Keywords
Trying to target too many keywords can become somewhat overwhelming when doing SEO for a website. It’s not a good idea to target a ton of keywords, especially ones that are not found within your website, because it’s just that much more work trying to target a ton of keywords. Keep it simple and to only those things related to your website, I would recommend starting with 10 keywords.
3. Not Using Long Tail Keywords
This common SEO mistake can cost you valuable traffic. I see it all the time, people will target one word keywords which are way too broad most of the time and don’t even help you in getting traffic. For example, let’s say you are a dentist and you use “dentist” as a keyword in your website. Realistically how many people search just the word “Dentist” on Google? Hardly any, most of the time if a person is looking for a dentist, they will search “Dentist St. Louis Missouri” (or wherever they are looking for a dentist).
This is where targeting long tail keywords will greatly help your website. If you use “Dentist St. Louis Missouri” as a keyword you will have a better chance and easier time ranking high for that search term, plus a better chance of conversion. Something you have to be careful of when using long tail keywords is avoiding stop words. Stop words are words like “and”, “the”, and “in” and these need to be avoided when using long tail keywords.
4. Copying Competitor Keywords
A thought that many of SEO beginners have is “Hey I’ll just copy my competitor’s keywords and I’ll be able to rank right next to them”. This is not a good way of thinking becuase how do you know your competitor’s keywords are the right ones to be targeting? Also, copying competitor keywords will just increase competition on those keywords. So it’s a good idea to be unique and target your own keywords that relate to your website.
Now I’m not saying that you should not use any keywords that your competitor is using, but you should be weary of the keywords they are using and know why they are using them.
5. Targeting Irrelevant Keywords
This is not much of a big issue anymore, but some people still use this “un-ethical” way of trying to generate traffic to their website. What I mean by targeting irrelevant keywords is, trying to target keywords just because the keywords have a high search volume, even though they have nothing to do with what your website is about. An example of this would be using the keyword “Justin Bieber” for a website with a niche of Nascar racing. In no way do these two things relate.
As stupid as this sounds, people do it, and not only is this a bad idea but Google will see this as “spamming” and your website could risk being removed from Google and blacklisted.
6. Overusing Keywords in Page Copy
When search engines crawl a website, they can tell if it is actual useful content or if it is just a page trying to rank keywords. That being said, overusing keywords in page copy to try and get it to rank high in search engines will not work. Not only will it fail to rank but it looks stupid and is, in most cases, a headache for users to try and read. So it’s a basic lose lose scenario, you’ll lose search rank for that page as well as readership.
7. Out of Date Content
One of the main things Google and other search engines look at when crawling a website is how up to date it is. Search engines love fresh content and regularly updated pages and they are more likely to crawl your website more often if they know it is updated regularly. Why? Because search engines want to show results to users that are up to date and relevant, they don’t want to be sending their users to websites that are outdated and no longer offer updated content.
So it’s a good idea to keep the content on your website up to date so that it has a better chance of being crawled more often. An easy way to do this would be to put a blog on your website. Having a blog is a great way to make sure your website is always posting fresh content.
8. Poorly Built Website
A website that is not structured to meet web standards and has errors makes it harder for search engine bots to crawl. If your website has 404 errors and redirect errors search engine bots will have a hard time crawling your website, and in some cases, will just leave your website and deem it un-crawlable.
9. No Alt or Title Tags for Images
Putting in alt and title tags on images is something countless website owners and even web designers/developers don’t take the time to do. Most people think that alt and title tags for images are only set in place for screen readers and/or they just decide it’s not worth their time. This is a big misconception, alt and title tags can help greatly in SEO for search engine image searches.
You focus all your time on ranking high in web results for search engines, but what about image searches? People search for images all the time and when they click through on an image that’s more traffic for you right? Whether your website specializes in images (like ours) or not, it’s very important that you optimize the images across your website.
10. No Meta Keywords or Description
It’s a no brainer that you should have a meta description and keywords in the head of each page on your website. This helps search engines determine what the web page is about. The keywords you include for each page should relate to that page and also be found on that page somewhere within the content.
If you have keywords in your meta that have no relation to what your website is about just for the purpose of trying to boost traffic, search engines will see this as spamming (which we will get to later) and your website could be blacklisted. So it’s important to make sure your keywords relate to the page and it’s content.
11. Optimizing for Domain Name Instead of Keywords
You can visit almost any website and see this common mistake. Here is what I mean by optimizing for domain name instead of keywords: Instead of putting keywords in your websites title, you only put the site name, leaving out keywords. This causes search engines to rank your site based on it’s name rather than what the site is about.
As an example, look at our website, we have the keywords “Web Design and Graphic Design Blog”. Rather than just put the name of the website “Enfuzed”, we included a keyword description in the website title. Why? Because if users are in search of web design or graphic design website they aren’t going to type in “Enfuzed” in their search engines. They are going to type in “web design” or “graphic design”. Make sense? With that said, it’s important that you optimize your site for the keywords above all before optimizing for the name of your domain or company.
Spamming is defined as any kind of technique used to falsely improve your website’s position or ranking in search engine listings. As most of you know, this is a big and on going issue around the internet. A lot of us get spam comments on our website on a daily basis, usually which include a non relevant or broad comment that includes random keywords that they are trying to rank a website for. This is a poor way to try and rank your site and search engines will see this and punish you for it.
Other forms of spamming include keyword littered pages (as explained above), using extremely small text, having duplicated content (content stolen from other websites), hidden links, typo spam (using misspelled keywords to try and gain lost traffic), and cloaking. Those are just a few things search engines see as spamming.
13. No Deep Links
Deep Links are links that point to a specific page on a website other than the home page. Having deep links is very beneficial in getting your website better indexed for what it is about. This mainly because deep links point to a specific page and, more than likely, you have a lot more information across various pages of your website other than just the homepage.
With that said, it is important to get your entire website indexed for chances of getting found on searches and also so search engines can gain better knowledge on your website and what it has to offer. So when building backlinks for your website (whether it be through signature links or comment links) be sure to make some of those backlinks deep links rather than just linking them all to your homepage.
14. No Internal Links
Internal links are links on your site that link to different pages on your website. Having internal links can help give search bots an easier way to crawl through your website and get it indexed properly. Having internal links can also help visitors navigate through your website more easily and can even help them discover more that your website has to offer.
An important key to remember when using internal links is using proper anchor text for the links. For example, let us say you have a blog and in that blog you have a link to your about page with the anchor text “click here” (example: To learn more about us click here). Do you think the search engine is going to know what that link means if it just has “click here” as the anchor text? Proper anchor text for this link would be “about us” (example: Check out our about us page to learn more). This can help search engines find more relevance in the internal links when they are crawling your website.
15. Purchasing Cheap Backlinks
One big mistake that many website owners make when trying to get their website ranked high within a quick period of time with minimal effort is purchasing backlinks. Most of time the people who sell you these cheap links are doing something bad (bad in the search engines eyes). A good example of this is forum or blog comment links.
I’m sure you’ve gotten them on your website/blog before or have at least been to a website or blog that has had one of these link comments. As mentioned above in the spamming section, these comments are usually very broad comments with poor English such as “great blog, I like the read”, they then include a random keyword with a link to another website. This is something you don’t want, having a bunch of spam links on various websites or blogs linking to your website will give you a bad rep. Google and other search engines will see this as a form of spamming and punish your website for this.
I hope everyone can take something away from this article, feel free to comment some other common SEO mistakes below that I may have missed.