Humans make mistakes, all marketers are humans! But some mistakes can even cost them business. Hence, it is necessary to know the right digital marketing strategies right from the beginning of a job.
When I started, SEO was relatively a new thing. Not many people were aware of it back then. Gradually, with technological development, people started knowing it. As more people started doing it, some common mistakes surfaced which most people are continuing with even today.
In this post, I will share my personal experiences with you on how to rank on Google and what all SEO mistakes you should strictly avoid making that dream come true.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It means improving the visibility of a website on search engines. For ranking on Google, SEO is a keyword-driven practice. Without the right keywords and their placement, it will be hard to rank for that keyword.
Google is the biggest search engine in the market. According to data published in 2021, Google captures 92.47% of the search market. Bing (2.44% of the market) and Yahoo (1.64% of the market), are next on the list.
If you are an entrepreneur or a marketer who wants to climb the ladder of success with Google, it won’t be possible without SEO. SEO is often referred to as the customer’s voice. If you are doing it right, you can yield famed results in less time.
Optimizing all the pages of your website according to the search queries of your potential customers is search engine optimization. If your website is ranking in the first position on Google’s first page, the traffic that you could bring about on your website is unimaginable.
Why Google’s First Page is Important for Your Business?
43% of companies (small, medium & large) in North America do SEO for their website. The fight is always for ranking first on the first page. Do you know why?
Because the website on the first spot garners 31% of the traffic for a particular query.
The second position manages to get 14% traffic while the website standing third gets only 10% of the total traffic. The number is even lesser for the positions after that.
Moving to the second page, if 1000 people are searching for a keyword only 250 (25%) will leave the first page and hop on to the second. The top three positions on the SERP get more CTR (click-through rate), which continues to decline for the following positions.
SEO is becoming more important for companies and individuals with every passing day. Proportionately, the opportunities to attract business through SEO are also increasing.
12 SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid to Rank First on Google:
Here, I have explained the SEO mistakes that you must avoid for ranking your business website on Google or any other search engine, for that matter!
To make you understand better about the most important SEO mistakes I have further sub-categorized them into two categories.
Primary SEO Mistakes – These mistakes are the most important mistakes that every business should avoid.
Secondary SEO Mistakes – These SEO mistakes should be avoided after avoiding the primary ones. The level of these SEO mistakes is a level down.
Primary SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid:
1. Not Knowing Your Audience
SEO is a part of the digital marketing world. In marketing, if you are not well-versed with your target audience, you are about to suffer. Who is your target audience and what they are searching for on Google should be at your fingertips.
When you know your audience well, it is when you will pick up the right keywords to optimize your website for. Like you have some interests, your prospects would too have them. You need to figure out those people whose interests exactly match what you are offering.
You can create your customer persona to further understand their psyche. Here too, marketers make mistakes. They end up creating only one or two personas of their ideal audience, which is wrong. The interests and preferences of people differ, and so as their personas.
I would suggest you create several customer personas as your niche audience could too have different interests, as all humans are not the same.
2. Not Having an SEO Strategy
When soldiers go to war, they make strategies because they want to win. SEOs are like those soldiers who need strategies to win the war happening in the digital world. Every business wants to show itself in the first spot on Google. No company wants its business to suffer just because they have a lower ranking on the search engines than its competitors.
Therefore, the war to rank on Google is for real. And, as I have already mentioned, every war needs strategies to win it. If you really are compassionate about your business, you need to have the best practices in place for you. Strategies lend you futuristic insights about what you might do in a situation that is challenging and could cause trauma to your business.
Most small and medium businesses struggle only due to a lack of strategies. According to a study, only 36% of businesses use SEO strategies to perk up their game. Without a plan in your head, I doubt you could achieve success as I did.
How to Make SEO Strategy?
People are of the view that formulating an SEO strategy is a tough job to accomplish. But, contrary to it, I believe making strategies (be it for anything) is the simplest job, as the first step to getting started for anything is always a cakewalk.
I have briefed a few points below that will explain to you how to make a winning SEO strategy.
- Figure out, analyze and evaluate your competitors and what rankings they have achieved on Google for various keywords. It will help to build up your strategies further.
- After knowing about your competition, you need to define your short and long-term goals. Goals are a must if you want to be successful. It gives you clarity about how well you are executing your tasks.
- Know the location of your target audience as it will help you keep the local SEO right. If you are willing to reach out to a global audience, that is a different scenario.
- Define the type of content that you will be posting on your website. Is it short-form or long-form? How many keywords do you want to target in a single post? What tone you will be using for your SEO campaigns? And so on.
- Research which technology or tools will fit you the most as per the nature of your business. Tools play a significant role as they help you to go deep while researching various things. They really help in pushing up your search engine rankings.
3. Not Creating Content that Your Audience Likes
There are many pitfalls in SEO too and one of them is content creation. Content is everything! It helps you to attract an audience that later converts into a fan base. If you are not producing content that your prospects are not looking for, do you think they will even open your website?
I will suggest you create or write content that reflects what your prospects are dealing with in their day-to-day life. People like to read about themselves! No, you don’t literary need to write about them. You just need to write about their problem along with a solution. Then you don’t have to force them to come to you.
A good content writer is one who understands human psychology. I call this an art, an art that is hard to master. But if you can understand what your customer thinks and why they think so? You can easily write content that will excite them from the inside out to read what you are writing for them.
Therefore, whenever you are writing, write well! Don’t make your audience feel that they have hopped upon something unworthy. Give them a reason to subscribe to your email newsletter!
4. Not Publishing Original Content
Originality wins the world, I always say this! If you are unique, and different from others, people will always follow you. Because 98% of people in this world are followers. The same goes for your content.
The content that you are publishing on your website should be good enough, if not the best piece available on the internet. But duplicity is strictly prohibited. On publishing duplicate content two things will surface:
You will never impress the search engines.
You will never win a loyal audience.
Who wants these things? No one! Contradictory doubleness will hamper the growth of your online business before even it has begun. Plagiarizing content is a zero-tolerance SEO practice.
A decade ago when there was not too much content on the internet, Google’s guidelines pointing towards plagiarism were not too stern. But now, the internet has just exploded with content. If you try to copy others’ content, Google will not only catch you but will also blacklist you.
Therefore, never copy and paste content. Moreover, I would say create your own writing style. Like I create content about anything around human psychology. You can do it too, you just need some guidance, which I am always ready to offer to you through my content.
5. Not Creating a Fast Website
If you want to reach your destination quickly, what would you prefer? A bicycle or Kawasaki Ninja? I guess you will pick the motorbike. So would I!
Likewise, when you are eager to consume content over the internet. Won’t you want the website to load fast? You will! No one likes a slow website that runs like a tortoise.
Having a fast website is not a choice, it is what you need to impress the search engines. Be it Google, Bing or Yahoo, they care about their customers more than anything else. Website speed is one of the factors in SEO that determines the ranking. If your website is slow, its ranking will go down, without saying!
I know many business websites that load slowly. If my website would be like that it would frustrate me more than my website visitors. I have always taken the speed factor seriously to rank my content on the first page of Google. You should too!
Therefore, try optimizing your website for a blazing-fast speed. It will always help you to rank on Google.
6. Having Keywords-Stuffed Content
I hope, by now you know the importance of content in SEO. Duplicate content is one thing but stuffing keywords in your content is just another pole. Although Google has never stated it officially, the ideal keyword density is not more than 2% of the total word count.
If you are adding keywords in your content more than this number, it will be taken as keyword stuffing. You should refrain from this practice, as Google hates it! Especially, after Google’s hummingbird update, stuffing is highly prohibited for ranking on the first page.
When you overuse the target words it passes a signal to the search engines that you are spamming on their platform. And spammers are always blocked! Your initial focus should be on writing content for people and not the search engine. When people love your content, Google will automatically push its ranking on the platform.
7. Unorganized Sitemap
A sitemap is a list that shows the content published on a website. It is often referred to as the blueprint of a website. Whenever Google bots crawl a site they first visit its sitemap. If the sitemap is not organized enough to help bots understand what the website is all about, it could create problems in indexing too.
The pages, categories, posts, author archive, everything is present in the sitemaps. A sitemap can be created with SEO tools like Yoast SEO (for WordPress) and it can also be generated manually. When the sitemap is created it needs to be submitted to the Google Search Console.
This practice is important as it can easily solve the indexing issues. And, to rank your website, first Google should index all the content, pages and posts of your website.
Secondary SEO Mistakes to Avoid:
The secondary SEO mistakes that I will discuss are equally important as the primary ones. The reason that they are secondary is that they are made after performing the primary mistakes.
8. Mobile Unresponsiveness
With the advent of new tech and cheap internet around the world, the number of mobile users has increased vigorously. Ask website developers how much effort they put just to make their website responsive. They put a lot into it!
The reason they do it is that they know that people are more attached to their mobile devices than computers. Day in and day out, people consume content through their mobile phones. Therefore, it is important to ensure the responsiveness of the website.
According to a 2021 report, in the USA alone, there are 276 million mobile users. They read and watch content on that portable device. If I am not wrong, more than 70% of your prospects visit your business website through their mobile phones. Would they reach out to you for your services if your website is not working on their devices? They will bounce back without waiting for a second!
Hence, not considering mobile responsiveness or user-friendly mobile content is one of the SEO mistakes that marketers make. If you want to accomplish your goals effectively, it must matter to you too!
9. Skipping Title Tags
Every page, category and post on your website must have a title. And those titles must be optimized using the appropriate title tag. For Google to show the complete title on the SERP (search engine result pages), their character limit should not exceed 60. Although, Google reads every title regardless of its length. But a clearly visible title on SERP is the strongest CTA when someone is searching for something on Google or any other search engine.
Also, the title should not include the primary keywords unnecessarily. It is not something that the search engines like. One should always add keywords in the title in a way that sounds natural to read. There should be no keyword stuffing else, Google actually marks down the website on this. Well-optimized titles also contribute to achieving a higher website ranking.
Titles and sub-titles have some defined tags for them. H1 is the Meta tag for the title, H2 is the Meta tag for the sub-headings, H3 is the Meta tag for sub-sub-headings and so on and on.
10. Bad Internal Linking
In order to improve your website’s SEO, you should watch out for your internal linking practices too. I feel it is important to shed some light on this mistake as it costs websites a healthy site structure. Treat your site as your physical property, I mean to say the way you keep your house well arranged.
The main door gets you inside your house, the living room is well connected to all other rooms, and the kitchen space has everything right in front of you so that you can cook a delicious meal. The same arrangements should be there on your website. All posts should have an internal link to their pillar page or category.
This way, your readers will know which content or page comes under which parent page. The topically-related posts or web pages must be linked, others shall be avoided. Your internal linking practices might not impact SEO directly but it surely hampers the user experience. And when the user experience is compromised, Google always wreaks havoc by pulling down the ranking.
11. Ignoring Low Traffic Keywords
One of the biggest dilemmas that most digital marketers go through is less traffic on the websites. Most of them run after short-tail keywords (one or two worded) which are highly competitive. Relatively, they focus very less on the long-tail keywords (three or more words). However, it should not be the case.
The longer ones should also be given due importance as they can help you to get an admirable ranking in a short span of time. Long tails are easy to target and optimize as not many people are working on them. You can use an SEO tool like Ahref to research which long-tails will be a good fit for your business.
When the competition is less for a keyword, even the slightest effort from you can get you a good SERP ranking. But always try going with keywords that have less competition and an adequate number of people searching for them, at the same time.
For example, if a keyword has a keyword difficulty of 10 but only 500 people are searching for it, it’s no way your ideal keyword. On the other hand, if a keyword has a keyword difficulty of 20 but 5000 people are searching for it, you just need to write quality content to get your website rank for that particular query.
12. Not Using Google Suite Tools
Most business owners and marketers don’t use Google Suite tools for enhancing the quality of their SEO campaigns. This SEO mistake is one of the common mistakes that most small and medium businesses make. When you are working on Google, it is vital to use its other tools too. I do it religiously.
Major Google Suite Tools that are must for better SEO:
Google Keyword Planner: It might be hard to digest but non-native keyword research tools only show approximate search data. However, Google’s Keyword Planner helps you get deep insights about keywords that really matter to your business. You are making a big mistake if you are ignoring it!
Google Search Console: Every website needs to register on Search Console. Without this, your website will not appear in the SERP. It is one of the primary things after building a content-rich website. I have already discussed earlier, about it.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is ignored by a lot of businesses around the world. Especially, by those who don’t know the importance of it. Through GA, you can research how much traffic your website is getting (even the real-time traffic can be known), which keywords are performing best, the time spent by visitors, the most popular pages or posts, and tracking the conversions.
You should take advantage of all these Google Suites tools and must raise the bar of your site SEO.
SEO mistakes are common these days as marketers and entrepreneurs have to focus on other aspects of their business too. But then, be it any sort of mistake, they must be rectified so that business operations don’t get compromised.
In the first place, I wish that you are not making any major mistakes in your SEO campaigns. But if you are making them unknowingly, I have discussed the major ones and how to address them in this post. This article will help you to amend them to rank your website on the first page of Google. I hope that this post is worth finding for you!