SEO Blunder # 1 – Considering SEO as an Afterthought of Web Development

Too often our SEO consultants are called by businesses that have just designed a fancy new website and are looking to now get some visibility on search engines. And in most of the cases neither the client nor the web designer had a clue about SEO. So now it’s the SEO consultant’s job to first educate the customer and then clean the mess. In one of our most recent cases, we had to rebuild the client’s website because the client was sold a $600 website that had no Content Management System (C.M.S). Yes, no Content Management System in 2017, sounds more like the year 2000. The question is how are we supposed to conduct on-page optimisation without a SEO plugin or software in place?

The truth is that SEO starts at the planning stages of the web design process. The first part of the process is to conduct keyword research and analysis and based on this information we need to put together a structure for the website that can be used to effectively target keywords, also known as the sitemap Each page of the sitemap has to be optimised in order to target keywords and this involves a number of steps including but not limited to, Meta information, On-page content including H1, H2 & H3 Tags, Image Optimisation, URL Re-writing.

SEO Blunder # 2 – Stuffing Keywords Where Possible

Again this is a strategy from the early 2000’s. Using keywords in Meta Title’s, Mata Descriptions and the Content of the webpage repeatedly would not reap and SEO benefits in 2017. This is considered plain SPAM by search engines. Now search engines are smart enough to understand the relationship or connection between words presented on a webpage and show it in search results for closely related keywords. This is done by using the mathematical concept of Latent Semantic Indexing.

SEO Blunder # 3 – Not Conducting Proper Keyword Research & Analysis

Keyword Research and Analysis is undoubtedly the first and the most important step towards achieving your overall SEO goals. Keywords determine the website structure and the content that needs to be written in order to properly optimise the website. Without these you cannot even think of starting a campaign.

Some of the common mistakes that are made during keyword research and analysis include;

  • Choosing competitive keywords only.
  • Not revisiting keywords during the campaign in order to fine-tune the choices made at the start.
  • Underestimating the power of long tail keywords.

SEO Blunder # 4 – Not Working on your Content Properly

“Content is King” an article written by Bill Gates back in 1996 still holds true in 2017 and especially for SEO in particular and content marketing in general. Some of the common mistakes made while writing content for SEO include;

  • Duplicating Content or heavily relying on third-party resources for producing content.
  • Producing thin or low quality content.
  • Not focusing on keywords while producing the content.
  • Stuffing Keywords in content or not thinking of the target audience while producing content.

Search engines are all about quality and if you end up making any of these mistakes, you will end up getting a lower rank.

SEO Blunder # 5 – Not Using Data to Make Decisions

In order to create a solid SEO strategy it is important to rely on both quantitative and quantitative data. Whether it be finding appropriate keywords for the campaign or analysing your competitors backlink profile, data helps us make important decisions about the overall strategy that needs to be adopted during a SEO campaign. In fact, a driven SEO approach will lead to better results as nothing is left to chance.

SEO Blunder # 6 – Undermining the Power of Meta Tags

Meta Tags are one of the most basic elements of SEO and yet a lot of businesses get these wrong. In fact well written meta tag can increase the click through rate for a webpage thus sending a positive ranking signal to search engines.

Some of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to creating meta tags include;

  • Stuffing keywords or not being creative enough with your meta titles and meta descriptions.
  • Forgetting to add any meta titles and descriptions.
  • Not adhering to the character limit prescribed by search engines for title tags.

Here is some advice we can provide for writing effective meta tags;

  • Include keywords but don’t stuff them.
  • Include information that can influence a customer’s purchase decision or maximise the chance of a click through.
  • Use words that provoke action.
  • Don’t just copy content from the webpage itself.
  • Stick to the length guidelines prescribed by search engines.

SEO Blunder # 7- Paying to Get Inbound Links

While this may sound like an easy way to get some links coming into your website, the problem is that search engines such as Google considers this as unethical behaviour. Referred to as ‘Link Schemes’ by Google, engaging in this type of behaviour can lead to a short term or long term penalty in the form of lower search rankings. Here are the webmaster guidelines in regards to link schemes. SEO’s have a differing opinion on the topic with some suggesting buying links is not all that bad if done properly. Buying low quality links in bulk is the thing to watch out for.

SEO Blunder # 8 Not Paying Attention to Internal Linking

A simple technique that can help your SEO efforts however still ignored by many, internal links can be used for navigational purposes and for passing on link juice from one page to another. Some points to keep in mind while creating internal links include;

  • Don’t overuse internal links. Keep it as natural as possible.
  • Don’t stuff exact match keywords.

SEO Blunder # 9 Not Investing in a Good Website

You get what you pay for and this is true for everything including a website. While it is quite tempting to create websites on a budget using DIY website builders or getting a novice we designer but the question is can those websites produce results for your business? A website that is not well thought of might end up hurting your business rather than helping it. Therefore it is important that you. Here are some reasons why a bad web design or website might hurt your SEO,

  • Load Speed- The website might be too slow to load. Load speed is something Google uses in its algorithm therefore it is something that needs to be considered to reap SEO results.
  • Not Responsive- Google recommends that you build a responsive website. If not, then this may hurt your SEO in the form of lower rankings.
  • Lack of Focus on User Experience- Even if you end up getting clicks from the search engines, the user might end up leaving the website without performing the action that you want them to perform.
  • Lack of Focus on SEO- Web design and SEO go hand in hand. A bad web design will mean bad SEO.