SEO is an ever changing process, with new rules, guidelines and algorithm updates thrown at us all the time. On the road to high search engine rankings there are bound to be some bumps along the way. Here are some of the most common mistakes that are made so you can avoid them, or learn how to fix them.
1. Optimizing for the Wrong Keywords. Don’t think about what your website is selling or technical terms and lingo, think about what the average person would type into a search engine to find you. Industry jargon, such as “estate litigation” is probably not going to be searched as much. Try something friendlier for the average searcher, such as “writing a will.” Also, when reviewing keyword reports, do not optimize for the keywords that brought you the most traffic. Optimize for the keywords that got you the most conversions. Finally, do not go after very common keywords. Find a niche to go after. The search term “heart surgery” is not going to be overtaken by a heart surgeon in Topeka, Kansas when he has the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, WebMD, and Wikipedia to contend with. Focus on narrower terms, such as “Topeka heart surgeon.”
2. Using Images Where There Should Be Text. Sometimes instead of text, images are used for headings, page titles, the company name and phone number, and other key pieces of information. Search engine crawlers cannot read these images. Additionally, crawlers place more importance on the content in headings and titles, so this is where a lot of SEO takes place. A page title of “Orlando attorney” lets Google know that’s what the page is about. The company name and phone number are extremely important pieces of information that you also want Google to index. Plus, people who may be looking at your site on a smartphone will be able to click the number and call you directly if it is text, if the phone number is an image this function will not work.
4. The Same Keywords Are Used in All Title Tags. Many times in the title tag of each page in a website, the company name is listed along with the main things they do. Instead, each individual page should have unique title tags that describe specifically what that page is about. For example, the Web Solutions homepage has a title tag of “Orlando Internet Marketing | SEO Orlando, FL.” The web design page has a title tag of “Orlando Website Design,” and so on. This will give Google a better idea of what your website as a whole is about, and can also increase your chances of having your home page as well as an internal page show up on the search results.
5. Duplicate Content. If the content on your website is used anywhere else on the internet, you need to change your content. It is not about whether you had permission to use this content, but rather about the fact that Google does not look favorably upon sites with duplicate content. The same goes for duplicate content within your website, or across multiple websites you own. You may have a couple paragraphs that explain the company on an “About Us” page that was taken from the homepage, for example, or your “About the Company” page may be the same across all the subsidiaries’ websites. All content needs to be original, while still keeping in mind the search terms you are optimizing for. This is because Google strives to give the most relevant and helpful results and results that contain the same information repeated over and over is not helpful. Google will opt to show only the page that it deems to have the most authority, and other websites with the same content will likely not show up in the results.
There are many other mistakes that can be made in SEO, but these are some of the ones that will hurt your site the most. These also tend to be the mistakes people make the most. Make sure your website isn’t guilty of any of these offenses, and you are on your way to a search engine friendly website.