SEO is a powerful tool that is easy to implement, but difficult to master. A well-executed SEO strategy can significantly increase search traffic; however, a poorly-implemented plan with common mistakes can cause a site’s rankings to plummet. Whether you’re trying to optimize your site for the first time, or attempting to diagnose why your strategy isn’t working, the SEO experts at Radd Interactive are here to help. Read our list below of the most common SEO mistakes and top mistakes in digital content production.
Generic Anchor Text
While generic anchor text, such as “Click here to learn more about SEO,” won’t hurt your site, it is a missed opportunity. Anchor text helps both users and search engines understand what the page being linked to is about. Instead of using generic anchor text phrases, try to use keywords that you are targeting on the page you are linking to.
Too Many Inbound Anchor Text Links
Using a lot of exact match anchor text used to be an effective strategy. Now that Penguin 4.0 is a part of Google’s core algorithm, SEOs need to be a lot more strategic with their anchor text. A page with too many inbound links using the exact same keyword looks unnatural and might trigger the Penguin algorithm. It is still important to use exact match anchor text. However, you should vary your anchor text and make sure that you don’t have too many internal links pointing to one page.
Little or No Content
“Content is king” is a phrase that you’ve likely heard over and over again if you’ve spent any time researching effective SEO strategies. That’s because it’s true. Pages with little or no content make it difficult for search engines to understand what the page is about and have no place to target important keywords.
This is a common mistake in SEO that happens most often on product/service pages. It doesn’t matter if a member of your target audience would understand exactly what the page is about if they never see it. Adding content that uses natural language improves your chances of the page being seen. There is no exact word count that every page must have to rank well in the search results. How much content your site needs depends on the page’s topic, the type of content you’re writing, and what your audience expects.
Keyword Stuffed Content
Keyword stuffing is when someone tries to manipulate their rankings by targeting just one or a small handful of high traffic keywords all over the site, even when they are not the most relevant. This tactic used to work. However, Google has changed their algorithm to make it much more difficult to be deemed relevant for competitive and high traffic terms.
Overusing your target words looks spammy and creates a poor user experience. Instead of focusing your energy on cramming as many high traffic words into your content as possible, write unique, naturally written content that is useful to your target audience. You should still target relevant keywords, but don’t go overboard.
Keyword Stuffed Meta Fields
Like content stuffing, keyword stuffing ALT image tags and meta fields used to be an effective strategy. Because black hat SEOs abused meta information fields to manipulate their rankings, they are no longer a ranking factor. However, stuffing these fields can still earn your site a penalty, so it’s best to leave them blank or with a just few relevant keywords.
Duplicate or Default Title Tags
Title tags are an important on-page ranking factor and are often the first impression people have of your page. Default title tags, like “Home” or “About,” lower click-through rates and won’t help your site rank for important keywords. Duplicate title tags also hurt your site’s rankings by causing multiple pages to compete against each other for the same search term. Giving each page a unique, descriptive title tag increases click-through rates and allows you to target a variety of important keywords.
Default Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions might not be a ranking factor, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Meta descriptions provide a short sales pitch that can help increase your click-through rate. A good meta description should include relevant keywords and be as descriptive and persuasive as possible. Google will pull a default description for your result if you don’t include one. However, this default description will most likely not be as coherent or relevant as one you write yourself.
Targeting the Wrong Keywords
The keywords you target should be relevant to the page you’re optimizing. Generic keywords have the potential to drive a lot of traffic, but if they don’t match what’s on the page, users won’t convert and you’ll be left with a higher bounce rate. When choosing keywords to optimize your site, it’s important to be as specific as possible.
For example, if you’re an ecommerce site that sells chocolate cake, you should target keywords that individuals use when they’re looking to purchase cake. The generic phrase “Chocolate Cake” has a lot of traffic, but individuals searching with this keyword are most likely looking for recipes. In this case, lower traffic keywords that indicate purchase intent like “Buy Chocolate Cake” or “Chocolate Cake for Sale” are more likely to lead to conversions and lower bounce rates.
While this isn’t a complete list, keeping an eye out for these common SEO mistakes will help your site in the search results. If you would like additional help creating and managing your technical SEO strategy, contact Radd Interactive today for help avoiding the most common search engine optimization mistakes!