7 Practical SEO Mistakes That Can Lower Your Google Ranking
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most frequently used acronyms of our era. It’s a genuine buzzword that everybody seems to talk about these days – and for good reason. Namely, SEO is the long-term process that can make or break your website and content creation efforts. Why is it so powerful?
According to the report, over 90% of all traffic comes from a search engine, while the top five search results on Google get 70% of the clicks. In other words, only websites with outstanding SEO strategies can expect to grow traffic organically.
But the fact that webmasters understand the importance of SEO doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes in this area. Years of experience have taught us that website administrators often make serious omissions, so we would like to point out the most common examples.
In this post, we will present you seven practical SEO mistakes that can completely destroy your Google ranking.
The Benefits of Executing Your SEO Strategy Properly
Before we describe the most common SEO blunders, we want to explain what makes optimization such a critical online phenomenon. The concept is all-encompassing and it brings websites a number of benefits:
- Raise awareness: Higher ranking helps you to raise awareness and increase website traffic.
- Traffic quality: SEO is not only boosting traffic in terms of quantity. It also improves traffic quality since you get organic visitors.
- Long-term benefits: It takes at least a few months to earn your position among highly ranked websites, but once you get there, you probably won’t go back so quickly.
- Grow fan base: More visitors lead to more social follows and email subscribers.
- Outdo competitors: Don’t think that you are the only one playing the SEO game. Your competitors are doing it, too. But if you give your best to avoid mistakes, you can outdo competitors and rise head and shoulders above everyone else.
- Build authority: Highly ranked websites build credibility and professional authority in the eyes of the average user.
- Cost reduction: If you establish SEO as your primary means of lead generation, you can reduce operational costs because you don’t have to pay too much for advertising and other types of online promotion.
- Measurable activities: Contemporary SEO tools give you the opportunity to track results in real-time. That way, you can quickly detect pain points and upgrade your strategy.
Optimization Issues You Have to Eliminate
Optimization is comprehensive and time-consuming, so it’s almost impossible to name all the things that can go wrong along the way. However, some mistakes occur more frequently than others and we want to describe them here. Let’s take a look:
1. Using the wrong keywords
You probably know that keywords are by far the most important SEO element. For this reason, using irrelevant keywords and generic phrases will only get you so far in the attempt to improve Google ranking.
Let’s say that you are selling tennis equipment and gear, but tennis ball training machines are your main interest. In this case, it would be unwise to build content around generic keywords such as “tennis gear” or “tennis equipment” because they do nothing to narrow down the search.
You will compete with too many sellers even if they are not your primary competitors. That’s why you need to use the right keywords and concentrate on phrases like “tennis ball machines” or “tennis training machines.”
In order to find the best match for each post, you need to do some research and learn what users are looking for frequently. Keyword Planner is one of Google’s native tools that you can use to reach the targeted consumers with the right keywords. This platform discovers new keywords, detects trends, and drafts a content plan for each suggestion.
Of course, you can always brainstorm new keyword ideas with your team and try to come up with interesting synonyms and longtail keywords. At the same time, Google displays the “People Also Ask” section under regular searches, so you can exploit this option as well.
2. Neglecting Webpage Metadata
In general, metadata is used to describe some other data. When it comes to SEO, it means you need to add metadata for each page to allow Google’s crawlers to find and index it. This is, however, a big optimization issue among webmasters and content creators since most of them fail to design quality meta tags.
Essential metadata elements are these:
- Title tag: It’s an HTML component that displays the title of your webpage. This is the link you see in the address bar and it also appears as the clickable URL in Google searches. You should keep it under 60 characters to make it readable on all devices.
- Meta description: Google displays this element right below the title tag. It’s a short textual content (up to 160 characters) that briefly describes the purpose of your post.
- Keywords: This is, of course, another way Google’s algorithms register websites and discover topics.
Now that you know the fundamental metadata parameters, it’s easy to figure out the common mistakes. You should never create the same titles for multiple pages or add website name to the headline. Additionally, stick to the character limits we mentioned above because it’s the only way for Google to display full descriptions or title tags.
3. Poor User Experience (UX)
Google sees UX as one of the SEO essentials. After all, the purpose of a website is to serve the audience, right? That’s why Google keeps an eye on user behavior when they land on your site and analyzes what they do. The key UX factors are:
- Time spent on page
- Content users consume while exploring your website
Google uses both of these indicators to assess UX and understand what the average visitor thinks about your website. As the result, you earn a higher or lower ranking in Google searches. But how do you improve UX?
First of all, your website needs to be properly designed in order to boost your SEO efforts. This means using attractive imagery, good-looking website templates, and eye-pleasing color schemes. Secondly, you need to eliminate annoying webpage elements such as pop-ups and carousels.
Besides that, you must pay attention to webpage load times. Numerous reports revealed that users hated websites that took over three seconds to load, so you have to improve this segment of UX if you want to stay competitive. We suggest you use a tool like Pingdom to test the website and see what needs to be improved speed-wise.
4. Not Optimizing for Mobile Experience
Nearly 60% of searches now come from mobile devices. This shouldn’t be such a big statement in 2018, but a surprisingly large number of webmasters forget they need to optimize websites for the mobile experience.
Google introduced mobile friendliness as a major SEO factor back in 2015. Ever since then, you can use its Webmaster Tools to test mobile usability and find possible errors that jeopardize UX of smartphone owners. There are so many things you can do to make a mobile responsive website, including these:
- Think mobile first, respecting the peculiarities of the device
- Don’t use Flash as it may not be functional on some devices
- Remove pop-ups to improve UX
- Keep the fat finger in mind since you don’t want to see too many accidental clicks
- Optimize for local search
- Build a simple architecture to allow effortless and intuitive navigation
If you follow these suggestions, you can enhance mobile experience very quickly. Additionally, you will increase the average time spent on page, make your website faster, and improve user satisfaction in general. As the result, your Google ranking will not suffer due to improper mobile optimization.
5. No Quality Backlinks
A backlink is essentially a link that leads users from another website to your webpage. What makes it so valuable SEO-wise? Well, inbound links prove that you publish high-quality content that other authors appreciate and reference when creating their own posts.
It’s sort of a public endorsement and this is the main reason why Google takes inbound links into the search engine calculation. Keep in mind that both the backlink quality and quantity matter here. Inbound links from highly authoritative websites are much more valuable than links coming from low-ranked pages. So, how can you acquire quality inbound links for your website?
Guest posting is the most frequently used tactic. The idea is simple: you write a post for another website and add a link leading back to your site somewhere within. This is a win-win situation for both parties since you earn a backlink, while the host website earns free content.
Other methods include techniques such as traditional PR promotion, content compilations, competitor analyses to find fresh backlinking opportunities, etc. In each case, the goal is to find trustworthy inbound linking solutions and use them to build high-quality backlinks.
6. Not Using the Right Tools
There is not a single webmaster or content creator out there who can take care of the entire SEO strategy single-handedly. On the contrary, we all need a whole set of tools to make the most of our optimization activities.
However, some authors stick to free apps exclusively or use the wrong SEO platforms. You shouldn’t repeat the same mistake, so make sure to exploit the state of the art tools in this field. The Internet is flooded with all kinds of optimization drivers, but we will show you only the most relevant options:
- Ahrefs: It’s one of the most comprehensive SEO tools that can help you boost website traffic quickly and generate new leads.
- Google Search Console: As always, Google has its own native SEO tool that enables website owners to track results and see how and why their pages rank the way they do.
- SEMrush: A popular SEO platform among marketers worldwide, SEMrush enables you to find opportunities to improve Google ranking. At the same time, it compares websites and shows you the things competitors do better than you.
- Brillassignment.co.uk: Creating top-notch content is mandatory if you hope to improve search ranking. Brilliant Assignment is a professional content writing service that can assist you in crafting perfect posts for your website.
- Grammarly: You must never publish a post before proofreading. Even the smallest grammar or spelling errors can ruin UX, so you should use Grammarly to check content before going public.
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer: A title is the first detail users see in searches, which means you need to create a super-attractive headline. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer will help you achieve this objective with every article you make.
- Spokeo.com: You should always analyze your competitors and it’s better to do with the reverse number lookup or email lookup tool. All of this is provided by Spokeo services. You could find out all social media profiles of your competitors only using the email address or phone number. Then you could simply analyze their social media strategy and improve your one.
7. Low-quality content
Content creation is the last item on our list, but it’s definitely not the least important SEO mistake among webmasters. As a matter of fact, quality content is the biggest reason why users spend a lot of time on some websites and abandon the others quickly.
Low-quality content is generic and it doesn’t solve problems your visitors are facing in real-life. Your goal should be to write informative articles that offer practical solutions to everyday issues. Make it original and amusing, respecting the needs of your target audience. For instance, younger readers prefer multimedia content and humor, while B2B customers enjoy data-driven posts filled with highly rational and convincing insights.
This also means that posts should be longer in order to cover topics from all angles: the average first-page result on Google contains 1,890 words. Pay attention to article structure as well. Users hate dense and intricate text, so you better break it down in smaller paragraphs, using listicles and bulletins to improve the overall readability of the post.
SEO is critical to the success of a website. You can manufacture top-notch products and elevate customer service to the highest of levels, but it won’t make a difference if your website is not properly optimized for Google searches.
If you want to boost organic traffic and increase the number of visitors, you need to design a quality SEO strategy and stop making lapses in the process. Our post showed you seven practical optimization mistakes that can completely destroy your Google ranking.
Did you ever make some of these mistakes? Do you have other useful suggestions to share with our readers? Feel free to let us know in comments – we’ll be glad to discuss this interesting topic with you!
Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.