10 SEO Mistakes - Costing You Loads of Traffic & LeadsCorrectness Tone suggestions Full-sentence rewrites
You know one of the things that pushed us to start Small SEO Tools?
Improper SEO practices by marketers (aka SEO mistakes).
We found that many people were getting it wrong with their search engine optimization (SEO), from simple keywording to the more technical stuff like robots.txt. And we found that one key reason for their slipup was the lack of truly helpful SEO tools… even better, one they could obtain for completely free. So we jumped into action. We created a cover-all platform where you can get all your SEO to-dos done, get surefire results, and make the competition fizzle.
Of course, Small SEO Tools does more than help you avoid/correct SEO mistakes. Today, our platform has become a suite of worthwhile SEO tools, trusted by many stakeholders including SEO experts, site admins, content creators, website owners, eCommerce operators, teachers, and even students. If you're not using the right SEO tools, chances are that you are screwing up your SEO.
But that shouldn't be a problem anymore because you're here now. You know the old saying: “To err is human…” Let's look at some SEO mistakes that are probably costing you traffic, leads, and money (and how to remedy them possibly using our freemium tools):
SEO Mistake #1: Not Tracking and Measuring Metrics
Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying: “You can't manage what you can't measure.”
Some even quote Drucker to say: “If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.”
What Drucker means is that:
You can't know whether or not you are successful unless success is defined and tracked.
If you can't measure something and know the results, you can't possibly get better at it.
And this is true for SEO, too. You do SEO for a reason: to get massive amounts of traffic. But beyond traffic, SEO’s also about conversion. Not only do you need to track your traffic and what's bringing them in, you also need to measure results (conversion), and use the data to better your game. That way, you'll be able to know what works, what doesn't, what to stop doing, and what to do differently.
But that's not the case with many marketers. They'd simply ignore the numbers, which is a mistake.
It goes without saying that without tracking and measuring your SEO metrics, you'll be making non-data-driven decisions…which could potentially lead to unexciting results. For instance, you may get caught up watching high-traffic keywords that send you gobs of traffic and ignoring lower-traffic terms. But in reality, some lower-traffic phrases do convert better because they’re more specific, and getting first page rankings for several of them can drive quite some sales.
Well, the only way to find out is this: Track and measure performance. Set up and regularly review your SEO analytics. You can start with one of our analytics tools. Google Analytics and Google Search Console can also come in handy.
SEO Mistake #2: Unreasonable SEO Expectations
Here's one way many SEO campaigns fail: The company needs SEO results. They set up a campaign, slap some $$$ on it, and get a few heads working. Then they take their expectations to the sky. Few weeks or months into it, they taper off.
Conclusion: “Screw it, SEO is dead. It died last year. It's not working anymore.”
We're not saying that SEO is easy. It mayn’t even be fast or cheap for you. You just have to understand that SEO, just like blogging or other content marketing efforts, requires time to gain traction. You can't slap together a few SEO tactics today and expect truckloads of traffic, site engagement and sales same week. Otherwise, you'd be approaching SEO wrongly. A mistake!
The days of scalable, easy tactics that exploited loopholes in the algorithms are long gone.
What to do?
Set up a proper SEO strategy in place, create S.M.A.R.T goals around it, put in a commensurate amount of effort for the results you want. And don't get deceived by self-acclaimed “SEO gurus” who promise or write you case studies on “1,638,835 Search Traffic in Just 2 Weeks.”
SEO Mistake #3: Inferior Content
By now, you already know that content is not just king, it's also the throne from which SEO reigns. In other words, content is the foundation of an effective SEO strategy. In the modern era of SEO, there's no #1 ranking without quality content.
Google even said content, alongside backlinks and RankBrain, make up its highest royal chamber of ranking signals. These are the “most powerful 3” and if you're smart (sure, you are), you would pay attention to them. Publishing content that is not up to scratch can kill your SEO faster than you can imagine. Marketers looking for quick, cheap results often make the mistake of hiring low-paid article writers.
But there's no two ways about it:
If you need great results, you MUST build a pile of great content. Inferior content gives visitors bad impression. They can tell whether or not your content provides enough value. If it doesn't, you’ll lose trust and have a difficult time getting readers to convert. So, if you need to outsource content, hire a writer who is capable of producing original, valuable content that you would be proud to associate with. You’ll probably have to pay more, but it's always worth the investment in the long run.
Just what is “quality content” from an SEO standpoint?
There isn't one generally-accepted or “Google-recommended” answer to this question. But there are a couple of studies online you can look at to get an idea of what works. For example, in a study of 1 million Google search results, Backlinko found that the average word count of the blog posts of a first page Google result was 1,890 words
In another analysis of over 1 million articles, BuzzSumo found that articles with handy, relevant images performed far better than (and received double the social media shares as) articles with fewer or zero images.
Also, there are some in-content optimization exercises you should be doing like linking out to authority sites within your content. Neil Patel mentioned that this can significantly boost your performance in the search engine results pages (SERPs) because Google will think you're associated with top-tier sites.
You'd find that we do all of these in our blog posts because they work. Why not take a cue from us?
SEO Mistake #4: Inferior Backlinks
It's necessary to build links, but you know where most marketers get it wrong? They focus on link quantity over link quality. Gone are the days when you could generate a ton of inferior backlinks from second-rate sites and Google then high-fived you. In today's SEO, if you desire top rankings, quality links are inevitable.
And by quality links, we mean at least DA40+ and PA40+ links.
One link from a well trusted blog can benefit your rankings much more than hundreds of low quality directory links. Nope, they aren't easy to get but that's why they matter. Try our free Backlink Maker tool to get quality links. You can also use our free Domain Authority Checker to check the strength of the domain and incoming links to your website or use our free Website Link Analyzer tool to get insights on your links.
Another thing you can do as a long-term link generation strategy is to create link worthy content. When you do this, people will start noticing and automatically link back to your valuable content.
SEO Mistake #5: Improper Anchor Texting
If you've read a few articles online, you might have noticed links in the body of a web page anchored by generic text like “this post,” “click here,” and the like
From an SEO perspective, such anchor texts are a total waste. Sure, using a call-to-action as your link anchor text may increase clicks, but it also costs you the opportunity to customize that anchor text, which turns out to be one of the most important on-page optimizations. For example, if you write a blog post and you want to link to your “Small Business Tools” page, don't just say:
“Check out this page for more information.”
Instead, link it using a properly optimized anchor text like this:
“See our list of small business tools to get started today.”
If you absolutely must have a call-to-action as your anchor text, try to at least include some relevant keywords in the link. For example, “see this page to learn more about our small business tools.” Another anchor text flaw marketers do a lot is using the same anchor text for every link. Don't do this!
For instance, if you really have to link multiple times to, say, an affiliate program you're participating in, don't keep using “buy web hosting” as your anchor text over and over again. Instead, the first anchor text can be the company's name, the second cam be “best web hosting service” and the third “host your domain name.”
At its best, using the same anchor text for every link looks spammy to visitors, and some people say it can also hurt your SEO because it looks like you’re trying to game the bots.
SEO Mistake #6: Providing Search Bots with No Direction
For your website to be indexed on a search engine, the search engine has to first crawl the site.
But one mistake online businesses make many times is to provide zero direction for the bots to go. Just as you do for users, you have to organize your site structure to give the crawlers a sense of direction. Otherwise, they may end up indexing your site the way you wouldn't want. XML sitemaps and robots.txt are two tools you can use to give search bots a direction.
A sitemap tells search engines what pages they should index while a robots.txt file tells them what not to include. This is critical, especially if you host internal data on your domain name and would not want it visible to the average user on the web.
Typically, a “disallow” command used with the right syntax is enough to block Google bots from indexing a specific URL. However, if there are other sites that link to the URL which have not been blocked from Google, there’s a small chance that the page might still surface. Want to generate XML sitemaps or robots.txt files? Here's a reliable XML Sitemap Generator and Robots.txt Generator.
SEO Mistake #7: Ignoring Content Marketing
So you want to get SEO results without content marketing?
SEO and content marketing work hand-in-hand and without one, the other may suffer.
Here's the idea: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Content Marketing Institute
For your SEO to thrive, you need to continually create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content for your audience.
Your competitors are doing it. If you don't, chances are they will outrank your site. So don’t expect that your hired SEO team will make your website traffic take off significantly just with onsite optimization, link building, and without any content strategy in place. The days that SEO agencies build hundreds of backlinks on directories, social bookmarking sites, blog comments and forum comments pointing to a static website are well over.
SEO Mistake #8: Lack of Updated Activities
Did you know that Google counts the consistency of your online activity as a ranking signal? If Google finds that your site hasn't been updated for months or is generally lacking behind in updated online presence, the search engine will think you're not active (hi static site owners) and may drop your pages. This means that abandoning your site long enough could be detrimental to your rankings.
You find that Google prefers to rank newer content higher than older ones. So, always ensure that your website (not just your blog) is updated with the most recent information.
SEO Mistake #9: Still Using HTTP
Well, you do not necessarily need to switch to HTTPS, as running HTTP will not directly harm your site. But it might become necessary if you're serious about keeping a good relationship with Google. In 2014, Google announced HTTPS as an important ranking signal. From January 2017, Google started to flag HTTP sites that collected passwords or credit cards as "not secure" in the URL bar.
Then the search engine announced that starting from July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark *all* HTTP sites as "not secure." Why are they taking HTTPS encryption so seriously and why should you, too? Well, you know as they say “security is a top priority.”
HTTPS encryption is more than just SEO. It's about security — of your website and users. Over 68 percent of internet users believe that current laws for protecting their rights are not good enough. Hence, Google is taking security seriously and are out to protect its users.
HTTPS pages typically use one of two secure protocols to encrypt communications — SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security).
You can check out our handy SSL Checker.
SEO Mistake #10: Not Using the Right SEO Tools
Earlier, we mentioned that if you're not using the right SEO tools, you are likely screwing up your SEO. Should a handyman go to work without his tools?
Should an SEO try to rank without leveraging the right digital marketing tools? Or better yet, can an SEO professional easily achieve first page without SEO tools?
Are there SEOs trying to get results without tools?
But that shouldn't be it. SEO is really competitive, especially if you're targeting popular keywords. To win at it, you need helpful tools that you can use in executing your strategy while gaining key insights and generally making your work easier.
The good news is that we've got just about enough of all the right SEO tools for you…in one place. Our team of kickass devs have developed super-helpful tools that you can use, not only to curb mistakes, but much more importantly, to streamline your SEO processes and expedite your win. It's FREE! You can also Like Smallseotools facebook page and small seo tools twitter page.