There are a lot of common SEO mistakes that people make without even realizing it. And if you're not careful, these mistakes can hurt your website's ranking and visibility.
In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the most common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them. So read on to learn more!
33 Most Common SEO Mistakes
Below are some of the most common SEO mistakes that you should avoid. I have divided the mistakes into a broader group
SEO Mistakes Related To Keyword Research
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO. If you don't get it right, your entire SEO strategy could be in vain. Here are some of the most common keyword research mistakes:
1. Not Doing Any Keyword Research
This might sound silly, however, this is one of the most common mistakes that people make while optimizing their website for search engines.
They just pick a random topic and start writing about it hoping that it does rank well. However, SEO does not work this way.
If you don't target any keywords, your most awesome content can't be found for the right keywords by your potential readers.
This could lead to the loss of important traffic and hence loss of revenue.
2. Targeting Wrong Keywords
Just like not targeting any keywords is bad, targeting the wrong keywords can also be fatal for your website.
Too high volume keywords will most likely have very high competition. While low-competition keywords might not have any traffic at all.
You should try to strike a balance between volume and competition for the keywords depending on the authority of your website.
3. Focusing On Keyword Density
Keyword density is a thing of the past. Google no longer relies on the number of times you use a keyword on a page.
Google's algorithm now uses a lot of advanced algorithms like NLP and BERT to understand the content on the page as well as its context.
While SEO tools like RankMath and Yoast SEO will suggest you have your keyword density in a particular range, you should not focus too much on it.
If you try to follow their suggestions, your article might end up looking stuffed with keywords in the wrong places and hence will spoil the User Experience thereby affecting your ranking.
As long as your language is natural whether your Keyword Density is 0.1 or 3, it doesn't really matter.
SEO Mistakes Related To Content
Content is the bread and butter of SEO. Creating high-quality content is important if you want your website to rank well on search engines.
However, there are a few mistakes that people make while creating content that could hurt their ranking. Let's take a look at some of them.
4. Not Creating Enough Content
Content is the King. No matter how good your website is, if you don't have enough content, you won't be able to rank high up in the SERP.
The reason is that Google favors websites that have high topical authority. So, if you don't have enough content in your niche, your topical authority will be low thus negatively affecting your rankings.
5. Creating Low-Quality Content
While creating content on a regular basis is important for your website, it is also important that the quality of your content is up to the mark.
If you consistently create low-quality, thin content just for the sake of creating content, your website won't rank as good.
In some cases, Google might even penalize your website.
The below Image from Business2Community shows a penalty imposed on a website for creating low-quality content
Also, creating low-quality content will result in a bad user experience. This could lead to people bouncing off your website thereby increasing your bounce rate and pogo-sticking which is again bad for your SEO.
6. Creating Duplicate Content
Another common mistake that people make is creating duplicate content. This could happen either intentionally or unintentionally.
According to a study carried out by Raven Tools from 200 million page crawls, 29% of pages had duplicate content.
Unlike most people think, duplicate content does not always mean content plagiarised from another website. However, it also includes content from your own website.
Duplicate content confuses Google and it is not able to understand which content is more relevant for the particular keyword.
This could lead to your website not ranking at all or even being penalized by Google.
So, it is important to make sure that all the content on your website is unique and relevant. You can use tools like Copyscape to check for duplicate content.
In cases where you have to use the same content on multiple pages of your website, make sure to use canonical tags to tell Google which page to rank.
While using snippets of text from another website, make sure to link back to the website so that Google knows you are not copying the content and rather just using it as a reference.
7. Not Updating Outdated Content
One common mistake that most website owners make is not updating their old blog posts. While this might not seem like an issue, it actually is.
Google loves fresh and relevant content. If you have content on your website that's no longer relevant, Google will see you as an unreliable source of information.
This will affect your website's E-A-T and negatively affect your ranking for not just this particular page, but all the pages on your website.
On the other hand, even if your content is relevant, if you update it and make Google crawl it again, you will see a huge boost in rankings due to the freshness of your content.
8. Writing Long Chunks Of Text
While Google prefers long-form content, it is important to make sure that your paragraphs are not too long.
If you write long chunks of text, people will get overwhelmed and will not read the entire article. This again increases your bounce rate and pogo-sticking which is bad from SEO perspective.
Instead, you should focus on writing short paragraphs with each paragraph containing 1-2 sentences. This will make your content more scannable and readable.
You can also use images to break down your content. This will also make it more visually appealing and easier to read.
9. Not Using Images And Videos
Another common mistake that people make is not using images and videos in their content.
As stated earlier, Images and videos are a great way to break down your content and make it more scannable.
Another advantage of using images is that they help you rank for Google image search.
If you have informative and relevant images on your website, you can drive a lot of traffic from Google Image Search.
Similarly, videos are also a great way to engage with your audience. People are more likely to watch a video than read an article.
I have also noticed a boost in rankings by including Videos in my article. So this might as well be a good UX signal to Google.
10. Not Promoting Your Content
This might sound a bit irrelevant since promoting your content and SEO have no direct relation. However, not promoting your content is one of the crucial SEO mistakes to avoid.
When you promote your content across channels, you will start getting traffic from those sources.
Although debatable, if this traffic from other sources results in a low bounce rate and better engagement, Google will see it as a sign of great content and UX and boost your ranking in the SERP.
In fact, according to Semrush, the amount of direct traffic to a website is the number one ranking factor.
SEO Mistakes Related To Meta Tags
Meta tags are one of the most important elements of SEO. They help search engines understand your website and its content better.
However, most people make several mistakes while optimizing their meta tags. Some of the most common mistakes are listed below.
11. Under Optimizing Title Tags
Your Title Tags are one of the most important on-page ranking factors. It is the title that appears in the SERP and also affects your CTR.
However, as per a study by Semrush on 100K websites and 450 million pages, 8% of pages had no title tags whereas 35% of pages had duplicate title tags.
The number of pages with not enough text within title tags was 4% while 15% of pages had longer than the prescribed length of title tags.
So, it seems people frequently ignore their Title Tags.
Yout Title Tags should contain your target keyword to make sure you rank for the Keyword.
Also, your Title Tags should be catchy. If you don't have an attractive and relevant title, people are not going to click on your listing no matter how well you rank.
Similarly, if your title is too long, Google will cut it off and people will not be able to see the entire thing.
So, you should focus on writing short and catchy titles that accurately describe your content.
12. Not Using Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are the short description that appears below your Title Tags in the SERP.
Keyword in Meta Description is one of the ranking factors. Since a Meta Description is much longer than Title Tags, it's your opportunity to include your Long tail keywords for ranking purpose.
Meta Descriptions also affect your CTR in the SERP. If you don't have an attractive and relevant Meta Description, people will not click on your listing no matter how well.
However, people often ignore Meta Descriptions. As per the same Semrush Study, 25% of pages were missing meta descriptions while 35% of pages had duplicate meta descriptions.
So that seems to be a fairly common problem.
13. Not Using H1 Tag
Just like Title Tags and Meta Descriptions, H1 tags are also a very important on-page SEO factor.
H1 Tag is the main headline of your article and in case of most WordPress themes it's the title of the post or page.
Your H1 tag should accurately describe the topic of your article so people know what to expect when they click on it.
However, a lot of websites don't use H1 tags. As per Semrush, 20% of pages had no H1 Tag. That is a very big number.
14. Not Including Keywords In H2 and H3 Tag
H2 and H3 tags are the subheadings in your article. You should use your target keywords in your H2 and H3 tags to let Google know what your article is about.
H2 and H3 tags are also necessary to structure your article correctly.
People usually scan an article before reading it. So, if you have a long wall of text, people are not going to read it.
You should break your content up into smaller paragraphs and use H2 and H3 tags to structure it correctly.
15. Not Using Image Alt Tags
Image Alt Tags are important for two reasons.
As per W3C Guidelines, you should use accurate and descriptive Alt tags for all the images on your website.
SEO Mistakes Related To Backlinks
Backlinks are critical part of SEO. Google uses backlinks to understand the popularity and relevancy of your website.
The more high-quality backlinks you have, the better chance you have of ranking higher in SERPs. Below are some of the most common backlink mistakes that you should avoid.
16. Not Building Backlinks
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors. The number and quality of backlinks pointing to your website have a direct impact on your rankings.
However, a lot of people don't focus on building backlinks. They just assume that if they create great content, people will naturally link to it.
However, this is not the case. You need to actively reach out to people and ask them to link to your content.
Though most of the old-school link-building techniques no longer work, there are some link-building techniques like Blogger and PR Outreach, Broken Link Building and to some extent, even guest posting that works great.
17. Ignoring Internal Linking
Internal linking is again one of the most ignored SEO techniques. And the culprit here are not just SEO noobs, but even SEO experts who focus only on external link building.
Internal links are important for three reasons.
All of these things are important from SEO perspective.
18. Broken Internal And External Links
One of the most common mistakes that most SEOs make is not fixing the broken internal as well as external links.
A broken link is a link that points to a page that doesn't exist. Broken links are bad for SEO in two ways.
First, they make it hard for Google to crawl your website. Second, they lead to poor user experience.
Hence SEOs should fix broken links on priority.
To find the broken links, you can use WordPress plugins like Broken Link Checker. For non-WordPress websites, you can use Screaming Frog to crawl your website and find the broken links.
19. HTTP Internal Links For HTTPS websites
If you have an old website and recently switched to HTTPS, chances are high that your internal links might still be using the HTTP version.
If you aren't redirecting the HTTP version to the HTTPS version, this will pass on the link juice to the wrong page thereby affecting your rankings.
However, even if you are redirecting the HTTP version to the HTTPS version, it still results in one 301 redirect.
To fix this, you can use plugins like Better Search Replace to replace the HTTP version of internal links with HTTPS.
20. Misusing 301 Redirects
301 Redirect is used when you want to permanently redirect a page to a new URL. It is often used by SEOs when they want to change a domain name or change the URL of the page.
However, quite often, SEOs create 301 redirects for no reason which leads to unnecessary redirects.
This increases the page load speed, which affects user experience as well as SEO. It also results in a wasted crawl budget.
SEO Mistakes Related To UX
With the implementation of Rankbrain, Google is now able to measure the User Experience of a visitor while interacting with your website.
Based on how the experience was RankBrain will automatically adjust the SERP to move up websites with good UX and move down websites with poor UX.
Hence, UX is among the major ranking factors on Google. However, it is also the most ignored part by SEOs
Below are some of the most common UX mistakes that people make
21. Not Optimizing Your Site for Mobile
Google has completely switched to Mobile-first indexing in September 2020. So, if you haven't optimized your website for mobile devices you are less likely to rank on Google SERP.
Since mobile indexing is so important, most SEOs do make sure to optimize their home and landing page for mobile devices.
However, quite often they skip out on blog pages and other pages that are usually created after the development is completed.
I have myself been guilty of this on several occasions only to realize it when my rankings drop.
So make sure you don't compromise at all when it comes to mobile optimization.
22. Ignoring Website Load Time
Website Speed is one of the most important ranking factors. Google wants to provide its users with the best possible experience and a slow website is not considered a good user experience.
Hence, if you want to rank on Google SERP, make sure your website loads fast. Below are the Google Core Web Vitals for my blog, Blogging Ocean
To optimize your website's JS, CSS, and HTML for faster page speed, you can use WordPress caching plugins like LiteSpeed Cache, W3 Total Cache, and more.
If you have global traffic or if your server is located far away from your target visitors, you can also use free CDN from Cloudflare to speed up your website.
23. Showing Too Many Ads Above the Fold
Ads are one of the most important sources of revenue for a website. However, if you go overboard with it, it will have a negative impact on your SEO as well as the user experience.
In fact, Google's Page Layout Algorithm penalizes websites that show too many ads above the fold.
To avoid this, make sure you don't show more than 2 ads above the fold.
24. Wrong Use Of Pop-ups
Pop-ups can be a great way to increase your email subscribers or social media followers. However, if you are using it the wrong way, it will do more harm than good.
I have seen websites that show pop-ups as soon as you land on the website which is very annoying for the user.
Some other common mistakes include:
In fact, in 2017, Google said that they are adding a new ranking signal that demotes pages that use intrusive interstitials.
To avoid these mistakes, make sure you only show pop-ups on specific pages like your home page or landing page and make them non-intrusive. You must also make sure that users can easily close the pop-ups.
SEO Mistakes Related To Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your website's structure, coding, and content for the purpose of improving its search engine visibility and ranking.
Due to it's complex nature, most non-technical people often mess up with their Technical SEO. Below are some of the most common technical SEO mistakes that I have seen people make.
25. Incorrect Use Of Robots.Txt
Robots.txt file can be tricky. If used incorrectly, it can lead to accidentally blocking Googlebots and other search engine bots from accessing your website.
So, if you are using a Robots.txt file, make sure you are not blocking any search engine bots.
For Googlebot, you can use Google Robots.txt Tester to check if you are blocking any of the Googlebots. For Bing you can use the Bing Robots.txt Checker
This is how Blogging Ocean's Robots.txt file looks like
26. Not No-Indexing Low-Quality And Private Pages
So, if you do not no-index these pages, the overall authority of your blog can go down. Also, if you have a store, you must exclude the cart pages and checkout pages from the SERP
To mark a page as no-index on a WordPress website, you can use plugins like RankMath SEO and Yoast SEO.
27. Blocking No-Indexed Pages By Robots.txt
Several SEOs think that it's a good practice to no-index a page as well as block it using Robots.txt to ensure the page is not indexed.
However, this is not a good practice. The reason is, as per Google if a page blocked by Robots.txt appears anywhere on the web, Google may still index it.
So, when you block a page using robots.txt and it appears somewhere on the world wide web, Google will try to crawl the page but would stop the moment it sees the Robots.txt file.
So, in such cases, Google will not be able to see the no-index tag and will still end up indexing that page.
28. Not Using SSL Certificate
SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer. It's a security protocol used to establish an encrypted connection between a web server and a browser.
In 2014, Google announced that it will be using HTTPS as a ranking signal. And since then, there has been a lot of talk about SSL certificates and how they can impact your SEO.
However, as per W3Techs, even in 2022, 4.6% of websites don't use an SSL certificate while another 5.2% of websites have an Invalid Domain in SSL.
Add to it, 1.3% of websites have expired SSL certificates.
So, if you aren't already using SSL certificates, start using one. Also, make sure to redirect all HTTP queries to HTTPS plugins like Really Simple SSL.
29. Not Creating XML Sitemap
A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, posts, files, and other resources on your website.
You have to create and submit the Sitemap in Google Search Console. For Bing, you can submit it to Bing Webmaster's Tool
While creating an XML sitemap is not a must, creating one helps Google and other search engines find new and old pages on your blog thus getting them indexed faster.
You can create a sitemap for your WordPress site using plugins like Rank Math SEO, Yoast SEO, and Google XML Sitemaps.
SEO Mistakes Related To SEO Improvements
SEO is a constant work in progress. There is no one-time solution for it.
You have to keep improving your SEO so that you can rank higher on the SERP and drive traffic to your blog or website.
Below are some of the mistakes that people make when it comes to improving your website's SEO
30. Not Using Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most popular web analytics services. It's used by millions of website owners to track their blog traffic and conversions.
What many don't know is that Google Analytics data can also help you identify SEO issues with your website.
For example, if you see a sudden drop in organic traffic it could indicate a technical issue with your website.
Likewise, if you see high bounce rates for a specific page, it indicates either low-quality content or some UX-related issues.
You can thus use Google Analytics to improve your SEO.
31. Not Using Search Console
While Google Analytics helps you track all the visitors to your website and how users interact with your website, Google Search Console shows you important data related to organic traffic to your website.
In Google Search Console, you can check the number of clicks a keyword is getting for your website.
The data also includes the total number of impressions your website got, your CTR, and average position in the SERP
In addition, the Search Console also allows you to submit the sitemap and track technical issues with your website.
So not using Search Console isn't even an option you should consider.
32. Not Tracking Keyword Rankings
Just because you're targeting a specific keyword doesn't mean your website is ranking for it.
Keyword rankings can change depending on various factors like Google algorithm updates, the competition, and other such reasons.
You must keep a track of your keyword rankings to monitor the effect on ranking for any changes you make to your website, rank changes due to algorithm updates, and more.
This will put you in a better position to create new strategies for organically growing your website.
To track your keyword rankings, you can use rank tracking tools like Semrush, SERanking, RankTracker, and more.
33. Not Keeping Up With SEO Trends
Just like everything else in the online world, SEO is also dynamic. There are new changes happening all the time. Google makes algorithm updates, new technologies emerge, and user behavior changes.
To stay ahead of the curve, you need to keep up with the latest SEO trends. This way you can make changes to your website accordingly and ensure that your website is always optimized for search engines.
You can do this by reading blogs about SEO, subscribing to newsletters of popular SEO blogs, or following popular SEO influencers on social media.
This will help you learn about the latest developments in the SEO world and take the necessary measures to ensure that your website is always optimized for search engines.
SEO is a complex topic and there's a lot to it. So, it's natural for a human being to make a mistake while managing the SEO.
In this guide, we have compiled some of the most common SEO mistakes that people make. By avoiding these mistakes, you can improve your website's SEO and rank higher in the SERP.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below.