Everyone makes mistakes. And when it comes to SEO, it’s no different. There are ways you can self-sabotage your SEO efforts. Here are ten common SEO mistakes to avoid so you don’t hurt your search rankings.
Talking to Everyone
The first mistake is writing content that speaks to everyone. When you talk to everyone, you talk to no one. You need to write in a way that resonates with one particular person. This is your target audience. If you write to one person, you will attract many more like-minded individuals. To make this easier, create a persona so you have a clear idea of who you’re talking to.
Creating the Wrong Content
When you create content, it’s important to focus on topics you want to be known for. You don’t want to write an article about a one-off thought that isn’t related to the focus of your website. You want to make it easy for the reader and search engines to know what your site is about and what you want to be known for.
Not Having Meta Descriptions
Most bloggers understand the basic on-page optimizations that improve SEO. The one optimization that is frequently forgotten is the meta description. The meta description doesn’t directly impact search rankings but it does play an indirect role.
The meta description is the snippet of text that appears below the title and URL in the search results. It helps the reader better understand if your site is a good match for their query and it can help increase click-through rates.
Too Much Fluff
When writing content remember to focus on quality over quantity. You don’t need every article to be 3,000 words long in order to rank. Don’t add a bunch of extra fluff just to try and increase word count. Write as much as you need to fulfill the promise of your headline. Stick to the topic. It’s okay to link out to other articles with more information. Don’t waste your readers’ time by adding unnecessary content to the article so they have to hunt to find the information they are interested in.
Generic Anchor Text
When you add an internal link in your blog articles don’t add generic text such as click here for the link. Use relevant text in the existing article text to add the hyperlink. This is another signal to search engines explaining what the page is about.
Not Targeting a Primary Keyword
This is the number one issue I see when I do SEO audits for other bloggers. You need to have a primary keyword in mind for each page and optimize accordingly. Perform keyword research to make sure the keyword you are targeting isn’t too competitive. You want to find keywords that have low competition and still have some monthly search traffic.
Not Refreshing Old Content
There are multiple reasons to keep your content updated. First, Google wants to rank fresh content so if an article hasn’t been updated in years it will be harder to rank. Second, if an article is popular you want to make sure it’s still accurate so readers will have the best experience possible. If a reader goes to your site and finds outdated information they won’t be as likely to return or trust your brand.
On an annual basis you want to review your most popular pages. Review the most popular pages and make sure the content is up to date. This is also a good time to add images, charts, or videos if it adds value. Sometimes when trying to meet a posting deadline it’s easy to not add extra media items. Once the post has proven to be popular and a good source of traffic it’s a good time to revisit it to see how you can improve the experience.
Not Performing Daily Digital Marketing Maintenance
SEO is not a one-time task. To continue to grow with digital marketing and improve search rank you need to keep working on it. You need to check for crawl errors, broken links, and indexability issues. All of this can be simplified with the ClearPath Online DIY SEO Tool. It’s prepopulated with prioritized digital marketing tasks. And it’s already set up to stagger them out so you have a short list each day based on your personal digital marketing needs.
Not Using Free Tools
Another mistake is not using the free tools provided by the search engines. The most popular tool is Google Analytics which tracks data from your website. The less well known, but equally important tools, are Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. These tools are also free and they are where the search engines attempt to communicate issues about your site.
None of these tools pull in historical data. The data begins the day you set it up. So even if you aren’t sure how you’ll use the data and worried you won’t understand it, it’s still a good idea to set it up. That way it can start collecting data so it’s there for you when you are ready for it.
The last mistake is having no call-to-action (CTA). Getting traffic to your site through SEO is great. But ultimately you want that traffic to do more than read your article, right? Maybe you have a newsletter signup, maybe there’s a book you have for sale, maybe you have a course. Whatever your goal is, you need to have a call-to-action button that asks readers to take that next step.
Mistakes will happen. The important thing is being able to recognize where you can make improvements. Use this list as a guide to set some goals on areas where your blog can be improved so you can continue to improve your search rankings.
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