The Top 10 Common SEO Mistakes
Are you one of those business owners who think they have the perfect website, but can’t get the traffic you need to drive leads and sales? Or not matter what you try you can’t rank on Google? Let me tell you, even the most spectacular websites suffer from some very common SEO mistakes that are amazingly easy to fix. These mistakes are not only easy to fix, but they’re also easy to identify, using our free SEO audit tool. In less that 45 seconds we can provide you a free website audit specifically for the pages you want to rank for. Once you evaluate your audit you can make the changes below. Here are the most common SEO mistakes, and what you can do to fix them:
1) Is Your Website Page Title Too Long?
If your page title is longer than 70 characters, it’s far too long. The page title is the text that is displayed at the top of your browser window or on your browser tab, and it’s also the title of the page shown in Google search results. The page title tells people what your page is about, and if the title is too long it can get cut off by the search engines and browsers.
From an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) standpoint, keeping your page title short maintains the importance of each term in the title. If your page title is too long, though, you end up diluting the importance of each term, which can harm your search engine ranking.
To fix this, write up with a brief (but keyword-rich) description of your page that is less than 70 characters long, and make that your page title. You can then download the best SEO plugin for WordPress to easily enter in your title.
2) Page Title Does Not Target Realistic Keywords
One of the most important factors in search engine rankings is how closely the page title matches the user’s search terms. If your page title is written too much like an advertisement, you probably will find that the keywords you use aren’t the words users are likely to search for. You should avoid unnecessary descriptive words in your page title, because users don’t search for those.
To fix this, think about keywords or use a keyword search tool to find out what words users might actually use to find you. Adjust your title to remain readable, but to more closely match the keywords that users are actually going to use. For example, if you provide a service, on that service page of your website the title should read: (your service) | (name of company or comparable service).
3) Is My Meta Description Too Long?
The meta description of your page is the text that shows up under your page title in search results. These descriptions can get cut off if they are too long, usually more than 150 characters. To avoid having your descriptive text cut off by the search engines, you should make sure your meta description is short enough to fit into 150 characters or less.
To fix this, you should develop a meta description that gives important details not included in your page title, but is still a description that is less than 150 characters long. This goes in the same place you enter your title inside the page within WordPress.
4) Should Each Page Have A New Keyword?
Each page within your website is a new chance to get found in the vastness of the Internet. You should have different page titles and internal page keywords for all of your different pages, to make the most of these opportunities.
To fix this, develop a list of different keywords for each page. Figure out what each page offers that is different from the other pages, and target your keywords to highlight what each individual page can offer. Make sure to use the keyword search tool to ensure that keyword is getting enough searches with low competition.
5) When Should I Renew My Domain?
When your domain name is registered for the next few years, that shows that you are committed to staying in business. Search engines favor that, because it shows that your page is less likely to be spammy and a “fly by night” operation. By having your domain registration last for the next few years, you’ll get a good SEO boost and your pages will be more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages.
To fix this, spend the extra money now to register your domain for the next 2-3 years. This should not cost you more than $30-$45.
6) Are You Using CSS And HTML Correctly?
I understand this might be a little technical, but it is very important to understand for every business owner. In good web design, your HTML will only be the content of your page, with references to CSS for the layout. Pages that have layout-related information in their HTML prevent the search engines from being able to find the most relevant keywords and other information from your pages. This means that your keyword research doesn’t pay off as much, because your page is overloaded with stylistic HTML instead of putting all of the styling and layout commands in CSS.
To fix this, put all of your layout-related code in CSS. Remove it from your HTML entirely, and focus your HTML on content. WordPress has a great structure to help with this.
7) ALT Tags For Images Can Boost SEO
The search engines cannot actually “read” your images; they scan for text. With the ALT tag, you can associate your images with text, providing a bit more keyword usage to your page. ALT text does not carry the same weight on page rankings as the actual text on the page, but it’s worth including.
To fix this, you should assign ALT text to all of your pictures. This helps SEO and also makes your page more screen reader friendly! If you are using WordPress, this takes less than 10 seconds.
As you can see in the image above, my alt text for this specific blog post is common SEO mistakes which is the main keyword I would like to eventually rank this article for. If you are not using WordPress you can change the ALT text inside the HTML using FTP to open each pages HTML file.
8) Is My Conversion Form Too Long?
This is the biggest mistake website owners make! You can quickly increase your websites conversion rate with forms by asking for less information. Only ask for what you need immediately to get started with the potential customer. Is your conversion form asking your users for all of their personal information, including their shoe size and Social Security Number? A conversion form is great for getting leads, but your form has to be done right if you’re going to get the most conversions possible. Asking for too much information (like a full mailing address when all you really need is an email address) can drive people away from your form.
To fix this, think about what information you actually need. If all you need is the name and email address, just ask for those pieces of information. I’ve learned that for a lead generation form, name, email, and phone number, and “maybe” adding message is enough. If you really need much more information you can set up your form in 3 steps to entice the user to finish the form.
9) Does My Website Have Too Little (Or Too Much) Text?
Search engines focus on text more than anything else, so it’s important to actually have text on your page. This is true, as most people know, but it’s important to not try to cram too much text into a page. When you have too much text on your page, search engines have a hard time extracting the relevant text.
To fix this, make sure your page is readable and only contains the text you need. Don’t insert unimportant text just to put more copy on the page; use your relevant keywords and additional words necessary to make the page readable without becoming too cluttered with text. 2k words or less is a good landmark.
10) Is Analytics For My Website Important?
Once you’ve created your site, optimized it, and converted your traffic into leads, the job’s not over. To make the most of your website, you should analyze your results and then tweak your SEO strategy accordingly.
To fix this, install and use an analytics program. This will help you see how well your pages are performing, and tweak your SEO to eke even more success out of your page. Googles Free Analytics tool is an excellent start.
Did you find these common SEO mistakes and fixes helpful? Let us know any changes you have made or feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments. Share with someone you believe this can help too!
I’ve heard in the past that even though the common guideline is 70 characters or less, that it is more accurate around 55 to 60.
Point 5 is rather interesting, I’ve never heard of that concept, but seems reasonable.
I wouldn’t just say that Google Analytics is an excellent start, but the essential start. I mean, think about it, Google is the number search engine, and probably will be for decades to come, so why wouldn’t you be using their tools/services? :0)
It depends on what keywords you are trying to rank for. Most businesses, unless they are large are trying to rank for long tail keywords. In this case, going slightly under 70 characters is ok, but In some situation the shorter the sweeter.
In regards to analytics, I agree. The biggest issue people have is their tools (i.e. adwords/analytics) are very robust and people are creating softwares like kissametrics that are much easier to use and more user friendly. In the end, I agree with you and think its worth hiring an expert who know the tools or take 10-15 hours a week to learn them yourself.
Hi Richie. Congratulations for the article. I found it quite useful. I would like to pose you a question though: I am working for a company who has a couple of products on their website. I would like to create a blog in order to target specific keywords for their products, but they prefer to stick to something more simple and just have one page for each of their products. For one of their products I found many relevant long tail keywords, and added them into the page text, in a text which is sort of a description. We´re talking about 20 words or so. To make those keywords stand out I labeled them as H2 tags. Do you think there´s any chance I can rank for those long tails using this strategy? I am aware this is not best solution for SEO, but it´s what I came up with after facing my boss opposition against creating a blog. Cheers.
Hey Miguel, This is a great start. It’s difficult without seeing the page, but each page should have 1 core long tail keyword. This is going to be in the URL, the image alt tags, the title or h1 tag, and in the meta data. For the other keywords, h2 tags is good, but it is also very important not to stuff the page and make sure that the description reads normal and describes the product for the user well. Schema.org markup is another strong onsite strategy you can add in. In regards to ranking, this is a great start, but this shouldn’t be the full extent. Off site SEO would be the next step. With the knowledge I have on the pages, keywords, and there search volume/competition level, I hope this helps. Let me know your progress?
Hi Richie. Thanks for your advice. I will try to make some changes in the core long tail keyword and see if it works. The rest of the page is also sort of optimized in relation to url, image alt tags, title and so on. Ill come back and keep you posted after we have reached some visible results. Take care
Sounds great! I look forward to hearing about your progress. Keep up the good work.