If you want to drive traffic to your website and grow your business you must get comfortable applying SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By learning how to optimize your website you can improve the chances of your website getting found in search engine results. Your website search engine results are what ultimately determine if your business will grow or stagnate online.
Learning the basics of SEO is not difficult. There are a number of rules and guidelines that are easy to implement. You probably already familiar with many of them. They include things like optimizing pages with keywords, using images and video, researching the competition, and creating high-quality content.
If you use WordPress you’ll find many plugins to help you with your SEO. RankMath and Yoast a few that are most commonly used. These and other SEO plugins will give you a list of tasks you need to fulfill to optimize your posts and your pages.
The best way to learn SEO is through practice. So if you want to know how to optimize websites you must not only know the rules but also be ready to apply them.
By practicing SEO on real websites, you’re bound to make mistakes, especially in the beginning. But making mistakes and learning from them is what will make you an expert if you’re willing to persevere.
If you’re just starting, you probably make many basic mistakes without realizing it. You might forget to apply for an SSL certificate or decide to build your website without knowing anything about web design. Some of these mistakes may not result in penalties, but others can make a big negative impact on your website rankings.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who makes these mistakes. Many top SEO experts probably made the same mistakes. Instead of giving up, they analyzed the results, fixed the problems, and continued to improve until they got where they are now. And because the world of SEO is constantly changing, even experts will continue to make more mistakes until they figured out how to best apply the latest trends & strategies.
To help you, take a look at the list of 10 most common SEO mistakes you want to avoid if you’re just starting with SEO and online marketing.
- Not Connecting Google Analytics & Search Console (and failing to track and analyze the results)
- Skipping keyword search before creating content (keyword stuffing)
- Not performing on-page optimization (especially title & meta tags)
- Not having a well-designed website (user experience)
- Neglecting internal & external link building
- Not checking for broken links regularly
- Producing low-quality content (not creating link-worthy content)
- Forgetting to create and submit sitemaps to Google Search Console
- Focusing only on SEO and ignoring email & social media marketing
- Not using free SEO tools to help you get the most of your efforts.
1. Not Connecting Google Analytics & Search Console.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. This is critical when it comes to improving SEO. One of the first things you should do when you set up a new website is to connect Google Analytics and Search Console.
By forgetting to connect your website you’re missing out on tons of valuable information. Without proper analytics set up, you won’t know how many people are visiting your website, how long they’re staying. Whether they’re leaving right away or go and check out other pages.
If you don’t know any of this information you will not know what you need to do to improve.
So do yourself a favor and make sure your website is using proper Analytics and Search Console code for tracking your website. Finally, don’t forget to regularly review and analyze the results to see what changed and what you can do to improve.
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2. Skipping keyword search before creating content
Many new website owners create content without performing keyword research. This is a big mistake. It takes years for websites to rank for some of the most highly competitive keywords. What’s more, many of the tops listings are dominated by big companies that have a huge pool of money and staff to make sure they get and stay on top.
Without proper research, you might waste valuable time trying to optimize for keywords you’ll never able to.
3. Not performing on-page optimization (especially title & meta tags)
Building a well-functioning, mobile-friendly website is no longer enough if you want to generate traffic.
With so much competition, you must constantly work on improving and optimizing your website. After you set up Google analytics and perform keyword research, you must then apply your findings and optimize the pages on your website.
This requires for you to go through each page and optimize various elements, including title and meta tags, page tags including H1-H6 tags, add alt tag to images, include keywords in the body of the text.
Optimizing pages for the right keywords is an extremely important step and should never be skipped. You can use tools such as Yoast or MathRank to help you optimize your pages. Both are these tools do an excellent job of telling you exactly what to do.
4. Not having a well-designed website (user experience)
This is not strictly an SEO mistake, but because your website and SEO are so closely intertwined is should be included on this list. If your website is hard to navigate, doesn’t look professional, and looks like it was done by your 12-year-old cousin, the chances are people are not going to stick around.
Your website must not only look amazing but also be optimized to for conversions. This means you need to add visible calls to action, include social proof like testimonials, showcase your products & services, etc.
If your website is poorly designed, the visitors are more likely to leave without checking out what you have to offer. So all your marketing efforts will go to waste if you do not provide an amazing user experience on your website.
Fortunately, it’s now extremely easy to create a beautiful website without breaking the bank. If you rather hire a professional, there are many places online where you can find an affordable web designer or an agency to build a website for you.
5. Neglecting internal & external link building
Link building is one of the most important factors Google uses to determine the quality of your website. The more links you have the higher chances of showing on top of search results.
Building links he’s probably one of the most difficult parts of SEO. That is why many marketers neglect to perform link building campaigns.
Getting links from reliable sites can also be extremely time-consuming. You have to do an outreach asking others to link to your website. For the most part, the majority of your emails will be ignored. It takes a lot of work and perseverance, especially if you just starting, to get others to notice you and link to your content.
Despite all the difficulties it comes with link building, it’s something you must-do if you want to your website to rank.
Getting external links from other websites can be laborious and might take a long time. However, there is another type of link that you have control over and that’s internal links on your website.
Creating internal links and interconnecting your pages is another good way to help Google index your website. By linking your pages and your posts throughout your site you can greatly improve your search engine results. Linking your top-performing pages to other parts of your website will also increase their rankings. So always try to link new content you create to your older posts and vice versa.
6. Not checking for broken links regularly
Just as link building is important, it’s just as important to check and make sure that the links on your websites are working.
It’s a bad user experience if your links are going to websites or pages that have moved or no longer exist.
Luckily there are many great tools to check for broken links on your website.
If you’re using WordPress, there is an excellent broken link checker plugin that will go through your website and notify you whenever it finds a broken link.
So make sure to perform a link audit every month using one of these tools and fix any of the broken links that you’ll find on your website.
7. Producing low-quality content (not creating link-worthy content)
SEO and content creation go hand in hand. Without high quality and evergreen content, it will be difficult to rank your website and if you don’t apply SEO to your content, it’s likely your content won’t rank well.
However, not just any content will do. The field of content marketing has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. There are around 4.5 million blogs posted every day. (Source: Techjury.net ).
Posting mediocre or low-quality content will no longer suffice. Writing high-quality content takes time and effort, but if done consistently your efforts will yield many long-lasting benefits.
8. Forgetting to create and submit sitemaps to Google Search Console
Many beginner SEO practitioners often make small errors when they first start. One of these is forgetting to submit your sitemap to Google so your site get properly indexed.
If you use WordPress and one of the popular SEO plugins like Yoast, All In One SEO, or RankMath, your site map is automatically created for you. Having a sitemap on your website, does not guarantee Google knows about it. You need to set up a Google search console account and submit your sitemap there. Once Google has your sitemap, it will know when you make any changes to your website structure. This means that any time you add new pages or make changes to your current ones, Google will keep track.
As soon as the new website is finished, you need to submit your sitemap to Google so it can properly index your website and knows when changes are made.
9. Focusing on SEO and ignoring email & social media marketing
This is not specifically an SEO mistake but rather a general mistake most beginner marketers make. They tend to focus on one part of marketing while they neglect other channels.
It’s important to learn and apply SEO, but it’s just as important to master and incorporate other channels including email marketing, social media, and video.
Don’t focus exclusively on SEO. Learn how to properly use social media, figure out how to build successful email campaigns, understand how to design beautiful infographics, and edit videos. Make learning part of your every day and you will see your efforts pay off and your reputation grow.
10. Not using free SEO tools to maximize your efforts.
The final blunder on this list many beginners make is not taking the time to find and learn SEO tools. There are many excellent tools that are available. Many are paid, some are free, They cover every aspect of SEO and online marketing. Tools for keyword searches and tracking links, tools for monitoring website rankings, and researching the competition. Without these tools, it’s almost impossible to get a clear understanding of how well your website is performing.
At the very least you need Google Analytics and Search Console. Another popular tool you might want to try is Ubersuggest from Neil Patel. There is a free version and a paid one, which will only cost you $10/month. You can use it to run website audits, research your competition and check for backlinks. If you have a bigger budget, you can try SEMRush or ahrefs which will cost you about $100/month. Both of these have tons of features and will provide an amazing amount of data you can analyze and use it to optimize your website.
Recently ahrefs gave users free access to a few of its tools. You can now run a free website audit and track backlinks using ahrefs Webmaster Tools.
If you’re looking to discover more marketing and SEO tools, check out a growing list we put together. You’ll find a categorized collection of best marketing tools we found. Many of these tools are free or have a freemium model.
Try as many tools as you can, use the ones you like, and always keep an eye for more tools and services to help you maximize your SEO efforts.
These are the most common SEO and marketing mistakes beginners make. Avoiding these pitfalls can make a huge difference when you’re first starting out practicing SEO.
The chances are you’ll probably make many more mistakes, but as long as you stop and reflect each time, you’ll be able to learn and will continue to grow and improve.
Are you guilty of these or any o other SEO mistakes? Please share in the comments below.