5 key SEO mistakes to avoid

5 key SEO mistakes to avoid

Effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the keys to maximising visibility on the web and staying on the right side of Google and the other search engines. However, SEO can be a minefield for the uninitiated and many SMEs are wisely handing over their SEO to digital marketing agencies.

Nevertheless it is a good idea to run through the list below to make sure you are not shooting yourself in the foot by committing one of the five big blunders below:

Mistake 1: Not keeping your SEO team in the loop

It is wonderful when your web developer provides you with a user-friendly content management system for handling your own website changes but it can be a double-edged sword.

Changes to your site's content and structure can adversely affect SEO and the best way of mitigating this risk is by keeping your SEO or digital marketing agency up to speed with any major changes you are planning. In this way, they will be able to advise you on the best way of implementing the change without harming your rankings.

Whilst it is probably not necessary to tell them about adding minor pages or tweaking small amounts of content, you should let them know if you plan to:

  • Convert your site to https
  • Change page URLs
  • Add or remove categories or sections
  • Change how customers interact with your website
  • Change content on your site's main pages

Mistake 2: Mishandling redirects

Business owners often worry about what happens to their rankings if they redesign their website and they are right to do so.

Providing the migration process is handled competently, a web redesign can take place with little or no adverse effect on site visibility. Key to success is correctly mapping out and implementing redirects. This can be particularly important for an e-commerce store with a large catalogue of products.

If you intend to overhaul your website, be sure to talk to your digital marketing agency about implementing a migration strategy.

Mistake 3: Keeping visitors waiting

One of the most attractive aspects of modern websites is the ease by which widgets and other third-party functions can be easily integrated into the core site.

The downside of excessive add-ons and plug-ins is the danger of an ever-increasing page load time. This is a particular issue if inexperienced Wordpress users install poorly built plugins.

According to a Gomez.com report, 47 per cent of visitors to a website will refuse to wait more than two seconds for a page to load. The same report also reveals that for every one second delay in page load time, conversions drop by 7 per cent. A slow-loading website can seriously harm the bottom line of e-commerce sites in particular so make it a priority to measure your page load time.

If you outsource your SEO to an agency, speak to them about how to drive down page load times. Substituting poor-performing third-party apps and optimising images are some of the ways in which load times can be improved.

Mistake 4: Stop competing with yourself

Some website owners unwittingly sabotage potentially high-ranking pages through so-called 'keyword cannibalism.'

This is where two or more pages on your website are being optimised for the same keywords. When Google crawls your website, the pages are penalised for being too similar and neither rank as highly as they should.

A common symptom of keyword cannibalism is 'ranking flux' with one page ranking highest for a keyword on one day and a different page taking its place the next. When auditing your website content or adding new pages, choose a unique keyword or phrase for each individual page to avoid becoming your own biggest competitor.

Mistake 5: Sacrificing content quality

Replacing unique and high quality content for cheap filler content, perhaps using article spinning technology or content mill writers may improve your bottom line in the short-term but it is a classic example of false economy.

Google are committed to ensuring their customers – who are also your customers – are served high quality content when they search online. Their ever more sophisticated algorithms are designed to weed out thin and duplicated content and penalise the sites that churn it out.

Even if you are clever enough to fool the search engines, poor quality content will lead to dissatisfied customers, high bounce rates, low time on site and poor social media engagement. These are all used to determine your web ranking on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

By investing in quality, unique content you will not only reverse any Google penalties and improve all the ranking signals mentioned above, you will also be more likely to attract high quality links from reputable 'authority sites.' Quality content really is king!

Hopefully this audit will have either given you confidence that you are doing the basics right or prompted you into taking action to remedy any problems. If you are looking for an agency to handle your SEO in a competent and ethical manner, please contact Eyes Down for an initial chat.

Topics: Copywriting, Search engine optimisation (SEO)

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