However, alongside following the best practices and trends, you also have to keep an eye on the SEO mistakes. Yes! SEO mistakes can spoil your hard-earned results, and you end up spending time and money correcting these faults instead of maintaining your results.
Here are the 53 SEO mistakes that you have to avoid or correct to get the intended results from SEO methods.
On-Page SEO Mistakes
1. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is one of the common on-page SEO mistakes, and it impacts your rankings significantly. Having multiple copies of the same content is a red flag for search engines, and it makes both copies seem less legitimate. Google launched the Panda algorithm to specifically restrict nefarious content practices and promote uniqueness and quality. Don’t create duplicate content and audit your website regularly to find and correct the duplicate content on your site.
2. Duplicate Meta Title and Description
Meta titles and descriptions may not be the ranking factors, but they indirectly influence your rankings. When you have multiple pages with the same title and description, it’s possible your multiple pages with the same name appear in the search results, or neither page makes it up to the top results at all. If we see it from the user’s point of view, then multiple pages with the same name look spammy, and you don’t get the traffic. No clicks or fewer clicks signals to the search engine that you are not user-friendly, your rank drops. Always create unique meta titles and descriptions.
3. Missing Title Tags and Meta Description
After duplicate meta titles and descriptions, having no title and description is also a blunder. Generally, search engines fetch the title and description from your page content to show in the SERP. However, the auto-fetched Meta details aren’t necessarily appealing to users, and your traffic will suffer. You are doing SEO so that you can drive traffic to your site, and this tiny SEO mistake can keep you from that. So, write a unique Meta title and description for each page while considering the best practices to invite the users to your website.
4. Thin Content
Thin content is content that holds no value for the users and only there to deceive the search engines. Whether it is duplicate content or rephrased content, it comes under the thin content. Moreover, the clickbait content is also thin content practice, and you shouldn’t do it.
Search engines have advanced algorithms, and they analyze user behavior on your content to know the reliability of your content. When your content is plagiarized or completely irrelevant from what they intended, they’ll return to the search to find a better option. This shows the poor quality of your content, and Google pushes you down in the rankings. Your target must be ranked on the first page, and thin content can’t help you with that.
Always bestow the rich quality content for users, and their engagement will get you rankings.
5. Multiple Pages with Same Keyword Targeting
Keywords are an integral part of SEO and need utmost delicacy from research to optimization. When you have multiple pages with the same keyword targeting, it means you are pushing your multiple pages to rank for a single keyword. Your own pages compete with each other when you make this SEO mistake, reducing the chances of conversions. Moreover, this is content cannibalization and decreases your authority in search results to rank on the first page. So, always have a unique keyword targeting for each webpage to avoid the aforementioned repercussions.
6. Improper Keyword Research
Keyword research is a crucial part of making an SEO strategy to drive efficient results. You have to ponder various factors like search volume, keyword difficulty, CPCs, relevancy, etc.
When your keyword research isn’t up to the mark, you can’t make a robust strategy for your content creation and other optimization that will nurture your rankings.
Hence, know your business and audiences to filter out the right keywords for your business and achieve your intended results.
Read More: Keyword Research for SEO
7. Keyword Stuffing
It is an obsolete technique that people were using to manipulate search engines. However, due to the technological advancement of search engines, identifying such practices is a piece of cake. Keyword stuffing is inserting the target keywords unnaturally in the content.
Search engines want you to use the keywords, but only when they make sense to a human. Using the target keywords multiple times won’t help you get the top rankings. There are more than 200 ranking factors, and keyword stuffing isn’t one of them.
You may use the keywords, but only while maintaining the natural tone. Moreover, there is no magic number for keyword density. You are free to insert your keywords as long as they make sense to your users. So, keyword stuffing is a silly SEO mistake, and you should never ever consider this.
8. Vague Understanding of User Intent
It is the biggest SEO mistake you can make. As a business owner, if you don’t understand your audience or their intent, then you can’t do SEO. And if you are doing it, then it’s certainly not SEO. You should understand your target audience meticulously so that you can design your web pages accordingly to accommodate the users effectively and convert them.
People have a whole buying journey, and the intent of the users changes at every stage. You should understand it and have a suitable plan to nurture each visitor’s intent to forward them to final sales.
9. No Image Optimization
Images make the content engageable, and search engines themselves encourage webmasters to use the visuals to make your content easy to grasp for users. Videos don’t impact your page because you can host them on YouTube, Vimeo, or other video platforms.
However, images need to be optimized; otherwise, they will slow down your page loading and kill the page user experience, which is a ranking factor. So, never leave your images undone.
10. No Header Tags
Header tags are the HTML attributes that define the hierarchy of the page. When you don’t have any page hierarchy, it spoils the readability for users. Moreover, it keeps the crawlers from understanding your content and achieving your content’s potential.
When you have a clear hierarchy, it improves user engagement and even helps you rank your content as rich snippets. Engagement has an influence on the rankings, so it’s better you add the header tags on your page.
11. Don’t Follow EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness)
EAT is a Google algorithm to scale the quality of the content. When you have no idea what it is, you can’t curate the content that ranks. All your content development efforts won’t pay you off if you don’t obey EAT standards. So, incorporate EAT in your upcoming content, and optimize the existing one to get the potential results from your content.
Read More: All About Google EAT
12. Imitating Competitor Strategy
SEO must include competitor research to get some valuable insights, but mimicking their strategy can’t help you get what you want from SEO. You can’t beat your competitor by following them. So, it’s the SEO mistake you mustn’t make. You may use the competitors as a reference to make a better strategy and outperform the competitors.
13. Not Utilizing User Behavior Data from Analytics
A smooth browning experience is a must for websites to nurture the users and facilitate sales. Even search engines promote you to do so and reward you with better rankings.
When you don’t track your site’s user behavior, how can you make the site better? It’s possible that your customers are facing some problems in placing orders, and that can be the reason for your low conversion rate. The analytics tool is an astounding tool to track your user behavior on your site so that you can make the optimization accordingly.
14. Unclear SEO Objective
More traffic isn’t the SEO objective. Actually, it is, but it’s not an effective way of setting SEO goals. You need to be meticulous with your SEO objectives to create an intricate strategy and drive the target results efficiently. When your aim is traffic, you can’t see the traffic from day one of SEO.
You have to set some KPIs to scale your efforts and progress so that you can refine the strategy for better results. Without any clear SEO objective, you won’t be able to channel your efforts in the right direction, delaying the results you would get right now.
Here is how you can set SEO objectives and achieve your goals.
15. No SEO Roadmap
When you move without any directions, you’ll reach nowhere. If you have achieved some milestones, then they are just coincidences. You always need a strategy or roadmap to accomplish your goals at a fast pace. So, the reason behind your non-delivering SEO can be an improper or no SEO roadmap or plan. So, work on your SEO strategy, and then execute it exactly to see the difference and have better results.
Read More: How To Create an Effective SEO Strategy
Technical SEO Mistakes
16. Slow Site Loading Speed
17. No Responsive Design
It is another page experience signal which is a ranking factor. After the mobile became the most used device, Google made the mobile experience a ranking factor. Now, your website should serve best to the users on the mobiles; otherwise, you won’t do well in rankings. Google even launched mobile-first indexing to prioritize the mobile-friendly site in indexing. So, it’s a must to make your site work perfectly, or you’ll lose tons of traffic and rankings as well. You may consider the responsive web design to make your site operate perfectly on different screen sizes.
18. 4XX Errors
4XX errors are the client-side errors that people encounter while accessing your site. These errors spoil the browsing experience of your site and decrease user engagement, which affects the conversion rate. Moreover, too many 4XX errors show little to no site maintenance and reduce your rankings. There are various client-side errors like 400 Error for Bad Request, 403- Forbidden, 404- Page Not Found, 408- Request Timed Out, etc.
You must do the technical SEO audit of your site to find the 4XX errors and other technical SEO mistakes and resolve them.
Read More: SEO Guide to HTTP Status Codes
19. Un-crawled Pages
Search engines need to crawl (read) and index (save) your webpages on their server to show them to the users. When you have web pages that aren’t crawled, which means they aren’t available to the users in the search results. Hence, you get no traffic on those pages.
You can use the “site:domain-web-page-url” to find whether your web page is crawled or not. You can also use the site audit tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, MozPro, Screaming Frog, etc., to get the crawling/indexing errors. Once you have the problem, you can resolve the issue with appropriate help. Search engines take some time to crawl new pages, so wait for some time, and if your pages are still not crawled, then you can follow the aforementioned approach.
20. Improper Handling of Robots.txt
Robots.txt file is a crawler directive that gives instructions to the crawlers or search engine algorithms for crawling your site. Robots.txt files allow the webmaster to have control over which page needs to be crawled and which aren’t. You can add the pages you don’t want to be crawled or indexed like T&C page, Transaction pages, User Details pages, etc. You are even capable of blocking the crawler of a specific search engine to read your website or particular page.
However, when you don’t handle these properly or make some mistakes with the syntax of the file, you might block the whole site for crawling/indexing, or your private information may even get crawled and indexed. Both the scenarios are a bummer, and you must handle Robots.txt files with utmost consciousness.
Read More: Robots.txt SEO Guide
21. Broken Interlinks
Interlinks are the links that connect the pages of the same website. Interlinks are vital to make things easily accessible. Like, services page links on your homepage make them easy to access for users. However, when you move your interlinked page, delete the page, or hyperlink the misspelled URL, then your interlink becomes broken.
Broken interlinks frustrate the users and keep them from accessing your products/services, preventing conversions. Too many internal broken links can completely spoil the site experience, which decreases engagement and rankings consequently. So, regularly do the maintenance of your site, and avoid such SEO blunders.
22. Broken Images
As images are vital to aid the engagement of your web pages, broken images do the opposite. And you must understand the significance of engagement till now. There are various reasons that can cause the broken images like error while loading, serve error, wrong path in code, etc. It’s crucial to continuously monitor your site for broken images and optimize them ASAP to stimulate the best site experience.
Read More: How to detect broken images on the website
23. No URL Optimization
URL is one of the three components of a search snippet. People only see title, description, and page URL in search results. Hence, URL has significant value for the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of your web pages. Any URL with random and special characters makes it look spammy to the users. People are super conscious about their security online, and any spammy-looking page triggers their insecurities and prevents them from clicking and visiting your page. Hence, a tiny URL can keep you from getting traffic.
You should always keep the URL human-readable and must show what users can expect post-click. Moreover, never leave spaces when you are making the URL; otherwise, space will be rendered as %20 in the public URL, which again makes your page look robotic and not safe.
24. No Hreflang
When you target an international audience and have your site in multiple languages, then hreflang tells the search engines to show the appropriate version of your site in a particular region. When you don’t use hreflang, search engines overlook the alternate versions of your site and may not show the right language site to the specific audience. This way, you don’t get any user engagement or businesses. So, always mind the hreflang on your website when you serve multiple languages.
25. Hreflang Conflicts
Sometimes, the page’s source code can conflict with the hreflang, which causes miscommunication with the search engine. This can again make Google show the inappropriate page in a region. So, look for the conflicts and ask your developer to resolve the issue.
26. Overlooking AMP (Accelerate Mobile Pages)
Google prioritizes the best mobile browsing experience, and AMP is the technology to make your site super mobile-friendly. When you don’t consider mobile-friendliness or AMP pages, you are missing a myriad of business opportunities. The mobile audience is gigantic, and it would be a counterproductive decision not to employ the AMP to make your pages mobile-compatible. Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor, and this SEO mistake can prevent you from having the best business.
27. No Sitemap
As the name says, the sitemap tells the crawlers about the site structure and available web pages on the site. Sitemap helps the search engines easily crawl and index the site without missing any page. When you don’t have the sitemap, it’s possible that all your web pages do not get crawled and indexed. Hence, your abandoned web pages from crawling/indexing, and you won’t get any business from those pages. This is too much value to pay for such SEO mistakes. So, make a sitemap or install the plugins on your site to auto-generate the sitemap for the site.
28. Outdated Sitemap
An outdated sitemap also creates a huge impact on your site crawlability and indexing. We continuously add new pages on our site to get more business, but search engines might not crawl your new pages when we don’t update the sitemap.
Generally, Google can crawl the new web pages without a sitemap, but when your new pages aren’t interlinked on some crawlable web page, crawling possibilities are negligible. So, why do we take this chance and compromise with the business? Always update your sitemap when you add new pages to the site or install the plugin to update the sitemap whenever you upload new pages on the site.
29. Orphan Webpages
Crawlers move from links to links, and when some of your web pages aren’t linked anywhere from crawlers can come to your pages, then they get abandoned from crawling. It’s crucial to optimize the orphan pages; otherwise, you lose the business that those web pages would have earned. The best practice to avoid this is to interlink your new pages on the crawlable pages and add new pages to the sitemap.
Read More: How To Find Orphan Pages
30. Too Many Redirects or Redirect Loop
Redirects are for taking users from a page URL to another. Mostly, when you move your page to a new location or delete the page and want to take users to something relevant, redirects are used. However, when you use a series of redirects for a page, then it causes an error “Too Many Redirects” or “Redirect Loop,” and the page won’t show up. This practice spoils the user experience, which ultimately affects your business.
Read More: Troubleshooting: Too Many Redirects
32. No Canonicalization
Canonicalization is telling search engines which one is the original among the various copies of the page. For example, www.example.com and www.example.com/ the same for us, but search engines treat them as separate pages, and due to the same content on both the pages, it creates the duplicacy issue. Hence, even variation of the URL can cause the duplicate content problem, and canonicalization is the way to prevent it. On eCommerce sites, the same product appears in multiple searches due to filters also causing the duplicate content issue. Like a page of black sports shoes will appear in both filter results “black shoes” and “sports shoes.” Canonicalization is the only way to avoid it or, this SEO mistake degrades your authority, and you’ll never get top rankings.
33. Abusive Interstitials
Interstitials or pop-ups are common on sites, and it’s alright to use these. However, when these interstitials don’t allow users to access the page information and close it, then it’s wrong. You shouldn’t force users to take any actions, and this kind of practice is forbidden. These are one of the page experience ranking factors, and abuse of these can harm your ranking and traffic. So, never consider such lousy SEO practice, and offer the best site browning experience for fruitful results.
34. No Structured Data Markup
Structured data or Schema markup helps the search engines understand the context of the content. It gives additional information about the content and improves your rankings on the relevant search queries. Google promotes webmasters to use the Schema markups, and if you don’t use these, then you might not get the rankings, and your site content won’t show up as featured snippets. You can use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to incorporate the structured data on your site.
Read More: What Is Schema Markup? How to Use It for SEO
35. Hacked Website
Google is always concerned about the user’s security, and any malware attack or your site being hacked can compromise that. Search engine algorithms can detect such activities and won’t give you top rankings to protect users from accessing your site and stay digitally safe. So, it’s crucial to use the best security system to protect your site from being hacked or infected by any malware. You may use the firewall and other security technologies to reinforce the security of your site and be safe for the users.
36. No HTTPS
When we search for something on the browser, a connection is formed between the browser and the server. HTTP shows the unprotected connection and is vulnerable to all kinds of cyber attacks. In contrast, HTTPS is secured by the SSL certificate and promotes safe browsing. Search engines even show you a warning when you try to access an unprotected or HTTP site.
So, get SSL for your site, and ensure safe browning for your users. Google considers HTTPS as a ranking signal, and it’s crucial for webmasters to have it in order to get better rankings.
37. Low Core Web Vitals Score
Google announced the new ranking factors for the betterment of the page experience. As page experience is the main priority of Google, they always keep trying to bestow the best amazing site experience to the searchers. The core web vitals have three factors that are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These three factors will focus on the Loading, Interactivity, and Visual Stability of the page. You can use the PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, Google Search Console, etc., to know your core web vital score. So, check and optimize your site for better scores and rankings.
Read More: Guide to Core Web Vitals
Off-page SEO Mistakes
38. Link Schemes
Link building is the major part of off-page SEO and has a big influence on your website’s authority. However, search engines want you to have natural backlinks that make sense to the users. Any links you get with no value to users and solely intended to manipulate search results aren’t right. All the link-building schemes like link farms, PBNs, spammy sites for only link building, etc., are prohibited, and search engines can detect such techniques easily. If you consider these techniques on a large level, your site can even get a manual penalty or deindexing, which is a nightmare. So, don’t risk your site and use only good link-building techniques to promote your site and earn backlinks.
39. Blog Comments/ Forum Links
Blog comments and Forums are never meant to be used for link building, but people did. Google noticed people doing link spamming through these techniques, and after that, blog comments and forum links lost their SEO values. So, don’t bother wasting your time on these techniques; you won’t get anything. Don’t make this search engine optimization mistake, and use your time on legit techniques.
40. Paid Link
Paid links are also the link-building technique Google doesn’t recommend. How can you get something good from Google when you do the opposite of what Google says?
Google even asks webmasters to mark the paid links as sponsored in the HTML. There is no sense in buying the links that will not drive traffic or business to you. Links matter as long as they benefit the users. So, don’t waste your money and earn natural links.
41. Sneaky Redirects
It is one of the forbidden techniques that you mustn’t consider. Sneaky redirects are the redirects that take the users to some irrelevant page before finally landing them on the intended page. People consider this to generate traffic for those irrelevant pages. Moreover, sometimes those middle pages are full of ads, and users were taken there to generate revenues. It frustrates the users, and search engines have strict policies against this. Crawlers detect such practices and push you down in the rankings so that users never have to deal with your shady approaches.
42. Spammy Backlinks
Some sites are being created for a link-building purpose and have low authority and no traffic. Any backlinks from such websites are considered spammy and devastate your domain authority. Spammy links spoil your backlinks profile, and you can’t rank in top positions. So, say no to spammy links and strive for high-quality backlinks. If there are any auto-generated spammy backlinks for your site, then you can disavow them with Google Search Console Disavow Tool.
43. Irrelevant Backlinks
When you make some backlinks from the sites that aren’t relevant to your business or niche, then they value nothing. Backlinks don’t work this way. A good backlink drives relevant traffic to your site and provides value to users. This traffic from backlinks has a high conversion rate and is definitely good for your business. In case of irrelevant backlinks, no user will click your link, and Google will know that your link is meaningless, and you get no benefits. So, ditch this SEO mistake and focus on relevance and quality.
44. Backlinks with Zero Value to Users
All search engines want you to earn and give the links that pass value to the users. These links should help them with their intent and fulfill their needs. All the links that fail to do so are useless, and you won’t see any improvement in rankings or your other motives.
Google even launched the penguin algorithm to restrict and penalize deceptive link-building techniques.
So, prioritize the users when making links if you want to grow organically with SEO.
45. Broken Backlinks
You have a page; you worked on its off-page SEO and earned some quality backlinks. Now, you moved this page to some new location, and all your backlinks have become broken. You’ll lose all the SEO value from those backlinks when they go broken. One case is that the webmaster misspelled your backlink while hyperlinking, and it’s broken.
You need to double-check your backlinks when you earn them. For the first scenario, always redirect your previous URL to the new location or request the webmaster to update the new page URL.
If you overlook the broken backlinks, then this SEO mistake can cost you a lot in rankings. So, audit your backlinks and optimize the broken links.
46. Unnatural Link Anchors
To get better rankings on some target keywords, webmasters make backlinks on those keywords only. They always use the fixed set of keywords as anchors to the backlinks. There is nothing wrong with it, but when your anchor doesn’t sound natural to the users or make no sense in the place, and then it’s wrong. So, make sure your content anchors mean well in the content and don’t sound forcefully stuffed or unnatural.
Other SEO Mistakes
47. Only SEO Value Collaborations
Co-marketing is a tactic where two brands collaborate to get the exposure of each other’s audience. It’s a legit and effective technique to generate fruitful traffic. The thumb rule is that this team-up should have some benefit for the users. When you don’t follow this rule and only focus on marketing, then users won’t participate in such activities. Users are your customers, and without their participation, your marketing efforts are senseless and wasteful.
The target is to get more traffic customers, not a link on the other website.
48. Improper Data Tracking
SEO seems basic, but it requires intricate data analysis to create effective strategies and drive profitable results. Google Analytics is an excellent free tool for data tracking. When your tracking setup isn’t right, you won’t get the right data, and your decision on that data will be ineffective. So, set proper tracking in Analytics to get the correct data. Moreover, you may consider the Google Search Console to monitor your site’s health and performance data and make suitable decisions.
49. No KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
KPIs are essential to scale the performance of your SEO or any other efforts. For example, your goal is 100 sales of product ‘A‘ in a month after three months. So, if you only consider the goal to measure the progress, then it’s possible you don’t see any improvement in the first month and might be in the second month. However, when you make traffic and engagement in your KPIs, then any increase in the traffic/engagement of your product’s ‘A’ page is progress. With KPIs, you can precisely monitor your strategy and outcomes. You can even make the changes in the current approach according to your KPIs. So, it’s crucial to set KPIs; otherwise, you might work on an ineffective strategy and end up wasting time with no profitable results.
50. Poor Integration with Other Marketing Channels
SEO isn’t the only technique you work on, and there will be many other marketing techniques you’ll work on simultaneously to promote your business like PPC Advertising, Social Media Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Email marketing, etc. All these marketing techniques should work in tandem to deliver efficient results. Poor integration results in low efficiency, which is undesirable.
51. No Optimization According to Algorithm and Core Updates
Google is always optimizing its search algorithms to better search experience and provide intended information in minimum search attempts. They roll out new ranking factors, algorithm updates, and core updates to make it better than yesterday. As an SEO or business owner, you need to monitor these updates and optimize your site accordingly to perform better in search. For example, Google rolled out the new ranking factors, i.e., Core Web Vitals.
Now, those who don’t optimize in accordance will lose their ranking in search. So, SEO isn’t a one-time thing, and if you think so then, it’s the biggest SEO mistake you have to work on.
52. Bad Customer Service
Humans are your customers, not search engines. If your business doesn’t serve them well, then nothing will work for you. Unhappy customers give you bad reviews and never refer to others, which degrade your online reputation, and no marketing techniques will work for you.
Your marketing efforts will work when you serve your customers best. You have to deliver the best quality product and provide the best post-sale support to build a relationship with your customers. If you don’t do it, someone else will, and overtakes your business. So, ignoring customer service is the severest SEO or business mistake you can make.
53. Not Following The Trends
The Internet is never still, and things change every moment. There is always some trend going on the web, and you have to keep track of these trends to generate some new business opportunities. Like many businesses offered freebies or safety kits during the pandemic to their customers. Many brands made their premium services free for some time. Such efforts humanize your brand and help you connect better with customers, strengthening your customer relationship and brand loyalty.
You may also consider the seasonal trends or festival trends to generate additional traffic, engagement, and business. Voice search is the upcoming trend, and you must optimize your site for voice search to stay in business. Being on top of the trends is the best SEO technique that you must consider.
We’ve covered a lot.
Now pat yourself, and get ready to ensure that you aren’t making any of these mistakes.
SEO is the continuous process of refinement and will go on continuously. Don’t make any of these SEO mistakes, and nurture your business for steep growth.
If all these things are overwhelming for you, Marketing For You is a Toronto digital marketing agency that has significant SEO experience, and would love to work on your SEO project and boost your business growth.
If you are confused, then utilize our free consultation, don’t waste time being bewildered, and use that time growing your online business.
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