If you’re managing a website or blog alone, soon you’ll realize there are a lot of nitty-gritty things that you need to iron out when comes to SEO. Without proper guidance, we’re prone to making SEO mistakes unintentionally. As a results, our site couldn’t rank in search engine results and it requires additional time and effort to rectify the mistakes.
Although making mistake is part of the learning process, it’s a painful process and can be avoided if we were told upfront. I wish I were told earlier for some of these common mistakes so that I can do it right the first time. Anyway, for the sake of our readers, especially new blogger, I strongly urge you to be alert of these 11 common SEO mistakes and avoid them when building your website.
Alright, here you go the list, in no particular order:
#1 – Duplicate Content Within Your Domain
While we all know that we shouldn’t copy content from others, this type of duplicate content is actually referring to the same content appears on different pages or posts within the same domain. For instance, for a post title on “how to avoid duplicate content“, we might assign it under “seo” category and, at the same time, a “how-to” tag. Given a simple permalink structure, the same post can be accessed through the following two URLs:
In the absence of any SEO settings, search engine will likely to index both URLs for the same post. As a result, we’ve indeed created duplicate content unintentionally. Though duplicate content is not always treated as spam, you might lose crawler cycles from search engine when the search bots discover and index the same content on different URLs from your site.
These crawler cycles could have been deployed to crawl and index other fresh content that you’ve published instead. Having duplicate content is not just wasting crawler resources but could also hurt your site’s SEO.
How to Avoid Duplicate Content Within Our Site?
You can use canonical tag to tell search engine the original source of the content. That means, in the <head> tag of each duplicate page, add the following line:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/post" />
In the above case, you’re telling search engine that the source of the content is from “http://example.com/post”. Not to worry about inserting the code, you can do this easily with the Free Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. Just insert the source URL under the Yoast SEO’s advanced setting panel on your WordPress page or post which looks something like the screenshot below.
Alternatively, you can also use the “Noindex” function from Yoast SEO’s general setting panel to tell search engine not to index the duplicate content.
It’s all up to your personal preference. In the example above, my setting is to index “category” taxonomy but not to index “tag” taxonomy for simplicity.
#2 – Keywords / Anchor Text Stuffing
Despite keywords and anchor text are key to improve SEO, it shouldn’t be used to manipulate search engine robots. Your content should be written for human and not search engine robots.
Don’t try to outsmart search engine. Stuffing your content with unusual repeated keywords and anchor text links might raise a red flag to search engine that your site looks spammy. When the damage is done, it takes more time for you to recover.
Just a little tip on the anchor text link – Avoid using the same anchor text in your links multiple times. Try to have some varieties in your anchor text. Example: if your target keyword is “best cupcake recipes”, instead of using the same keyword as your anchor text link over and over again, it should have some diversities like:
- “best cupcake recipes from xxx”,
- “tasty cupcake recipes”,
- “get the best cupcake recipes”, and etc.
#3 – Irrelevant Links Building
Stick to your niche and interact with the relevant influencers when building your site’s reputation. If your site is about sharing food recipes, it doesn’t make sense to link with an automobile site who sells spare parts, right?
This is just an example, the gist of it is not to build excessive irrelevant links. In short, be clear of what kind of links that you want to build and use the “nofollow” relationship attribute wisely, where appropriate.
#4 – No Social Presence / No Contact Info
Somehow, the trustworthiness of a website has some unspoken correlation with the information disclosed, especially on the ownership and contact info. Site without contact information appears to be less trustworthy. Don’t you think so?
Unless you’re doing something fishy, else I would strongly suggest to at least provide a link to your social media profile in the contact page. It’s even better if you’re comfortable to indicate your physical address and phone number on the contact page. This will definitely help in your SEO. No joke!
#5 – No Unique Title Tags and Custom Meta Descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions give the first impression to your potential audience before they click into your site from the search results.
Apart from SEO purposes, a well organised website should have unique title tags and custom meta descriptions for all pages and posts. It simply doesn’t look professional if all the title tags and meta descriptions are same and don’t reflect the content of the individual page or post.
At the minimum, we should vet through the title tag and meta description to ensure it reflects the content whenever we make any publication.
#6 – Having Poor / Thin Content
The direction forward is to create quality content. As an internet user ourselves, we don’t like to read non value-added articles. So does search engine. You might be able to rank with poorly written or copied content from your other SEO efforts in the short run, but over time, this is not sustainable.
So, bear in mind that if you’re serious in building a sustainable website, put in more effort to ensure that your content is well written and user-friendly. If your site is image heavy, make sure the descriptive alt tags is added.
#7 – No Proper Redirection of URLs
If you’re moving from an old to a new site, you’ll probably need to use redirection to send your visitors to the new site. Failing to do so will result in broken link and lost of inherited SEO link juice from your old site.
The proper way to do this is to use a 301 redirect to tell search engine bots that the page has moved permanently to the new site. This free Redirection WordPresss Plugin is handy to setup the redirection requirements.
#8 – Using the Wrong Keywords
Sometimes, we tend to dive straight into content creation without really conducting a proper keywords research in our niche. By doing this, we may hit the right keywords by chance. However, at the same time, we run the risk of focusing on the wrong keywords which may either be too competitive or totally no demand for the keywords.
It’s advisable to do our keywords research before channelling any efforts to build it. Google Keywords Planners is a great free resources to conduct our research and it’s widely used in the industry. Alternatively, if budget allows, Moz Pro’s Keyword Explorer is another great tool for us to have a sense of the search volume, difficulty to rank, click-through opportunity and potential for the keywords that we’re targeting.
In the screenshot example above, you can see how Moz Pro’s Keyword Explorer summarize the data for the keyword of “easy souffle recipe”. It also presents user with alternative keyword suggestions as well as the SERP analysis of the existing sites that rank for the keyword. The best part is, it currently allows you to check 2 keywords per day for free. Pretty cool, right?
#9 – Not Linking Up with Google Webmaster Tools
If you’ve not linked up your site with Google Webmaster Tools, please do so immediately. It’s the best platform to understand how Google sees your site, from search appearance, traffic, google index, crawl statistics to security issues.
It’s very user-friendly, just follow the steps in the webmaster platform and setup your account to improve the search presence of your site. Here is the example of steps to setup your accounts.
#10 – Not Tracking Your SEO Effort
We wouldn’t know whether our SEO effort is effective or not if we don’t track it. In other words, without tracking, we don’t know what works and what doesn’t work.
So, do keep track of your SEO efforts and try to match the results with your expectation. Be it backlinks, keywords or domain rank tracking. Discard what doesn’t work and focus on those that bring value. That’s how the learning process should be. Agree?
#11 – Not Creating Link Worthy Content & No Outreach Plan
It’s a fallacy that great content will rank by itself. Personally, I tend to disagree with that as great content will probably remain hidden if there isn’t any proper marketing effort done, or vice versa.
While creating quality post sets the base for link worthy content, an outreach plan should be in place to surface the articles to the target audiences. Just like if you’re a great singer, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll become a superstar if no appropriate marketing effort and/or platform to broadcast your talent to the rest.
This post is best to read before you start a website so that you’re aware of the common SEO mistakes and can stay away from them in your web building journey.
Nonetheless, don’t worry if you’ve made any of the mistakes above. It just requires additional time and effort for you to rectify the mistakes. It’s not the end of the world.
Do you have anymore common mistakes to share? let us know in the comment section. Cheers!