While SEO remains an essential approach to online marketing, the trends and guidelines keep evolving. As a result, there are many pitfalls you can run into on your quest for a better SEO rank.
Below we’ve compiled a list of some of those mistakes, hoping to help you avoid them, or at least fix them if you happen to spot any in your own SEO strategy.
Top 10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2020
While some of the SEO mistakes below will cost you time and money, others may get your website penalized or even outright removed from search results.
Not Hiring Professionals
Yes, if you have the time and the skill, it’s possible to improve your website’s SEO on your own. In fact, this might be the way to go for small businesses or startups with a low overall marketing budget.
But the fact is that hiring an SEO agency or expert means that you have someone experienced covering your SEO needs 24/7. SEO professionals make it their business to stay on top of new trends and guidelines. They also know what works and what doesn’t, which will save you time and provide better results in the long run.
Using Black Hat Techniques
Black hat SEO techniques use methods that go directly against search engine rules and guidelines. These can include buying links, hidden text, spamming comment sections, and many more.
While these methods can give you a quick boost in SEO rank, all they lead to in the long run is having your website flagged and penalized by Google and other search engines.
Being Irresponsible With Keywords
Keywords are the lifeblood of SEO, and not using them properly will damage your ranking more than anything else on this list. This applies to both under- and overusing keywords.
First, you need to research your keywords thoroughly before you even start implementing your SEO strategy. This way you avoid wasting time, effort, and money on nonstrategic keywords that won’t produce any results.
Second, keyword stuffing, or using too many keywords in your copy, is also considered a black hat technique. You won’t just waste your time doing this, it might actually lead to you getting penalized or banned.
Thin and Unoriginal Content
Quality and valuable content is one of the foundations of any worthwhile SEO strategy. Just having content isn’t enough, it needs to provide useful information to your visitors if you want to see an improvement in your SEO rank.
Prioritizing quantity over quality with your content won’t help your ranking, especially if there’s better content to be found elsewhere. Your content should aim to educate, inform, or entertain your visitors.
Duplicate content is especially frowned upon, no matter the origin. Even if you’re copying content from your own website and not somewhere else, search engines are most likely to just flag it and exclude it from search results.
Forgetting Search Intent
Search intent is becoming a big factor in SEO ranking, and for a good reason. People who use search engines have questions they need answers to, and you should do your best to make sure it’s your website that provides them.
Only Focusing on the Text
For a long time, text has been the most effective tool for content marketing. Even now, blog posts with valuable content and quality links are a surefire way to increase your SEO rank.
However, there is truth to the claim that video is the future. With Youtube becoming an increasingly important source of information, more and more Google search results lead directly to videos. Even podcasts are starting to gain more traction.
While text still takes up the majority of content marketing, ignoring video and podcasts will hurt your ranking in the long run.
Not Adding Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Title tags are an often overlooked part of SEO. They determine the title when your pages get shared on social media or when someone bookmarks one of your pages.
This means your title tags should make it easy to find out what the page is all about at first glance.
For example, a title tag for your blog post should put the actual title of the piece first and follow with your domain name. This way, the first thing a potential visitor sees is the title of the post, which is far more likely to catch their interest.
The same is true for meta descriptions, which appear under the title of your page in search results. These are limited to 160 characters and are the pitch you need to nail if you want to attract visitors to your website.
Ignoring Local SEO
While focusing on the big picture with our SEO strategy, it’s easy to overlook the importance of attracting a local audience. This can be especially valuable if you run a brick-and-mortar business that depends on local customers.
Local SEO is designed to help you with this, by relying on local content, links to other local businesses, and customer reviews.
For instance, a Baltimore SEO agency should focus on links and testimonials from local clients. This way, they are far more likely to be at the top of the search results for local SEO professionals.
With almost 50% of all traffic coming from mobile browsing, it’s clear that leaving this market untapped can spell disaster for your SEO rank.
Your website needs to be ready to cater to mobile users by using a mobile-friendly theme and incorporating a responsive design.
Not Using Google Analytics
Finally, for SEO to be truly effective, it needs to be constantly measured and improved upon. Google Analytics is a free tool that helps with this, offering a range of features that will help you see which parts of your SEO strategy work or don’t.
Using these tools, you’ll have a first-hand account of how well your SEO efforts are working when it comes to Google. Use it to gauge which types of content attract the most visitors, and what marketing techniques improve your ranking the most.
The Bottom Line
SEO is an essential tool in today’s hyper-connected market. Focusing on the right SEO tactics to use will get you some of the way, but avoiding mistakes is just as important.
Getting familiar with the challenges presented above will help you be on the lookout and keep you a head above the competition.