The Most Common SEO Mistakes Made By You

by Josh Barney

Google controls 92.51% of the search engine market* and is the world’s most visited website…

*At the time of writing (source).

…so, when it comes to formulating a long-term digital strategy it’s definitely the best place to start.

Buying ads, driving paid traffic and direct visits via social media are short(er)-term aims that you should all be targeting, but if you can climb to that all-important first page on Google for a high volume search enquiry (and stay there) you’re set.

I’ve already put together a guide to Google’s 35 Most Important Ranking Factors, but, those super-valuable strategies are worth nothing if you make the SEO mistakes listed in this blog.

#1: Chasing the Rank

Before we get into the (slightly more) technical stuff, let’s look at our SEO mistakes from a much broader stand point.

If all you’re doing is chasing the rank, you’re making a huge SEO error. Yes, you should be optimising and aiming for the first page of Google, but this should go alongside a much bigger aim.

Above all else, your website (and every little piece of content published there) must have a purpose. You must solve a problem, educate, entertain, provide answers…it doesn’t matter, as long as it serves a purpose for your audience.

google search console update

Optimise your content for search after you’ve made it an amazing resource for your target audience!

Google might only be a computer algorithm but it knows when you’re trying to cheat. Nothing says cheater more than instant exits, high bounce rate, low pages viewed per visitor and zero engagement (shares/likes/comments).

Your website must be primed for a specific audience and it must serve a purpose for them. 🎯👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🔧Click To Tweet

When you own content that is interesting for an audience, Google will see this and show your website to more searches. Aim for high quality content that is optimised for search, and you’ll get the W.

BTW: Get a massive increase in your search traffic by using the tried and tested strategy in this blog: How to Find Old Content That Guarantees Clicks From Google

#2: Keyword Stuffing

Google attempts to match a search query to its most suitable results and in order for it to do that, Google tries to understand your website via its content…

…this is why so many site managers stuff their keyword(s) absolutely everywhere.

google ranking mistakes keyword stuffing

Google is a clever machine, it knows when you’re keyword stuffing. And the reason that this is deemed in such a bad light by Google (and one of the biggest SEO mistakes) is because of the reader’s experience (aka the User Experience).

When you use the same word or phrase over and over and over again, readers give up and will abandon your content.

This negatively affects your behavioural stats and will push you even further down their results.

Keyword stuffing might sound like a great tactic to beginners, but anybody with experience online will soon tell you how costly it can be!

Aim for a keyword density of approximately 2.5% of your text. Don’t get greedy!

#3: Plagiarism 

Copying is lazy, dumb and seriously uncool.

If all you’re doing is finding high quality articles (that has taken a content creator hours of hard-work and research), hitting ‘cmd’ + c’ (copy), opening up a new post on your website and hitting ‘cmd + v’ (paste), you’re going to get penalised for this big SEO mistake.

You’ve got a brain, think of something yourself!

BTW: If you’re stuck for ideas, discover how I turn one blog post into months of social content, or how I come up with all my content marketing ideas!

google ranking mistakes content creation

Plagiarism may have worked once upon a long-time-ago, but it doesn’t anymore. Search engines have been primed to spot the cheats and penalise them.

Copying and pasting is the equivalent of emailing spam, it just doesn’t work anymore.

Plagiarising content or publishing the exact same article in multiple digital locations could have seriously damaging effects on your website. 👯‍♂️⛔️‼️Click To Tweet

Use a tool like answerthepublic to discover the most searched questions around a keyword in your industry, analyse your competitors content to see what’s performing and use this as inspiration!

DO NOT copy, it’s a massive SEO mistake and could completely tank your website.

#4:  No SEO Checks or Measures 

Without regularly checking your SEO performance, you can’t keep on top of and fix errors.

There are two approaches to this and I suggest you use both.

  1. Prevention

We post new content on our site 3 or 4 times a week and that means lots of new (potential) SEO problems.

The Einstein Marketer team makes sure all our quality content is primed for Google by using a must-have plugin called Yoast.

Yoast is super easy to use and I consider it the ultimate SEO mistake prevention tool, especially if you create content on a regular basis.

It works via a traffic light system. A red light shows that you’ve done something wrong, an orange points you to improvement and green means all is good.

It measures a whole host of different on-page SEO factors and helps you prevent a ton of different google ranking mistakes.

google ranking mistakes yoast

You should also make sure that you have submitted your website’s sitemap to Google, on their Search Console. This will notify you when there are errors, and allows you to keep a regular check on the ‘Coverage’ of your website.

  1. Cure

The more you prevent, the less you’ll have to cure. But even if you’re all over the Yoast plugin, something can occasionally slip through the cracks.

The best way to cure is to use an SEO performance tracker, find problems and fix them. There are lots of different tools, some paid, some free.

Personally, I use a free Google Chrome Extension called CheckBot.

Simply click the CheckBot extension when you’re on a webpage and it opens a new tab with a KILLER amount of useful information.

google ranking mistakes checkbot

It ranks the page and everything in it as a percentage. If something is already perfect, it marks it with a green tick.

Go through everything with a low percentage and fix it. Whatever you do, don’t make the SEO mistake of avoiding performance measures like this!

#5:  HTTP 

Google want to protect their users at all costs and therefore, security is one of their top priorities.

Websites on HTTP aren’t necessarily trying to harm their visitors, but they certainly aren’t as secure as HTTPS.

Google only made this change recently and it has had a huge effect on their search ranking results (aka the SERPs). If you’re still on HTTP, move to HTTPS as a top priority.

google ranking mistakes HTTP

There are many paid ways to move over to HTTPS (as you’d imagine), but you can do it for FREE too.

If you’d like to find out more check out the ‘Get Encrypted’ section of our post ‘Don’t Get Labelled ‘Not Secure’.

#6:  Not Optimising For Mobile

Mobile has a 52.02% share of all internet usage, compared with 45.29% for desktop (Source, January 2o20)…

…but even though it’s the world’s device of choice, website owners still forget to optimise for it!

Just because you’re managing your website on a desktop that doesn’t mean your audience are visiting there.

In order for me to demonstrate how important this is, the next time you’re at a desktop computer, perform a Google search on your mobile, and then on your desktop. Notice anything?

The results are different!

This gives websites who optimise for mobile a greater chance of quickly moving up the Google rankings. The best way to do this is to make sure your page is formatted for mobile and it’s optimised for mobile speed.

You can make your website load instantly for mobile users by using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

google ranking mistakes amp mobile optimisation

AMP is a Google designed and owned web format and it’s free! Using this tool will help your desktop ranking, as well as mobile.

SEO Mistakes

In this list I’ve rounded up the 6 biggest SEO mistakes that we (regularly) see from clients, enquiring businesses and in our general web browsing.

If you’re making any of these SEO mistakes, it will massively affect your organic traffic and have negative implications on your long-term digital strategy.

As a website manager, you must prioritise your user’s experience and your website’s access points.

Google is a great way to find highly-qualified traffic, but if all you’re doing is hunting clicks, you’re going to lose in the long term.

Avoid these 6 SEO mistakes and ensure you’re primed for long-term success with SEO tactics like LSI Keywords and how they can help you rank! And The Keyword Strategy That Increased Our Organic Traffic By 1,312%!

Want more? Check out our most popular articles:

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer, best selling author and creator of the He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links so he can get back to writing as himself.

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