Google controls 91.33% of the search engine market and is the world’s most visited website…
…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 is a short(er)-term aim that you should all be targeting, but, if you can climb to that all-important first page on Google (and stay there) you’re set.
I’ve already put together a guide to Google’s 35 Most Important Ranking Factors in 2018, but, those super-valuable SEO strategies are worth nothing if you make the Google ranking mistakes listed in this blog.
Yes, this is SEO and I know you’d rather be watching your favourite sitcom but stick with me for 5 minutes, it might just transform your website.
Google Ranking Mistakes #1: Chasing the Rank
Before we get into the (slightly more) technical stuff, let’s look at our Google ranking 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) 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. Optimise your page for search after you’ve made it amazing for your 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. 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.
Google Ranking Mistakes #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 is a clever machine, it knows when you’re keyword stuffing. But what makes this one of the worst Google ranking mistakes is the reader’s experience.
When you use the same word or phrase over and over and over again, readers give up and abandon ship. This negatively affects your behavioural stats and Google will push you even further down their results.
Aim for a keyword density of between 0.5 to 2.5% of your text.
Google Ranking Mistake #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’, opening up a new post on your website and hitting ‘cmd + v’, Google is going to penalise you.
You’ve got a brain, think of something yourself!
Plagiarism may have worked once a 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.
Google Ranking Mistake #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.
We post new content on our site 4 or 5 times a week and that means lots of new (potential) SEO problems.
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.
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.
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 mistake of avoiding performance measures like this!
Google Ranking Mistake #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 result rankings. If you’re still on HTTP, move to HTTPS as a top priority.
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 Don’t Get Labelled ‘Not Secure’.
Google Ranking Mistake #6: Not Optimising For Mobile
Mobile has a 51.7% share of all internet usage, compared to 44.12% for desktop (September 2018)…
…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!
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).
AMP is a Google designed and owned web format, and it’s free. Find out more about it in our guide to creating lightning fast web pages for mobile visitors.
Google Ranking Mistakes: Conclusion
In this list I’ve rounded up the 6 BIGGEST SEO mistakes that we (regularly) see from clients, enquiring businesses and general web browsing.
If you’re making any of these google ranking mistakes, it will massively affect your organic traffic, and have negative implications on your long-term digital strategy.
As a site 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 mistakes and check out 35 of the Most Important Google Ranking Factors in 2018 to ensure you’re primed for long-term success.
What do you think of this blog? Is there anything MASSIVE that you think I’ve missed? Leave a comment!