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SEO can be a tricky business, with Google and other search engines regularly changing their algorithms and many modifications to commonly used platforms that can confuse laypeople and experts alike. Not to mention, your customers are spoiled for options and expect the very best of the websites they visit. If your site is slow, spammy, buggy or full of content stuffed with keywords, you will lose credibility, and your customers will go elsewhere. SEO helps address a lot of these problems and helps you improve your website usability.
Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can make sure your search engine optimisation game is on point. Below, we’ve compiled the top five deadly SEO mistakes that are losing your business customers and getting you penalised by Google. You can also read our SEO checklist to ensure you have everything else covered.
Ignoring Website Speed
This mistake tops the list for a good reason. Slow websites kill businesses for a variety of reasons, and Google does not look favourably on them either! If your site is slow, unresponsive (not able to conform appropriately to different devices), or otherwise buggy you will lose customers.
What A Slow Website Tells Your Customers
- Your business does not care about their time. Today, customers expect instant gratification- and they get it. If your website is slow, they will get frustrated and leave.
- Your website is potentially buggy. Aforementioned is especially true if you are selling products or the have an https website. If your site is slow people will be less likely to buy your products.
- Your business is not reputable. There are so many ways that even novices can create slick websites today, and your customers know it. A slow site looks sloppy.
Additionally, Google will not promote or elevate websites that have slow page speeds. Since around 2010, this has been part of their mandate and included in every algorithm since that time. It makes perfect sense; Google is a business, and they need to provide quality options to their customers. Also, slow websites eat up the time that Google has to crawl your pages, further hurting you in the search engine rankings. Having a slow site is doubly dangerous; you will be rapidly losing customers and being ignored or penalised by Google.
How do you fix it? You need to address your page speed. Page speed is how long a page takes to load. Back in the early days of the internet, we had sometimes wait minutes for a page with images to load. Fix your page speed, and you will solve the problem. To do this, check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If there is a problem, it’s time to go into the back end of your website and fix it.
Here Are Some Of The Many Ways To Increase Your Page Speed:
- Optimize your code- get rid of anything that is slowing down the works. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, enlist the help of your webmaster. It will take time to go through all of your pages, but it is worth it.
- Compress your files- big files that take forever to load are red flags. Compress anything that is huge, like databases, and your website will run quicker.
- Make sure you are using the proper image size- images that are gigantic can take forever to load.
Ignoring Canonicalization is a crawling problem for search engines that many webmasters tend to overlook. Often you will have duplicates of pages that you can’t see, but Google can. You are not deliberately making multiple versions of your pages, but it is easy to do so inadvertently, and that could be causing you significant problems with search engine optimisation. How do you fix what you can’t see? You tell Google that your page is the master page and to ignore all of the others. This is called canonicalization.
Canonicalization is a straightforward fix. You need to pop in the following code on your pages:
< link rel=”canonical” href=””http://thewebpage.org/index.php” >
This code tells Google not to bother crawling or ranking any other invisible duplicates of your page. This tiny piece of code will help your website run a lot smoother! If you are not comfortable messing around with the back end of your website, do not worry. You can always ask your webmaster to put it in for you. It is a simple fix that pays off big time!
Ignoring Redirects Or Multiple Versions Of Your Site
Some people think that buying up a bunch of different domains is a good thing, but it’s better to have everything redirect to the website you are using. Changing domain name can also impact SEO. If you are using
you are doing yourself a huge disservice.
Besides, a website can have multiple versions
Various sites confuse Google, and your overall domain authority gets distributed. With so much competition online, the last thing you want to do is alienate valuable customers by making them jump around different versions of the website including those that stem from improper ULR configuration.
To fix multiple URL problems all you need to do is redirect (301 permanent) the websites to ensure a single version of URL accrues all authority.
301 redirects should be implemented sitewide. Ensure you only serve a single version of your website. An excellent site to check this is HTTP status checker.
Ignoring Schema Markups
Schema markup gives search engines background information on the data you are presenting. It helps give Google context for what you are talking about and better rank you organically. There is various type of schemas available to be integrated into your website. A full doc on schemas is available here.
If you are using a CMS like WordPress, then there are WordPress plugins that can be used to introduce schemas on your page. IThere are plugins that can help you with properly entering your schema data and you can read more about what schema entails and how to use it properly here.
An excellent WordPress plugin to use for schemas is located here.
Check the schema for your website on the google structured testing tool here.
Keyword Stuffing Or Optimising For Anchor Texts
Keyword stuffing is one of the biggest no-nos when it comes to creating your website. Keyword stuffing falls squarely between the grey hat and black hat and is severely frowned upon by search engines because you are trying to cheat the system. Keyword stuffing is when you load up your content with the same word over and over again, regardless of whether it fits in the context, to trick Google’s bots into ranking your page higher. As you can imagine, the end user experience is not great either! The conversion rates on such pages are ridiculously low. It is painfully obvious when an article has been keyword stuffed, and most customers will find the content not credible.
Extreme examples of keyword stuffing include putting invisible text onto images or solid coloured boxes. This is highly unethical and unprofessional. If your company does this, or even dips their toe into grey hat keyword stuffing, Google will find out and send you tumbling to the bottom of the search engine rankings. Organic search engine optimisation is a long game, and there are no shortcuts. Avoid keyword stuffing at all costs.
Similarly, avoid stuffing your anchor texts. Anchor texts are hyperlinks that go to internal or external links. Links are excellent, and when used correctly can boost your SEO, credibility and make your website more robust. When misused, they can make Google suspicious. If you want to rank for “apples” and you have thousands of links to that word, it looks strange. What you want to do is come up with some different variations of your anchor text that all relate back to the keyword(s) you are looking to rank. Do this as part of your standard keyword research.
If you are building anchor texts around “apples” you might want to make your anchor texts as follows:
- Apple season in New York
- Best apples to buy
- Apple recipes
In addition to looking strange to Google, you will also alienate those all important, fickle customers who can go virtually anywhere else for products similar to yours. When building content and creating anchor texts, think about how smooth and readable the information is. You want to keep the search engines in mind, but you are also writing for human beings– not bots. Balancing the customer experience with staying competitive can seem like a tricky balance, but it is doable if you do a little keyword research. If you are uncomfortable conducting the research yourself, you can always hire an SEO marketing agency or individual to do it for you. They will explain the differences in the various keywords and talk to you about logical variations that will make your content more readable and keep Google happy.
Organic search engine optimisation, the kind where you rise in the rankings based on the quality of your content and how well your website runs, is not something you can excel in overnight. Depending on how competitive your industry is, it can take months or even years to get to the coveted first page of Google. In addition to the top five deadly SEO mistakes we’ve outlined here, there are a few other things you can do to boost your SEO. You should ideally hire an agency and use their premium value SEO package to improve your marketing.These are regular practices that will give you a lot of credit with Google over time.
Make Sure Your Content Is Relevant And Fresh
Anyone can slap up some generic content on their website, but your customers are savvy enough to be able to distinguish between canned material that does not help them and content that is engaging, relevant and authoritative. You do not need to publish new content every day, but it is essential to keep to a regular schedule and make sure that your posts are not just there to fill up space on your website.
Whenever you post a blog, put up a page or do just about anything on your website, make sure you are filling out your metadata. There are plenty of plugins for various platforms including Yoast, All in one SEO which is free, that will give you directions on how to properly fill out your metadata. Make sure you are filling it out accurately every time to get the right search engine optimisation boost from that particular piece. As with the pointers we discussed in this article, you want to make it easy for Google to rank you higher.
Being mindful of good and evil search engine optimisation practices will help your business grow, give you credibility in the eyes of your customers and increase your sales. Smart SEO is good for your internet web presence and your bottom line!