written by Brian Winters on Apr 28. 2020
Basically, search engine optimization seems very easy. You maintain your website, you write good texts and SEO is in order. Yet in practice we see many websites where there is room for improvement in terms of SEO. We list the 7 most common SEO mistakes for you. Handy as a checklist to see what you are already doing well and what you can still work on to make it easier to find.
1. Problems with HTTP status and server issues
A common SEO mistake is untraceable pages. 'Error 404 (page not found)': if the visitor to your website sees this error message, his confidence in your website will decrease. Often it concerns 4xx errors, broken links, redirects or the inability to open your website due to a long loading time. The search traffic will decrease, because the visitor will not be able to reach your website.
If server problems last for a long time, it will also affect your ranking in the organic search results. This also makes this technical mistake one of the major SEO mistakes. If visitors can't get to your website, crawlers can't either. And if Google does not find suitable results on your website to show to (visitors) searchers, your place in the search results will soon be forfeited.
2. Duplicate Content or Duplicate Content
Cutting and pasting is very common these days. We use it to create our papers and theses, as well as our websites. After all, why would you write something yourself if someone else has done it for you?
Well, because it confuses search engines when there are duplicate content on the web. Which result should be at the top now? At least not both. This is how you cut yourself with cut-and-paste work. So don't make this SEO mistake, remove it if you've done it and use the rel="canonical" tag if you really have to. With this tag you let search engines know which content should be shown, you avoid confusion and you improve the findability of your site.
Read more about it here improve technical SEO.
3. Broken links
Link failures are one of the most common SEO mistakes. Links on your website are important for the customer journey. They ensure that the visitor can move from one page to another and broken links always make for a bad experience.
Google does not give websites that provide a bad visitor experience a high place in the search results. These broken links are not just because a page no longer exists.
Sometimes an old HTTP site is referenced instead of HTTPS. Underscores in URLs also sometimes cause confusion for search engines. It is therefore important to regularly use a tool like SEMrush walk through and fix the broken links on your page.
4. No mobile-first website
Having a mobile-friendly website will become a ranking factor for Google in September 2020, also for organic search results on desktop or tablet. This means that for SEO optimization you have to ensure that your website meets the requirements for this time Google's AMP Guidelines. Read more about this here mobile first and other SEO trends.
SEO mistakes in this area usually have to do with style and layout. That makes sense given the difference in the size of the screen of a mobile and that of a tablet or desktop. In addition, a mobile-first website also ensures a good visitor experience on every device. And we can't repeat it often enough: the better the visitor experience, the higher you will rank in Google.
5. Site performance issues
The time it takes for your website to load is becoming increasingly important in SEO. People, especially on a smartphone, are very impatient and will switch to something else if your website doesn't load quickly. Slow-loading websites therefore do not offer a good visitor experience and Google prefers not to offer these. In fact: Google prefers a loading time of only 1 second!
6. Difficult to access for crawlers
For SEO it is important that search engine crawlers can reach your website. Without crawler access, your website will not be indexed either. Previously mentioned SEO errors such as 4xx errors, broken links and redirects can block that access. But also problems around the robots.txt file and the sitemap.xml file help the crawlability from your website.
Make sure your sitemap.xml is located and identified in the robots.txt file. Also make sure all your pages from the sitemap.xml file are accessible. Furthermore, when setting up the structure of your website, keep in mind that the Page Crawl Depth cannot exceed three pages in order to keep the site accessible.
7. Don't Get the Most Out of Your Meta Description
With title tag and meta description you can persuade people to click correctly on your website among all other search results. Make sure the keyword is in the meta description to be as relevant as possible. If not for Google, then to convince people that your website will have the answer to their search question.
Make sure the description is unique and appealing. Always write it yourself and don't leave it to Google to avoid a mismatch between search term and description. This way you increase the click through rate (CTR) and you let Google know that your site is what people are looking for.
Not an SEO mistake, but an extra tip
Don't forget Google My Business or Google My Business. Google My Business is of course separate from your own website, but it does make your company and website easier to find. It is wise to enter as much information about your company as possible. This makes the block of information about your company bigger, making it more noticeable. Read more about it here Google My Business.
Want to know more?
Do you want to know more about SEO and its optimization? Then read us SEO Handbook.
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