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6 common SEO mistakes you need to avoid

By June 19, 2023 Stories
Working on a computer

They don’t call this the digital age for nothing – according to Statista, 91 percent of Australians use the internet for communicating, entertainment, shopping, and business purposes – and your business is out there competing for their attention.

The question is – how do you stand out in a sea of 8.5 billion daily Google searches? The answer lies in your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) mistakes.

Google doesn’t drive traffic simply because you published your website (if only!), you need ongoing SEO to keep telling the search bots you’re alive and well.

A monthly SEO retainer fed with key-word rich content will see your website gain visibility, reach your core customers in a cost-effective way, and drive those oh-so-sweet conversions.

Need more convincing?

Since 90% of Google users never click to the second page, it’s incredibly advantageous to your online presence to maximise your visibility.

However, the goal is more than just ranking highly on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). It’s about reaching your target audience through meaningful content and providing the best user experience.

While there are plenty of tips and tricks you can implement to boost your website’s rank, there are also many mistakes you should avoid, which are just as valuable to your SEO strategy.

To ensure you’re not shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to running your own SEO, check out the six most common SEO mistakes we see our clients making.

1. Slow Website Speed

They say, “good things come to those who wait”, but unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to waiting for a slow website to load.

Internal studies conducted by Google found that when a website responds slowly, visitors will spend less time on it (go figure!).

Google Search Central shared that since 2010, speed has been a factor in Google’s search ranking algorithms and having fast page speed contributes to a higher rank on SERPs.

A simple way to increase your website speed is to review your image size and format, considering images make up 42% of an average webpage’s weight.

To assist with this, most photo-editing tools like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, and Canva have built-in image compression features to make re-sizing a breeze.

Your Action: Open a new tab now and assess the speed and performance of your website using Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse.

2. Not Optimising Your Website for Mobile

looking at a phone

Have you ever been out and about and needed to Google something from your phone? Yep, you and everyone else in the world.

In 2022, mobile phones generated 61% of website traffic, with most people shifting their preference towards browsing on mobile rather than desktop. It goes without saying, having a mobile-optimised website is essential.

Google has established three core elements that make an effective mobile website:

  • Fast loading to not deter visitors.
  • Easy navigation with simplified site menu and layout.
  • Easy to act and perform common tasks, such as communicating, searching for a product, and making a purchase.

The challenge (and risk) we see most clients make is they only test their website at work on a desktop, don’t make this SEO mistake too.

Instead, a tailored approach should be made to treat both desktop and mobile to accommodate different users and needs.

Your Action: Visit Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse to assess the speed and performance of your website on mobile.

3. Lacking Location-Specific Pages

location shot

“Near me” searches have risen with more people searching for businesses within their vicinity.

According to BusinessDIT, 88% of mobile searches lead to a store visit, a phone call, or a purchase within a week.

Having local visibility has become crucial for many businesses to influence brand awareness and local traffic, which can increase your rank in SERPs, making it easier to be discovered by your target audience.

Websites need to provide content that accurately reflects the business’ location, services, and products, as well as tailored content that is valuable to the local audience.

From a content perspective, this is an easy win through topics, images, and videos relevant to where your business is based.

Your Action: Review your website content to ensure there are enough location mentions. Remember to ensure you’re not creating too many location-specific pages as you may be recycling the same content, which Google may penalise as spam.

4. Duplicating Content

Google defines ‘duplicate content’ as “blocks of content within or across domains that completely match or are appreciably similar”.

While you won’t necessarily be penalised by Google, duplicate content can sometimes impact your SERP ranking and dilute your visibility – our advice is to always write original content.

When a website has multiple pages that share similar or identical content, it can be difficult for search engines to decide which page is most relevant to a given search query, which can have the effect of misdirecting your target audience.

Google Search is always working to better connect people to helpful information. In August 2022, they launched the “helpful content update” to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people.

Content made primarily for search engine traffic is strongly correlated with content that searchers find unsatisfying.

When it comes to creating people-first content, Google recommends these questions as a guideline:

  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • From the reader’s perspective, will they feel they’ve learned enough and find the content enjoyable?

Your Action: Ensure future ideas are original and relevant to your visitors so they are continuously exposed to fresh content.

5. Keyword Stuffing

working on a computer

Keyword stuffing is where websites contain titles and blocks of content full of high-traffic buzzwords to manipulate search engines to improve rankings. These words are often repeated unnecessarily and placed out of context – and from the reader’s perspective, they are downright annoying.

At first, keyword stuffing was an effective strategy to rank highly on SERPs, but search engines evolved and became smarter.

Google utilises Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to understand your content, interpreting words and synonyms related to keywords or key search terms to determine your SERP ranking.

Google can develop a precise understanding of your content to share more details or nuances of your products and services. This makes it easier to distinguish your content from similar websites or competitors.

Overusing buzzwords looks spammy, awkward, and ingenuine, and reduces the quality of your content. Websites can be penalised and removed from SERPs.

Your Action: Write content that is direct to the point and useful for your audience, not Google’s search bots.

6. Not Using Google Analytics Data

Finally, the biggest SEO mistake you can make is not analysing your data.

So, you’ve taken the time to implement everything you’ve learnt above, but how will you know your changes are making a difference to your SEO?

Cue Google’s latest superpower – Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

Google Analytics 4 is the next-generation measurement solution and is replacing Universal Analytics as of July 1, 2023.

It’s a platform that collects data from your website and app to provide insights into your business and customers. You can track traffic and conversions and see your popular pages (and not so popular pages).

By understanding how visitors interact with your website and across platforms will aid in creating a better user experience.

Without analytics, it’s difficult to run effective marketing campaigns, track results over time, and determine if you’re successfully boosting your SEO.

While these handful of SEO mistakes is only the tip of the iceberg, making small but useful changes can have a huge impact on your SEO.

TL;DR: There are no shortcuts to simply rank highly on SERPs. It’s about connecting with your target audience through genuine and meaningful content and providing the best user experience possible.

Stuck on what to do next? We’re only an email away!