Most Common SEO Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Find the most common SEO mistakes we notice in many sites and how to identify, avoid and fix these issues and make your site rank better

By Claudio Pires
Updated on September 26, 2022
Most Common SEO Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Here you’ll find the most common SEO mistakes we notice in many sites and how to identify, avoid and fix these issues and make your site ranks better with simple optimizations.

It’s essential to start with our vision of SEO, namely holistic SEO. This means that we don’t just focus on the technical aspects of your site but also see content and User Experience (UX) as an essential part of SEO. Therefore, the tips outlined in the article below will cover the strict definition of SEO and include many other aspects that site owners should pay attention to.

Most Common SEO Mistakes

Forgetting that faster is better

The first thing I’d like to touch on is site speed. The faster your site, the more Google will favor it. There’s a handy tool from Google itself to check your site speed: Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool gives you an overview of what aspects need improvement to boost the speed of a particular page.

One of the recommendations I frequently give as an SEO consultant is to optimize your images. A lot of websites have relatively large images, which take a lot of time to load. Resizing your images can speed up the loading time. If you have a WordPress site, this can quickly be up by installing a plugin that does that for you.

Another tip I frequently give people is to enable browser caching and gzip compression. Both of them will speed up your entire site. The first makes your site faster to load for returning visitors, and the latter compresses static files, which makes them faster to load into your browser.

In case of a WordPress install, I recommend looking at the activated plugins to fix SEO mistakes. Are you using all of them? Perhaps some of them can be replaced by another plugin that combines those functions? The best advice I can give you on this topic is that less is more. The fewer active plugins, the faster your WordPress installment can load.

Trying to rank for the wrong keywords

To rank in Google, you must ensure that you’re using the right keywords for every page. One of the biggest SEO mistakes I frequently encounter is that site owners optimize for generic keywords. If you are a relatively small business that wants to rank for ‘rental car, you’re aiming too high. You should try to come up with something more specific than that. Otherwise, you’re competing with all the car rental companies worldwide, which is impossible to do! So at least ensure you add the area in which your company is located to the keyword. This will make the keyword more long tail, as we call it.

The longer and more specific the keywords are, the higher your chances of ranking for this keyword. Of course, this also means that the search volume for this keyword decreases, but you can compensate for this by optimizing many pages on your site for different long tail keywords. Your site will eventually gain more traffic for all these combined keywords than it ever would if you optimized for one main keyword, for which you could never rank page 1 in Google.

Failing to invite people to visit your site

Metadata is what appears on search engine result pages (SERPs) when a website comes up for specific queries. It includes the title of the page and its meta description. The page title is still one of Google’s most important ranking factors, so you have to ensure it’s optimized correctly for every page. This means adding the relevant keyword to each page and ensuring that your page title isn’t too long. If your page title is too long (currently 400 to 600 pixels), it will get cut off in Google. You don’t want potential visitors to be unable to read the full title in the SERPs.

The meta description is not a ranking factor, but it does play an important part in optimizing your Click Through Rate (CTR). CTR gives insight into how likely potential visitors are to click on your site in the SERPs. Optimizing your meta descriptions with clear and attractive extracts of what potential visitors can find on your site makes it easier for them to see if the information they’re looking for is on that page. The more likely potential visitors are to think your site will provide an answer to their search query, the more traffic a page will gain. So, a great way on how to fix SEO mistakes.

Neglecting to write excellent content common SEO mistakes

Most Common SEO Mistakes
Most Common SEO Mistakes

Avoid these SEO mistakes. A lot is already written on this blog about writing excellent content, but I still frequently come across sites that do a poor job of writing content. It’s essential to ensure every site page has a decent range, at least 300 words. You can’t expect Google to see you as an expert on a specific topic when you have only written two sentences about it. This indicates to Google that your page isn’t the best result to match the search query.

Remember that you don’t need to think of Google as your audience. You write for your visitors and not for Google. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and provide the best answers possible. Therefore, writing quality content for your audience is also something that will immediately lead to Google’s approval.

Writing quality content means writing original content. This is also important to avoid duplicate content with other sites. And it means that sites have to stop stuffing keywords into their texts. Your text has to be easy to read for your visitor. Your visitor doesn’t benefit from a keyword stuffed text, which decreases the readability. As a result, you’ll fix many SEO mistakes this way.

No call to action for your visitors

Once visitors are on your site, an important goal is to keep them on your site. You don’t want your visitors immediately returning to Google once they have read something on your site. This is why you need to encourage visitors to click through your site. The best way to do this is to create a call-to-action (CTA), a button that offers an action to your visitor. This can be, for instance, a ‘buy’ button on a product page or a ‘sign up button for the newsletters.

Make sure every page has one call-to-action so the page’s goal is clear. You lose the page’s focus if you add multiple buttons, and your visitors won’t get where you want them to go. So think about what the right goal is for every page. Also, ensure that the CTA stands out from your design, so it’s visible and cannot be missed. If the button blends into the design of your page too much, it will attract fewer clicks than when it stands out. So don’t be afraid to use a distinct color and fix these SEO mistakes!

Not thinking ahead common SEO mistakes: The future is mobile

Since Google announced that they would switch to mobile indexing next year, you should be busy preparing your site for this change. ‘Mobile indexing first’ means that Google will look at the mobile version of your site to decide how high you should rank. So if the desktop version of your site is set up brilliantly, but your mobile site isn’t responsive, you have a lot of work to do if you don’t want to suffer a rank drop over the next year.

Using Google’s mobile-friendly test is a great way to test if your site is at least mobile-friendly. This indicates if Google thinks your site is fit for displaying on mobile devices. But don’t stop after checking this. The best advice I can give you is to visit your site on your mobile phone. Browse your site for a while and try to click on every button, image, and link to see what happens. Is everything working as expected? Can you purchase something on your site while using your mobile phone? Are all pages displayed correctly? You will see that most sites have some work to do this fall. Follow it and avoid these SEO mistakes.

Keywords that are too hard to target

An SEO joke says, “The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google.”

There’s a truth to this joke – no one clicks on the first page of Google. This means that for each keyword you want to target, you only have 10 positions. (Today, with Google rolling out various SERP features, that number is even smaller.)

The situation is highly competitive. However, not for every keyword. Of course, some keywords are so popular that every website wants to rank in related fields for those keywords. To get good grades here, you have to compete very hard, which usually means you need a lot of resources. Other keywords are less competitive, making it easier to rank for them.

How to Avoid This SEO Mistake

When you search for keywords in Keyword Explorer, you can filter them by Keyword Difficulty (KD).

KD is an SEO metric that estimates how difficult it is to rank for a given keyword on the first page of Google. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, with the latter being the hardest to rate. Which KD area should you hire? The correct answer is that it depends on your site’s authority, ability to build backlinks, etc. However, an excellent exercise to consider is to look at the KD values ​​for the keywords your site is already ranking for.

You can do this by entering your site into Ahrefs Web Explorer and going to the Organic Keywords report. This gives you a good benchmark. But keep in mind that this is just an estimate. It’s not a substitute for actually researching the top-ranking pages and considering your own SEO skills and available resources.

Violating Google’s Terms of Service when creating a link

You understand that links are important, so build them aggressively. But over time, you realize that some people will ask for something in exchange for linking to your content. They know that buying backlinks is not okay. But how about giving them something else in return?

Reciprocal backlinks, even one of your products? If it’s not cold hard cash, it should be fine…right? After all, it’s like giving away free products to influencers hoping they’ll feature your brand on their social networks. Correct? Unfortunately, no. According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, link schemes include:

Buy or sell links through PageRank. This contains:

  • Firstly, Exchange money for links or posts containing links
  • Secondly, Exchange links for goods or services
  • Send someone a “free” product in exchange for writing it and including a link
  • Finally, Excessive link exchange (“link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner sites for networking purposes only.

So even if you don’t hand over your fiat currency, you’re violating Google’s Terms of Service – your site could be penalized.

How to Avoid This SEO Mistake

Promiscuous sites willing to trade something for a link often leave a visible footprint that will sooner or later be picked up by Google and result in a “link sale” penalty. In short, don’t offer payments or products when doing public relations.

In short for fix SEO mistakes

As an SEO consultant, I’ve seen many sites making the same SEO mistakes. Learn from the ones I listed in this post: focus on site speed, write great content and optimize for the right keywords. If you make sure people want to visit your site, have great calls-to-action, and prepare for mobile, you’re already on your way to a well-optimized website, the holistic way!

Claudio Pires

Claudio Pires is the co-founder of Visualmodo, a renowned company in web development and design. With over 15 years of experience, Claudio has honed his skills in content creation, web development support, and senior web designer. A trilingual expert fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, he brings a global perspective to his work. Beyond his professional endeavors, Claudio is an active YouTuber, sharing his insights and expertise with a broader audience. Based in Brazil, Claudio continues to push the boundaries of web design and digital content, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.