The 10 most common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them

The 10 most common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them

What is the reason for a bad ranking? Hair-raising content, a confusing link structure, or naive keyword stuffing? This article explains the most common SEO mistakes and shows how they can be avoided with a few tricks.

1: Using the wrong keywords

The most important basis of search engine optimization are the so-called keywords (search terms). If you sell sneakers that glow in the dark, then your online shop should rank high when users search for them. But which keywords describe your shop or the products best? Luminous sneakers? Flashing shoes? Sneaker with light?

In order to have all the important keywords on the screen, it is advisable to research with special keyword tools. Experts like to work with the Google Keyword Planner, but also the Keyword Finder or Ubersuggest.

Also Read – 12 Best Keyword Research Tools

2: Pictures and videos are not optimized

Images loosen up websites and ensure a pleasant user experience? This is how it should be, but if images and videos are not optimized, loading times can quickly become uncomfortable, especially when the images are too large, and the user experience becomes frustrating. Therefore, you should always adjust the size of the images to the bare minimum.

Images can also be enhanced with tags. An alternative text can be defined in the source code for images using the alt tag, and a name can be assigned using the title tag. A sensible name for images such as glowing-led-shoes.png helps search engines to better understand your images.

Additional tip: Do not name your pictures with an underscore. If you write glowing_led_ shoes.png, Google calls it “glowing leather shoes” because underscores are connecting elements. Hyphens, however, are recorded as a separating element. The perfect spelling is, therefore: “glowing-led-shoes.png.”

Also Read – Guide On Image SEO

3: Splash Screens – cool entry, terrible SEO

Some websites use an impressive Flash animation as their homepage. This is a cool start but results in a terrible ranking if the website’s link is also based on Flash. Then Google cannot even recognize the entry page, and that is fatal! The entry page has the greatest importance in the ranking and should be recognized by Google.

4: Duplicate or bad texts

In SEO, duplicate content is not recommended, even if it would be more time-saving for you to simply copy text from one page to the next. If texts that can be found on different URLs are too similar, a website will be devalued. In the worst case, pages can even be filtered out – when they no longer appear in the Google ranking.

Therefore, avoid copying the content of other pages; instead, create unique texts for each of your category or product pages.

Common mistakes made by duplicate content:

  • Contents can be accessed with and without “www”.
  • Contents can be called up via the “http” as well as the “https” protocol.
  • Contents can be called up with or without a final “slash”.
  • The start page can be accessed via several URLs.
  • Contents can also be called with parameters.
  • URLs are case-sensitive.
  • Content can be accessed via several views (URLs).
  • Wildcard subdomains are accepted by the server.
  • Test systems or similar are released for indexing.
  • Partially missing canonical tag.
  • Wrong URL components lead to duplicate content.

5: Incorrect indexing by filter URLs

The last tip is followed by an important question: What happens if an online shop offers different filter options, such as color variants? Then the contents of the pages are almost identical. Is that also “duplicate content”? Yes, it is, but there is a solution to alert search engines to this special case: the canonical tag.

The Canonical Tag indicates the unique URL of the page. In this way, the search engine learns which page should be preferred, and the duplicate content does not have a negative effect on the ranking. In addition to the canonical tag, all filter URLs should be set to NoIndex.

6: Too much interaction with Flash or AJAX

Flash and Ajax can be used to create striking designs for websites. They are ideal for unusual interactions that stay in visitors’ minds and create a high recognition value. The problem: Hardly anyone will see this great design because search engines don’t list the pages.

Flash and Ajax content can usually not be read by the search engines. The content is hidden and significantly worsens the ranking. Therefore, it is important to use Flash and Ajax sparingly and put the most important information on the website as pure text and images.

7: Using bad url structures

Have you thought carefully about your website’s URL structure, or do your URLs look more cryptic like this one:

Your website’s URL structure is more important than you think because it is a ranking criterion for search engines. It is best to get support from an expert. He will collect the best keywords for you and create an optimal URL structure. This is characterized by “speaking” URLs, with which the user can directly determine which content awaits him on the page.

8: Metadata is missing

Don’t focus your web pages on what you can see. The so-called meta information is also important and should not be missing in any case. Search engines read this information, evaluate the page based on the information, and create a preview in the search results.

In any case, store a meta title and a meta description for your website. Only the meta title is indeed relevant for the ranking, but the meta description is an important reference point for the user and should, therefore, also be given attention by you. Enrich the meta-information with Keywords too.

Also Read – Title Tag and Meta Description Optimization: This is how it works

The optimal title consists of 55 characters, and the description should not be longer than 156 characters.

9: Links are falling into chaos

If you pay too little attention to your links, you are giving away valuable ranking potential. Above all, the cooperation with partners brings valuable external links positively rated by Google and gives your website higher weighting. So try to win link partners who are thematically related to your website.

Internal links do not deserve neglected treatment either. Create a concept for the internal links that enables a meaningful link structure. Pay attention to suitable link texts, because words like “here” or “read more” give away potential and should be avoided. Instead, name your internal links with the exact terms.

The different link power must also be taken into account. The navigation, sidebar, footer, and breadcrumb links are usually linked page-wide and are more for usability. The content links, on the other hand, have more power than the other links. This also applies to backlinks.

10: Using hidden texts + keyword stuffing

Those who still place hidden texts on their websites or enrich their pages with as many keywords as possible are using tricks that have long been out of date. These SEO manipulations were once able to deceive Google, but today you can achieve the exact opposite and even risk a warning. For example, white text on a white background has become an absolute no-go.

Conclusion: Always think through SEO measures sensibly

The ten most common SEO mistakes show that you can go wrong in search engine optimization. This is no reason to bury your head in the sand. If you avoid the 10 mistakes presented and take our tips to heart, you will save a lot of time and money, and you will be rewarded with consistently good rankings.