5 common SEO mistakes that are killing your organic search potential

What was once a cloak and dagger practice of keyword stuffing, cloaking and PBNs, SEO is now, or should be, an everyday discipline of the modern marketer.

An SEO website analysis reveals what your marketing team are doing well – and what you’re doing badly, or not at all. 

Here are five of the most common SEO faux-pas we unearth – and how to fix them.

1. Not having an SEO strategy 

There’s no room for debate here, if you are competing for market share online, any competitor worth their salt is investing in organic search; and therefore, so should you! 

During the 2020 pandemic, over 85,000 online businesses were launched in the UK, meaning that building your business’ online presence is more important than ever.  

A common misconception among decision-makers is that once their shiny new website is up and running, that’s it, job done!

This is, unfortunately, never the case. Even after you’ve crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is, there is still work to be done. 

From technical and content SEO to link building and content marketing, your website is never ‘finished’. 

Don’t be the CEO of ‘company A’

For example, CEO of company A is happy with their site’s organic search performance:

  • They’re sitting on page 1 for target keywords
  • Traffic levels are good
  • Leads are rolling in

Great – no need for any SEO work, right?

So wrong. 

Fast forward 6 months

  • Competitors B and C have employed the services of an SEO marketing agency
  • Each has skyrocketed up the SERPs, pushing company A down to page 2

Fast forward 12 months

  • Company A is lost somewhere deep in the SERPs
  • Traffic has all but disappeared and leads have dried up

The point is, there is always someone coming for your spot and, if you’re not fighting for it, they’ll take it!

2. Ignoring the mobile experience 

If you want to be successful online in 2021, you absolutely MUST optimise your site for mobile users. 

Google has universally rolled out mobile first indexing. This is what it looks like – the mobile version of your site is considered more important when it comes to ranking, partly because your customers demand it. 

In fact, 60% of all web searches now take place on a mobile device and, depending on your industry, this figure can be much higher. 

What your mobile experience should offer

  • A fully responsive design for a consistent, cross-device experience
  • Mobile-in-mind content 
  • Fast loading times 

Whether you engage the services of an SEO digital marketing agency or take on the challenge yourself, a mobile SEO strategy is vital.

3. Missing Metadata 

Metadata refers to your:

  • Page title (also known as the meta title)
  • Meta description (the text you see in Google SERPs)
  • Schema (structured data)

Page titles

Page titles are a direct ranking factor and should:

  • Exist (good start!)
  • Contain appropriate use of your target keywords (preferably at the beginning in case your title is truncated by Google!)
  • Be somewhere between 55-60 characters long

Google rewrites for relevance

Google will rewrite any page titles it doesn’t deem relevant to the pages content, so ensuring they are well optimised is vital. 

Meta descriptions

While meta descriptions aren’t a direct ranking factor, they do have a big impact on CTR (click through rate). 

If you’re a marketing-minded person, you’ll also realise they are, basically, free advertising space.

Craft great meta descriptions

Each page should:

  • Have a unique 160 character description
  • Contain any (relevant) information you want users to see before they hit your site 

Schema (Structured Data)

Schema is back-end code that organises content (or data). It’s also known as structured data because it provides a framework for the way information is presented.

Google likes information to be well-organised so it doesn’t have to work hard to understand what is on a page. And if Google likes it…

What you can Schema

  • FAQs
  • Author/person
  • Organisation/business
  • Products
  • Careers
  • Local business
  • Article
  • Literally dozens of other types of information

4. Not collecting data 

Whether your website objective is to generate leads or sell products and services online, collecting and analysing customer data should be a key part of your SEO as well as your overall business strategy. 

How to collect data

Free analytical tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console offer invaluable insight into your customers and the journey they take throughout your site. 

These tools provide real time data on customer behaviour, your website’s performance, and search appearance. 

After all, how do you know if your strategy is working if you aren’t monitoring its performance?!

5. Not building links  

Arguably one of the most challenging areas of SEO, external link building is a crucial element of any SEO optimised marketing strategy. 

The most important thing to remember about link building is that quality is way more important than quantity. 

Google views backlinks as votes of confidence, and so while quality backlinks from trustworthy, credible and authoritative sites will increase your rankings, poor quality links from low-authority, spammy and/or irrelevant sites will harm your site’s organic performance. 

There are several tried and tested link building strategies favoured by SEO services companies including email outreach, link reclamation, guest posting, broken link building…the list goes on!  

Backlink strategy

If you’re looking to build links, you should: 

Clean up/ remove any undesirable links currently pointing to your site

  • Identify who/ where you want to receive links from and which pages you want them to link to 
  • Establish and implement defined methods of link acquisition 
  • Include an internal linking strategy – when implemented correctly, internal links can distribute page rank gained from external backlinks internally and boost the authority of the linked-to pages. 

What are PBNs?

Honestly, they are so 2005. Private Blog Networks (PBNs) are grey hat SEO at best and black hat SEO at worst. The practice is still going on in the SEO industry but it’s risky and we don’t recommend it. There are longer lasting, more sustainable ways to improve your organic search performance.

Takeaways

  • Have a strategy
  • Make it a mobile-first strategy
  • Pay attention to metadata
  • Collect data
  • Include a link building strategy

Can we help?

If you need help improving your organic search, we can help you understand your data and create a strategy that helps to build and maintain high SERP positions – ask how.


Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

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