Common SEO Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)
Updated: Jan 6
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key component of any website, but it takes time, effort, and a lot of practice to master all its intricacies. Even if you’re working together with a team of highly trained specialists for your company or relying on what seems like a fool-proof, automated web design platform, mistakes still happen with SEO. However, many of the errors that slip through the digital cracks of your website are quick fixes, and the experience of working through them is a formative part of the web design process. Here are some common SEO mistakes that can happen on your website and, of course, some advice on how to fix them.
Slow loading times
Slow loading time is one of the more common issues in SEO, affecting big corporate companies as much as small local businesses. When your content isn’t quickly accessible, you risk losses in two ways: potential clients moving onto your competitor’s websites and falling in Google search rankings. A fast website is an indicator of quality, so you should take the extra time to optimize your loading times and preferably aim to get your site loaded up in under four seconds.
Fixing slow loading time comes down to measuring it with a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights (pictured right; courtesy of Developers.Google.com) or the integrated metrics of your design platform. Large images are usually the culprit of lagging websites, but you can quickly optimize them by resizing, removing, or swapping them for smaller images. At the same time, redirects, caching, and other aspects of website code can also cause slow loading. For the more complex elements of your site you may not be able to fix on your own, seek help from an expert.
Lack of mobile optimization
Smartphones have proven themselves to be the browsing devices of the future, and your website needs to take that into consideration with its design. Google and a number of other search engines are now using mobile-first indexing to evaluate websites and decide which ones are worthy of a high rank on a results page. While you may have a seamless desktop version of your website with easy navigation and accessibility, the lack of mobile functionality will be reflected in both your business performance and your SEO rankings.
Thankfully, Google has a mobile-friendly test (pictured right; courtesy of Developers.Google.com) that can check how well your website works on a mobile device. The test will examine the crawlability of your site along with indexing and other factors important to mobile browsing. However, you don’t necessarily need to even use a mobile testing site: just open up your website on your phone! Take a minute to browse your own site and interact with all its elements. Does everything open properly? Are there any design formatting issues? If you step into the shoes of your mobile client, you can quickly understand how to improve this component of your SEO.
Quantity over quality links
Linking is a key practice of SEO, but filling your webpages up with links is not always the best thing to do. The quality of external links is fundamentally more important than the quantity of links on your pages. You should be linking to relevant, high-ranking websites with credibility and a good reputation (e.g., sites on the first page of a Google search). But don’t overdo your linking either; Google’s ranking algorithm penalizes link-heavy sites, especially if they don’t present any unique content.
Purposefully linking to other pages will make the most sense for your own content and your SEO rankings. It’s also helpful to link back to sites that have already linked to your pages (backlinking), which opens the door for increased online traffic. As you publish new content, you should also make time to go back to some of your older content and check for broken links. You can look for better ways to integrate your links with clear anchor text as well, which shows both your user and search engines exactly what certain links are for. (Above image courtesy of Backlinko.com)
Too many keywords on a single webpage
Keywords are crucial for high-performing SEO, but the quantity-over-quality argument of linking applies to them as well. While you do want to feature a variety of keywords on your webpages, it can be harmful to have too many keywords that don’t make sense together. Many websites used to fit as many keywords and numbers onto a single page as a strategy for manipulating SEO, but search engine algorithms now pick up on keyword stuffing and penalize your search ranking accordingly.
Like link building, the best way to avoid unrelated keywords is to pick them more purposefully and only use words relevant to the topic of your page. On our CodeMasters Inc. blog, we cover many different topics with our posts, but we’re careful not to mention LinkedIn on an entry dedicated to Wix because it probably wouldn’t make much sense. We also do our best to incorporate keywords naturally and focus on providing valuable solutions and advice to our readers rather than take advantage of search engine algorithms. It takes practice, but you will find your groove very quickly. (Above image courtesy of ContentWriters.com)
Avoiding expert help
SEO really isn’t easy to manage on your own. While you may have designed and developed your website completely by yourself, there will still be frustrating obstacles and challenges along the road ahead. Even with access to countless analytics tools and online resources, it never hurts to talk to a real person with SEO experience. Speaking with an expert by no means reduces the great work you might have already done on your website. Rather, it shows your willingness to learn and make your website the best it can be.
At CodeMasters Inc., we are always here to provide expert advice to new and existing clients about how they can better optimize their websites and adjacent marketing tools. Our approach places you, the client, at the forefront of the design and development process, and we are committed to helping you grow both your online presence and your business as a whole.