More Common SEO Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)
Updated: Jan 6
There are many moving parts in a website, and it can be difficult to manage and update all your content to meet the evolving demands of search engine optimization (SEO). While your website might have been thriving with high conversion and traffic last year, those techniques may no longer be suitable for the latest developments in SEO and digital marketing strategy. As such, it’s important to reflect on your mistakes and shortcomings, and look for ways to quickly bounce back. In this follow-up to our last blog on SEO mistakes, here are some more common errors to watch out for on your website and, as always, some tips on how to fix them.
Broken links and dead pages
Broken links and dead pages are a common SEO issue. As your website grows, pages and sections of your content can get moved around, updated, and even deleted. If you’re not keeping a close eye on all these adjustments, a slew of 404 errors can quickly slip through the digital cracks. At the same time, sometimes dead pages are no fault of your own. Maybe you had a link in your content that redirected to a page outside of your site, but that external website did their own refresh and shifted things around. If your link isn’t updated, then you could be sending your site visitors to a dead page, which can quickly decrease your credibility and conversion rate.
Thankfully, there is an easy solution to managing broken links. Take some time every week (or every month if that better suits your content schedule) and review your pages to ensure all your on-site links are functioning properly and any dead pages are removed and de-indexed. Though this may seem like a tedious process, ignoring broken links is detrimental to your SEO. It’s not just your users that experience the frustration of navigating to a dead page. When a crawler finds them, that’s a strike against your site’s ranking on the search engine.
Weak on-page content structure
Organization is key component of any website and ensuring your users can navigate through your content with ease. However, if your on-page content doesn’t have a purposeful and consistent structure, your SEO suffers and you miss out on ranking opportunities. Whenever you have content on your page, it should follow an established hierarchy with appropriate headings. For example, your page title should be coded as an H1 tag, which alerts your user and search engine what the content on the page is about. Your subheadings should then follow the rest of the hierarchy, with H2 tags for the next major section, followed by H3 and H4.
Fixing your on-page content structure requires the same effort and care as fixing broken links or dead pages. You need to take a little bit of extra time to examine how your existing content is structured and what errors might be present and harming your SEO. Maybe you’re using an H4 tag instead of an H3 tag for one of your subheadings. Maybe one of your pages uses H2 tags for subheadings but then your other pages use H3 tags. Or maybe you have no established structure, and you tend to hop back and forth between your tags. Whatever the case may be, the solution is to first establish a hierarchy that makes sense, then adjust your existing content, and then stick with it for the future. Depending on your coding skills, you may need to reach out to a web developer or your IT centre for some extra help, but it will be well worth it for your long-term SEO. (Image courtesy of SEOptimer.com).
Poorly written content
When we think of technology, we often overlook the importance of words and how we convey thoughtful information to our audiences. We can get hung up on the technicalities of design and presentation of our websites, and we end up rushing through the copy because we want to get things uploaded and onto the web as quickly as possible. Poorly written content is one of the trickier SEO mistakes to fix simply because it takes practice. Originality is key for this aspect of SEO, primarily because search engines will pick up on weak, duplicate, and unoriginal content. Just like in school, you don’t want to plagiarize. But putting in some effort to write something new will be rewarded.
Your written content should be adding value to your site, and usually that means helping your users in some way or educating them on the latest news in your industry. Many companies tend to share this kind of written content through regular blog posts. It can seem difficult in the beginning to constantly come up with ideas for a blog, but the ideas themselves don’t necessarily need to be original. For example, there are several blogs from other websites and companies that have already looked at SEO mistakes. But what you’re reading here is our own take on the subject matter. We’ve shared our opinions and our advice, and the resulting content will (hopefully!) rank high in a search engine, engage our users, and create more conversions and leads in tandem with the rest of our SEO.
Forgetting title tags and meta descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions are another key component of SEO. But like compelling written content, they are often forgotten in the rush of uploading new posts to your website. Though we’ve mentioned H1 tags already, title tags are a little different. Title tags are an HTML element that specify the title of a webpage, that is, the words that are displayed in the clickable headline on a search engine results page (SERP). Companies sometimes get a bit lazy with title tags and just keep their name as the title for every page, and that’s unfortunately damaging for SEO. Each page should have a unique and descriptive title that shows both users and search engines exactly what’s on the page. Meta descriptions then function alongside title tags in SERPs since they provide the necessary context to support the headline link. If you don’t have any meta descriptions, users will be less inclined to click on your site in a web search.
While it used to be a bit laborious to add title tags and meta descriptions into your website code, most website platforms, such as Wix and WordPress, have built-in sections for you to fill in. You can then carefully pick your titles and write punchy and clear meta descriptions to boost your SEO. For your titles, you can certainly maintain your company name, but make sure to supplement it with other keywords for the page. For example, take a look at the title tag for the CodeMasters Inc. services section of our website. It says “Services | CodeMasters | Website Design and Digital Marketing Agency,” which describes the page and maintains the company name at the end. Likewise, our meta description on a Google search quickly highlights what our company does, almost like a sales pitch: “Welcome! We are CodeMasters, a web design agency in Hamilton offering turnkey solutions for small businesses.” Our description is clear and direct with relevant keywords, and it makes users want to click on the headline to find out more about us. And most importantly, it’s effective for our SEO. (Image courtesy of Wix.com).
Lack of call-to-action elements
Call-to-action (CTA) elements are important for keeping users on your website, and if you don’t have enough, you damage your SEO. Title tags and meta descriptions are key features of SEO that get visitors onto your site, but CTAs keep them engaged and exploring. CTAs encourage users to interact with your site, often prompting actions through “Buy Now” or “Learn More” buttons. If you don’t have enough CTAs on your website, users might feel inclined to bounce back to Google to find a more inviting site. But if you have too many CTAs, that’s not good either. Your user might then feel overwhelmed and not know where to click, which also causes them to leave your website.
Picking the right CTAs for your website can involve some trial and error, but they are important for enhancing your SEO. If your site’s landing page doesn’t have any CTAs at the moment, you should start with one that conveys your company’s main purpose. Are you selling something? Direct your user to “Buy Now.” Are you providing a service? Prompt your user to “Get in Touch.” Are you hoping to educate and provide information? Invite your user to “Learn More.” Take some time to figure out what you want your users to feel motivated to do when they first visit your website, and more CTA ideas will quickly follow. Eventually, you might put a CTA at the end of your content, like we do with our blog posts, so here we go:
If you are looking for more assistance with improving your SEO, feel free to contact us. One of our experts will be in touch shortly and ready to offer credible advice and recommendations for your business.