Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing practice that will get your business on the top of Google’s search pages. Though all aspects of SEO are important, on-page SEO can ensure more targeted traffic reaches your website. Knowing what not to do for on-page SEO is just as important as knowing what to do. Here are just a few of the most common on-page SEO mistakes you should avoid:
1) Duplicate Content
If you have duplicate content – content that is exactly the same as content on another site – expect lower rankings. Google’s crawlers don’t know the original from the duplicate. It is estimated that 50% of websites have duplicate content issues. If yours is one of them, fix the duplicate content as soon as possible. Replace it with completely original quality content.
2) Broken Images and Missing Alt Tags
Search engines can’t see your images, so they depend on alt tags to let them know what the images are depicting. Research shows that 45% of websites have missing alt tags, and another 10% have broken images. Crawlers will rank your site lower if they discover either of these issues. On top of hurting your on-page SEO, it also tanks your user experience (UX). Also, users who come across a website with broken images are likely to bounce quickly. You don’t want a high bounce rate because Google sees that as an indicator of a poor-quality website.
3) Using Nofollow Tags to Hide Pages
Most website owners hide some content from search engines, either to prevent duplicate content issues or to hide a customer-only page. A common mistake here is using the not-so-effective “no-follow” tag. It’s okay to hide pages, but if you don’t do so successfully, it can become a problem for your SEO. To effectively hide a page from search engines, add the following tag to the HTML head of the page:
4) Poor Quality External Links
Google, now more than ever, is looking to rank authoritative and quality websites. This means that the content on your site matters – as does the content that you link to from your site. Your anchor text – the words you use to link to other sources – should be relevant to the content you’re linking to. Unnatural language looks spammy to search engines and can decrease your rankings. SEO tools like Moz’s Link Explorer and Ahrefs let you scan your outgoing links to detect any that might be hurting your SEO efforts.
5) Poorly Structured Internal Links
Internal links point one webpage to the other on your website, so it’s crucial to be relevant and strategic when placing them. Google guidelines suggest that your internal link structure should be logical to rank well. Best practice for this means the pages of your website should be accessible within three clicks.
6) Slow Page Loading Speed
If your page takes too long to load, users will leave. When they do, it increases your bounce rate. When Google sees a high bounce rate, it automatically drops your rankings. According to research from Google, 46% of people say waiting for webpages to load completely is what they dislike most when browsing the web on their mobile phones.
7) Poorly Optimized Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Users see title tags and meta descriptions in Google’s search results. If the content is doing its job, users should click on your link after reading these descriptions. Google also uses them to categorize sites. Make sure your title tag and meta description contain your target keywords and that each title is unique for every page. Watch this two-minute video to learn how to set up the plugin and start using it right away.
8) Neglecting LSI Keywords
Today’s SEO isn’t only about the main keywords you’re targeting. You also have to consider “searcher intent” – all the other kinds of words searchers use to find you. Latent semantic indexing, or LSI, describes the keywords and their variations. Investing in LSI helps search engines better understand your content and the intended audience. Remember, Google’s job is to solve searchers’ needs first. When you help them solve that, they will give you a better ranking.
9) Thin Content Pages
Short content that’s fewer than 1,000 words gets extra scrutiny from Google. These thin content pages indicate a lack of depth to Google’s crawlers. Longer content will keep visitors on the page longer, too. Long-form posts tend to generate more leads than infographics, SlideShare, and short-form posts combined. Make your life simple: Write longer articles and webpages to rank better and grow your business.
10) Concentrating on Only On-Page SEO
On-page optimization is integral to your SEO strategy, but it’s only a piece of the puzzle. When you utilize both on-page and off-page optimization, you have a more robust approach. Off-page SEO includes the strategies you use outside of your website, such as link building, guest blogging, and your social media campaign. When done well, it should work hand in hand with your on-page SEO.
Keep Your Website Alive to Improve On-Page SEO
The biggest mistakes people make is ignoring their SEO or thinking of it as a one-and-done effort. SEO, like most things in life, should be nurtured to see a positive outcome. If you’re looking to get started with an SEO strategy or would like to improve what you’ve already done, contact our team of SEO experts today.