Whether you are new to SEO or new to business in general, there are a few initial problems that are likely to happen. No worries though – If you are aware of these common mistakes, you’ll be able to quickly maximize your optimization.
- Duplicate Content
29% of pages have duplicate content. By cutting down on duplicate content, your website can become more visible. In addition to duplicating content from other sites, it is easy to duplicate your own content. While tedious, it is simple to check your own website for having duplicate content on different pages. It is often caused by RSS feeds, incorrect internal linking systems, and guest bloggers. Similarly, duplicate tags can cause a problem as well. There are many external tools to fix these issues, including Google Webmaster Tools and Siteliner. This is an example of what you would see on Siteliner:
- Image Optimization
According to Raven Tools, image optimization is the biggest issue in SEO.
Salman Aslam says “a lot of people are using images with beautiful fonts and strong colors to make the page appealing, but to Google it’s just an image.” By using a combination of Web fonts, HTML and CSS, it’s possible “…to retain the beauty and achieve good SEO by creating all of the text elements within a banner as ‘live text’.” While image aesthetic is important to attract visitors, the visitors must first reach the website to even see the image in context. By implementing the correct SEO practices, that image can be fully appreciated to enhance the overall quality of the website and its content. Some of these practices include adding meta tags and descriptions to your images. This will improve their searchability. Additionally, any alt tags should be simple, concise, and specific.
- Meta data/descriptions
While this seems like a no-brainer, it is easy to choose the wrong keywords. Moz offers a great tool to choose the best tags. Tag length should be between 50 and 60 characters to avoid risk. However, like Moz explains, there is no magic number. Instead, focus on the quality over quantity to improve your click-through rate in search results. Keeping them unique is important to differentiate your website from competitors or websites with similar content. Curated suggests keeping tags in the format: Keyword Phrase – Category | Brand. If it is in your budget, Google AdWords is a great tool to use. The program helps you determine what your most beneficial keywords are for use in meta descriptions.
- Low/no content
Almost worse than duplicate content, no or low content can hold back your website. The Google update in 2011 dubbed Panda aimed towards preventing poor quality websites from making their way to the top of search results. No content seems obvious, but is low content much better? Seek to aim for greater than 500 words per page or post. Visitors want quality content and they want a reason to visit your site. Try not to overthink it – remember, this is your passion and your product! Make everyone else fall in love with it as much as you have. Other things to look for when improving your content are broken links, overuse of keywords, content with low or no traffic, or content with high bounce rates. Again, Google WebMaster Tools can help, but ultimately, your best bet is to pretend you are an authentic visitor. Explore your own website with a fresh eye.
- Poor Mobile Platform
Beginning in last April, Google announced that websites with a mobile version will have better search results. If visitors have trouble navigating the website on their mobile devices, they will not engage with your website because now mobile search queries surpass desktop searches. You can use DeepCrawl to double check your mobile interface before publishing. According to Google, you want to make sure your website is easy for customers. Then, measure the effectiveness by seeing how easy it is for your customers to complete tasks on your website. Additionally, make sure you’re using responsive web design. In other words, ensure your mobile template is the same across all handheld devices. Streamline your mobile platform, and visitors will engage with your site more. This ultimately increases your retention rate over time.
Have you experienced any other problems when you first began your SEO? Share in a comments below!