When it comes to digital marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most common and practical business tools. In practice, SEO focuses on increasing the relative level of organic traffic to your webpage by enhancing your website’s position in SERPs (search engine results pages). Sound simple enough, right? Well, it turns out there is a lot more to SEO than meets the eye, which is why businesses like ours exist – to assist your business with premium digital marketing support. If you try to in-house your SEO processes, then chances are you’ll encounter a lot of mistakes along the way.
Thankfully, you have come to the right place for clarification about SEO.
Here are the top 10 most common mistakes made by both qualified SEO consultant Sydney and businesses not versed in the subject matter. Don’t worry, since we will provide you with solutions to ensure you don’t make these mistakes again!
1. Duplicate content
Duplicate content refers to when you re-use the same content on different parts of your website. For example, if you are using mostly the same content for separate landing pages or FAQ pages, then you are duplicating your content, which will hurt its SEO value. While Google doesn’t currently punish websites that copy their content across several pages, your website will likely fall in the rankings, which is punishment in itself.
It can be hard to keep track of all the content that goes through your website(s), and self-plagiarising is quite common amongst copywriters. If you’re using previously uploaded content for inspiration or as scaffolds for future content, then unintentional plagiarism is likely to occur. Because of this, we recommend developing a stringent proof-reading and editing process before anything is formally published.
For every piece of new content, run it through a database like Copyscape – which you can use to record and keep track of all your private. Copyscape will run your content through the database, verifying that content hasn’t plagiarised other sources on the internet and your own previous uploads!
2. Your contact form has a low conversion rate
Did you know that less than half of customers who see a contact form on a website start filling in their details? Only 16% of those people complete the form entirely. There could be many reasons as to why your contact form isn’t generating the leads and returns you want. The most common complaint from visitors is that there are too many form fields and it ultimately takes too long to fill in the form. Another reason offered by customers is that there are too many options in the dropdown menus, which can frustrate visitors.
To make your contact form as streamlined as possible, reduce the number of form fields to help boost conversions. We recommend keeping your contact form to under five areas for the sake of simplicity. We also suggest enabling autofill for all of your contact forms by using the Google autocomplete plugin – this will expedite the process. Moreover, make sure it is optimised for mobile users since more customers are using their smartphones for online shopping and registration forms.
Coming in at number 3 on our list are broken links, also known as the dreaded “404 error”. Broken links can cost you a lot of money and prevent some of your webpages from being index properly. What do we mean by this? So, Google bots “crawl” your page, essentially performing an audit of each page. If they encounter a specific number of broken links, the bots are programmed to stop the audit and move on to another website. This means that some of your pages might not be indexed, which can harm your domain authority. Because of this, you must check each link on your site to ensure they are operational.
Thankfully, many different programs can identify if any of your pages have a 404 error. Google Search Console has what is known as a “crawl” feature, which can help you find broken links. Ahrefs, which is another SEO tool, can also assist with this process. Using the “Site Explorer”, you can filter out pages with a “404 not found” and begin classifying pages that need to be audited and fixed.
4. Ineffective meta title and description length
A lot of casual SEO technicians still get this part of the process. When it comes to meta titles, the optimum approach is to use separators, which allows you to address several keywords in the one header. For example, you might use this format:
Primary Keyword | Secondary Keyword | Business/Product Name
We recommend sticking to 50-60 characters for meta titles since Google will cut off anything post the 60th character. Regarding meta descriptions, Google allows up to 275 characters; however, that doesn’t mean you have to use all the text space (usually 160 characters will suffice). If you’re not getting any SEO value out of your meta titles and descriptions, then check out our recommended solutions below.
The relationship between SEO and meta titles/descriptions comes with a caveat – this being that meta titles and descriptions don’t generally affect SEO directly. However, the indirect consequences of poor meta titles and descriptions can be quite severe. To prevent these consequences, make sure the title and description include the keyword(s), thereby ensuring they are correctly optimised. Secondly, make sure each meta description is distinct and unique for each page, regardless of whether they are targeting the same keyword phrase. Finally, adding a call-to-action (CTA) to your meta description can also help, as it will incite some viewers to respond to your page immediately.
5. No location-specific pages
Because of the rise of mobile internet searches, location-based keywords and pages are growing in importance. Indeed, the phrases “near me” and the use of specific locational terms, like suburbs and cities, are becoming more common. So, one of the biggest mistakes still made by a lot of businesses is not engaging with geography when designing their webpages. If you operate across multiple states or even just different areas within a state or territory, it is undoubtedly worth developing location-specific pages for your website.
We’ve already given you the solution to this – which is to develop more location-specific pages. However, we also understand that it is hard to know WHICH locations to target and HOW to target them. This is why outsourcing your SEO needs to a specialist firm is so crucial to building a viable digital marketing presence. They can also handle all your keyword research as well, so they’ll be able to deliver a proposal to you that outlines which areas (suburbs, cities, etc.) to target and the best method of targeting these areas.
6. Low website conversions (to sales)
Another SEO mistake you might be encountering is poor website conversions. What do we mean by this? Well, if you’re getting a lot of traffic to your website, yet your sales numbers aren’t increasing by a similar rate, then there is a problem with your webpage. Now, this could be because of many reasons (some of which aren’t related to SEO). Having said this, one of the common causes of underwhelming conversion rates is a lack of mobile indexing. Google’s algorithm now rewards webpages with mobile-first indexing. As a result, if you haven’t considered altering your website, so it is both browser and mobile-friendly, then chances are your rankings on search engines have been affected already.
The best way to tackle this problem is to create a plan/proposal that will begin shifting your webpage to becoming mobile-friendly. How is this achieved? We recommend boosting your site’s load times since this will stop mobile users from “bouncing” your site. Likewise, talk with developers on creating a responsive design that is more conducive for mobile users. You should also ensure that your strategies align succinctly (like national/local and mobile/browser).
7. Becoming too SEO-centric
Another issue we come across rather often relates directly to strategy. We find that a lot of businesses tend to become overly focused on SEO, to the point that they disregard other marketing strategies. SEO is a critical facet of a comprehensive digital marketing program; however, it shouldn’t be the only strategy. In fact, the most successful marketing projects blend several digital media channels as a way of creating a variety of brand touchpoints with more consumers.
Think of it this way – for SEO to be as successful as it can be, it requires sustained support from other channels. By forming a symbiotic relationship between SEO and things like social media, email, paid content and PR work, your business will be well on the way to long-term SEO success.
So, if you think your current digital marketing plan is overly focused on SEO (to its detriment), then look at ways you can diversify your scheme. For example, your SEO strategies should be cognisant of the inputs and outputs from all your other digital channels. Make sure your entire digital marketing team (which is likely broken down into more specialised groups) is aware of the whole roadmap. They should know where their skills/contributions fit into the entire project, as this will give them direction and meaning in their work.
8. Ineffective tracking of SEO progress
A lot of businesses (significantly smaller enterprises) tend to struggle with their internal systems, precisely how they track their SEO progress. If you are running a comprehensive and diverse SEO project, then evaluating your progress can be difficult – especially if the project requires resources from divergent business functions/corporate areas. Not correctly understanding where your business’ SEO plan can have demonstrable effects on how you diagnose future SEO problems.
There are many ways in which you can effectively track your business’ SEO progress. There are plenty of analytics tools that you can use to evaluate your website’s performance. Some notable examples include Google Analytics or Google Search Console, which can help you consistently review your optimisation results. These programs can help you evaluate the relative effectiveness of specific strategies, focusing on initiatives like:
- Competitive analysis
- Link management
- SEO management
- Keyword research
9. Inconsistency of information
You’d be surprised to know how often this happens, across both small and larger businesses. It is undoubtedly true; however, that inconsistent information can harm SEO efforts, predominantly localised initiatives. All contact information, whether it be your business’ name, address, email or contact number, must be all 100% accurate. If you have different details for different regions, make this obvious; otherwise, your users will get confused.
If you are struggling with inconsistencies across several pages (thousands even – primarily if you operate a large, national business), then you’ll technical support. MozLocal can ensure that your information is correct and consistent across all your pages. It’ll save you hours of time, which you might have spent manually checking different landing pages.
For simplicity, we recommend have a single contact tab on your homepage. Here, you can list the contact details for your business, including contact information for specific branches and subsidiaries. Having this information spread across a lot of pages can be challenging to maintain (which is why MozLocal is so critical, should you take that strategic route).
10. Your website is not secured
Website security is crucial when it comes to the world of SEO. For example, a website without adequate protection will display a URL with “http://” should set alarm bells off. On the other hand, a website with a URL that begins like this “https://”, has clearly had an SSL certificate installed (this is what the “s” stands for). As a consumer, you should treat unsecured websites with caution. Do not provide any crucial information to websites without security, since your credit card details, personal name and home address could be intercepted by others.
So, if you’re running a business with an unsecured website, we strongly recommend installing an SSL certificate. This will ensure that your existing customers and prospective consumers can navigate to your website without any stress. They’ll feel confident in providing you with their financial details, which means more revenue for you!
So, we hope this brief guide has provided you with an insight into some of the most common SEO mistakes. Many of these errors are made by seasoned professionals, so don’t be disheartened if you’re new to the industry and have made a few of these blunders. If you are ever confused about your SEO program, check out some of the solutions we’ve outlined in this blog – they’ll go a long way in resolving any issues you might have.
We are a friendly and reliable team that pays detailed attention to your projects and management of your brand. Our team at SEO Shark has a passion for all things online. We constantly innovate using the latest professional techniques and strategies.