Are you facing a hard time to make your website grow? May be it is your SEO efforts that needs to be blamed! You probably have been following your SEO checklist religiously, but the question is, how perfect is the checklist itself? Studies have disclosed that there are more than a few common SEO flaws, which not only take a toll on websites but also affect their rankings. Let’s have a detailed discussion about it in this article.
Find below 17 common SEO mistakes that might have been plaguing your website and know how to correct those easily:
Meta Description Issues
Being one of the basic elements of SEO, an engaging Meta Description is always important for any website. Even though this ‘summary of content’ has no direct impact on the ranking of the pages, it can influence their click through rate (CTR) based on its relevance.
Meta Descriptions are displayed in search results as snippets right below the titles of the pages, thereby making it easy for users to decide on which websites to visit and which to not. However according to a study conducted by Raven Tools (Feb 2013 - Jun 2015) on more than 200 million page crawls, around 34% of those pages lack Meta Descriptions. A large number of websites were also found to have too long or duplicate Meta Descriptions, which are equally poor practices.
You need to get your website crawled by a good SEO audit tool in order to find out all your Meta Description errors and fix them manually. Include relevant keywords in your description so that it becomes informative as well as enticing to searchers. Also, keep it below 160 characters to make your listing look professional and increase clicks through your website. WordPress users have an added advantage as the CMS itself comes with efficient SEO plug-ins for easy editing of Meta Descriptions.
Inappropriate Page URLs
The URL of a webpage is vital from an SEO point of view. If you do not create ‘speaking URLs’ or ‘keyword-friendly URLs’ for each page of your website, you will end up struggling with your SEO efforts. In fact, a proper and uniquely developed URL not only makes a webpage unique to search engines but it also gives users an idea about the content they are going to read by visiting that particular page.
If your site address is unable to ‘speak’ of its content due to its poor structure, here are some quick fixes for you. Focus on the semantics of your URL and replace the default meaningless digits with relevant keywords. This will prevent the URL from appearing spammy. Moreover, if the URL works as the anchor tag with important keywords in it, it will be pretty easy for your website to get to the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Title Tag Problems
Title Tags are the titles of web pages that appear in search listings to help search engines know about the content of pages as well as allow searchers to decide on whether to visit those pages or not. Needless to say, a rightly optimized title tag is critical to the success of a website. But a study conducted by SEMrush revealed that issues, such as duplicity in title tags, too long or too short title tags, and no title tags at all, are predominant.
Use an effective SEO tool that will help you identify the issues present in your website. If you have not been using title tags, create new ones immediately as the lack of title tags avert search engines from capturing the essence of page content, thereby restricting the process of evaluation too. If you have duplicate tags, make them unique to get considered by search engines for providing value to the readers through unique content. Also, focus on the length of your title tags and limit them to 60-70 characters only (including the most relevant keywords for specific pages) so that they remain visible in search results.
Header (H1) Tag Flaws
In SEO, header tags or H1 tags are known to be of immense significance. Being titles of the most vital sections of the content on the page, they are useful for both getting high rankings in search results as well as adding value to the readers. According to the study conducted by Raven Tools, around 20% of all analyzed web pages had no header tags, 20% of them had improper H1 tags, and 15% had duplicate ones.
If you have not considered H1 tags for your website already, it is time to pay attention to this feature. It is essential that your header tags clearly talk what your page is all about and contain the most crucial keywords. If you are using multiple H1 tags on a page, make sure that you are differentiating equally considerable sections by using proper HTML5 markups. Otherwise, go for lesser number of header tags to create a logically structured web page.
Gone are the days when the phrase ‘content is king’ was used only in a quantitative manner. With so many major updates released in last few years, Google has made it quite clear that the quality of your website content plays the most unique role in your rankings. However, many websites consider quantity over quality and end up adding well-optimized yet poorly written articles, which neither deliver value to their readers nor enhance their SEO efforts.
The best thing you can do to steer clear of bad quality content is to invest in great writing resources instead of choosing budget writers or article spinners. Take your time and research well to know which types of content are trending or influencing readers. From well-written listicles to eyeball-grabbing infographics, there is no dearth of choices for a website to make their content efforts effective.
A well-written content needs to be well-optimized too for being successful in terms of search engine optimization. Apart from all those titles and tags, it revolves around the right keywords and/or key phrases. But when it comes to including keywords or key phrases in a piece of content, a large number of websites fail to have a clear idea about how much is too much. They simply end up stuffing it with keywords by repeating them again and again out of context.
Google advices, “Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.” Needless to say, the practice of keyword stuffing is not going to help your website at all. Rather, identify the most relevant keywords or key phrases and include them in the content without hurting its normal flow.
According to Google, duplicate content is the “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar." Almost 50% of all websites found on internet have this issue and it affects their SEO efforts to a large extent. No matter whether your content is identical with that on other websites or your own website has multiple pages with the same content, the impact will be equally negative. Typically, the most authoritative version of a page tops search results while the identical ones fail to get decent rankings.
A thorough SEO audit will help you figure out the extent of content duplicity present in your website. You can redirect those pages to the authoritative ones or replace them with unique and valuable content. Prevent search engines from indexing sections, such as archives, pages to print, tags, etc. by closing them in robots.txt as they keep creating duplicate pages. Also, make use of the canonical tag to help search engines index the right pages.
Insufficient Word Count
Although Google has never mentioned any specific number for the minimum word count of a web page, it is essential that each piece of content on your website is long enough to provide distinctive and useful information to your readers. In fact, the more you will have relevant on-page texts on your website, the higher your rank will be in search results.
Hence, let your content creators research very well to provide more context and add more depth to your content. Keep no stone unturned to get rid of the low word count issue while making your content helpful for searchers. However, you must stay away from fluff at all cost.
Low Text To HTML Ratio
This is another common SEO flaw that impacts lots of websites negatively. If the number of back-end HTML codes used in your website is way more than the texts used for general readers, you need to work on your text to HTML ratio right now. It often happens due to poor coding practices, use of hidden texts, etc., which not only increase the loading time of websites but also reduce the possibilities of ranking higher in search results.
A text to HTML ratio, which is lower than 20, should always be a matter of concern. If you find your website suffering from it, try eliminating all unnecessary codes. The inline scripts and styles used in the site must be moved to separate files. Finally, add appropriate content wherever required.
No Structured Data
Structured data is beneficial for websites as it allows search engines to understand your content well and help them display the data appropriately in search results. But a large number of website makers simply miss this opportunity by ignoring the use of schema.org microdata. The outcomes of the study conducted by Raven Tools revealed that around 80% of analyzed websites did not bother to use it, which is definitely not recommended.
If you are yet to consider structured data for your website, this is time to give it a thought. Seek the help of the free Schema Creator tool and create HTML with schema.org microdata easily and effortlessly. Once your custom codes are ready, incorporate them in right places on your website.
Wrong Keyword Optimization
Keyword optimization is an indispensable part of SEO and it is deeply connected with the progress of a website. However, the saddest part is that a huge chunk of websites fail miserably in identifying the right keywords or key phrases and end up optimizing the wrong ones. If you target broad keywords with high competition or optimize generic keywords for your e-commerce website, you are also doing it wrong.
A good keyword optimization practice revolves around conducting an in-depth research on keywords and being as particular as possible about them. The more you will focus on specific keywords, the faster they will produce results for you by fetching high-quality traffic and pushing the ranking higher. You can try targeting more competitive keywords, once your website gains authority in the niche.
Image Optimization Errors
After content, images are the second most important feature of a website (especially if it is image-based) and optimizing them perfectly is essential for SEO purposes. But studies have concluded that image issues in websites are more prevalent than all other on-page SEO issues combined. Missing alt attributes, absent title attributes, and broken internal images are found to be the most common image errors that need to be addressed by websites.
A detailed SEO audit will help you figure out all image issues present in your website. All your broken internal images should either be replaced with fresh ones or be deleted in order to create a better user experience. Alt tags are textural descriptions for your website images, which need to be created with targeted keywords in them so that search engines can categorize them rightly and you can enjoy your SEO benefits. Also, do not leave the title attributes blank. If you are a WordPress user, the task will be much easier for you as the platform will allow you to alter image settings through simple steps.
Broken Links (External And Internal)
Be it external or internal, a broken link always holds a website back by causing a traffic dropdown and signalling low quality to search engines. Broken external links mess up with page authority while broken internal links return bad HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) status codes. Still, lots of websites across the World Wide Web are plagued by this issue.
A couple of broken links with proper 404 redirection will never take a toll on your website, but hundreds of them can certainly pose a risk as your web pages will not get crawled and indexed correctly. Hence, find out all those troublesome links and fix them either by updating resources or by eliminating completely.
No Anchor Texts For Internal Links
Just like broken links, the lack of anchor texts or alt tags for internal links also affects the growth of websites significantly. It has been found that quite a large number of websites do not pay special attention to their internal links and simply use some generic or ‘call to action’ texts along with them. While this might improve the number of clicks to the sites, it is not a very good practice from an SEO perspective.
If your internal links miss anchor texts, create and optimize new ones carefully. Make sure that you opt for customization and include relevant keywords in them even if the call to action text needs to be added. Also, do not use one anchor text for all links to a certain web page. Try to come up with variations and make them look natural.
Too Many Bad Quality Links
These days, the linking game has become a little tough even for the SEO pros as the search engine giant has put a restriction to the maximum number of on-page links in order to consider quality over quantity. It is recommended that you build a natural and robust link profile containing high-quality and completely relevant links only instead of having too many poor quality links on the same page and diluting its value badly. Clearly, it will also hurt the ranking of your website in the SERPs.
To fix this issue, start with a thorough link audit and figure out which ones among your on-page links are of poor quality. You can simply remove those links, which do not contribute to the growth of your website. While getting fresh links, check that those are apt for your website and of also have great quality.
Wrong Language Declaration
If you wish a global outreach for your website, incorporating a language declaration in the page is obligatory. This affirms the default language used for the content on that specific web page, thereby helping with geolocation, text-to-speech conversion, and large-scale SEO. Nevertheless, there are tons of websites which are running with incorrect language declaration and it is undoubtedly influencing their efforts negatively.
You can get your language declaration right by making use of a language code list. This will declare the actual language of your website to Google and your content will reach the right people always. On the other hand, it will enhance the relevance score of your web pages too.
When one or more pages of a website are moved, a permanent redirection (301 Redirect) becomes the most effective choice for letting search engines know about it and keeping the authority of those pages intact. However, there is also another option called temporary redirection (302 Redirect), which do not let search engines index the fresh page where the old page is redirected to. Rather, the outdated page keeps getting indexed and the redirection does not work at all.
If you redirect your web pages permanently, opt for permanent redirection only as that is always the best approach. In terms of SEO, this will help you avoid poor optimization of your pages and reduce traffic loss too.
You need to take all these 17 on-page SEO issues seriously in order to boost the growth of your website without getting it plagued. Take care of your SEO campaigns and your website will thank you!