10 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid and How to Fix Them

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Search Engine Optimization in 2022

In 2022, having a strong, easily accessible website is no longer a choice in the business world- it’s a necessity. We live in the digital age and so to succeed in business, we need to establish and expand a strong online presence. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to embrace search engine optimization as part of our digital marketing strategy.

Regardless of your industry or niche, SEO is one of the most, if not the most, cost-effective ways to cultivate a consistent stream of organic traffic. Though most businesses are aware of search engine optimization and some of the potential benefits, many do not understand its importance or how to successfully implement it into their marketing campaigns. Moreover, even less know how to actually optimize a website correctly as it relates to their unique business, target demographic, and overall value proposition.

To help light a path down this road to efficient organic online growth, we’ve put together this guide of common mistakes in SEO and how to avoid and fix them.

10 Common SEO Mistakes

  1. Forgetting your audience

The number one priority in all marketing, digital or traditional, is always to understand the target audience as thoroughly as possible so that you can communicate effectively and convey a message they will connect with and understand. Forgetting your audience in any stage of the process is a death sentence in SEO. Without a clear audience in mind, your content is for no one and will thus be found by no one. Many of the other common mistakes we will discuss stem from this one. Your content and messaging should be designed specifically to reach your target audience.

How to fix:

The best way to fix this is to avoid it from the start. While you are designing your business model and even before you have a website, you should be conducting extremely thorough market research in order to identify a target audience. After that, ensure your content always has them top of mind. Forget your audience and they will forget you.

2. Forgetting keyword research

After you have identified your target audience and key demographics, keyword research is essential to learn how they communicate and search online. The goal of search engine optimization is to get traffic through search engines by optimizing for high volume search queries. Before optimizing for these terms, you have to identify them by conducting keyword research. You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but if there aren’t any keywords throughout the copy, you won’t be getting much traffic.

How to fix:

3. Forgetting search/keyword intent

Along with keyword research, you must remember keyword/search intent. Search intent is exactly what it sounds like: the underlying purpose (intent) of a user's query (search). Optimizing for search intent is a simple but frequently overlooked strategy in SEO. Just like general keyword research, you have to have your audience in mind. Consider who is actually searching for your product or service. For example, an engagement ring is typically given to the bride-to-be; however, she/they will likely not be the one to actually search for or buy the ring. So instead of optimizing for terms they would search, you should really be optimizing for terms that their groom/partner would use in order to find a ring their partner will like.

How to fix:

See #1: Do not forget the audience. To fix this mistake, revise the content across your website and find opportunities to update your keywords to match intent based on what you are promoting and to whom you are promoting it. A little creativity and thoughtfulness will go a long way.

4. Not optimizing for long-tail keywords

In search engine optimization, there are two main categories of keywords: long-tail and short-tail. Short-tail keywords are typically 1-3 words and are broad, such as “used hybrid sedan”. These keywords are important because they have incredibly high volume due to their generic, wide-spanning nature. The drawback is that they are difficult to target because there is such high competition. Long-tail keywords are usually 3 words or more and are highly specific, such as “blue 2020 toyota prius”. These keywords will have significantly less volume than their short-tail counterparts; however, these are also valuable and important to target because they are so specific, which means the user is farther along in the sales funnel and thus closer to conversion.

How to fix:

To fix this mistake, focus on more specific search queries while conducting keyword research and incorporate longer-tail keywords into your content in addition to the high-volume short-tail keywords that you should also be optimizing.

5. Keyword stuffing content

Optimizing for and targeting keywords is not as straightforward as it used to be in SEO. Years ago, one could simply use a keyword over and over again throughout a piece of content, and as long as a few other factors were incorporated, they would rank favorably. Nowadays, search engines are much smarter and require a bit more nuance in their ranking algorithms. No more can we as SEOs use “keyword stuffing” as an acceptable strategy for optimizing content.

How to fix:

To avoid or fix this mistake, it's crucial to walk a fine line between overusing keywords and underusing them. Since the proper “keyword density” will be debated in the SEO community and will evolve with every search engine algorithm update, don’t stress about being exact. Focus on writing quality content first and foremost.

6. Not setting up or tracking analytics

If you don’t track your analytics, you will have no idea if anything you do is a success or a complete failure. Data is your greatest resource and asset as a digital marketer. Figure what’s working and what isn’t and then make adjustments. It’s as simple as that.

How to fix:

If you aren’t tracking data, start doing so immediately. If you don’t understand how to analyze data, learn. It may take a little time to figure everything out completely but the sooner you start, the sooner you'll be able to execute high-performing campaigns. Your campaigns won’t always be perfect from the start; in fact, they probably never will be.

7. Thin or duplicate content

Content is the most important factor in SEO. Yet still, many businesses neglect this side of marketing. A very common and very avoidable mistake is having thin or duplicate content. Thin content means it is sparse and not very thorough, making it difficult to rank for any keywords. Duplicate content is exactly what it sounds like. The key problem with duplicate content is that it causes “keyword cannibalization” wherein two or more pages compete for the same keywords, often causing neither to rank favorably.

How to fix:

For thin content, expand it. SEO best practices recommend at least 500 words per page but typically over 1,000 is ideal. For duplicate content, ensure that each page has unique content and is not overlapping with another. If you can’t figure out how to expand content or create an entirely unique page, delete it. If the page can’t stand alone and attract traffic or provide unique value, it is hurting your website.

8. Poorly optimized meta tags

Meta tags are an essential part of SEO. Without proper titles and descriptions, rankings will suffer as well as click-through-rates. Your meta tags are essentially a free advertisement on a search engine. You need to ensure they are fully optimized so a customer feels inclined to visit your site.

How to fix:

A proper meta title and description will incorporate keywords, clear and concise language, and strong calls-to-action (CTAs). You usually only get one chance on a search engine (if you’re lucky), so don’t blow it by forgetting to optimize meta tags.

9. Ignoring technical/site audit errors

Technical errors slow a website down and ruin a user’s experience. There are many errors such as 404s, poor core web vitals, and redirects, but they all harm your website and can be a major detriment to your keyword rankings.

How to fix:

To fix site audit errors, you need to use proper tools and site crawlers to identify them and then you have to go into your website and fix them. Plain and simple. Some require more time or effort to fix, but to be sure your site is functioning at its highest level, all errors must be remedied.

10. Neglecting on-page optimization

This mistake is a broad one, and intentionally so. On-page optimization covers a wide range of strategies and adjustments. Depending on your goals and audience, this will look different across different sites and companies.

How to fix:

A poorly optimized website might have grammar or structural issues, poor internal links, too few or too many keywords, or any other number of mistakes. The key is to conduct a serious audit of your website’s content and go from there. Maybe you add more bulleted lists or optimize the header tags; maybe you adjust the verbiage on a particular page. Whatever the issues may be, be sure to be proactive and not reactive to further mistakes.

Contact Nxt Era Marketing

In addition to these 10 common SEO mistakes, we’ll give you one more as a bonus. The biggest mistake you can make in search engine optimization is not partnering with a top-tier digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO. Nxt Era Marketing has the tools and expertise to elevate your website and optimize it to the fullest potential in order to boost organic traffic. Contact us today to schedule a free SEO consultation.

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