What Should You Avoid When Developing a Search-Optimized Website?
Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by Jordan Alexo
Are you looking to get more visitors to your website? Do you want it to appear on the first page of Google search results? If so, then SEO optimization is a must.
Unfortunately, many mistakes people make when optimizing their websites can lead to wasted time and resources.
Not only that, but these mistakes can even lead to penalties from search engines and lower rankings in search results.
It’s essential that you understand what makes a website search engine friendly and how to avoid common SEO mistakes to optimize your site for maximum success.
What Is Website Optimization, And Why Is It Done?
SEO consists of optimizing your website for search engines so that it can be more easily found through searches. If you want to receive more visitors, you must ensure that your website is optimized correctly.
You want your web pages to appear on Google search and other search engines whenever someone searches for terms related to your business, brand, or services.
For instance, if you had a page related to “5 Reasons To Avoid Black Hat SEO”, you want your page to appear on the first results page when someone searches for that phrase.
These first results receive the most clicks and visitors. This can only happen if you have a good SEO strategy.
At the same time, you should remember people will be visiting your site. That means you must also optimize the user experience when they come to your website.
Unfortunately, it is possible to go overboard with website optimization and end up doing more harm than good. Or the opposite, go too lightly on optimization and miss out on opportunities to get more visitors.
I recommend reading this guide, “How To Write SEO-Friendly Blog Posts (13-Step Process).” To help you have a step-by-step formula to write highly engaging optimized content for your blog.
3 Reasons You Should Avoid Search Engine Optimization Mistakes
Before diving deep into the mistakes, you should avoid, let’s look at three reasons you should avoid them:
1) Bad Practices Take Effort
Bad SEO practices take as much or more work as good practices, but they can have a detrimental effect on your website. Furthermore, you waste time and resources if you make mistakes. Sometimes, you only notice your mistakes six or more months down the road.
2) Search Engines Penalize You
Search engines are constantly adapting and improving to provide the best search results for users. They penalize lousy SEO practices, such as keyword stuffing and duplicate content.
3) You Can Lose Rankings
The longer you do bad SEO, the more likely your website will drop in rankings. That means your website will appear further down the list when people search for related terms.
11 Most Common SEO Mistakes That Will
Lets talk about eleven mistakes that people often make with SEO:
1) Not Understanding Search Intent
When you decide to write content for a target keyword, it’s essential to understand what people are searching for. If someone finds your page and it doesn’t answer their question, they will leave straight away.
Furthermore, search engines will rank your page lower because it isn’t helpful to their users.
To see this, analyze your competitors’ posts for the same keyword to get an idea of what kind of content works best for that phrase. If their pages rank well, it’s likely because they have optimized their content for the search intent.
Based on this, you know what kind of content you should create. This should give you an idea of whether people want to buy something or read an article.
2) Highly Competitive Keywords
One of my biggest mistakes with Jordan Alexo, which cost me months of hard work, was choosing highly competitive keywords. I was not seeing an increase in the number of people coming to my website, even though I was working hard.
If you have a new or low DR site, you don’t have enough authority to compete with more established websites. For this reason, focus on long-tail keywords and build up your website’s authority. In other words, these are search terms with three or more words.
With long-tail keywords, you will have a better chance of ranking on the first page of Google’s search results and getting more potential visitors. Often these search terms have less competition than broader ones.
So proper keyword research and understanding which terms are worth targeting can help you get more visitors to your website. Check out this guide to help you find low-hanging fruit keywords.
3) Lacking Quality External Links
Many influencers claim you should only focus on creating high-quality content. That content is King, and obtaining backlinks is unnecessary. Just go after those long-tail keywords nobody cares about, and you’ll be okay.
However, it’s not true! You will need more than quality content to get to the first page of Google’s search results. The reason is most money-making keywords have competition. It may be little, but it’s still there.
To rank for those keywords, you need links from other websites. This is called link building, and Google loves it. The more good quality links you have, the higher your website will rank in search engine results.
So make sure to include link building in your SEO plan. Reach out to websites related to yours and ask them to guest post. This consists of writing an article on their website with a link to yours.
Guest posting is one of the best strategies to help you build quality links.
4) Not Creating Internal Links
Your website shouldn’t only have external links. It should have internal links too!
Internal linking is a great way to help search engines better understand your website’s structure and content.
This can also help you get more organic traffic as users navigate your website and find other related pages.
It’s easy to do! All you need to do is link one post or page to another. This way, search engines will know what pages are the most important.
A good way to do this is to add related posts at the end of your content and link them to other relevant pages.
5) Poorly Optimized Content
Make sure each piece of content on your site is optimized correctly. This means you must include relevant keywords in the title tags, meta descriptions, and throughout your posts.
Furthermore, your content needs to provide valuable information to your readers. Avoid writing too much fluff, and focus on providing helpful and engaging content. You may also share your experiences, which helps your target audience get to know you better.
Additionally, your content should have a clear structure. You can use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to make it easier for readers to skim through them. If possible, add videos and images to your content. Not only do these help improve your content’s look, but they also provide a better experience for visitors.
I also highly recommend Surfer SEO. This artificial intelligence SEO tool helps you optimize your content quickly and efficiently.
Now there’s an opposite side to the coin. When you over-optimize your content, you are at risk of being penalized by Google.
Google wants to see natural and helpful content. If you stuff your content with keywords, it doesn’t look natural. This is why Google has the keyword stuffing penalty to stop websites from doing this.
To avoid this penalty, make sure you naturally use your target keywords. Use them sparingly, and don’t repeat them in a single sentence.
Your content should be written for readers, not search engines. If your content is helpful and provides value to your readers, Google will reward you with higher rankings in search results.
It’s also important to use different variations of your target keywords. This will help you create more natural content, and it will also help you rank for different keywords.
7) Slow Uploading Site
Nothing more annoying than waiting forever for a web page to open on your device screen. Often many new website owners don’t consider this important factor while building their website.
Google takes site speed very seriously, and a slow-loading website will always be penalized in search engine rankings.
So what can you do?
Well, one of the most detrimental factors is your web-host provider. If a cheap company hosts your site, its server is likely overloaded and slow. Only stay with these web hosts at the beginning.
But as soon as your budget allows it, switch to a better, faster one. I choose WPX Hosting, as they are blazing fast and more reliable.
Also, make sure that your website isn’t too heavy with plugins and page elements. Here are a few tips:
- Optimize your images with the Imagify plugin.
- Use a caching plugin like LiteSpeed cache. This speeds up your website by loading previously visited pages much faster.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) like Cloudflare. This will make it easier for users from different locations to access your website quickly.
- Install a lightweight WordPress theme such as Astra, Kadence, GeneraPress, or any other modern framework. These themes are minimalist and, for this reason, don’t come overloaded with too much coding. They will do the job without making your site slow.
Apply these strategies to boost your site’s speed and user experience. Everything you do will help your website rank better on the search engine results pages.
8) Not Using Analytic Tools
I know many people hate, including myself, looking at Google Analytics and Google search console. These platforms aren’t newbie friendly, and it takes a college degree to understand them.
However, these analytic tools provide crucial data about your website’s performance.
With them, it’s possible to measure your progress and to see if the changes you made are effective. You can easily see which content is performing well, which keywords are driving traffic, or even see if users are bouncing away from your website.
Analytics is vital if you want to improve your website’s SEO. So make sure you use it and understand the data you’re getting from them.
9) Using AI Generated Content Incorrectly
Nowadays, with the rise of machines, many people use artificial intelligence to write content faster.
I’m not against these tools! I use Jasper ai, and it helps me create content faster! But what most people don’t understand is these tools are meant to be your assistant. So, they shouldn’t replace a human writer!
Many people press the button to autogenerate content and publish it without editing. This content often is stale, may have non-factual statements, and may be unoriginal. And worse, it can be easily detectable by Google’s algorithms.
So if you are using a tool to generate content, make sure to include your stories and experiences, and always edit the AI-generated content! This way, you ensure that your content is exciting and fresh.
Once again, these tools are supposed to work side-by-side with humans and not replace them! Always use AI with caution.
10) Bad Page Hierarchy
Your website should have a good page hierarchy. This means people can easily find the content they want with a few clicks. For this, you should separate your content into categories and subcategories.
For example, if you have a website about cats, create separate pages for different breeds, colors, personalities, etc. This way, you make your content easier to consume and offer a better user experience.
Also, integrate a search bar to allow people to find the content they need quickly. Your home page should showcase your most important information and provide links to deeper pages with more detailed content.
Use “Screaming Frog SEO Spider” to check if all the pages on your website connect and none are orphaned.
A good page hierarchy will help visitors find the content they need quickly and ensure that Google understands what each page is about. This will also positively impact your rankings on search engine results pages.
11) Duplicate Content Issues
Duplicate content is one of the biggest SEO problems. It happens when you use the same text, images, or even design on multiple pages of your website.
Google doesn’t like this and will penalize you for it. So make sure all the content on your website is unique and original.
Here are a few tips:
- Don’t index category pages. Often it’s just duplicate content from the same pages.
- Use 301 redirects instead of 302 so search engine bots understand that you are permanently redirecting.
- Use a canonical tag to tell Google which page is the original and which one should be indexed.
- Get Copyscape or another similar plagiarism checker to analyze your content. Maintain your text below a 3% duplication rate.
Lastly, don’t copy and paste content from other sites. I guess that’s obvious, but it’s worth mentioning.
So now you have an idea to avoid common SEO pitfalls, let’s quickly recapitulate the most important points:
- Keep your website updated and use a responsive design.
- Create content that is engaging, unique, and useful for your audience.
- Use analytics to track and understand your website performance.
- Don’t rely on AI-generated content without editing.
- Have a good page hierarchy.
- Avoid duplicate content issues.
Follow these tips, and your website will reach more audience, and better you won’t spend months with practices that may hurt your success.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask Jordan Alexo, leave them below. Thanks for reading!