SEO is quite simply the best strategy to improve your online rankings – as long as you follow the right guidelines. SEO tips are everywhere, which is why knowing which tactics work best can get confusing. One of the most frustrating things is putting hard work into preparing your content and it still doesn’t rank with the search engines. In this two-part segment, we will uncover some common SEO mistakes to avoid and which tactics should be front and center.
1. Not Focusing on User Intent
User intent focuses on what the user is actually looking for when they conduct a search online. User or search intent is extremely important to search engines because it helps them identify what a user wants to find when they type in their search terms. Google continually updates its algorithms to produce more relevant search results to match the user’s query.
Because of this, understanding the buyer’s journey and using keywords to connect at each stage is essential. A big mistake is taking shortcuts with your content and thinking more about inserting your SEO tools without having the end user in mind. Adding a large quantity of content or only tackling specific technical SEO tactics make work for quick wins, but it’s not a long-term strategy with search engines. With recent enhancements to Google’s algorithm in the way of BERT and MUM, the quality of your content is more important than ever.
With these enhanced algorithms, it’s even easier for search engines to be hyper-focused on content that is factual, useful, and targeted to the end user. Start taking a holistic approach to your content. It’s important to publish comprehensive content that focuses on exactly what the user is looking for. Understanding the relationship between your keywords and knowing how to target them specifically to your audience will improve your SEO and online rankings.
2. Ignoring Page Speed and Load Time
Google factors a webpage’s speed when ranking a website, and ignoring your slow-loading website can negatively impact your website’s ranking. Often times businesses are preoccupied with the aesthetics of their website and neglect to think about its functionality. Page speed affects user experience, affecting how users respond to your website. The longer it takes to load, the more visitors will navigate away from your site. This is called your bounce rate, and it’s a big SEO ranking factor that Google uses. Speed greatly affects the bounce rate, signaling that your website isn’t loading fast enough for users to stay on it. When ranking websites, Google considers bounce rates, user experience, and page load speed. Your business won’t perform well online if your bounce rates are high and your page load speed is low.
Make use of the Google PageSpeed Insight tool to get an idea of your website’s speed. This tool will analyze both desktop and mobile versions and offer useful tips to boost your website page speed. Here are some other factors that can improve your page speed:
- Optimize your images
- Employ content distribution networks (CDNs)
- Reduce the number of redirects
- Install plug-ins designed to cache the latest versions of pages on your site
3. Not Localizing Your Content
If you have a local business, then your concentration should be high on local SEO and not just organic SEO. Without optimizing your website for local search, you risk losing your web traffic within that specific city or region. Search results are powerful, and Google is often experimenting with changes to the mobile layout for local search results specifically. Many predict that Google will continue to test and enhance this area, partially with the rise of online shopping, reviews, trust signals, and brand awareness.
Moreover, search engines concentrate on region-specific keywords when connecting users to local businesses. Tap into this by listing your business in local directories such as Google, Yelp, and Bing. Additionally, take a look at your key search terms that show up in local search results. For example, ‘pest control, Birmingham.’ If you are seeing search results that have keyword targeting specifically to Birmingham, you may be an industry that could benefit from where Google is showing more localized SERPs. Start by creating city or region-specific pages on your website. You should also incorporate more localized keywords within your content as well. This will only add to the local SEO factor that Google loves.
4. Not Caring About Images and Video
Image optimization is an important part of on-page SEO. You should also be including ALT tags for your images and videos. ALT tags are an effective method for telling Google crawlers what that specific image is about. This, in turn, makes your website more accessible to the search engine crawlers, thus creating faster indexing that leads to more traffic on a website from image-based search engines like Google. In addition, AI is now being used to help Google recognize when an image or video might be the best result for a user and is being used in the SERPs more and more.
Google Discover and Google Lens are also becoming part of the data pool that Google uses to discover content. It is intended to help you discover content from around the web that pertains to your interests. Google does the work for you, gathering stories from around the web that it thinks you’ll be interested in. Google Lens enables shoppers to look for products using a photo on their device or found online. This image search technology makes a solid case for the need for image optimization to get your content discovered.
The days of simply stuffing keywords are long gone. With so many SEO trends out there, you have more information to discern to stay on top of your SEO rankings. Be sure to read part 2 of our blog for even more SEO Mistakes that are Hurting Your Rankings and ways to improve your overall strategy.
If you want to improve your current SEO plan or need help in any area of your online presence, be sure to reach out to our team.