When someone searches a question that matches your niche, you want the content you’ve created to rank at the top of the search engine results pages. This way, curious web searchers will find your posts, engage with your content, and become lifelong followers of your blog. But, how can you get your posts there?
Optimizing your website and posts for search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest factors in blogging success. But, figuring out all the technical SEO practices can be confusing! Especially, if you’re not used to web jargon and the backend side of blogging.
A great first step to understanding search engine optimization is to first know what common SEO mistakes you might be making. Once you diagnose your SEO issue(s), you can fix those problems one step at a time. This will help you learn SEO best practices and better your ranking at the same time!
So, today we’re breaking down the top 20 SEO blunders bloggers make!
Biggest SEO Mistakes
When you started your blog, maybe you cast a wide net, thinking you could grab lots and lots of people that would be interested in your content. The problem is, having a big target audience means you really don’t have a target audience at all. It also means that you’ll create lots of content that some followers will be interested in while others aren’t. This, unfortunately, will lower your revenue, engagement, and credibility over time.
When you have a wide niche, it also means you’ll be competing more often for SEO keywords. If you focus your niche further, when your target audience searches for that very specific topic, you’ll have a greater chance of popping up at the top of those SERPs. Niche down to optimize your blog and build a loyal following.
No SSL Certificate
This one might seem like just the slightest technicality – but it’s super important. Does your website have “HTTP” or “HTTPS?” This single letter makes a BIG SEO impact. That “s” is a symbol that represents the extra security your website offers. It means you hold an SSL certificate that encrypts the communication between the user and your site, keeping their data safe!
Additionally, Google Chrome and other browsers automatically flag sites without an SSL certificate as potentially unsafe. Having this label could be detrimental to your website traffic! So, if you’re sitting with an HTTP instead of an HTTPS in your URL, be sure to get an SSL certificate to boost SEO and keep that search engine traffic coming.
One of the first things people learn about SEO is the importance of keywords. When someone searches a topic, Google pulls relevant articles based on keywords. After a little keyword research, you might be tempted to cram every keyword you can into your header or the body of your post!
It isn’t a bad idea to put relevant keywords into your content, but doing so only to rank and at the expense of clarity is called keyword stuffing. Adding short or long tail keywords in places that feel unnatural will alert Google that your content is not quality. Readers might also view this as spammy and move on to more authentic-feeling sources.
When adding keywords, make sure it’s motivated, relevant, and natural to support SEO!
Short Content Length
Another ranking factor for the SERPs is having the right content length. You want thorough content with high readability that’s not too long or too short. The highest ranking articles on Google are an average of 2,416 words. Which means, we here at InfluencerSEO recommend posting articles that are between 500 – 3,500 words for the best optimization.
What most bloggers run into is creating content that’s too short. You might be thinking shorter, to-the-point content will have higher readability. But, the problem is, Google can translate these short articles as having low quality content. These articles appear rushed, spammy, and unhelpful to Google web crawlers. So, when crafting your perfect blog post, keep it over 500 words! (But also, less than 5,000!)
Duplicate Title Tags
A title tag (also known as a meta title) is the way your blog post will present itself on search engine results pages, on browser thumbnails, and on social media posts. You generate most of your traffic from social media and search engines, so the appearance of helpful title tags is extremely important!
If you have multiple articles with the same title tag, users and search engine web crawlers alike will be left confused. They won’t know which page is the correct one to select and which one contains the relevant content. With duplicate title tags and meta descriptions, Google will lower your SERP ranking due to the confusion. So, identify any duplicate tags and correct them for better SEO.
All Standard or No Follow Links
When you link to a site, there are two ways you can inform Google to use that link. When you do a standard link, you and the other site will share link equity or “link juice.” This means you’ll benefit from their high domain authority and they’ll benefit from yours. This makes adding internal links and gaining external links an excellent method of building SEO!
The other way you can link a site is with a “no follow” attribute. This means you will not gain any link equity from them, and they won’t gain any from you. You might do this when you’re linking to sponsored content or when you want to control user-generated links from your comment section.
All types of links are great for brand awareness and driving traffic. But, the links must be diverse in order to have a positive impact on your search engine ranking. Google will see varied linking as intentional and calculated, which shows you spent a lot of time on your article. This will tell Google your content is high quality and drive your SEO.
Broken Internal Links
When a reader clicks a link on your page and instead of getting the correct content, they get an error message, this is a broken link. Broken links can be due to mistyped or updated URLs or deleted or moved content. No matter the reason, broken internal links will drop your SEO, because the sources and links you’ve provided lead nowhere.
You can update broken links by changing the URL or changing the link source! When you do this, you’ll share link juice with the reference’s website and boost your SEO.
Too Many Graphics and Photos
Graphics and photos are great for SEO. Visuals help break up your content and provide clarity to your points. Too many graphics and photos, though, can bog down your page’s load time. Plus, it can distract readers and web crawlers alike from your high-quality content. When you’re optimizing for SEO, make sure your graphics are thoughtfully placed and don’t overpower the webpage.
Non-Optimized Blog Posts
Your blog can be packed full of helpful, high-quality content, but still not rank very high on the search engine results pages. It’s not because Google doesn’t think your content is worthwhile, but it simply can’t interpret your posts the way they’re currently written.
In order for your site to jump higher on those SERPs, your blog posts must be search engine optimized. That way, when people Google questions related to your niche, your content ranks as high as possible!
You can browse our library of content for all the details on optimizing your blog. Or, you can check out InfluencerSEO’s optimization services! With the latter, you can focus on the writing you love, while we worry about your SEO and ranking. It’s a great investment into the future of your blog, and it takes a lot off your plate! If you’re interested in this route, take a look at some of our client’s testimonials.
Missing ALT Text
A great way to optimize your blog and website is to ensure you have ALT text on all of your photos and graphics. ALT text is simply text you attribute with your image that tells Google what is depicted in the picture. This will help web crawlers understand how the content contributes to the value of the post and determine if it should have a positive or negative effect on your SEO. So, if you’re looking to gain value from those images, make sure you always add your ALT text!
You probably know what subheadings are, but why are they important for SEO? Remember that search engine optimization is all about Google’s ability to interpret your content. Lots of blocks of text make it difficult for both users and web crawlers to read your content.
Adding subheadings is like highlighting a bit of your text to inform the reader and the search engine of your main points. This showcases the value of your post and highlights what the reader’s can gain from your content. Once Google knows your content is worthwhile, it will be more likely to support you and rank you higher on the SERPs. So, to improve your SEO, go back through your site and ensure your pages have subheadings!
Repetitive Series or Sales Posts
Above all, Google and other search engines want to provide their readers with valuable content. When someone searches for something, Google wants that user to find their answer! Because of this, posts that seem lazy or spammy won’t rank well on the SERPs.
This means posting the same content over and over in multiple places, hoping to get in front of more users, will hinder your SEO. The repetitive, duplicate content will confuse Google, because it won’t know which post is meant to be presented for the user. Additionally, search engines might read these posts as low quality, and not prioritize them at all on the SERPs. Make sure your content is all original and only posted in one location to benefit your SEO!
A great SEO strategy for any blog, whether they’re just starting or have been around forever, is to post consistently. As you regularly post, you’ll gain a larger and larger group of regular readers. This predictability helps you build loyalty and credibility among your niche.
When you get this credibility and loyalty, followers are more likely to share your content and fellow bloggers are more likely to backlink to your valuable information. This will boost your domain authority score, which will help you become more search engine optimized.
Changing Blog Name without 301 Redirect
Sometimes, for your blog to grow, you need to establish your brand. This might mean you change your blog name to more clearly represent your niche. But, don’t forget about all the readers you had before the brand change – you still want them to easily find your content even if they didn’t realize you changed your name.
You might see a sharp drop in your traffic after you change your blog name, which will negatively impact your search engine ranking. When this happens, your website takes a hit and your readers can’t find a way to reach you! To fix this, ensure you have a 301 redirect of your old URL that pushes people to your new site name. This way, you reap the benefits of your brand switch and keep all your existing fans.
Too Similar Posts
When you’re writing about your niche for a long time, it can be tempting to double-dip and rewrite content you’ve previously posted about. This might seem harmless, but if you have multiple posts that are too similar, they could compete with each other on the search engine rankings. You don’t want that, of course!
Because of this, duplicate content or content that answers the same question is never a good idea when blogging. Instead, try to find a new perspective on similar topics and niche down more if you have to. If you already have duplicate content (or very similar content), think about indexing one post and driving all the traffic to a singular page for improved SEO.
Poor Mobile Optimization
As of 2018, Google favors the functionality of a website on mobile over desktop. This is because over 50% of web traffic is on cell phones and tablets. Which means focusing too heavily on your desktop user experience and not enough on your mobile UX could be bad news for your SEO! Take time to explore your website’s experience on a mobile browser to determine if improvements need to be made to boost your ranking on the SERPs.
Too Many Apps and Plug-Ins with Unused Functions
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, if you have too many apps and plug-ins, and you only use a few of the features offered for each, it will slow down your website. And when your website is slow, your bounce rate increases! As your user experience diminishes because of a slow site, so will your SEO.
No Content Promotion
Promoting your content through digital marketing on social media has a big impact on SEO. As you share your content on different channels, you’ll gain web traffic and you’ll boost your brand awareness.
But, why does this matter? Well, when you’re a well-known name, other blogs in your niche are likely to link to you! They know you are a valuable blog with quality posts, so they’ll want to reference your content on their own website. This link building practice will reflect positively on your SEO as more external links throughout the web point to your posts.
Long story short – don’t underestimate the power of content marketing. Having a social media presence can really help your search engine optimization!
Poor Web Design
As we’ve discussed, a good user experience is vital for SEO. Because of this, good web design is integral to your site’s ranking. The layout must be logical and easy to navigate not only by Google web crawlers but also by potential readers. Check both your desktop and mobile site for a good user experience to ensure your web design benefits your SEO.
Ignoring Page Speed
We’ve discussed page speed to some degree so far, and that’s because it’s super important! Whether it’s too many graphics, too many unused functions, poor web design, or pages loading too slowly – this will tank your SERP ranking. This is because users are very impatient with poor load times. Statistics show that if it takes even 5 seconds for your page to load, you’ll lose 90% of your travelers.
In light of this, when you’re looking at your analytics and see page speed stats, don’t ignore them! Making your website faster will greatly improve the user experience and decrease that bounce rate. Both of these factors will end up having a positive impact on your SEO!
Avoiding these twenty mistakes can help you increase your blog’s search engine optimization in no time!
Optimizing your blog to rank high on search engine results pages will turn into more traffic, more followers, and more profit. And, through SEO best practices, you can build your audience and gain credibility in the marketplace. Use this list to rewrite any SEO wrongs and rank higher on those search engine results pages. The world is ready to see your content!
If you’re looking for more in-depth information on any of the points above, check out our blog and feel free to follow us on Instagram! Or, if you are looking for some help with your site’s optimization, take advantage of our copywriting and SEO services. InfluencerSEO is here to help you achieve all of your blogging goals!