20 Common SEO Mistakes New Blogs And Websites Make [How To Avoid Them]
Are you worried about your site or blog’s optimization state?!
Mistakes in SEO are pretty common when you have just started your blog or site.
This post will take you through the 20 common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them.
Here is what you will learn today:
The very first SEO decision you make is the domain name of your online platform.
Issues can occur in different forms here.
When you choose a “personal name” domain
You don’t want to think too much, so you make the domain selection simple and choose your name.
Something that a very successful digital marketing blogger Neil Patel did.
But today, Neil says, “I wish I never built a personal brand”
You don’t know your true potential until you reach it. Your small blog today can become a brand tomorrow.
But you need to prepare for that future, so that, the brand lasts beyond you.
There is nothing wrong with building yourself as a brand. In fact, it helps in digital marketing.
However, you should build your blog as a self-sufficient brand and promote your authority around it.
This way, you will build two brands at once! Something that Harsh Agrawal has done with his blog Shout Me Loud
When your domain keyword is too specific
First of all, keyword stuffed domain names can’t help you rank in the long run. Plus, you can’t build a strong brand around them.
So, if you choose a domain called,
You can’t expect to expand your business beyond Delhi with this domain.
On the other hand,
Broader keywords are good to include in the domain as long as they contain brand power.
Here are all good traits of a perfect domain name:
- Relevance to your business
- Covers the whole targeted industry
- Simple and memorable
- Short in length
I have dedicated one whole post to domain name and SEO, so you can find the balance between brand power and keywords in your domain name.
Blogging has become popular because bloggers are famous these days.
So, everyone decides to just start a blog and see where it goes.
But are you ready to make the initial investments?!
Starting a blog requires hard work and a little money.
Of course, you can start a free blog using Blogger or WordPress with a simple sign up.
But, do this only if you want to blog as a “hobby”.
Because, free-hosted blogs don’t look very professional. The design themes and domain structure don’t give you the much-needed brand power.
Plus, you don’t control the major SEO factors of your site such as server response, content storage space and other blog features. You don’t even own your blog on many platforms.
In case you want to turn your traffic into money, free blogs are a bad choice in that direction as well. There are multiple restrictions on using ads on free blogging platforms.
Free hosts for blogging come with various similar terms and conditions, which makes this step one of the biggest mistakes in SEO.
Smart bloggers choose self-hosted services and get control over the site server.
Hosting companies such as HostGator and Bluehost offer high-quality shared hosting to make your blog a professional looking platform.
With a paid host, you get:
- Customized themes to match your blog niche.
- Ability to manage and control backend database.
- High bandwidth, storage space, and server response.
- Ability to optimize for SEO and layout appeal.
And much more!
For all that, you just have to pay a small price per month. Which is nothing if you think about the profits in the long run.
A slow site doesn’t rank on desktop and mobile searches.
New site owners and bloggers don’t really know how site speed works. Which results in common SEO mistakes that stop you from getting top SERP rankings.
Google wants you to have 0.2 seconds of response time.
Which means- your web server should respond to the request made by web browser within 0.2 seconds. Otherwise, the crawl-ability of the browser reduces.
Then, there is the content load speed of your web pages.
Here are a few tools you can use to measure the speed performance of your site:
I also have a comprehensive guide to understanding and improving page speed. The guide will save you from making common SEO mistakes associated with page speed.
Entering the online world with a content strategy is wise.
But, you have to be ready to make modifications in your content strategy from time to time.
Because, best content quality is the quality your audiences prefer.
If your audiences are looking for “How to buy and use” and you provide content on “How to buy” only, it won’t work in your favor.
You have to present your site or blog as a comprehensive content platform in the industry.
And, comprehensive means including all content types that your audiences are asking for.
So, research your audiences:
- Monitor the popularity of content pieces you create.
- Study the questions asked by your audiences.
- Interact with industry influencers to gain valuable insights regarding the content demand.
Using this approach will save you from making mistakes in SEO of content.
If you don’t know about RankBrain, it can start a series of common SEO mistakes on your blog or website.
RankBrain is Google’s AI that presents the most relevant SERP results to the users.
In a great FAQ on Google RankBrain Algorithm, Danny Sullivan informs that RankBrain is one of the top 3 Google ranking factors.
RankBrain constantly evaluates user experience through:
1. Number of clicks you get on a search result page. (CTR or Click Through Rate)
2. Time visitors spend on your web page or blog post. (Dwell Time)
Common SEO mistakes harming your CTR
If you fail to make your snippet (meta title and description) click-worthy, the number of clicks go low.
So, RankBrain starts seeing your pages as unworthy of ranking.
Now, there are three steps to ensure high CTR when you start appearing on the first search result pages:
- Choose keywords that are relevant to your page content.
- Include keywords in the title, description, and URLs.
- Make your Meta Title and description has interesting adjectives.
Here is an example of a crisp and effective snippet:
Common SEO mistakes harming your dwell time
A visitor clicks on your page link but bounces back to the search result page after a few seconds only.
Then, the same visitor clicks on another page link and stays long enough.
If this bounce happens too many times, RankBrain will pass your rankings to other competitors.
Major reasons why visitors can bounce back from your page:
- You don’t present the promised content.
- Your page takes too long to load.
- Your content presentation is boring or too complicated.
- Your content is outdated.
Any of these reasons can harm the dwell time and steal rankings from you.
So, prepare your web pages for the users and RankBrain as well.
For further reading:
Choosing the wrong keywords is definitely one of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid.
In my previous post, I have explained user intent SEO and its use in keyword and content strategy.
You can generate content and find the right keywords after.
Or, find keywords first, then, write content for them.
In both situations, user intentions of the keywords and content should match seamlessly.
But why does user intent matter so much?!
Well, everyone is smart enough to not talk about “dogs” when the target keyword is “cats”.
However, situations are not always black and white.
You can’t feel sure when targeting “website design” on your page.
Maybe, the users are searching for “website design ideas”.
Or, maybe users want to know about “website design services”.
There are also micro-specific intentions possible with keywords like,
“website design ideas for real estate”
“website design services in Miami”
So, it is important to align keyword intentions with the content you want to create.
To serve the right user intention:
- Increase the power of broad keywords with specific and micro-specific keywords.
- Target keywords with similar user intentions on a single page.
- Find keywords for multiple intentions and target them on separate pages.
- Top 7 places to find keywords for free
- Beginners Guide to Keyword Research
- The Art of Finding and Using Long Tail Keywords
Do you stuff keywords?
You can ruin your SEO even after finding all the perfect keywords.
Wrong keyword placement is one of the biggest on-page mistakes bloggers and websites make initially.
There is a fine line between “keyword targeting” and “keyword stuffing”.
If you put keywords in every sentence, you are living in an ancient version of SEO.
Search engines are smart and capable of evaluating keyword stuffing. So, you can end up facing dropped rankings and penalties.
To avoid keyword stuffing, you should opt for the long tail keywords and LSIs.
LSIs or Latent Semantic Indexing are keywords related to the target keywords you have.
For instance, if your target keyword is “dog food”
The LSIs can be:
“dog food prices”
“dog food brands list”
“dog food homemade”
Remember, LSIs can or cannot be a synonym of your target keyword. They are terms related to the target keyword you have.
Some great places to find LSIs
Suggested by great bloggers and digital platforms, LSI Graph offers a simple generation of LSI keywords.
You simply write your target keyword in the box and click the “Generate” icon.
- Google search box
Look how I searched LSIs for this article on SEO mistakes.
You can do the same with your keywords.
- Related searches section on Google
You can also check out the related searches section presented at the bottom of the SERP you want to target.
Remember, keywords in this section can be outdated. For instance, “Common SEO mistakes 2017” is not the one I would choose. So, you need to let your common sense help you out here.
Are you not putting keywords in the right places?
On a page, there are certain locations where keywords work more effectively.
If you don’t utilize those places, you are limiting your ability to rank for the right keywords.
When putting your target keywords, choose following places on-page:
- In the title of your page
- In the first 100 words
- In a few subheadings
- At the end of the content
Apart from that, you can also sprinkle the target keywords and LSIs in other different parts of the content. Utilize subheadings, internal links and external links to place LSIs.
But don’t over stuff. Let the content length decide the density of keywords you include on-page.
Duplicate content is bad for SEO and most bloggers and website owners know that.
However, the duplication issue can occur unknowingly too.
Moz’s post on duplicate content explains how your site can have duplicate content in the following unintentional ways:
1. Your URL system is creating different versions of a single page.
2. Search engines are indexing your original page and its printable version as well.
3. Your site has both “WWW” and “non-WWW” versions.
4. Your site has HTTP and HTTPS versions.
5. Your site has product descriptions, which create partial duplication.
To fix the mentioned SEO mistakes in digital content production, you need to utilize:
1. 301 redirection
2. Noindex property
4. Overpower the needed duplicate content (such as product description) with original content on the same page.
Have a look at these three sentences:
The differences you notice in these sentences are due to:
- Writing style
- Choice of vocabulary
Readers imagine a brand personality when they read a content piece.
That brand personality turns into familiarity, which further turns into memorability.
Hence, you can’t break the writing tone consistency.
Choose any writing tone, but stay consistent with the tone you select.
Mostly, new sites and bloggers keep switching vocabulary and writing tone from page to page. This stops from hooking your target audiences.
And yes, it is an SEO mistake.
Search engines evaluate the response of actual people to judge the quality of your site. Hence, you need to build a brand with recognizable content writing tone.
To avoid the content writing mistakes in SEO:
- Define detailed writing guidelines for your site or blog.
- Hire writers for a long-term period and instruct them about the writing guidelines.
- Choose a vocabulary that aligns with your brand’s personality.
- Follow the selected writing style and vocabulary on every web page.
You can say a thousand things with a single word, or make no sense even with a thousand words.
Boring content is definitely one of the worst mistakes in SEO. Your traffic goes away, influencers don’t offer backlinks and social media shares decrease too.
So, you fail to create credibility, reputation and it all impacts your SEO rankings negatively.
But many times long content is confused with boring content. Which is why bloggers and site owners fail to deliver comprehensive quality.
Boring content has nothing to do with the length if you know how to present.
Content becomes boring when:
- You present outdated or useless information.
- You don’t make content easy to read.
- You divert from the niche you are known for.
- You force too many keywords without taking care of the reading experience.
You can avoid mentioned issues and build your site or blog as a credible information source. Research well, offer fresh content and present interestingly.
I have a guide: How to not bore audiences when writing long blog posts
It will help you design your long-form content in an interesting way.
Images are good, images make your text content more interesting.
But you can’t just add images for the sake of adding them.
Each visual should serve a purpose and help convey your message. This goes for the images on landing pages, web pages, and blog posts as well.
Along with that, you need to optimize those images to keep your page SEO friendly and easy to load.
Visuals mistakes in SEO include:
- Using stock images again and again.
- Not customizing the visual appeal to match your content.
- Failing to pick the most effective file format. (JPEG, PNG, GIF)
- Not compressing to the optimal size.
- Forgetting about the ALT text.
- Not creating an image sitemap.
To save yourself from mistakes of image SEO, read:
A call-to-action is an action you want your visitors to take:
“Get an instant quote”
“Find great deals right here”
“Share this article”
Every page should ask visitors to do something. No page should be a dead end for your visitors. Be it a service page, blog post or any other.
Vague or missing call-to-action kills thousands of conversion opportunities.
Depending on the content of a page, you can decide which call-to-action would be best.
A perfect call-to-action contains following properties:
- Designed with crisp and clear words.
- Inserted where visitors are most likely to click.
- Only one clear action offered.
Internal linking is how you link two web pages on your site or blog, using a hyperlink. The text used to insert the link is called “anchor text”
Internal linking can go wrong and negatively impact your SEO.
For that, you need to understand the purpose of internal linking:
- Improves the navigation capacity of your visitors.
- Allows visitors to find more information on the desired topic.
- Helps Google bots to easily crawl all your web pages and understand your site niche.
So, the correct method of internal linking always helps users and search engines.
But, your mistakes in SEO of internal linking become a hurdle for users and search engines. And those issues are:
- Linking two pages that have nothing to do with each other.
- Not planning a step-by-step journey of a visitor to your site.
- Adding links without any anchor text.
- Using the same anchor text too many times on a page.
- Making links appear unnatural and forced.
- Using main keyword in anchor text instead of LSIs.
Think about helping your visitors and you will know which links to add and how to add them. Also, avoid using keyword stuffing and make the links look as natural as possible.
And most of all, judge the relevancy and the purpose of linking two pages.
External links are the links on your page connecting to another site.
For new blogs and websites, external links are a great way to help search engines understand site’s niche.
Search engines give immense importance to the relevancy and the authority of the sites you link to.
If you randomly send outbound links to low ranking, bad quality sites, their reputation ruins your chances of gaining authority in your niche.
Vague anchor text is another on-page outbound link mistake you can make. Using terms such as:
And other general terms take away great SEO opportunities. You can include natural anchor texts including your LSIs to make your page easily understandable to search engines.
See how I use external links to highlight my LSIs to search bots.
In a nutshell, your external link strategy should consist:
- High-quality outbound links to high-ranking, authoritative sites.
- Relevancy to help search engines evaluate the purpose and industry you want to target.
- Organically inserted LSIs to improve on-page SEO.
Are you blindly creating content and waiting for it to get backlinks?!
That won’t happen!
Even if you get backlinks without any efforts, they won’t be relevant and authoritative enough.
To gain authority and rankings, you need to promote your content to the right people and achieve backlinks. These people include your target audiences and influencers.
You need to begin social media promotion and start influencer outreach. Connect with industry bloggers to gain relevant backlinks from quality pages.
To help you with link building, here is a guide and a list of tools:
- Link Building SEO: Guide To Become A Master From A Beginner
- 90+ Link Building Tools Your Competitors Are Using
Bounce rate management is a skill every site or blog owner needs to learn.
High bounce rate can mean many bad scenarios:
- Low content quality
- Reduced load speed
- Irrelevant keyword selection
- Ineffective site navigation
- Meaningless internal linking
Hence, you should have the capacity to find out what’s going on with your traffic. This way, you can take the right actions whenever your bounce rate increases.
However, bounce rate expectations differ from page to page:
- Service websites: 10-30%
- Retail or e-commerce websites: 20-40%
- Content publishing websites: 40-60%
- Landing pages: 70-80%
- Blogs: 70-98%
Hence, you should keep a realistic benchmark and manage with effective steps such as:
- Work on your on-page user experience
- Offer a mobile-friendly page design
- Keep page speed as fast as possible (preferably below 3 seconds)
- Offer relevant links on your pages.
- Motivate towards a clear call-to-action.
To learn bounce rate management in detail, you can check out my in-depth how to reduce bounce rate guide.
Site maintenance is a consistent job, which becomes harder if you have a small or no SEO team.
Owners who don’t utilize site maintenance tools work hard instead of working smart.
Google Search Console and Google Analytics are commonly utilized tools by site and blog owners.
However, there are other tools, which can save a lot of time and make SEO optimization easier for you.
Moz Tools: For keyword research, link building, On-page inspection, and much more!
Google Marketing Platform: For analytics, advertising and other marketing planning and execution.
Mobile-Friendly Test: To check mobile user experience of your site.
Here is a guide to selecting SEO tools if you have a WordPress site:
A strong social media presence is a huge traffic source. You build a reputation, a customer base and get to obtain backlink opportunities as well.
But, site owners and bloggers don’t put as much dedication as required on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
The benefits are possible only if your social media presence aligns with the current trends.
Start with basic social media optimization on major platforms, but don’t stop there. Tap into the trends such as Facebook live video creation, popular hashtags, stories, and business features as well.
If your business is divided into multiple locations offline, the online presence needs to target those locations separately as well.
Your local SEO strategy needs to include:
- Customization of your Google My Business page.
- Directory reviews
- Local link building
- Customer reviews
- Local promotional strategy for social media
I have a guide to local SEO strategy to gain better customer reach.
For local content ideas:
If you don’t have a YouTube channel dedicated to your site or blog. You are missing out on great opportunities.
YouTube has become the most favorite platform for businesses to tap into various communities and find business.
Whether you are looking for traffic, leads, sales or brand reputation, YouTube offers it all.
But it all comes down to the quality of content you offer and the SEO optimization steps you leverage.
To start your YouTube channel:
- Pick a market group you want to target.
- Invest in high-quality gadgets.
- Research target keywords to include in YouTube channel profile.
- Optimize your videos with relevant keywords.
- Make high-quality, interesting and useful videos.
- Promote your channel on social media and official site.
These bullets only offer a simple overview, however, you need a comprehensive guide for this. So here it is:
You have now resolved your 20 common SEO mistakes for good. Hopefully, the positive results will become visible soon.
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