Top 5 SEO Mistakes Most People Make

What if I told you there were simple things you were doing (or not doing) that were likely hurting your website or blog? Do you want to have better rankings and get more traffic to your site? Who doesn’t? Here are the top 5 SEO mistakes you’re probably making based on what I see daily on the web.

Generic Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Not optimizing your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions on EVERY single page. The Title Tag and Meta Description represent a big opportunity for you. They’re the first impression a potential customer will see for your business or blog. Think of the Title Tag as the introduction and the Meta Description as the soft sales pitch. You want to entice the reader to click and visit your website or blog to learn more about you. Your click-through-rate impacts your keyword rankings. It makes sense, Google wants to serve their customers great content and if they see that almost no one visits a site, why would they want to rank it high?

You need to have a unique Title Tag and Meta Description for each page. Don’t reuse a generic one site-wide. It will not benefit you. You should spend time crafting Title Tags and Meta Descriptions that entice the searcher to visit your site to learn more. Include a call-to-action, make sure they adhere to best practices for length so they don’t truncate. Current length recommendations are 56 characters (including spaces) for Title Tags and 156 characters (including spaces) for Meta Descriptions.

Improper Keyword Targeting 

The keywords you target are critical to your SEO program, you know this but it’s hard to know what to target. Right? Let’s talk for a minute about what the best keywords to target are and how to figure that out. The best keyword for you may not be the one with the most search volume. Yes, you read that right.

Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords

A long tail keyword – a phrase with 3-4 words, is likely going to convert better than a short tail keyword (also known as a head term) – a phrase with 1-2 words for several reasons. First, the terms with the highest search volumes are often more generic, they’re for searches that are higher up the sales funnel. Yes, there are more searches but they’re ultra-competitive, making them very hard to rank for. And, because they’re higher up in the sales funnel, they’re much less likely to convert.

You can target much better with a long-tail keyword. A consumer who is searching for long-tail terms is further down the sales funnel and more likely to convert if they find what they’re searching for. 

Example:

Short Tail / Head Term – Shoes

Long Tail – Women’s Black Leather Ballet Flats

Finding the Right Keywords 

When you’re searching for keywords, start with a tool such as the Keyword Planner from Google. You will have to create an Adwords account to use the planner but you don’t have to buy ads to get the data.

Search for terms that align with your product offerings and make sure you’re calling them by the same names your customers are. Sometimes the poor keyword targeting is due to naming issues, other times it’s that a website is trying to target a term they can’t (and will never) rank for.

Not Encouraging Clicks 

You’re probably laughing at the thought that there’s any website or blog out there that doesn’t want people to click through to read more. Right? That’s essentially what you’re telling your potential readers if you don’t include a call-to-action. Why should they visit your site? Help them decide that their click will be worthwhile.

Your Title Tag should include some basic information: the targeted keyword, your brand/website name, and ideally, a CTA that encourages a click. Action words work well. Learn, Click, Shop, Visit…. You get the idea.

ProTip: Make your Title Tag read like a sentence. For example, “Learn How to Write a Great Title Tag | The Etched Blog”

Your Meta Description should include your targeted keyword and a call-to-action. It’s up to you whether you include the brand name again. Realistically, your brand name is already in the URL and the Title Tag. It’s unnecessary to include it a third time in the Meta Description.

ProTip: Expand upon the information in your Title Tag and again, make it into a sentence. Don’t reuse the same basic info. Help convince the reader to click. Make them want to learn more.

For example, “A great title tag entices a reader to click-through to learn more about what you do. It helps them understand enough to want more. Read the full post now.”

Generic File Names Represent a Missed Opportunity

While a generic file name may not actually hurt your SEO, it doesn’t help you. Each image file on your website or blog should be optimized and should include targeted keywords. The search engines can read your file names and to them, it’s one more instance of the keyword on your site. It helps show your authority on the subject matter.

ProTip: Format your file names with the most important keyword last. Use dashes (-) between words because the search engine spiders can read them as spaces and understand the terms more clearly. If you use underscores, you don’t get the same benefit.

Incorrect or Missing Header Tags

While Header Tags aren’t visible to the reader, they’re used by the search engines to understand what your page is about and where the content resides in the hierarchy. It’s important to use Header Tags correctly on every page.

ProTip: Header tags represent a hierarchy and help the search engine spider understand the content on the page. Use them on every page. Technically, Header Tags go 1-6, however, it’s unlikely you’ll ever need more than 1-3.

  • H1: This is the page’s theme (it should be your main keyword)
  • H2: These are the sections
  • H3: These are used to break the sections down further

Are You Making These Common Mistakes on Your Site?

If you’ve read through this and found yourself wondering if you’re making some of these common SEO mistakes or you know you’re making them, it’s time to fix the issues. Your site’s SEO can be improved. When you improve your SEO, you generally see improved rankings and more traffic to your site. Contact us today for a free SEO review and find out what needs fixed on your site.

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