20 Aug SEO Mistakes That Are Killing Your PageRank.
SEO Mistakes That Are Killing Your PageRank.
From YMG – The Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency in Chelmsford, Essex.
SEO mistakes are common. SEO is changing all the time. Google regularly adds new layers to its algorithm. Sometimes SEO practices go out of date. Occasionally site owners use black hat SEO tactics for quick results. Sometimes it might be something you never realised affected your SEO.
Why are SEO Mistakes Bad for Your Website?
Blackhat SEO and bad practices can negatively affect your rankings. Google has a list of rules for a reason – to show websites that meet it’s customers needs. If your website goes against any of these rules, it’s going to cause your PageRank to go down.
Fixing all these issues will increase your PageRank, but it will be slow at first. It is worth going through your website with a fine-tooth comb to fix these SEO mistakes. If you need help, an SEO company (such as ourselves) will be more than happy to help. Sometimes it better to leave it to the experts.
SEO Mistakes You Need To Avoid:
Plagiarism and Duplicate Content.
Google wants to see unique content, not the same articles all over the web. If you are posting the same copy on lots of different websites, then Google will penalise you. This goes for copying and pasting information from other websites.
Duplicate content extends to ‘about’ information on business directories. This is probably one of the biggest SEO mistakes we find brands making. Use unique content wherever you can.
If you need to quote another article, make sure you link the source material. Spend 100-200 words explaining it or putting forward your opinions on it. This will help you lower the duplicate content ratio.
Accidental plagiarism happens a lot too. When everyone is writing about the same topic, you might use the same wording by accident. So always check your writing, even if it’s 100% from your brain.
Plagiarism and duplicate content checkers:
Article spinning takes existing copy then makes small changes, so it appears fresh to search engines.
The changes can include:
- Changing words for synonyms.
- Swapping paragraphs around.
- Modifying sentence structure.
- Changing the language.
Some website owners might create hundreds of versions of the same copy. The idea is to get lots of ranked pages, but also post them onto guest posting sites for backlinks. Humans or AI software can spin articles.
Article spinning can and does work. And it works well for some businesses. BUT Google considers this cheating, and they are starting to clamp down. Doing anything that Google thinks cheats the system is a big SEO mistake. Play by the rules. It’s pointless breaking the system.
Recent algorithm updates have started to demote low-quality content. This has cleared out some articles written by AI. AI written pieces sometimes include words that do not make sense in context.
Don’t confuse article spinning with skyscraper content. This is where you add your own opinions to existing content.
Overuse of keywords is a huge SEO mistake. While it may work in the short term, it will severely affect you in the long run. SEO is a long-term strategy.
Keyword stuffing leads to text that is unhelpful for human readers. Write your keywords naturally into sentences. It can be hard at first, but with practice, it gets easier.
There’s no magic number when it comes to keyword density. Most experts suggest between 2-5%. Some say higher, some say lower. We recommend sticking between 2-4%.
If you’re on WordPress, consider installing the Yoast plugin. Yoast has a great system for monitoring your keywords and other SEO issues. It’s very beginner friendly but can be used by newbies and experts alike.
Poor Quality Content.
Don’t write content for the sake of content. The days of churning out articles for PageRank is over. Google is clamping down. Using poorly written or AI content is a big SEO mistake.
Google has released several algorithm updates which penalise poor content.
The signals include, but is not limited to:
- Content that doesn’t answer the search query.
- The text is irrelevant to headline or link text.
- Slow to load.
- Spelling and grammatical errors.
- Lack of alt tags and video transcripts.
- Poorly organised structure.
- “Wall of text” content, with few or no paragraph breaks.
- Very few or no backlinks.
Have a look at your analytics software for your posts. Find pages with little or no traffic, posts with low time on page (not bounce rate). Also look for duplicated content, both on and offline. You might need to rewrite your about page if you’ve used the exact wording elsewhere.
You may need to rewrite the content to make them more helpful or targeted. You may also need to delete bad content from your website as that might be affecting your whole website.
Buying links, exchanging links for free products or using link farms are bad for your websites. You need to be finding high-quality links for your website.
Backlinking is an extremely valuable SEO strategy. Not only does it get your brand known, it tells search engines that you are trustworthy and your opinion is valuable.
Bad links include:
- Link farms.
- Links from irrelevant websites.
- Links from poor quality, untrustworthy websites.
- Links that happen all in one go (e.g., there’s clearly automation or link trading going on).
- Links from websites that sell links.
Search engines want to see backlinks from websites of high trust. Renowned news sites, reputable industry sources or educational sites all help build trust. Links are worth more if they appear within editorial content.
Be aware, that swapping backlinks for free products, even for review purposes, can be seen as a “bad link” by Google. It might be worth asking bloggers to use “nofollow” links if you’re giving them products. Reviews that are given naturally (because they love the product) are do not count.
If you have links that are affecting your SEO you will need to disavow them.
Website speed is a huge part of SEO. Its User Experience 101. Your website needs to load fast on mobile or users will bounce. Search engines know this and will penalise accordingly.
Common factors that slow down websites are:
- Image size.
- Code density.
- Unnecessary amounts of plugins.
- Outdated back-end software or themes (WordPress, Joomla, etc).
- No CDN.
- No website caching.
You can use a website such as Pingdom to test your website speed. It’s a big SEO mistake to ignore these. While it might take a bit of technical help to set up, it will be worth it.
Image size is usually the most obvious. If you are using WordPress, you might want to install a plugin called Imagery. This will go through your website and resize any images that it deems are too big. If you’ve never optimised your images before, you’ll see a drastic improvement.
SEO is based around user experience. Search engines want to help their users solve their problems efficiently and without frustration. Good navigation also helps their robots navigate through your website. Ignoring your end users is a huge SEO mistake.
Navigation is a huge part of User Experience. A user needs to be able to navigate through your site to find what they need. They need to do this in as few clicks as possible.
You should check the following every few months
- Main navigation menu contains relevant pages.
- Main navigation is clearly labelled.
- Pages contain internal links.
- All new blog posts include internal links.
- Sitemaps are up to date.
- Microcopy is relevant to the page it links to.
- Footer links are relevant and up-to-date.
- Pages do not contain broken links.
By checking these regularly, you can ensure that all new pages contain relevant links. It also ensures that old posts link to new ones.
Image Names and Alt-tags.
We’ve already covered optimising image sizes, but that’s not the only SEO factor. Image names and Alt-tags contain brilliant SEO opportunities – if you don’t abuse them!
When uploading an image to your website, make sure the name contains the keywords. You can name it after the article or explain what the image is.
Let’s say the image above was for an article about beautiful Sunset photography. We might want to call the image beautiful-sunset-photography.jpg. While there’s no limit to file names, it’s best not to be spammy and keep to the point.
Alt-tags are another abused method of SEO. The whole point of Alt-tags is to explain what the image is to blind or visually impaired users who use speech software to browse the internet. So, Google condones the use of overly spammy alt tags. Describe the image and naturally drop in the keyword, just like you do with text. If you have a product number, then this can go into the image too.
Forgetting alt tags is easy. It’s worth checking through from time to time to see if you’ve missed any that may be important.
SEO mistakes are common, but it takes time and understanding to fix them. SEO is a time-consuming project, but it’s also indispensable to your marketing efforts.Fixing your SEO Mistakes will not only helps you optimise for search engines but for humans as well. Sometimes, it’s better to get help, as the time needed to optimise your site fully will be huge. Hiring an SEO agency will allow you to get back to what you do best: steering your business to success. If you need SEO help, please check out our packages or contact us with your projects. We will be happy to help.
YMG are an award-winning and full-service digital marketing agency based in Chelmsford, Essex, and home of the Jargon Buster series, helping business owners to understand the technical terms of digital marketing.