The world of Search Engine Optimization is constantly changing, so it’s only natural that problems in one of the most challenging digital marketing fields are difficult to keep track of.
Depending on your level of SEO knowledge, there are a range of things to keep in mind.
Here are 5 common problems that could be holding back your organic results.
1. Broken Links
Broken links can be either internal (links to other pages in your website) or external (links to other website pages).
No matter the type of link, if it’s broken, you’ll reduce the User Experience (UX) of your site, as well as decrease the authority of your site.
So, how to fix them? There are a couple of options:
Replace the link to relevant content either on another website or your own. If you decide to go down this route, make sure you understand just how important relevancy is in SEO.
Remove the broken links. If you can’t find relevant content to direct the hyperlink to, you can always remove it entirely.
2. Duplicate Content
If a website has similar content in its pages, it runs the risk of being considered duplicate content by search engines.
When a website has duplicate content, search engines may end up showing less than ideal pages in search results. If you have a lot of similar content, keyword cannibalization might be another issue you’re facing
Fixing duplicate content on website can be a challenge. You want to look at all the pages that have similar or identical content.
If you don’t need all the extra pages, you can delete them. This can seem counter-intuitive, but deleting some content has shown to increase overall rankings.
You need to send the right signals to search engines so they know what page you consider to be the most important.
If you need to keep all pages that are similar, you may want to add a canonical tag, that helps Google identify what page you consider to be most important.
3. Images Not Optimized
Unoptimized images are common areas to easily improve your SEO. Search engine spiders that crawl your site don’t see images like we do. Instead they use a few things to understand an image before ranking it.
If you’re not optimizing images on your website, you’re leaving traffic on the table for your competitors to take from you.
Image optimization begins before you even upload. You’ll want to make sure you resize your images to your maximum image size of your current theme – that way the images will be smaller and easy to load. Don’t forget to rename the file name to something relevant as well.
Next, you’ll want to make sure the alt tag of your picture is filled out with something describing the image. Not only do search engines read this text, you’ll also be improving the website experience of anyone using an e-reader to access your content.
Finally, make sure to compress your images. This removes data that isn’t needed from your images, making them faster to load.
4. Wrong Use of Headings
During my career, I’ve seen a number of sites using headings the wrong way. Sure, a H1 header usually appears bigger than a H2, but you might be sending the wrong signals to search engines.
Each page should have only one H1 heading, containing your primary keyword and enticing a reader to click your result, rather than a competitors.
For the rest of your headers, it depends how your content is laid out. For a simple formula to follow, make the main points of the article in H2 headings, while you use H3 headings to answer the smaller topics within each H2.
This post, for example, uses a H1 tag around the heading of the article, while each point is wrapped around a H2 tag.
5. Low Word Count
As the top positions in search results get more and more competitive, you’ll see posts begin to get longer and longer.
Longer posts tend to keep a reader on a website for longer. Why? One of the main factors in rankings is time on page, or the average length of time users spend on a particular page.
Low word counts are often seen as ‘thin content’ and thus providing very little value to a reader. If a website has many pages considered to be low value by Google and other search engines, it’s possible the rest of your site will take a negative hit in the rankings as well.
The fix for this is to make sure all your pages are helpful. I’m not saying to fill these pages with garbage, just to increase the word count. That won’t help your rankings if no one sticks around to read what you have to say.
SEO common mistakes final thoughts
Search Engine Optimization can be difficult to make sure your content is living up to its potential when it comes to directing traffic to your site.
We’ve covered 5 different mistakes that are commonly found on a website, plus a basic way to fix them. You’ll want to keep an eye on your website and make sure you’re following the latest best practices.