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7 Common On-Page SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Improve your on-page SEO. We've compiled a list of common SEO factors and suggest some changes you can make right now to improve your organic rankings.

Published on

Oct 09, 2020

Written by

Cecilia Qu'in

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

—Albert Einstein

No matter how much time you’ve spent designing your website and building your brand, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to on-page SEO and SEO in general. Optimizing every element of a website can be an incredibly daunting task, but SEO mistakes do not simply waste your time—they will significantly hurt your chances of being seen in the first place.

There can be nothing more frustrating than counting out one issue after another after another until BOOM… you’re left fumbling through a mess of ideas, observations, and technical issues without a single solid solution! No matter how many different digital marketing strategies you eventually try, you find yourself on the wrong side of Google’s algorithms. And that can be costly.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity due to low sales and site statistics, you now have the opportunity to catch these devastatingly common mistakes before they have the opportunity to hold you back any further!

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of common factors and changes that you can catch right now in order to improve your organic rankings and your odds for future conversions.

1. Failing to Customize Your URLs

This one particular mistake may seem obvious, but it’s also been known to be one of the most common mistakes. When it comes to optimizing your website, we often think of the content displayed on the page itself—not so much when it comes to the URL.

Contrary to popular belief, the URL is not just an address used to log onto your website. It’s also a huge factor that attributes to its digital accessibility, and can actually improve your user experience—once you know which keywords to use.

2. Don’t Over-Complicate the Structure of Your URL

The longer and more convoluted your URL seems, the higher the likelihood that you’ll end up drowning out the most important keywords. This will reduce the odds of your audience even finding your work in the first place. The more folders and layers you add, the more complicated your URL will look to visiting guests.

In short: STOP. Try to keep your URL looking clear and concise. Include the title of the page. Use hyphens instead of underscores or unnecessary slashes. Move those keywords as close to the beginning as possible. You want to keep those URLs easy to read so viewers will feel comfortable reading them. They will also be much more likely to revisit and share your website if your URLs are easy to comprehend.

3. Putting Dates in the URLs

This is a big one. Although it’s certainly important to include the date in your blogs, many people don’t understand how much of an oversight this can be. When you include the date in the URL, you might think that this is an efficient way to keep your posts organized, right?

You’d be sorely mistaken.

When you add the date to a URL, you are giving Google algorithms full permission to down out your article. When you add a date to a URL, Google algorithms will assume that your website is relevant to that date exclusively. If you want your content to stand out as “evergreen” and to make sure your articles are relevant regardless of the date, don’t include dates in your URLs.

4. Writing Content with No Plan For Revisions

Content is crucial. Anyone who runs a website understands this, so why would posting as much as possible prove to be an act of self-sabotage? Well, we can assure you that it’s not new content that’s the issue. Creating and publishing new content with no plan to revise or update on those topics in the future… THAT is the mistake.

No matter what you choose to write about, your content should look professional. This means it should be well-written, fact-checked and cross-referenced for accuracy when needed. The template your for your blog should also make your content easy to read.

5. Revisit Past Topics

When most people write blogs, it’s not uncommon for those entries to read like a simple diary entry. This is certainly one way to run a blog, but it’s not incredibly effective if you want to sound like an expert in your industry. Instead of simply writing one new story after another, try revisiting past topics and expanding on those by exploring the details within them even further.

With billions of blogs to choose from, you want to give your content a better chance of standing out! Google algorithms are programmed to seek out patterns of consistency and revisited and revised topics are perfect for this! Make time to consider the content you want to be recognized for before you go publishing it on your website. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by asking yourself:

  • Is this topic relevant?
  • Why write about this particular subject?
  • What type of audience am I hoping to draw in by publishing this article in the first place?

These questions may cause you to spiral for a moment while you contemplate the answers, but this is perfectly natural. Quality content takes time. Reviewing and revising past articles takes time. You don’t have to rewrite every article or blog post you’ve ever published, but maybe you found a paragraph that would read better if penned a little differently. Perhaps your views on a certain subject have changed. If you update your work on a regular basis, SEO will eventually begin to work in your favor. Any time spent revisiting past subjects of interest will automatically give your new content a boost, making it easier for digital foot traffic to find its way to your website.

6. The Benefits of Internal Linking

As tempting as it might be to reference other websites in your own writing, internal linking is a fantastic way to give Google a better picture of your brand and what you represent. By creating internal links, you’ll be gently guiding your audience through your website. This is your chance to take advantage of your most popular pages by creating a web of connectivity whose sole purpose is to send visitors to explore other parts of your website. Internal linking can be an incredible tool, when used correctly, as it will help your customers learn more about you and the services your company provides. As beneficial as this can be. it’s also important to note that—though effective when used—there can be disadvantages to excessive internal linking.

7. Just Say ‘No’ to Spam

Google will often recognize too many internal links as “spam,” and the last thing we want is for your SEO to falter. Try one or two links per page, where applicable, and run an A/B test to see how that affects your current rankings. Once you’ve found that happy medium, your chances of earning more site visits will slowly begin to rise.

8. Long-Tail Keywords

This common on-page SEO mistake is actually one of the easiest to fix! It would be wonderful if, say, your winery showed up on Page One of your potential customer’s searches for “wineries” on Google… but that would be highly unlikely. Unless you happen to own one of the largest vineyards in the world, the odds of your business showing up on Page One of Google are incredibly slim. This is where our strategy changes! With the use of long-tail keywords, your chances of being found by your desired audience will increase exponentially.

Think about the types of questions your customers might ask while searching for your product or service. Which factors would they care about the most? Ask the right questions, and it’ll be much easier to find long tail keywords that will home in on the results your customers are looking for.

9. Forgetting About Mobile Users

In 2015, Google introduced its “mobile-friendly” search algorithm. This newer type of SEO proved challenging to many web designers at the time because it was designed to rank mobile-friendly sites higher on the search results. With more and more people switching and upgrading to smartphones during that time, Google elected to go one step further in 2018 by introducing “the mobile index.” This algorithm’s purpose was to prioritize mobile sites over the desktop alternatives with every new search; and this system of optimization still applies to every mobile device on the market.

In short, if your website was not designed to be mobile-friendly, you will lose out on huge opportunities for exposure. With over 60% of searches being done on mobile devices, you are ruining your chances of being found by that much more. Your business deserves every chance to be seen alongside your competitors, and a good mobile experience will inevitably lead to higher conversion rates.

Keep your audience in mind. Google caters to users’ individual tastes. And thanks to the existence of user metrics, it’ll work to keep track of how many times someone has visited your website. If you keep your audience in mind and cater to their needs by maintaining a mobile-friendly presence for them to visit, Google’s algorithm will recognize this, and it will quickly turn to work in your favor.

7. Optimizing Your Images for SEO

You did it. You reviewed all your written content, made sure your headings and URLs have important keywords, added links to integrate your website more efficiently, and even started to reformat your pages for mobile users. So, what are we missing?

Wait. The pictures!

On-page SEO applies to images as well as written content. Most people wouldn’t really consider this part, but it’s also one of the easiest fixes to make while you are updating and reprogramming your website. Rename your picture files before uploading. This step alone will help your SEO performance significantly.

Take the winery, for example. If you name a picture of your beautiful new bottle of cabernet “picture01.jpg” and fail to rename the file, you’ve missed an easy opportunity for Google to plug your business into their image search. You could rename the picture “wanderlust-cabernet-sauvignon.jpg,” and give it an alt tag of “wanderlust cabernet sauvignon.” This is such an easy fix, and could earn you an influx of new visits once Google has had sufficient time to index those changes.

Don’t Worry. You’ve got this!

No matter how many problems there may be, it can be overwhelming to try and think of all the solutions yourself. That’s what we’re here for! There are so many ways to optimize your website and increase the visibility of your brand, but an efficient use of on-page SEO is one of the most important factors to the success of your business. You spent the money—now, head on over to that website of yours and make those necessary changes!

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