While all you may always try to abide by the best practices, every website is bound to have some SEO errors that can negatively affect SEO rankings. Don’t worry, you are not alone. With Google updating its algorithm every so often, errors will pop up sooner than you expect. This is why it’s crucial to keep an eye on your Search Console and monitor your website’s health throughout
Let’s take a look at some of the most common SEO errors and how you can avoid them or fix them.
Poor Website Navigation
Have you ever visited a website and you’re overwhelmed with content, becoming completely clueless on where to go next?
Bad website navigation can make your website’s content useless if users are compelled to leave the site in an instant. You don’t want your users to feel lost navigating your website. You want them to know exactly how to work your website at a glance.
Having a badly structured navigation does not only affect your UX (User eXperience) but it can also affect your website rankings. Google and other search engines make use of your navigation as well to determine which pages should be crawled first.
When structuring your website’s navigation, make sure to prioritize internal linking between your important pages. Also, have a couple outsiders poke around your site and ask them how they feel about it. Having a non-biased view can be tremendously helpful in finding issues that people working on the site may overlook.
Slow Page Speed
In 2000, Microsoft conducted a study measuring how long people focus on one thing in a specific amount of time. The study revealed that an average person’s attention span was 12 seconds. Roughly 15 years later, it dropped to 8 seconds.
A recent study from the Technical University of Denmark suggests our collective global attention span is narrowing simply because there’s so much information thrown at us that we can only focus on each new “trend” for a short time.
If it takes time to get your site to load especially on mobile devices, your audience will be gone before you know it. Make sure your pages load in three seconds or less if you want visitors to stay on your site.
Page speed is a critical factor when it comes to ranking higher on Google’s search results. Recently, Google has announced that they’ll be including Core Web Vitals as a ranking signal in May 2021. Core Web Vitals were introduced in 2020 and are designed to measure how users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a page.
Having a Non-Mobile Friendly Site
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll practically be invisible to search engines.
Missing H1 Tags
Search engine crawlers look into your H1 tags to help them determine what your site is about. If you don’t have one, you’ll likely fall in search engine ranking.
Heading tags also help add structure to your website’s content. Your users can easily determine what your page’s content is about by merely looking at your headers.
Here are some tips on using H1 tags that works for Google and your visitors:
- Include your primary keyword in your H1.
- Put your H1 above the fold.
- Practice the 5-second test. If website visitors can tell what your site is in 5 seconds, your H1 tag is perfect.
Having Large Images and Media Files
It can be tempting to stack your website with beautiful images and videos. However, having large images and media files can take a toll on your website’s speed. Run your website using Google’s PageSpeed Insights Test and find out what Google suggests about the images you’ve used. If they’re too large, resize or compress them and re-upload to your site.
Having Disruptive Pop-ups
When used correctly, pop-ups can actually improve your email signups to 1,375%. But when your pop-ups interrupt and annoy your visitors, then you’ve got a problem.
Build popups your audience will love or at least not annoy them. You can set a time when the pop-up appears once a visitor has spent at least 30 seconds on your site. Don’t forget to design a beautiful piece so your audience would be tempted to engage.
Text in Images
Although this is technically not an issue and can contribute to the site’s visual appeal, the downside of using text in images is that you are not able to maximize the use of your H1 tag, sub-headline, and adding relevant keywords above the fold. But most importantly, Google cannot read images. It would be a waste to put in valuable keywords in image texts since it wouldn’t be crawled.
Ever seen a website where you scroll at the bottom of the page and see new content loading? That’s infinite scroll. While it’s okay for users, it’s not good for Google. Google can’t scroll. This means that additional pages on your site won’t be indexed.
Having Thin Content
We all know content is king. To rank higher, you need to write content that answers a user’s search query. Search engines look for robust content mostly because algorithms look for a very detailed article to make sure that it answers the query as completely as it can.
SEOs often refer to a recipe. If you write a simple recipe with basic ingredients and instructions, you’ll get the job done. However if you write out the ingredient brands you recommend, exact measurements, how you add them together and for how long, you’ll give the reader a better experience by telling them exactly how to make the perfect recipe and your content will naturally be longer.
That’s not to say however that thin content is necessarily bad and is not the worst of SEO errors. If a well thought out answer only requires 300 words, don’t over optimize it or add flowery language. That’s just as bad as having no content at all. Remember to write for humans, not computers.
Not Having a 404 Page
Having a 404 page is important as it tells your visitors that you care about their experience. You want to keep them on your site and show them where to go next. Not having a 404 page shows a lack of care and planning and also tells search engines that your site may have broken links and is poorly structured.