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25 search engine optimization mistakes that destroy your SEO

25 search engine optimization mistakes that destroy your SEO

Regardless of whether you don't think a lot about SEO, don't stress. I will disclose everything to you in a basic and useful manner with the goal that you can apply the revisions bit by bit. With this post I need to assist you with understanding what we are discussing and afterward you can without much of a stretch address it . In the Aula CM SEO Course you complete an intensive SEO review of your site to discover blunders and figure out how to address them. You additionally have the alternative of taking the SEO Online Course .

25 search engine optimization mistakes that destroy your SEO

Some of the mistakes or things you should be aware of are quite easy to make. Others are less common, but you should know them anyway so as not to fall for them in the future.

In SEO, taking actions to position yourself is as important as avoiding making mistakes

When you work on the SEO of a website, it is just as important to take actions to position yourself as to avoid making mistakes that could penalize you or harm your positioning. But keep in mind that not everything that hurts you has to be a penalty . Sometimes there is a lot of confusion about it and there are people who think it is the same, when it is not.

penalty is a punishment that Google imposes on you for having done something that you should not according to the algorithms that set the rules, such as the panda, penguin, etc. A simple SEO mistake is something that may be hurting you, even if it is not directly related to a specific Google algorithm.

So ... How do you know if you are making SEO mistakes?

It would be great if, every time it penalizes you, Google would notify you promptly and notify you exactly what the reason for the penalty was , so that you could eliminate the problem quickly and accurately.

Nor would it be bad for Google to periodically inform you of the SEO factors that you are not optimizing correctly, to always have your website perfect for SEO . But I'm sorry to tell you that this is not so. Therefore, you have to analyze your site point by point, detect errors and start optimizing from now on.

The problem with making mistakes in SEO is that if you are penalized or drop many positions, the solution may not be as easy as removing the error and that's it. Sometimes a damage remains that can be very difficult to repair, or it can hinder or slow you down in your positioning strategy.

Therefore, it is essential to be very clear about which SEO mistakes you should not make, how to detect them and how to solve them :

1. Duplication of content

The duplication of content may be content with external or containing internal .

External means that you have literally copied or plagiarized texts from other websites and put them on yours. This is something that Google pursues a lot and that you should avoid at all costs. Not only by Google, but also to avoid being branded as a plagiarist, which could damage your reputation among the community of users and content creators.

Internal is when you have the same texts in a fair proportion between different URLs on your own website. If your website has many pages with the same texts, Google might consider that it is not necessary to show them all since they do not add anything new, and that would mean losing visibility in the search engine.

This usually happens when you have indexed pages of taxonomies, products with the same description, footers and sidebars with very wide texts, etc.


How does it hurt you?

Google analyzes your content through the Panda algorithm , and Panda does not like that you fill the internet with URLs that do not provide anything original. In addition, duplicate content worsens the user experience by offering the same texts in different sections, which can be frowned upon by the user.

Now, on this there is debate ... does duplicate content penalize? The truth is that not always, and also with equal conditions in similar projects, in some cases it does and in others it does not. So why take the risk?

How do you know if you have duplicate content?

Enter the domain of your website in the Siteliner tool to know the percentage of internal duplicate content that you have throughout the site and page by page.

To analyze external duplicate or plagiarized content from one website to another, you have tools like Copyscape , in which you can enter a URL of a website and the tool will tell you where that content is being replicated textually.

How to solve it?

In the case of internal duplicate content, modify the content that matches between pages or add more text to lower the match, unindex taxonomies, decrease the amount of text in the widget areas, unindex the pages that generate duplication if they have no relevance or potential to position.

If it is external duplicate content, that is, you have content on your site that is already on other websites, remove it immediately if the content was published before on another website. If it is the other way around, that is, if you have been plagiarized, in theory you should not be penalized for it. However, in the event that you are not completely sure about it, it is better that you review it well just in case.

2. Toxic inbound links

By now we should be very clear that we cannot go around buying links without thoroughly assessing their origin and quality . Until a while ago, many websites lived by systematically buying links, but the Penguin algorithm is increasingly accurate and can penalize you if you go overboard.

The toxic bonded is coming from penalized domains that send links en masse to other websites that are in other languages or working a different language, with anchor mass texts too coincidental or equal proscribed topics such as pornography, gambling, fake drugs, etc.

How do you know if you have toxic inbound links? Check your website with tools like Rank signals or Search Console and see if there are any suspicious links. Analyze the content of these websites, see if they are in another language, take a good look at what subject they work on, count the outgoing links in case you were sending many links for each URL and also pass Rank signals to see who links to them in case they are also suspicious domains.

How does it hurt you?

You could be penalized using Google's Penguin algorithm .

How do you know if you have toxic links?

Check your inbound link profile with tools like Search Console, Ahrefs or Ranksignals, and see if there are any that are suspicious because of their strange name, foreign language, different or suspicious subject (pornography, fake drugs, gambling) and number of outbound links They send by URL to other websites.

How to solve it?

With the disavow functionality of Search Console. Also, by stopping buying links on "weird" sites.

3. Thin Content

Writing little content on your pages and posts is something you should avoid. Not only because of that classic SEO dogma that says: "Google wants you to write at least 300 words to rank."

Also for another important reason: rich content, which satisfies well the user's demand for information regarding the search they entered, is content that generates longer dwell time , less bounce and, ultimately, greater user retention .

Google recommends that you make content valuable, rich and unique, long enough to add value to users, which is really Google's main goal: to offer users the best possible content for each search intention.


How does it hurt you?

Websites that have many indexed sections with little or little valuable content dilute their authority among many URLs, which is not good for the overall authority of the site. In addition, they force Google to crawl irrelevant content and on very large sites it can be a crawl budget problem.

Pages with little and irrelevant content usually do not meet the user's demand for information, which is why they are abandoned earlier and receive fewer links, shares, even conversions.

How do you know if you have thin content?

Look at the amount of content you have in your sections and posts and if they do not usually reach 300 words each, you are well below the necessary amount of text to position well and satisfy users. Also, analyze the quality and real value of your content.

Check with Google Analytics how the user interacts with your content. If in general there are low dwell times, too much bounce and few page views per session, you should ask yourself if your content is good or complete enough, that is, if it has enough length and quality to satisfy the user's search intention.

How to solve it?

Get started writing better and longer texts, with more value , more epigraphs and headings, and unindexed all those pages with little content that have no relevance or potential to position, like contact pages that only have a map and form and things like that.

Also, every time you decide to work on a keyword, do it conscientiously, instead of trying to muddle through with any text. Think carefully about what the user who is entering a search query in Google really wants and give it all the information and value possible.

That is, do not work thinking of a keyword only for each URL, but of the global search intention that each URL can satisfy. With which it is better to create complete, extensive, rich content and with synonymic and varied ways of expressing the keyword.

 

4. Absence of important tags (title, h1)

As you well know, content on the Internet is encoded in HTML . Within this language there are tags that are more important than others for Google.

The two most important tags that should never be missing in each of your URLs are:

  • Title:  Tell Google the main title of that URL. You must put a title by URL, not just one at the global level of the web. The keyword yes or yes must be in that title. It is the most relevant SEO tag. It is written like this: <title> </title>. By the way, all CMS like WordPress and others should put you by default in title what you write inside the title box at the top.

 

  • H1:   It is the most relevant heading tag In a page or post you can have h1, h2, h3, etc., and the one that should never be missing is h1, since it is the next in relevance after the <title> </title> tag. As in the case of the title, the main title that you write in the box at the top should also be in h1. 

Apart from these two tags, it is not bad that you introduce other relevant tags in your content and that in them you put your keyword or the keywords related to the main search intention that you are working on in your content (also the tags, h3, h4 , h5, etc ...).

This helps Google understand your content and gives relevance to what you put inside these tags, in addition to giving your texts a much more hierarchical and scannable visual appearance.

Note : the most important h tag is h1. The h2 is a little less relevant and so with all, in descending importance. 

How does it hurt you?

If you don't use relevant tags, Google can't understand the relevance of the keywords you use within them. That is, you would be leaving aside one of the most important elements to reinforce the relevance of your content around the keywords you use. Also, your texts would look very drab and this could hurt user retention.

How do you know if you are missing important labels?

There must be a unique title and a unique h1 for each URL on your website. If you want to check at the code level that these tags are appearing correctly, go to your website and click on Right button> View page source code. There you can use the search command Control or CMD + F, to search for "title" and "h1" and see if they are and appear only once.

How to solve it?

In theory, if you use a good CMS (like WordPress, for example) with a good template and haven't touched anything weird, each URL on your site (pages, posts, products, etc.) should be showing a title and a h1 . If not, it could be because you have a template with poorly optimized code for SEO or, perhaps, the developer of your company has made a mistake and has left the web without relevant tags. In these last two cases, you have to touch the php code.

Important:  Ask an expert for help before you start playing the code if you don't have much prior idea. 

5. Overaptimization of keyword (keyword stuffing)

Not by writing your keyword in a repetitive and forced way in your texts will you position better. To write a good SEO text, it is not necessary to put the keyword over and over again. Those distant times in which to position better you had to put the keyword with shoehorn in each paragraph have passed, luckily for the user who had to read unfriendly texts full of repeated words. Now that doesn't help.

What's more, if you overshoot or over-optimize, you are incurring what we know as Keyword Stuffing and Google does not like that because it moves away from the philosophy of writing organically, thinking above all about the value you offer and satisfying the user.

Therefore, a tip: always write naturally , without thinking too much about repeating your keywords here and there. Use synonyms and rich use of language. Google is going to like it more… and the user too.

How does it hurt you?

If Google detects an excessive and forced use of the keyword, it can determine that your text does not have real quality and does not offer natural semantics, which could harm your positioning.

How do you know if you are repeating the keyword too much?

With free tools like SEO Yoast (WordPress plugin) or Keyword Density Checker , you can easily check if you are doing Keyword Stuffing.

How to solve it?

In this, as in many other aspects of SEO, there are theories and different opinions. However, we can give as quite reliable a percentage of keyword appearance no greater than 1.5% of the total.

In addition, it is curious to see that when you write a text without obsessing about putting keywords here and there and you do it in a natural and fluid way, the percentage of writing the keyword is usually around this proportion.

Therefore, analyze your texts and, if you go overboard, reduce the number of keywords that appear exactly and look for synonyms to enrich the text for Google and the user.

6. Incorrect keywords

A more common mistake than it may seem is to focus on the keywords that you should not. If your positioning objective is incorrect keywords, everything you do in the SEO of your website is going to fall on deaf ears, that is, you are going to invest time and resources so as not to obtain much real benefit.

What are the typical mistakes when choosing keywords? 

  • Thinking that the only positioning objective is the brand name itself Positioning the brand can be interesting for users who search for you on Google to see your popularity or reach your website in the case of branded searches (those who search for your brand on Google even though they already know the domain). But it does not bring you new users in relation to a search need, which is usually not very profitable. 
  • Go for keywords that are too generic , especially at the beginning. Although they have more searches, shorter or generic keywords tend to be more competitive, precisely for that reason. Therefore, if you are a modest project and you want to compete from the beginning with the greats in your sector, you may work in vain for a long time and end up being discouraged. In these cases, it is better to start with long-tail keywords, that is, more specific and include more terms, where there are fewer people competing and that respond to a more specific search need.

 

  • Focus on keywords that are not searched by mere intuition, without doing a previous keyword research. Even if you know your sector or your profession very well, always analyze how users search to find the services or content you offer. It is not always how you thought. A good keyword study prevents you from wasting time with keywords that no one is looking for. 

How does it hurt you?

Working wrong keywords on your site is a problem of crucial importance If you focus on the wrong keywords, all the SEO optimization and content creation work you do afterwards won't do much good.

How to know if a website is working with wrong keywords?

To get a reliable conclusion you have to do a proper Keyword Research . However, websites that are working poorly with keywords usually have some easily identifiable commonalities: home page title only with brand name, use of the main keyword of the site in many URLs, concatenation of many different keywords in the same title, etc.

How to solve it?

Get started doing a thorough Keyword Research for your site right away. It is the first step of any SEO strategy and it deserves that we dedicate the time that is necessary until we obtain a good number of keywords to be able to distribute them and assign them between your URLs, those that already exist and those that you are going to create in the future. 

7. URLs indexed by mistake

Not all the URLs of a website have to be appearing in Google, that is, you do not have to index everything. The pages of the site that have little content or that are irrelevant , or that do not focus on any keywords since what they offer has no search intention, you should not index them in Google. Nor those that have content plagiarized from other websites or coincident with other internal URLs.

On the one hand, having irrelevant pages that are not used for SEO indexed forces Google to crawl content that it will never rank and makes it waste time crawling on your website, which is not good. On the other hand, pages with duplicate content (for example, similar product files) could also harm you if Google indexes them, as I mentioned in a previous section.

Also, there is a very typical problem when you work with a CMS like WordPress. Premium templates often include demo content , that is, pre-built sample pages and elements that you often upload alongside the template to see what design possibilities it includes.

These contents are usually in English and are also already on the template's sale page. Many times, by mistake, you end your website and leave all that content indexed. Content that is duplicated and that is also in another language and does not work any search intention. Therefore, it is super important that when you finish designing your website, you delete all that demo content immediately to avoid problems. 

How does it hurt you?

As I explained to you at the beginning of this section, pages with duplicate text (for example, legal notice pages and cookie law) could be considered by Google as irrelevant URLs since they do not provide original content, so you should not index them. In addition, it does not make sense to index these types of pages since they provide an irrelevant theme for your users.

Having many URLs indexed with duplicate, irrelevant or scarce content could (be careful, not always) penalize these URLs and also represents an extra crawl effort by Google and could compromise your Crawl Budget .

In other words: What URLs should you index? The answer is simple: only those pages that satisfy a specific search intention (that is, they work on a specific keyword) and optimize their content for SEO.

Which ones should you not index? All the others.

How do you know if you have URLs indexed by mistake?

Go to Google and type " site: yourdomain.com ". (Note: Do not put "yourdomain.com" as is, there put your own). Below you will see a fairly approximate summary of the URLs of your site that are indexed and appear in Google in SERP format (search results box).

From the indexing analysis with site :, do an exhaustive review of each and every one of the URLs that appear:

 

  • Are there taxonomy pages of those that are full of duplicate entries on the site or directly empty with no content? Detach them.
  • Do you have the Contact page indexed and the page only has a map, a form and a little text? Detach it (or work on it a keyword and add relevant and unique content).
  • Do the pages of Legal Notice, Cookies Law, General Conditions, Privacy Policy, etc appear there? Detach them as well.

How to solve it?

Once you have done the analysis and noted which are the URLs that should not appear in search results, you have to remove them from indexing. To do it, you have two modes:

1. If you work in WordPress or a CMS of similar quality , you have plugins , extensions or modules that allow you to add the noindex attribute to each URL with a single click.

2. If your website is made with pure code , you have no choice but to add the robots tag by hand, inside the <head> </head> tag of each URL that you need to de-index. The syntax is as follows: <meta name = ”robots” content = ”noindex”>. 

This way, the next time Google crawls these URLs, it knows not to show them as search results again.

 

8. URLs not indexed by mistake

Just the opposite of the previous one. This error consists of not having the relevant and important pages indexed to position, due to their page authority, the quality of their content or because they are important pages such as the home page or other main pages of the site.

Why does this happen? It can be for 4 main reasons : 

  • You have the entire web de-indexed in robots.txt. You have set Disallow: / so that Google doesn't index anything during the development phase of your site, and you forgot to remove it.
  • You have checked the box "discourage search engines from indexing this site" in Settings> General of your WordPress.
  • You have put the «noindex» tag on certain pages by mistake, either through code or with the SEO Yoast plugin, inside the plugin box at the bottom, in the section «Allow search engines to show this Post in the results?".
  • The content of the page is irrelevant to Google because it is too little (thin content) or has too much match (duplicate) with other URLs on the site. 

How does it hurt you?

It's obvious. Not having relevant pages of the site indexed is taking away the possibility of getting organic traffic. If you have optimized your pages so that they appear in Google as high as possible, do not forget to index them so that users can find you from the search engine.

How do you know if you have URLs not indexed by mistake?

Go to Google and use the command site: yourdomain.com to see what is indexing and what is not. Even, to have a more precise data, do the analysis from the Indexing part of Search Console.

How to solve it?

If the indexing problem comes from a content that is not quality, is scarce or is duplicated, solve it as soon as possible . If the problem is because you have a noindex tag set by mistake, remove it immediately, either from the plugin if you use a CMS or by removing the robots noindex tag from the code if your website is custom made.

 

9. Don't optimize CTR

A typical error that has an easy solution, it is only a matter of dedicating time and attention to it. CTR is the acronym for Click Through Rate,  or what is the same, the ratio of clicks per impressions of your search results in Google (SERPs).

Today CTR is one of the most decisive SEO factors. The percentage of users who click on your result compared to the total impressions of it in Google is something that you must improve at all costs. But it is not always optimized as it would be convenient due to the rush or because the CTR is not given the importance it deserves.

Some of the most common mistakes when building your SERPs (Google search results boxes) are:

✖ Titles that are cut off because they are too long .

✖ Titles without keyword .

✖ Titles with little appearance of value and poorly written.

✖ Too much commercial and brand appearance in SERPs of valuable content.

✖ Meta low-value descriptions without keywords and without breaking down the value of the content.

✖ Do not use prominent visual elements such as emojis and symbols.

✖ Show the date if the content is very old .

✖ Do not use rich content (rich snippets) when the theme allows it. 

How does it hurt you?

Not optimizing your CTR not only reduces the number of clicks you could get and, therefore, the visits you get for your site. The CTR is a direct SEO factor that influences your positions.

How do you know if you don't have an optimized CTR?

See what your search results boxes look like. If they do not stand out from the competition, if the titles do not engage, if the meta descriptions do not encourage you to click, in short, if you have done little or no work on them, it is clear that you are losing potential traffic .

In addition, you can directly analyze how your CTR ratios are if you use the Search Analytics functionality in Google Search Console. If you have content in good positions and instead have a low CTR, you still have work to do.

How to solve it?

If you work in WordPress like most people do, nothing better than using the SEO Yoast plugin to go to the edit box at the bottom of each page and edit the SEO title and meta description. In addition, you can put into practice persuasive copywriting techniques aimed at getting more clicks. Another interesting element that you can implement is the rating stars, with a free plugin like this one . 

10. Slow charging

A slow load is another typical error that can harm your SEO and, in the case of an extremely slow load, the user experience on your website. Google wants websites to load fast and without interruptions, both on the desktop version and on mobile devices. To measure the loading speed you can use tools such as GTMetrix, Page Spaeed Insights or Pingdom Tools.

Ideally, your website should load in less than 2 seconds and get notes close to the letters AB in tools like GTMetrix.

What are the errors that can affect your loading speed?

  • Images not optimized in width and height . Never upload images larger than what will be displayed on the web page. If you are going to put an image that is 300px wide on the web, if you upload it to 1200px you are unnecessarily loading the weight. To resize the images to the correct size you can use tools like Photoshop, Fotor, PicMonkey, Gimp, or any image editor.

 

  • Images not optimized in weight . Once you have the images at the correct size, you must optimize their weight in kilobytes, without losing quality. With online tools like Tinypng you can do it very easy. Also, in WordPress you have plugins such as EWWW Image Optimizer or WP Smush, which do it automatically.

 

  • Too many plugins or extensions in your content manager. Plugins make life easier and allow you to do wonderful things, but don't overdo it, as you can end up overloading your website with requests or requests. Try not to have more than 10-15 plugins on your website. Even if you think that some are essential, review your website with a critical sense and optimizing spirit and clean those that are not super necessary.

 

  • Pop ups and elements in javascript. These types of elements overload the weight of your website by making requests to the server and including a lot of calls to javascript files. Also, Google doesn't want to see them even in paint on mobile devices. And, user-wise, they are sometimes too invasive. Other elements such as sliders, parallax, lightbox, megamenus and in general any type of effect or animation that uses javascript can also be quite slowing down. Use them in moderation.

 

  • Slow hosting . Poor quality cheap servers are usually not a good option. Even if you save a little money, they end up hurting you in the long run. Not only because of its slow loading, but because of its poor security and poor support. Always hire a fast and quality hosting, it is worth it.

 

  • Pages too large . Pages with too much content tend to slow down loading, although including a lot of text can also be good for SEO. The key is to find the right balance. On the other hand, onepage navigation type pages, that is, those that have all the sections in a single URL, tend to accumulate too much content on a single page and make it difficult to optimize speed. In addition, in many cases, but not all, they are not usually good for SEO, since they reduce the number of URLs and reduce the possibility of working different keywords separately. 

How does it hurt you?

An excessively slow load can affect your positioning and also worsens the user experience , which indirectly can also influence the degree of satisfaction of users when they interact with your website.

How to know if your website is very slow?

Analyze your domain with the GTMetrix tool , which will give you very interesting metrics, such as the Page Speed ​​Score , (global score for the performance parameters that Google considers important) or the loading speed of the site, as well as the weight of page and the amount of external and internal requests that your website makes to function.

When can you say that the web is slow? Try not to go higher than 3 seconds at most. And, from there, optimize everything you can. 


How to solve it?

Optimizing the performance of your website is called WPO (Web Performance Optimization). There are a lot of actions that you can apply to improve the speed of your website.

The most common are the optimization of the weight and size of the images, the use of a cache system, the lazy loading of elements of the web, the hiring of a fast hosting plan or the reduction of plugins and external resources that you need your website to function, such as style sheets, Javascript files or insertion codes of elements from other websites.

In this article on our blog we tell you 4 real and applicable actions to optimize the speed of your website. In this other article I explain how to optimize a WordPress website step by step to improve loading speed, and you will also be able to understand what the results that GTMetrix gives you mean from a technical point of view.

 

11. URLs not optimized

Another aspect that you should not miss is the optimization of your URLs and slugs , since Google takes them into account. Review your website and check that:

  • They include the search expression or keywords of the content, separated by hyphens and without prepositions , conjunctions or articles, as they are not relevant words. The structure of your slugs (the part of the URL that appears to the right of the domain from the slash /) should be the following: / key-expression. With which the complete URL would look like this: domain.com/key-expression. In this case the slug is / key-expression.

 

  • Another question that you must analyze is the way in which the folders or directories are constructed in the URLs . Try not to put the most relevant content slug too far apart from the main domain. Don't do things like this: domain.com/category/subcategory/slug. This would be telling Google that that page at the end is not very relevant since it is very far from the main domain, which is less nourished by its transfer of authority. Simplify, order correctly and with meaning , and try to make URLs short as long as you don't have many URLs on your website, because in this case you do have to organize them by levels to facilitate tracking by Google. 

How does it hurt you?

Using non-optimized, excessively long URLs full of irrelevant words is not recommended. Google prefers friendly and semantic URLs as it understands them better. And the user too.

How do you know if you don't have your URLs optimized?

To easily check what the URLs of a website are like, you can use the site: command in Google so you can see all your SERPs with their URLs. You can also use tools like Screaming Frog . 

How to solve it?

When you create new URLs (or existing pages *) go to your URL editor (in any CMS you can do it) and optimize them. Leave only the keywords, separated by hyphens, and remove everything else.

* SUPER IMPORTANT: Be careful , if you change the URL of a page, even if it is only a preposition, you are eliminating the previous URL completely. In that case, be sure to redirect the old URL to the new one with a permanent 301, to transfer much of the authority, traffic, and links from the old URL to the new one. If you don't do the redirect, you would lose all these values ​​and you would start from 0, which would be very negative for your SEO. 

 

12. Not adapting well to responsive

At this point there are no excuses. All websites must adapt to any device perfectly. It is possible that you think that your website is perfectly responsive because in the specifications of the template that you have bought it says that it is. But don't trust yourself.

Give a thorough review of the behavior of the web on different mobile devices and screen sizes, because sometimes you can get surprises. Not all templates perfectly adjust their content to all devices, and it would be a shame if users of a certain device could not enjoy a usable experience on your website because of this aspect.

If you find errors in a device, for example: a text goes off the screen, a button is too small to click easily, the entries have very small and unreadable text, etc ... How to solve it?

  • If the template is within the support period, write to the developers of the theme notifying them of the incident and asking them for a solution. They must polish their product in the best possible way, and in many cases it is the feedback from users that allows them to improve it little by little.

 

  • If you use WordPress, you have plugins like WP Touch that allow you to touch some elements and make them responsive, although not all, which is useful for small text retouching and something else.

 

  • Another option is to edit the CSS code of your template yourself and perfectly adapt each element in each screen range. Playing CSS is not very difficult, but it does require a bit of knowledge. For this reason, I have prepared an article where I explain how you can edit various basic and advanced aspects in your template with CSS and even customize the responsive appearance of your website with CSS media queries. 

How does it hurt you?

Google has already said long ago that websites must offer content adaptable to all devices. If you do not respect this premise, you could see your positions harmed. In addition, as also happens in other factors, it is not only about Google, but about users.

How do users interact with content that is not adapted to their device? They tend to leave earlier, which negatively affects the average time spent on your website, and it is very possible that they decide to leave without interacting with your website, which would increase the bounce rate.

And, also, do not forget that SEO serves to bring traffic to your site and that the traffic must be maximized. Users tend to perform less profitable actions on a website that does not offer them a properly adapted content. That is, think about conversion.

How to know if your website is not responsive?

Very simple: just open your website on different devices and see what happens. If the content does not adapt vertically and exceeds the screen on the sides, forcing you to navigate laterally, if the buttons and texts look too small, if the web looks the same as you see on the desktop screen, your site is not responsive.

Apart from analyzing it directly on each device, and so you don't have to buy them all, you can use the free Responsive Design Checker tool   to simulate how your website would look on different devices.

How to solve it?

In theory, practically all the templates you use to design your website are responsive . Even so, you would do well to analyze how responsive the template you are planning to purchase is, since not all are equally optimized and it is clear that some adapt better than others.

If you need to further adjust the responsive versions of your website, you can do it using CSS code, with the Media Queries functions. In this CSS tutorial article  I explain how to perfectly apply these code functions on your website for advanced responsiveness.

In the event that your website is made to measure with pure code, that is, do not use a content manager such as WordPress or similar, you have no choice but to directly touch the CSS code as I explain above. The article is written step by step and in order to be easy to understand. However, if you find it very difficult, ask a developer for help.

 

13. Do not set preferred domain

This is something that should not happen under any circumstances and in fact it does not happen much, but sometimes it happens in some not very good hostings or when the technicians of your website have made you wrong with the domain management. This can be quite damaging to your positioning.

If you have your website in the www version and you also have it in the version without www., You would be showing the same content absolutely the same in two different URLs, which would be a duplicate book content .

For this reason, it is essential that in your hosting you have established the preferred or canonicalized version of your domain, and that a redirection is made from one version to another automatically.

How does it hurt you?

In the case of not redirecting your domain versions correctly, you could be falling into a duplicate manual content, having the web completely replicated as a mirror in the different versions.

How do you know if you don't have a correctly redirected preferred domain?

Put in your browser the address of your website with www. and then put it without www, that is, just the domain.com. If in both cases the URL remains as it is, without redirecting one to the other, you are falling into this error and you should solve it as soon as possible.

How to solve it?

Talk to the hosting and have them do it for you. In good hosting's the support helps you as much as possible and they solve these types of advanced technical questions.

If this is not the case with your hosting, then do it yourself, editing the .htaccess file found at the root of your website in the hosting, within the files and folders of the site. You can do it through the hosting file manager or via FTP with tools like Filezilla. If you can't find this file at the root of your web files, make sure to show hidden files.

Once inside the .htaccess file , to make the www version automatically redirect to the domain-only version without www, add the following:

RewriteEngine On RewriteCond% {HTTP_HOST} ^ www.yourdomain.com [NC] RewriteRule ^ (. *) $ Http://yourdomain.com/$1 [L, R = 301]

Very important:  Do not put this expression inside another one, make sure to put it separately so that it does not affect other functions of the site. 

 

14. Not having https

The secure version of the URL ( SSL ) is something that you should already have working on your site. Not only because Google already recommends it, but also to prevent your website users from leaving when they verify that your site is not secure, which could lower the average time of permanence and increase the bounce rate, in addition to damaging your objectives of conversion due to site insecurity.

As browsers show the absence of SSL more conspicuously, users become more and more aware. In addition, on a website where transactions are made, you have to install it now.

How do you know if you have https or not? In the browser, look up in the address bar where your domain is written and see if it includes the s in the http protocol like this: https://domain.com. Also, look for icons or browser messages indicating that the site is not secure.

How to solve it? In professional hosting's, installing https is usually simple, even in some it is already included for free in the basic pack. Just run the functionality or contact the server support team to get it working for you. 

How does it hurt you?

Google already said a while ago that internet security is a priority. You can read it  here . Therefore, not having the https protocol in your domain, although it does not penalize you directly, it is something that Google does not like too much. So why take a chance?

In addition, as browsers show in a more visible and obvious way that a website does not have SSL, it can become a dissuasive factor for some users, who could leave your site due to the manifest insecurity it offers, which would affect permanence and rebound.

How do you know if you don't have https?

Very easy: look in the address bar of the browser and see if your domain includes the https or http protocol. If your browser does not show the protocols, copy the domain directly from the browser bar and then paste it elsewhere to see if it includes https or not.

How to solve it?

Talk to your web server to get it enabled . Some hosting's include it in the contracted plan and it is only a matter of requesting it. Other hosting's charge you for this service separately, although it is usually not very expensive.

15. Massive links with the same anchor text

As Google has refined its Penguin algorithm, there is less room to make mistakes and take risks in buying links and in other link building strategies.

A typical mistake when you buy links or do guest blogging or, in short, force the entry of links to your website in some way, is to tend to always use the same or very similar anchor text , with a precise keyword or with a brand + word key. This a priori should not be bad, in fact it is very good that the anchor texts of the backlinks that point to your page include keywords.

The problem is when you use the same or very similar ones all the time, and they have a very similar structure, with brand + keyword. This is so idyllic and rare that Google may suspect an unnatural linking pattern, which could lead to penalizing your site. Keep in mind that in general, when they link you naturally, on many occasions they only put your brand name or words without keywords in the anchor text, and this Google knows.

How does it hurt you?

Google can penalize you using the Penguin algorithm if it detects an inbound (or outbound) link profile in which there is a massive match of anchor texts.

How do you know if you have a link profile with massive anchors?

There are tons of free tools for analyzing links and anchors. A very interesting one is Cognitive SEO's Backlink Explorer  There are also paid ones like Ahrefs , Semrush , Sistrix , etc. Check your domain with any of these tools and get your conclusions.

Apart from using tools, you should also know more or less if you usually buy links with the same anchors in bulk, or if you place them to other websites. Be very careful with this .

How to solve it?

If the inbound links are good, talk to whoever has put them to you so that the anchor text can vary . If they're toxic or suspicious-looking links, immediately use Google's Disavow tool.

If it is outgoing links from your website, just go and change them. Always use different and varied words to place your links, especially in URLs where you get many links to other websites.

16. Little internal binding

Internal linking is an important factor in optimizing your site's SEO. Therefore, not optimizing internal linking can harm your ranking.

Internal links help, on the one hand, to transfer authority from one URL to another. On the other, they favor the crawling of your site , since Google goes through the URLs jumping from one to another, that is, following the link trail (as long as they are follow links and the URLs are not in disallow of robots).

In addition, internal links allow you to take advantage of sending internal authority through anchor texts with keywords that target pages work. In addition, a good internal link to relevant content helps lower the bounce rate and facilitates user retention and the number of page views.

How does it hurt you?

If you have insufficient internal linking, it may affect the crawling of your website by Google and the internal authority transmission of your URLs. Additionally, links broaden and contextualize content for the user, which can benefit retention and lower bounce rates.

How do you know if you have little internal linking?

You can analyze it directly in the Internal Links tool of Google Search Console. There you can see which are the URLs of your site most linked internally and from which URLs.

How to solve it?

Link, link and link all the time and whenever you can, extensive information to satisfy the user more and better.

 

17. Not optimizing the user experience

The user experience, that is, the way in which users interact with your site , is an important aspect that you cannot ignore. The user experience includes concepts such as the usability of the site, the readability, the ease of performing actions on the web, the simple understanding of the entire conversion process, etc.

If you don't work on the user experience, you are making a mistake. It is not that Google does not like sites that do not optimize the user experience, in this case it is the same user who "penalizes" you through their behavior on the site. If we take into account that for Google, user signals (dwell time, bounce, CTR, etc.) are increasingly important when ranking sites, this is an aspect that you cannot ignore.

For example, a pop-up that comes out too soon and interrupts the user's navigation on your site, or that on mobile devices occupies the entire screen and cannot be closed easily, frustrating the user's experience and leading them to leave your website prematurely .

SEO is done to be relevant to people, who are the ones who consume your content, despite the fact that Google decides the ranking criteria. So if the user doesn't like you, Google doesn't like you. Keep it in mind. 

How does it hurt you?

A website that does not optimize the user experience can lead to a worsening of the user's navigation signals within the site. That is, you can lower your average stay time and increase your bounce rate . This hurts SEO.

How to know if the user experience on your site is not good?

You can analyze traffic, retention and bounce metrics based on the implemented designs. You can also monitor user navigation with heat maps and recordings. Here is a tool to carry out these exhaustive analyzes.

You can also poll a significant sample of your users to receive feedback on their experience on the site.

How to solve it?

The best thing you can do is constantly measure the degree of user satisfaction on your website, until you manage to offer them the best possible experience.

18. Cannibalization

An SEO mistake that happens often and that can hurt you a lot is cannibalization. We speak of a penalty when you have more than one URL for a single keyword or search intention, so that you spread the authority between one or more URLs and compete against yourself with your own URLs.

I'll explain it more simply with an example: you have an entry that competes for the keyword "Guide to learning SEO" and you create a new one that works with the same keyword, or even a different one but that responds to the same search intention, such as example: "Manual to learn SEO".

If you do this, Google does not know very well which is the URL of your site that has the maximum relevance for this search intention, so you lose competitiveness for that query and you may not be able to position any of them well.

In addition, all the authority, the links, shares, etc., that these URLs are gaining, are dispersed among all of them instead of having everything in a single URL that is super competitive and that can aspire to reach the top in Google.

It is an error that you work the same keyword in all your URLs. This does not make you globally stronger for that keyword.

Remember: 1 URL = 1 search intent or keyword. 

How does it hurt you?

Spreading the authority for your keywords between different URLs is the worst possible strategy . These types of errors end up seriously damaging the positioning. You must make Google very clear about the intention of working with a different search intention for each URL, or it is possible that it ends up not knowing which URL it should show for certain searches.

How do you know if you have cannibalization?

On the one hand, analyze your content globally and try to group them by search intention . If two articles offer content that satisfies the same user search intent, why put them separately instead of merging both content into one to offer even more value?

Apart from this, tools like Sistrix allow you to quickly know if you have cannibalized URLs that compete with each other.

How to solve it?

The first thing, before making mistakes, plan . Create a content plan and schedule the publication of pages and posts around differentiated keywords.

Second, optimize what already exists . If you see that there are two or more URLs competing for the same keyword or search intention, group them into one and try to create high-value pages that offer absolutely everything that the user could need to satisfy their demand for information. Sometimes there are cannibalizing URLs that don't even have content. In that case, just de-index them. 

19. Not having Sitemaps

The Sitemaps file aids in crawling and indexing by Google. It is therefore an important file to optimize your SEO and not having it is not recommended.

This file tells Google which are the relevant URLs of your site and that you want to index yes or yes in the search engine. Having Sitemaps helps improve the overall indexing of the site, as Google understands the context of the URLs you are trying to index well. 

How does it hurt you?

The absence of a Sitemaps file can cause problems of slow indexing or even content that you cannot index, with the consequent damage to SEO.

How do you know if you have Sitemaps or not?

With the free Sitemap Test tool you can quickly see if your website has a Sitemap available or not. In addition, if your website is in WordPress with SEO Yoast, you can directly try to put in the browser www.yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml, because it is at this address where the sitemaps are hosted.

How to solve it?

If you don't have Sitemaps, you can create it with SEO Yoast (in WordPress) or use a Sitemaps Generator and then upload the file to the root of your hosting.

 

20. Failure to review and fix 404s

404 errors are all those URLs within your site that can not be found . Why? Maybe because the URL has been changed, the page has been deleted or because someone has linked you wrong.

How does it hurt you?

If you do not periodically check the 404 errors on your website, you may be losing traffic to relevant areas of the site, as users arrive at pages that no longer exist instead of being redirected to the right place. And not only are you compromising traffic, you could also be hurting crawling efficiency as Google wastes time crawling these 404s.

How do you know if you have 404 errors?

You can analyze it in the Search Console, under Tracking Errors, and also with Screaming Frog . This tool also indicates the pages that you are putting with a 301 redirect so that you can see the 404 already solved.

How to solve it?

A 404 error is solved as follows , as the case may be:

 

  1. If it is a page that has changed URL , redirect with 301 from the old to the new. Here's a free 301 redirect plugin .
  2. If the 404 URL doesn't sound like anything to you and you have no idea where to redirect it, do it by default to the home page of the site.
  3. If it's a 404 that doesn't come from any real URL , but has been dynamically generated and has no relevance, you don't need to do anything. 

21. Broken outbound links

Broken links are outgoing links from your site to other websites that do not work or that have deleted the content or changed the URL. Having a lot of these can be a problem .

The reason : Google crawls the links on your website and loses tracking time. Forcing the search engine to spend Crawl Budget resources to go through all these useless links does not make any sense and could cause Google to fail to crawl or have a hard time indexing some of your URLs.

In addition, in terms of user experience, broken links are a nuisance for the user who clicks and also denote a lack of optimization of a website.

How does it hurt you?

Worse crawl efficiency and worse user experience. This can affect the Crawl Budget , especially when you have many broken links on your website. In addition, poorly optimized and revised content, with broken outbound links, can be perceived by the user as not current and not very useful content, which can affect the dwell time, bounce and the appearance of value of the content.

How do you know if you have broken outbound links?

Very easy. Enter your domain in this tool , and start detecting and solving the errors you find.

How to solve it?

In this case, you have no choice but to solve the links one by one, linking well, looking for alternatives to the links of websites that no longer exist, or directly removing the link. However, if you work in WordPress you have a very useful plugin that makes the task a lot easier, since in addition to detecting the broken links, it takes you directly to each of them so that you can solve them quickly.

 

22. Don't use social labels

Does social media influence SEO? It cannot be said that they influence directly, but they can be a correlative influencing factor .

That is, not by having more followers you will position your content better, it is obvious. Rather, if you have active user communities that are well segmented by interests, when you publish from your social profiles, you can send traffic to your site, as long as the content you publish has value for users.

Therefore, it is important that you optimize the way your URLs appear on social networks to the maximum to increase the clicks they generate towards your website. And this can be optimized using HTML code tags.

How does it hurt you?

Not optimizing the way your content is displayed on networks is partially giving up the traffic potential that you can achieve from them. Although social networks do not influence SEO directly, they add traffic to your website, especially at the beginning when you have not yet indexed or positioned your content in Google.

How do you know if you don't have social tags?

Check if the boxes of your content shared on networks show the image you want to show, usually the main or header image. Also, see if the title and description appear correctly.

Apart from this, you can analyze the code of your website (right button> See page source code). In the code part you can do a search with Control + F (on PC) or Command + F (on Mac) and see if the social tags appear and are filled. Above all, check that the title, description and image fields appear filled in , since they are the most visible and decisive to motivate user clicks. 

How to solve it?

You have two options. If your website is made in WordPress, one of the best solutions is to use the Yoast SEO plugin , which allows you to add social tags in the Social section.

If your website is made to measure with pure code, you have to add these tags by hand inside the header tag <head> </head> 

For Facebook, Linkedin and Google Plus:
<meta property = »og: title» content = »» />
<meta property = »og: type» content = »» />
<meta property = »og: url» content = » »/>
<Meta property =» og: image »content =» »/>

For Twitter:
<meta name = ”twitter: card” content = ””>
<meta name = ”twitter: url” content = ”“>
<meta name = ”twitter: title” content = ””>
<meta name = ” twitter: description ”content =” ”>
<meta name =” twitter: image ””>

23. Do Cloaking

Cloaking is an old black hat technique consisting of trying to deceive the search engine and the user, such as: showing a content to the user and a different one to the bots they track. If you do this type of technique, you will very possibly be penalized by Google, therefore it is better not to dedicate yourself to doing this type of cheating, especially if you are not a very experienced SEO.

Some examples of blackhat :

  • Put text with the same background color or off the screen so that Google can index it but the user does not see it.
  • Show one content or another according to the user's ip .
  • Perform multiple redirects so that in the end the user ends up seeing a different content than he expected.
  • Insert content from other websites for the user and try to get the search engine to index other camouflaged content. 

How does it hurt you?

These kinds of techniques may have worked in the past, but not today. Google has learned to better understand the crawling context and can perfectly detect if we are trying to deceive you, or if the version crawled for the bot and the version for the user are different.

How do you know if you are cloaking?

If you manage the SEO of your website yourself, there is no doubt. If you have hired a specialist and you have been getting worse in positions and visits for a long time, he may have carried out some extreme practice that may have penalized you . Never leave your project totally in the hands of another person if they are not totally trusted, and always ask them for a status of what they do on your website.

How to solve it?

Stopping doing it , that is, removing from the web all the codes and traps designed to position by deceiving the search engine and the user. If you have been unlucky enough to be penalized for this reason, even if you have already cleaned your website, nothing ensures that you will recover positions. Therefore, (personal opinion) better do a responsible SEO focused on real value in order to achieve user retention, links and CTR.

24. Content that is too commercial and of little value

I've seen it often in my work as SEO, although luckily less nowadays. Customers who tell you that blogging doesn't work and when you take a look at their content, you discover that they are trying to sell with the posts instead of focusing on adding value to users to attract visitors and retain them on the site.

A business blog oriented to position is not used to tell the latest news about your company that does not interest your users. A blog is not used to sell products (that's what the store is for). A blog does not serve to tell the first thing that comes to mind. An analysis must be carried out on what we want to achieve, who is the target and what interests that target. From there, we will do keyword research and create a scheduled content plan .

If your blog does not attract organic visits or from social networks, nor is it linked by other users, nor does it generate an acceptable average time of permanence, ask yourself why.

How does it hurt you?

If you do not offer valuable content that really interests users, or that helps or contributes to them in any way, you will not be able to attract or retain them on your site, thus damaging the SEO aspects related to user interaction: CTR , dwell time and rebound. Not to mention the importance of offering good content to create community and promote conversion.

In addition, if you only work on commercial keywords, that is, those that make mention of products or services, you are leaving aside all that large number of informational keywords that possibly have search volumes even higher than transactional ones.

Not all users who search the Internet are clear about what they want to buy when they search, but they start by informing themselves and refining the search as they learn and contextualize what they really need. Why not offer content to attract those users from the beginning of the process? At best you will sell them your service or product, and at worst you will have gotten some very valuable traffic .

How do you know if you are making content with little value?

A website that does not offer value to attract users has a series of very identifiable features :

  • There is not much traffic on the blog and no comments.
  • Tickets are hardly ever shared .
  • Entries are not linked naturally.
  • The content generates almost no interactions in networks.
  • The titles of the articles are unappealing and speak of internal company issues.
  • The header images of the articles are of low quality , copied from other sites or have little to do with the content.
  • SERPs are not optimized and they are not highly clicked on Google (low CTR).
  • The interior appearance of the entries is not very attractive , with raw text that does not rank by size, little use of image and video, little extension.
  • The entries are limited to replicating news of the sector without contributing much more
  • Tickets are used to directly sell products and services as if they were a catalog.

How to solve it?

Creating a relevant website for users is not a flash in the pan. It first requires being honest and critical of the company's own editorial line, and assessing whether what we are publishing really interests people. Knowing this is easier than it sounds: people show what things really interest them when they enter their search expressions in the search engine.

Therefore, from doing a thorough keyword research and creating an appropriate content plan, you have to start writing really relevant content. Content that interests users because it solves a problem related to the service you offer, or because it entertains them, amuses them, causes them curiosity or makes them feel part of a community.

In the event that you already have a blog full of little relevant content, I recommend that you make content grouping, that is, that you group by URLs all the articles that provide something of value and did not work on their own or that worked with an intention of similar search. The URLs that you remove (if they had some traffic, impact on networks, linking or some kind of relevance) can all be redirected to the main article.

If the content is going to be done by someone outside on request, it is important that you make him understand the crucial importance of making content really relevant . It is not just about taking the keyword, putting it in the title and starting to write. Nor is it about writing articles almost daily for the mere fact of publishing a lot, without paying attention to the quality of what is published. It's about adding value. 

25. Do not draw up a medium-long term SEO plan

If you want your website to attract a lot of traffic and be relevant to users, work towards it in an organized way and dedicating all the time and resources that are necessary.

I think SEO has to be understood as a culture  within the company that is implemented through organized strategies, rather than as a set of tricks and shortcuts to "put ourselves first on Google" as if by magic.

Good SEO is technical and it is also the correct execution of those techniques. Therefore, SEO is knowledge and it is constant work . If you want to position by hitting or doing "magic", you may not achieve your goal or end up with your site penalized.

How does it hurt you?

Any strategy based on improvisation, that is, in the real absence of strategy, has a good chance of not achieving the desired results. If you do not draw up an SEO plan that works in an organized way the most important aspects of positioning, you are going to have a difficult time compared to others who are already doing it. Study and plan factors such as the development of a content plan, the constant optimization of the CTR in our SERPs, strategies to get links over time, etc.

If you don't plan, you lose control of the process. If you do not make plans for the future, you are not looking beyond the day to day and you do not anticipate what may happen. For example, if you don't do regular keyword research, you may be late for some keywords that your competition is already ranking for.

How do you know if you have a suitable SEO plan?

Are you scheduling content creation over time? Do you do keyword research periodically to detect new search intentions? Have you set an approximate number of links to get each month and have you planned strategies to get them? Have you prepared a detailed document containing all the actions that affect SEO and have you organized them over time in order of importance? Have you allocated to each one of them the time and the financial and technical resources necessary to carry them out?

If the answer to most of these questions is no, you may be working too improvised and may not have achieved the results you expected yet.

How to solve it?

Analyze your sector. Analyze your competition. Analyze your target. Analyze your own strategy critically. Analyze who you are and what your goals are realistically. What do you want to get? You can get it? Do you have time and money for it? Is it necessary to allocate more internal resources and change habits within the company?

Once you are clear in what context you are in, make a thorough SEO plan dedicating all the time and resources that are necessary. For this, there are templates and methodologies prepared by SEO professionals that can be very useful.

And, above all, give SEO the importance it deserves within the rest of the actions in your global digital marketing strategy.

 

Do you have any of these errors on your website? Have you detected any other?

Doing good SEO requires work, knowledge and constant experimentation . If you work on SEO on your website or you do it professionally, you may know many of the aspects that we have discussed in the post, or even that you want to comment on other errors or related issues.

There is no single point of view in SEO. The important thing is to share and pool our own experiences so that everyone can reach the most correct conclusions possible. Sometimes, there are aspects that can be subject to debate, as each case is different and the circumstances of each project vary from one to another.

With this post I wanted to tell you about some of the most common SEO mistakes that I have ever made or that I have seen in client projects. The idea is not to pass judgment in an absolute way on things, but to contribute my point of view and give rise to a debate that helps us learn more together.

Leave a comment with your opinion or telling me your case and I will be happy to answer you and help you 🙂 

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