11 SEO Newbie Mistakes (and How to Fix Them Like a Pro)

by | SEO

So, you’re diving into the world of SEO? Fantastic! You already know it’s a powerful tool to get your website seen by the right people. But even the most enthusiastic SEO newbie can make mistakes. Don’t worry, that’s what this post is for! I’ll explore 11 common SEO pitfalls and show you how to avoid them:

1. Ignoring Keyword Research

Keywords are the phrases people use to search. Imagine you have a bakery. You wouldn’t write about car parts, would you? Keyword research helps you understand what terms your target audience uses to find bakeries. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you discover relevant keywords with search volume. (Pro tip: Set up a Google Adwords account, the Keyword Planner is one of it’s free features.)

2. Keyword Stuffing

Once you have your keywords, it’s tempting to cram them everywhere. But search engines penalize this “keyword stuffing.” Instead, weave keywords naturally into your content, focusing on user experience and readability. Check out this article on keyword density and keyword proximity for more info on this topic.

3. Forgetting Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

These are like mini-billboards for your website in search results. Title tags (page titles) should be clear, concise, and keyword-rich. Meta descriptions (short summaries) entice users to click. Write compelling descriptions that accurately reflect your content.

4. Neglecting On-Page Optimization

SEO isn’t just about content. On-page optimization involves optimizing various elements on your webpages to improve search engine understanding. This includes things like image alt text (descriptions for images), heading tags (H1, H2, etc.), and human readable content.

5. Focusing Only on Rankings

High rankings are great, but they’re not the only goal. Quality traffic that converts (turns visitors into customers) is what truly matters. Focus on creating valuable, informative content that resonates with your target audience.

6. Not Building Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. They act like votes of confidence, telling search engines your site is valuable. Earning backlinks takes time and effort, but guest blogging, creating link-worthy content, and online outreach can help. (Pro tip:  ask your clients to link back to you on their website if you’ve provided a service such as photography and your images appear on their site.)

7. Poor Mobile Device Site Rendering

More and more people search from their phones. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re losing out. Make sure your site is responsive (adapts to different screen sizes) and offers a smooth mobile experience.

8. Ignoring Technical SEO

There’s a technical side to SEO as well. This involves things like website speed, sitemap structure, and schema markup (data that helps search engines understand your content better). While some technical SEO aspects might require a developer’s touch (that would be me <grin>), you can get my free website audit.

9. Site Lacks Internal Linking

Internal links (linking to other relevant pages on your site) help search engines understand your website structure and how pages relate to each other. A lack of internal linking can leave search engines confused. Create a strategic internal linking strategy to connect relevant pages on your website. This improves user experience and search engine understanding. (Pro tip: use one of your keyword phrases as the anchor text in the link.)

10. Not Regularly Auditing Your Website

Just like a car, your website needs regular checkups. SEO best practices and search engine algorithms can evolve. The Fix: Schedule regular SEO audits to identify areas for improvement. This could involve checking for broken links, technical SEO issues, and content gaps.

11. Thinking SEO is a One-Time Fix

SEO is an ongoing process. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and so should your SEO strategy. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices to maintain your website’s search visibility.

By avoiding these mistakes and implementing these SEO best practices, you’ll be well on your way to conquering the search engine game! Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient, consistent, and focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to your audience.

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