Search Engine Optimization trends are always changing. Some take hold, some evolve and others die off. If you love self-improvement (like we do) and enjoy keeping on top of the latest SEO trends, then this post is for you.
Here Are Seven Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid
Using meta keywords –
Don’t waste your time with Meta Keywords. Matt Cutts has repeatedly told us that Google no longer uses Meta Keywords as a factor in their search algorithm. Search engines used Meta Keywords over a decade ago to determine what a website was about. Did you know that Google was one of the first search engines to use backlinks instead of meta keywords as the main signal for determining a website’s relevancy?
Not using alt tags and title tags –
Here’s what a proper HTML image element should look like:
<img src=“imagefile.jpg” alt=“image description” title=“image tooltip” />
The alt tag, (otherwise known as alt text) describes what the image is and it’s function. So if you had a web page about dog walking and included an image of dogs on leashes, the alt text could say “image of dogs on leashes for dog walking service”. The alt text is also how blind or visually impaired people are able to navigate web pages.
The title tag, (also known as title text) is somewhat self explanatory in that it should be descriptive of the image content. The title text is shown as a tooltip description when you hover over the element. So in the case of the dog leash image, the title text could be “Dog Walking Services”.
Both tags should be included in order to maximize the amount of information available to your visitors and search engine crawlers.
Not using Google tools –
It’s impossible to perform good SEO work without having good data to inform your decisions. If you’re not already using Google Analytics or Google Search Console, you’ll definitely want to sign up for both. Google Search Console can help you optimize your ranking, and optimize your website’s appearance in the search results. Google Analytics is another free tool that is a must-have for any website. With Google Analytics, you place their tracking code into your website’s code and it will begin to gather website performance insights that your team can use to to make informed marketing and business decisions. The two work together to provide even more insights into your site’s Google search traffic and the way your visitors interact with your website.
Google Analytics dashboard
Not setting custom meta descriptions –
Many services claim their system or software can “auto generate” meta descriptions for their pages. We completely disagree. To us, that implies they believe SEO can be done on auto-pilot. While there is software such as Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin that make the process much easier, a truly search-optimized meta description should be thought out and written by an actual human. Its main purpose purpose is to get a user from a search engine to click your link so you want it to be relevant, be descriptive, and be unique.
Keyword stuffing –
There is no doubt that having a keyword appear multiple times on a page will help Google figure out what the page is about. Similarly, overdoing it could compromise the user experience and an attempt to over-optimize the page for a certain keyword can easily get you penalised. Unfortunately there is no ideal density of keywords so use your own discretion and make sure the page reads well.
Using the same anchor text for every link –
Have you ever seen a link to a website designers portfolio at the bottom of a website they created? Most of the time they’ll use terms like “WordPress Website Designers” or something similar. This will result in an over abundance of links pointing back to a web page using the same anchor text. Google caught on to this years ago and will penalize you for spamming the same link all over the place. Mix it up a bit, use your business name or switch up the keywords.
Not having sitemap XML file –
You want search engines like Google to easily find all of your website’s content an XML sitemap file is the best way to accomplish it. This file is not meant for humans but instead for search engines. It includes the structure of your website and links to the most important content. You can submit the URL of your website’s sitemap file to Google Search Console which is faster than waiting for Google to find the file on its own. For example here is a link to CODECRATER’s XML sitemap file.
If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, please visit our pages What is Search Engine Optimization?, Google Ranking, Local Search Results, and PPC Advertising. Keep in mind, all of the SEO methods we mentioned work together to communicate more information with users and search engines, so make sure to use the opportunity wisely. If you’d like a professional team to assist with Search Engine Optimization, we’re happy to contribute.
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