- 11 Common SEO Mistakes and How to Fix Them
- 1. Not Setting Up Google to Crawl Your Website
- 2. Setting Your Permalinks up Properly
- 3. Choosing the Wrong Theme
- 4. Using Incorrect Headings
- 5. Forgetting to add Alt-text to Images
- 6. Not Optimizing Your Images
- 7. Using Unnecessary Plug-ins
- 8. Not Doing Keyword Research
- 9. Not Thinking About Your Domain Authority and Backlinks
- 10. Using Keywords You Likely Won’t Rank For
- 11. Forgetting to add “No Follow links”
- Common SEO Mistakes Wrap-up
- Get My FREE Guide on:
11 Common SEO Mistakes and How to Fix Them
When I first started blogging over 3 years ago, SEO was the last thing on my mind and I have a marketing degree! It’s one of those things most bloggers want to put to the side. I was one of them…. I get it! But, SEO is actually not as hard as you think! Below, I am covering 11 common SEO mistakes and some actionable steps you can take to fix your website and start ranking!
If you haven’t started your blog yet, start here!
If I am being honest, I have made almost all of these mistakes. It wasn’t until I took a course, that I learned exactly how many simple mistakes I was making!
While I always recommend taking courses if possible, I totally get that the funds are not always available. That’s why I wanted to share these actionable steps you can take, that will definitely make a difference in your SEO game!
1. Not Setting Up Google to Crawl Your Website
You can write perfect SEO, but if Google can’t crawl your website, you are not going to rank. So how does Google crawl your website? Basically, you just need to add your sitemap into Google.
Each theme and plug-in works differently, but if you have Yoast, submitting your sitemap is pretty easy with their detailed guide!
Once you are verified by Google, you will be able to use Google Search Console. This is a great tool Google has provided us with!
Once your website gets established, you will be able to see what keywords you are ranking for, what position you are ranking, if there are any errors on your website, linking domains, and more! This is one of the best free tools you have in your arsenal!
I check this at least once a week to see what search results I am coming up for and what position I am ranking for. A lot of times, seeing what people are searching for helps me re-edit posts to make sure I am answering their questions.
This is an easy one! Permalinks are what comes after the “/” in your URL. They should be short and simple with your keywords. Visibly, this is one of the most common SEO mistakes I see from countless bloggers.
You want to make sure your permalink does NOT include the date or a ton of additional words. For example, take this permalink. When you look at the web address, you will see it says: “Findloveandtravel.com/Common-SEO-Mistakes“. Short, simple, and NO date!
If you already made this mistake, it’s not too late to change the format for new blog pieces. Simply go under settings and then click Permalinks. From there choose the setting “Post Name”.
You may also be interested in: 6 Ways I Significantly Grew My Blog
3. Choosing the Wrong Theme
Who knew your theme could be important to SEO. At first, not me! But, your theme is apart of the backbone of your website. It is not only important for your website to be visually appealing but also SEO optimized!
Many times these SEO optimized themes are paid, but that doesn’t mean there are not free versions out there. I use Theme Forest to find my themes.
So, how do you know if it’s SEO optimized? Some important things to check for SEO optimized themes are:
- Does the developer update the theme often?
- Does the theme test page speed rank well on Pingdom and/or Gtmetix?
If both of those are yes, you are probably choosing a good theme.
4. Using Incorrect Headings
Correct headings is another one of those common SEO mistakes that can easily be fixed. Again, my hand is up in the air for this one. When writing a blog post, the heading you choose is actually super important when Google crawls your website. Below are some general rules and tips for your headings.
- There should only be one H1 heading. If you are using WordPress, your title box will automatically become your H1 heading so you won’t have to worry about adding the H1 to the body of your text.
- The H2 heading should be the bulk of your headings with H3 and H4 being sub-topics of your H2.
- Think about your headings like chapters in a book. Your heading should resemble a chapter or important topic you will then elaborate on.
5. Forgetting to add Alt-text to Images
Anytime you write a post, you should always try to add imagery wherever possible. Every image you upload into WordPress gives you the option to add Alt-text which you should always fill out if possible.
Alt-text is specifically there for readers that are vision impaired. The alt-text describes what the image is about if you are unable to see it.
In terms of SEO, it’s also important to add your keywords as long as it makes sense with the image. By adding your keywords, your image could also rank for the topic in Google’s photo filter.
6. Not Optimizing Your Images
There are many reasons your website could be running slow, and most of the time it’s caused by this common SEO mistake. Image size heavily affects your webpage load time.
As a travel blogger, I wanted to make sure I uploaded super high-Res photos. Well, the 2MB file sizes were killing my load time and thus, my SEO!
So how do you fix this? There are two ways.
- You can download a plug-in, such as Smush (what I use) to reduce and compress image size. Generally, you want your image size to be under 300 KB.
- Resize your images to fit your website’s pixel layout. When I first started blogging, I would upload images directly from my DSLR camera. The pixels for these images were 3,000 x 4,000. Big NO NO! Now, I resize my images to fit the pixels of my website which is around 900×600. By doing this, brings the file size down and eliminates my website having to resize the image.
Photo Sizing Tip: I personally resize my photos in Photoshop and use the Export Save for Web. This lets me reduce file size without compromising quality too much! I know there are other tools you can use if you do not have photoshop.
Another tip is to name your images as opposed to leaving them as “image142”. The title of the image can also help with ranking under the Google photos tab.
7. Using Unnecessary Plug-ins
Plug-ins are a huge reason why most people use WordPress, yet I am here telling you not to use them unless they are essential. As we know, Google isn’t too fond of slow websites and it turns out plug-ins slow down your speed.
A tool I use to check my speed is G Metrix. They give tons of details on what areas need work and as you delete plug-ins you might even see your speed go up!
A plug-in most bloggers recommend to delete is Jetpack. The plug-in is very heavy with features, of which many features go unused. The rule of thumb is, if you can manually do a task, you are better off in terms of speed and even web safety!
8. Not Doing Keyword Research
You would think this one is a given, but you would be surprised how many bloggers don’t do any research into the keywords or topics they choose to write about. AGAIN, I was one of them.
I downloaded the WordPress plug-in, Yoast, and if everything was all green, I assumed I was good.
However, if you use keywords that are not being searched for or are super competitive, your website will never get traffic from Google.
When choosing your keywords, you want to make sure it is very relevant to your topic and that this term will appear throughout your article naturally.
Thankfully there are some tools you can use to take some of the guesswork out of picking your keywords! I actively use KeySearch, Answer the Public, MOZ, and Google Trends.
If you have a budget and are really looking to take your SEO and Keysearch to the next level or you want to be able to monetize your blog, this is the tool you need. I kept hearing bloggers talk about it, but since I wasn’t making much money from my blog, I didn’t want to invest.
It got to the point I was 2 years in and still barely ranking or getting any organic search. That’s when I took a course and heard about KeySearch again. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and KeySearch was easily one of my best investments to get organic traffic!
KeySearch allows you to get in-depth data on search volume that can be broken down into demographics. You can see how terms trend throughout the year, what websites are ranking for the terms, other keyword suggestions, and more.
I am able to save all my keywords in detailed lists and get projections on how likely my website will rank for these terms. Since using this tool, I have been able to revamp old posts with keywords and finally rank, which of course is the goal!
Besides the benefits I mentioned above, KeySearch is really jam-packed with tons of additional tools that deserve a separate post.
Since using KeySearch along with doing the above, my Organic search volume is now my main source of traffic! Before KeySearch, I was getting about 200 organic searches a month. I now get over 10k organic searches a month on targeted keywords I was able to find using this tool.
Because of this huge traffic increase, I was able to then apply for a better ad network where I can now monetize my site and help my readers, win-win!
It took me so long to start investing in my site, and I want to kick myself in the head each time. This is why I reached out to KeySearch to get my readers an exclusive 20% off. I currently use the Starter Package, which works perfectly for me.
The discount code is: FINDLOVETRAVEL and the link is here!
With that being said, if you don’t have a budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t rank. I have been able to rank on Google with some very targeted posts before KeySearch, but this tool has really amplified my reach. Before Keysearch, I used the combination of websites below.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a great tool in helping you figure out keywords people are actively searching for. This tool can help you answer the “problems” people are searching for in your post. The website does have a limit to the number of searches you can do for free, but there is a plethora of information and data given!
Moz is another great resource to use when trying to find keywords about your topic for free. You have to create an account and like Answer the Public, there is a limit on searches per month.
Moz will give you an idea of what websites are ranking for a specific term, how many searches, and how difficult it might be to rank for a keyword.
We will come back to Moz again since they have some additional helpful tools!
Google wants to help you succeed online. At least that is my hope lol! Therefore, Google provides Google Trends. You can search for terms here and find out search volume and demographics.
After over a year of blogging and I had never heard of Domain Authority (or better known as DA). So if this is your first time hearing about it, just know this is a super common SEO mistake many bloggers make.
So what is DA? According to Moz, “Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”
If you are a new blog, don’t be surprised if you are at a 1 or even 0. It’s totally normal. The goal, of course, is to grow your DA. So how do we do this?
One of the best ways to grow your DA is through trusted and related backlinks from other websites. In Google’s eyes, when other websites link to your posts, it shows that you are more of an expert on a topic.
As your backlinks and DA grow, you will have the ability to rank for more competitive keywords and show on Google’s first page.
10. Using Keywords You Likely Won’t Rank For
While getting the green lights on Yoast is a good sign, it doesn’t mean your article will actually rank on Google! I would love to be the first search result on Google for the Keyword “Thailand”, but unfortunately, my site’s current DA is unlikely to outrank some of the big websites.
Unless your website is extremely established with a crazy high DA, it would be very hard to rank for very general keywords such as Travel, Thailand, Italy, etc. Therefore, we want to put more concentration on long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are more precise phrases, that have a targeted search volume and lower difficulty ranking. So instead of using “Thailand” as your keyword, instead it might be “nightlife in Bangkok”.
This brings me back to KeySearch. I usually will type in a general term, and then scroll the right sidebar of all the keyword suggestions and pick keywords that have a difficulty my website can rank for.
You can also do this using Moz, but the limit on the number of searches you can do makes it difficult to really dig in and get good terms.
Thinking to yourself, “WHAT THE H is a NO FOLLOW LINK”? Again, I have been there, done that…cue in huge facepalm. So when you add a link to your website, WordPress automatically tags the link as a “do follow” backlink to the website you added. That is all great and dandy, but if you are adding affiliate links, “do follow” links are a huge NO NO.
Without getting too technical, basically, when Google crawls your website, it follows the links. However, Google does not support advertising and can penalize your site. This is why you want to add the “No Follow” link telling Google to not crawl the link.
So how do you add a “No Follow” link so you can earn some money without Google cursing the soul of your website? After you add the link to your post, hit the text tab at the top right of the WordPress text box. This will bring you to the HTML coding.
Next, scroll to your link and look for: target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”. Once you find this section, you just have to type “nofollow” right after rel=”. So the new snippet of code should look like this: target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”.
Common SEO Mistakes Wrap-up
Now that we covered the 11 common SEO Mistakes and how to fix them, your website should be a lot closer to ranking and getting the traffic you deserve. While we did not cover EVERYTHING on SEO (that would take a whole textbook), these steps and the use of KeySearch should really up your game.
If you would like more guidance and wanted to invest in the course that helped me skyrocket my blog, you can find their free webinar here. Adventure and You’s Fast Lane Blogging course, (IMO) was worth every penny and helped me learn a lot of the mistakes I just taught to you, plus SOOOOO much more! They also really get into the nitty-gritty in explaining everything.
Want to continue the momentum on your blog? Learn how to use Pinterest to grow your blog! Pinterest is a great resource, especially for new bloggers looking to get traffic!
Originally Published: Apr 4, 2020