5 SEO Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

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by Adam Wright

Whether you’re a web developer, or a business owner, more than likely you’ve heard of SEO.

But if you haven’t, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s essentially what will help your website get seen by search engines (like Google).

If you care anything about getting seen on Google, then you should definitely care about SEO.

It’s important to know — SEO can be pretty intensive and overwhelming, depending on your goals. It is not something that you just toggle a switch and it starts working for you. It’s a very long-term strategy, but will payoff if done right.

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However, there are some very key SEO mistakes you do not want to make that will slow the progress of your visibility on search (if not completely hinder you from being seen).

SEO Mistake #1: Having a slow website

One of the top factors that Google cares a lot about is website speed. What this means, exactly, is that Google considers how quickly your website loads when someone first visits it — both on desktop and mobile — and factors that into how they rank you in search results.

If you go to your website, assuming you have a good, stable internet connection, it should load in 2 seconds or less.

So if you have a very slow website, that loads 5 seconds or even longer, your rankings on Google are going to take a significant hit.

There are many website speed tests out there, but the best and most notable one you should care most about is Page Speed Insights. This is run by Google, so you know that if you are passing their Core Web Vitals, you are in good shape.

It’s important to think about website speed as also good user experience. Does anyone like a slow loading website? Honestly, if it doesn’t load in 4-5 seconds max, there’s a 99% chance I’m leaving.

You want your users to stay present on your site, otherwise — what’s the point?

So run your website through the Page Speed Insights and see what kind of score you get — if it’s anything in the “yellow”, you have much room for improvement.

Here’s how the AWD site performs:

SEO Mistake #2: No metadata

Now, getting into one of the more technical SEO mistakes, metadata. Metadata helps tell Google what your pages are about, and what you want it to display on search results.

Here’s an example for AWD:

In this image, you’ll see the “Title” is: Adam Wright Design | Website & Graphic Design in Mt. Juliet, TN. The “Description” is “Adam Wright Design offers Web Design & Graphic Design in Mt. Juliet, TN. We help small to medium sized businesses elevate their online presence.”

These are considered the Meta Title and Meta Description — and it’s important to have unique ones for every page of your website.

Without this kind of metadata inserted, Google will populate it’s own description based on what they think is best — which is not always the best, but Google does what Google wants 🙂.

So go to Google and input your website name to see what kind of titles and descriptions you see — more than likely, you’ll want to update those.

In WordPress you can use a plugin like Slim SEO to input your own custom metadata, or you can do this manually via code if you have the knowledge.

SEO Mistake #3: Blocking search engines

Alright, so one of the BIGGEST, if not the biggest, SEO mistakes you can make is blocking search engines.

In WordPress, there is a setting within Settings > Reading that has a checkbox for Search Engine Visibility that reads: “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”.

If you leave this checked, you are telling Google to completely ignore your website.

Now if you can’t tell, this is really bad!

We definitely want Google to see and crawl our website to ensure they display it in the proper search results.

So right away, go check your WordPress setting and make sure that box is not checked.

Additionally, besides that, you possibly could have a line of code in your robots.txt file that reads:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

If you do, this is a manual piece of code that tells search engines to not crawl your site — you’ll definitely want to delete this.

SEO Mistakes #4: Not linking internally

Another element that is super important for SEO on your website is internal links.

Internal links are essentially links placed throughout your website that lead the user to other pages on your site.

These internal links help search engines (and users) find more content on your site, and how it’s relevant. It’s creating this infrastructure internally that connects all the dots for Google to understand your site and it’s purpose — and therefore, recommend those additional links/pages as they are relevant.

One of the biggest opportunities to include internal links is in your blog posts. Revisit your posts and make sure to link particular words and phrases that relate to any specific service page, product page, or similar on your website.

Again, this is not only helping the opportunity for a user to want to click that link, and keep spending time on your site, but also helping Google know that your content is related.

SEO Mistake #5: One and done

As I mentioned earlier, SEO is a very intensive, long-term strategy. It’s not just a one-time implementation and expect traffic to flow in immediately.

In addition to that, let’s say you have been working on your SEO strategy for 6+ months and are seeing results for your website on the first page.

This is not the time to stop!

You must continue to massage and update your website on a consistent basis so that Google continues to rank your website well for the relevant terms. If you reach a high ranking, and stop any SEO, you could easily drop faster than you know it.

SEO is a big competition, and there’s always other businesses competing for that top page of search results — so the minute you let your foot off the pedal, someone else is going to pass you right up.

Learn from these SEO mistakes

I hope you learned today the biggest SEO mistakes you’ll want to avoid on your website. Some easier than others, but regardless they are all important. Why? Because your website is your source of leads — and you want Google to like and rank your website as well as possible.

Do you need help with optimizing your website for Google? Reach out to AWD and we’d be glad to see how we can help your website improve.

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Adam Wright

Adam is a California native, now living in Middle Tennessee. A long-time creative at heart, his passion for design and growing his small business, AWD, is always evident. When he's not writing code or sketching logos, he enjoys spending time with family, playing basketball, or watching just about any motorsports. Find him on LinkedIn.

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