We often talk about SEO best practices, in other words what you should doing to to your site. However, what about those practices you need to stay away from? In what shouldn’t you be doing?
1. Misuse of Keywords
If you are reading this article, that means you are probably already familiar with SEO and that you know that it is mostly about keywords. Since keywords are so fundamental to improve SERP, we tend to think that the more we have, the better. Well, this is a very common mistake that can lead your content to sound unnatural and spammy, and Google reacts against those stuffed keywords by positioning your site low in the ranking.
Also, we sometimes tend to get a bit lost when including keywords that add value to our content. This happens quite often when we do not target our content around a keyword or topic. We not only think that quantity will benefit our site’s SEO, but chances are that we end up with a bunch of irrelevant keywords, which in reality are not doing us any favour SERP-wise.
In other words, doing this about the search engines, think about the searchers.
2. Duplicate content
There are several ways of falling in this very repeated, yet non-recommendable, SEO practice. Duplicate content takes two common forms on your site: having the same content in different locations on your website and duplicate meta descriptions.
Having the same content on different locations is extremely common, especially among e-commerce sites and blogs. This happens when we clone pages and store them in different locations on our sites.
On the other hand, duplicate meta descriptions are often also present on websites. The reason for this is because most CMS automatically generate them, and we usually forget about editing them. Moreover, meta descriptions are in most cases inherited from parent pages, which means that if you do not take care of them, all the pages in your site will end up having the same meta description.
This will not only mean a lower place on the SERP, but if you actually make it to one of the search result pages, chances are that your page and sitelinks meta descriptions are non-relevant and misleading for the user, which might prevent them from clicking on your site.
3. Thin and short content
Google likes its content to be relevant and to add value to the reader. Again, think searcher, not search engine. Simply creating content, just for the sake of it, is not going to help you rank any higher in the search page results. Disregarding content relevancy, giving vague information or short descriptions, can hurt your SEO just as much as duplicate content. This is what is known as thin content.
Relevant and short content is better though than irrelevant and long. However, according to this SerpIQ study on content length, those pages with a length over 2,000 words are more likely to rank higher in the search page results. This does not mean that it is necessary for you to have such number of words on every page of your site, however, posting in-depth information on your site from time to time will definitely have a positive impact on your site.
4. Broken links
It is recommended to do some housekeeping in your site to make sure you do not have any loose-ends, such as broken links. As common as they are, broken links can earn you a bad reputation in Google.
Why? We recently talked about how Google algorithms can affect your SERP, which introduction supposed mobile friendly and good UX had more leverage when ranking your website on the search results page. Having broken links on your site has a negative impact on UX, so it is worth going through your site and make use of the many available free tools to identify them.
5. Non-mobile friendly websites
According to Google+, 82% already have a responsive web design, however, a research on website responsiveness, that analysed over 100,000 sites, stated that only 11-12% have a responsive site. So there is not much clarity on the matter, and the available data is rather outdated, whichever the case, both percentages seem rather low considering that searches on mobile long ago overpassed those on desktop, and this tendency will only grow as more people get access to mobile devices.
Not embracing mobile can be hugely detrimental for UX, and ultimately for SEO, since Google will always favour in its SERP those sites that are mobile-optimised.
6. Grammar mistakes and spelling errors
With all the tools that are available online and offline to avoid grammar errors and spelling mistakes, websites are still full of them. But of course, all of us make those mistakes. But it can definitely make a difference if we spend a few extra minutes to proof-read our copy.
Of course, wrongly spelt words and grammar mistakes make your site look less reliable than others and it will also hurt your UX and SEO, all in one, because other websites working on link-building will perceive your site as an unreliable source
The question is, does this really matter? It does.
Owing to the overwhelming amount of websites competing to rank high on the search result page, Google needs to find flaws on your site, excuses to rule you out and move to the next perfectly written site with relevant content.
Although there are many other factors with might be negatively affecting your SEO, this is a good start for enhancing your site’s performance.
Take time to go through these recommendations and apply them where you can. SEO results require time, so don’t despair if they don’t show overnight, consistency will get you there.