As it stands today, SEO is a bit of a minefield.
Sure, there’s plenty of raw information out there. In fact, there’s more ‘insight’ available now than ever before.
But these days, you have to keep an eye out for information that’s:
Which means that if you’re trying to build a top-notch SEO strategy for your website, it’s up to you to sift through blog after blog to find advice that’s actually useful.
If you followed all the advice you found online, it’d be nearly impossible to avoid making costly SEO website mistakes that could hold your website (and your business) back.
That’s why today, we’ve decided to put together a list of the most common SEO website mistakes that business owners make with their websites — and what you can do to avoid them.
By the time we’re done here, you’ll be armed with the tools and knowledge you need to properly execute a top-notch SEO strategy.
So, with that out of the way, let’s dive into one of the biggest SEO website mistakes that business owners make when it comes to their websites: boring copy.
SEO Mistake #1: The Copy Isn’t Engaging
Alright, maybe that’s a bit harsh.
But there’s no getting around it. If the content you’re creating isn’t compelling, your ability to encourage engagement is going to be severely limited.
If you’ve been involved in the world of digital SEO marketing for quite some time, that might seem like a bit of a no-brainer.
But for those of you that just hopped onto the ‘online marketing’ train a few months ago, here’s what you need to know.
About 50 years ago, we lived in the world of the traditional consumer.
And what’s interesting about the traditional consumer is how easy it was to create SEO marketing content for them.
Although honestly, it might be a bit much to call it ‘SEO marketing content’. It was basically just ads, in the most general, promotional sense.
Confused? Here’s an example of what we’re talking about.
It’s 1978. If you’re trying to promote your product, your approach is pretty straightforward.
Create an ad or jingle that’s mildly entertaining/catchy, and then bombard your target demographic with those ads over and over again.
…And that’s it. Seriously.
There’s no subtlety or nuance because frankly, there doesn’t have to be.
Why? Because the traditional consumer had nowhere to run.
Their most common media options (television, radio, newspaper, etc.) all had one thing in common: they were passive experiences.
As a consumer, you could sit through commercials or…you could sit through commercials. There’s not much you could do.
Now imagine that you hopped into a time machine and ended up in 2018.
We both know that the ‘marketing strategy’ mentioned above isn’t going to do much of anything in today’s market.
And why is that?
Because the modern consumer won’t stand for it.
Obviously, there are plenty of factors at work here. A higher level of baseline education, particularly as it relates to business practices.
A mistrust of faceless corporations, developed over decades of dealing with businesses that over-promise and under-deliver.
But believe it or not, that’s not the main reason it’s so much harder to market to the modern consumer.
The real reason it’s such a challenge today is because of the internet.
Hear us out: the explosion of the internet was, in many ways, the beginning of the end for traditional media.
Where television and radio demanded that we sit there and accept whatever it spat out at us, the internet offers people limitless possibility.
Don’t like a particular site or business? No problem, you can avoid it completely — forever.
If you’re still confused, forget about buyer psychology or personas. Just think about your own experiences as a consumer.
Do you remember the first time you used a DVR? You could fast-forward through those commercials and watch your shows uninterrupted.
Maybe you hadn’t hated commercials before that point. But once you saw what media could be, you probably started to build a distaste for invasive ads.
And that’s how it starts.
Nowadays, we’ve got consumers using ad blockers and skipping YouTube ads within 5 seconds.
Honestly, can we blame them?
Here’s what we need to understand: that era of marketing is done.
It’s frustrating to feel like people aren’t interested to hear about your business, especially when you truly believe that you can improve their lives with your product.
But the solution isn’t to force them into the traditional marketing experience again.
Instead, we have to find a way to bridge the gap between business and consumer. And that starts by creating content that connects with audiences on such a deep level that they seek to engage with your business willingly.
Which leads us to our main point: your content needs to go beyond utility.
If you’re just telling people that ‘this product solves problem X’, you’re not going to get very far.
Why? Because every one of your competitors is making the same promise.
There are two key things your copy should focus on:
- Human Connection
When it comes to being unique, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. At the end of the day, you just need to have a brand that stands out when compared to the rest of the brands in your industry.
But that’s just the basics of crafting an impactful brand identity. What really helps step your brand up is when you’re able to inject a bit of humanity into the process.
Consider Airbnb, since they’re one of the most interesting, relevant examples of this concept in action.
Would it be easy for Airbnb to lean on the fact that they’re significantly cheaper than any hotel? Absolutely.
But that’s the obvious angle, and it does nothing to bridge the gap between consumer and business.
That’s why instead of focusing on the cold, hard data, Airbnb decided to bank on their potential for human connection.
That’s why Airbnb’s marketing copy typically focuses on how their service lets consumers experience destinations with a level of immersion that they just can’t get from a hotel.
Copy isn’t just about your call-to-action. In the world of the modern consumer, it’s also about telling a story.
Of course, boring copy is just one of the many symptoms of SEO Mistake #2.
SEO Mistake #2: The Website Isn’t Optimized
For whatever reason, when people talk about SEO website mistakes, there’s an instinct to think about the external factors that impact search engine rank.
But usually, the biggest issues are within our own websites.
Let’s start with some of the more basic ones, like videos and images being poorly optimized on-site.
While boring copy can certainly be bad enough, un-optimized visuals can be just as damaging to your SEO strategy.
To put it simply, optimizing your on-site SEO means prioritizing rapid load times.
Why’s this such an issue? One word: friction.
Business owners tend to think of friction as something that happens somewhere within the sales funnel.
In other words, friction anywhere in the customer journey is going to compromise your conversion rate.
But if the concept of scaring away consumers didn’t scare you, maybe Google will.
As complicated as the Google search algorithm seems to be, there’s one key factor that’s absolutely essential: page load time.
There’s no easy way to put it: if your site doesn’t load quickly, people will leave. The only question is how many.
So, if you’d like to avoid that, here are some tips that you’ll need.
Those on-site images of yours? They should be formatted as .jpg. And all of your vector images need to be formatted as .png.
As for videos, you’re better off hosting all your videos in one place and then building a video sitemap so that Google can find it easily.
If you want bonus points here, take the time to optimize the meta description for any pages with videos using targeted keywords. Don’t be afraid to toss in a call-to-action to ensure that you can actually turn that attention into a conversion.
SEO Mistake #3: Ignoring Mobile Users
Remember when we started talking about friction up above?
Well, friction takes on quite a few forms when we’re talking about the digital marketing landscape.
When it comes to SEO website mistakes, this particular form of friction is a bit more devious.
But as a business owner looking to perfectly execute their SEO strategy, it’s important you understand just how important it is to pay attention to your mobile users.
Whether you like it or not, the mobile user is becoming more important, year after year. E-commerce traffic has been over 50% mobile since 2014, according to Shopify.
Yet so many business owners fail to craft user experiences that are tailored towards people searching on mobile.
To put things simply, when you ignore the needs of mobile users, you’re missing out on 50% of potential conversions.
And if that wasn’t enough, it’s worth noting that Google search now functions on a ‘mobile-first’ indexing system.
Confused? Here’s the easy way of looking at it.
Not too long ago, Google used two indexes, one mobile and one desktop. These ran parallel, so that if you searched for a business on desktop, you’d get ‘desktop’ rankings and vice versa.
But now, no matter what device you’re using, your results will be dependent on the mobile index.
All of which brings us to an important point: understanding the difference between desktop and mobile optimization.
When it comes to desktop optimization, there’s really only one thing you need to focus on. Maintaining an emphasis on website ease of use will go a long way in ensuring that your customers are happy.
Of course, when you’re optimizing a website for desktop, you’ve got quite a ‘real estate’ to work with.
Meaning that will page load times and ease of use are still the priority, you’re free to experiment with how much content you put on each page.
The rules for mobile marketing are a bit different.
In a word, we’re going for efficiency here. You don’t just want a site that’s ‘mobile-friendly’ (although that’s a good place to start).
If you want to appeal to mobile users, you need to embrace the concept of speed as a key component of the customer experience.
And that’s an important thing to keep in mind. Appeasing the Google search algorithm gods is important, but it’s only one half of the puzzle.
The customer threshold for friction on mobile devices isn’t particularly high. So, if you actually want to turn that lead into a sale, you’ll need to remove any and all barriers between your product and the consumer.
So, our advice? Use the tools that Google provides (Mobile Usability and Mobile Friendly, specifically) to get a better understanding of what state your website is in.
Prioritize site speed and make your content easy to consume on phones, tablets, etc.
Of course, there’s plenty more you can do here.
You can work on optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions for mobile, with 70 characters for title tags and 300 characters for your meta descriptions.
You could implement AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) so that your pages load as much as 4x faster than before.
However you choose to improve your mobile SEO, what’s important to keep in mind is that your goal isn’t just to compel Google to give your website some love.
Top-notch SEO strategy and website optimization impresses consumers just as much as it impresses search engine algorithms.
Conclusion – Avoid These SEO Website Mistakes
Listen, we understand.
Trying to execute an SEO strategy properly (especially if it’s your first time) can end up feeling like a bit of a guessing game.
But luckily, there are a few key ideas that you can internalize to make sure your SEO strategy is always headed in the right direction.
Right off the bat, you need to understand that content marketing is SEO marketing these days. While they both have unique components, they each rely on the other to live up to their full potential.
So, make sure your copy is more than just the standard ‘our product is the best’ self-promotion you see on most sites.
Let your brand voice shine through it, inject it with a bit of humanity and turn it into something truly engaging.
From there, take a look at your site and start optimizing it as much as possible. Make sure to focus on finding ways to speed up your site and reduce any friction on the site.
And beyond that, you’ll want to start prioritizing the mobile user experience. For starters, there’s no denying the fact that Google seems to care much more about mobile users and traffic these days.
The real moral of the story is that you shouldn’t neglect any portion of your audience, especially if you want to increase your conversion rate.
If you’re able to keep these 3 major SEO website mistakes in mind, and able to implement the key principles of SEO strategy, you’ll be able to elevate the status of your site in some pretty drastic ways.
What’s My SEO Score?
Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.