6 SEO Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Ranking

05 February 2019

In our ever evolving, internet-led world, staying on the digital map is more important than ever. The better your search ranking, the more visible your business is to customers.

However, we know it’s not easy. Google’s gets smarter every day and the landscape is more competitive than ever, which is why we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll help you dominate the search results by avoiding common SEO pitfalls. Below are 6 easy-to-overlook mistakes which can sabotage your SEO strategy:

1. Focusing on keywords and not intent

User intent has been known by SEO specialists since the dawn of the internet, however too many agencies and specialists still focus purely on keywords without considering what users are actually looking for. Intent reflects what a user wants when they type in a search query. An understanding of intent helps you determine the type content that you should be producing.

By focusing purely on keywords alone, you can actually undermine your SEO efforts. You need to understand which keywords are informational and which have high-purchase intent, and optimise accordingly. You won’t rank if you target terms and create content that doesn’t address the intent of your customer e.g. women’s shoes is a transactional intent keyword, so you wouldn’t target this keyword with a blog!

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2. Using old school optimisation techniques

Spinned articles, keyword stuffed content and social bookmarking just doesn’t cut it for SEO anymore. While more dubious techniques can still work in the short term (such as well set up Private Blog Networks), Google is fighting these black-hat tactics all the time, so if you’re serious about SEO, play it safe and stick to tried and tested, safer white-hat optimisation techniques.  

3. Underestimating the importance of crawl budget management

Google sends out bots to crawl through your webpages, indexing words and content within your website. It’s important to know that your crawl budget is comprised of two things: crawl rate limit and crawl demand. A crawl rate limit (set up in search console) helps by stopping Google from indexing too many pages at once, which can wear down your server and slow down your website speed.

Crawl demand is based on the popularity of your webpages and whether Google thinks they’re worth indexing or not, which is why crawl budget is a critical aspect of SEO. Crawl demand dictates what pages Google will look at and how frequently. So, don’t underestimate the importance of providing Google with a great crawl experience.

You can achieve this with a meaningful internal linking structure, good page load time, high-quality content and no broken links or redirects.

4. Being ‘too relevant’

Most websites have a cannibalisation issue. Cannibalisation often happens naturally, as multiple pages of a website are relevant for the same topics and compete for visibility in search results. However, cannibalisation can hinder the ability of a website to rank - therefore, it needs to be monitored and kept in check.

You can identify cannibalisation on your website with a site search for keywords, or if you notice rankings for certain keywords jumping between different pages. We love using the ‘filter=0’ parameter in Google search. It identifies cannibalisation by uncovering competing pages from the same domains. Once you’ve identified cannibalisation, proper consolidation through canonicals or redirects, or de-optimisation and content shifts, should take care of this.

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5. Improperly managing your website migration

Migrating a website is undoubtedly one of the most challenging obstacles for an SEO campaign. If it’s not managed correctly, the migration can lead to a huge loss of rankings, organic traffic and conversions.

There are a few elements to consider. Firstly, if the URL structure is changing it’s imperative to create a full redirect map to ensure Google understands the new website from a crawling and relevance perspective. Secondly, when optimising a new website, make sure you consider not only the target keywords of your SEO campaign, but also the keywords that were previously ranking and driving conversions. This will ensure no keywords are lost in the migration. Finally, design can play a big factor in ensuring the SEO success of your new website. For example, if content is pushed down the page it can be devalued and the relevance of the page can suffer. To avoid this, always make sure that if content is placed lower for user experience (UX), that the actual gain in UX provides more value than the drop in rankings associated.

6. Thinking desktop first

52 percent of website browsing happens on mobile, yet too many people consider desktop first when looking at their SEO strategy. Today, for most websites, Google will use the mobile version of the website as a reference for rankings on both desktop and mobile, which is why your mobile strategy should be top of your agenda. It’s vital to look at mobile considerations and mobile versions of your website. Remember, Google considers factors such as page load time and content prioritisation based on the size and capabilities of the device. Optimise all of these elements and you’ll be on your way to an epic search ranking climb.

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Alot to take in? Speak to one of our SEO experts about how we can help you.

Author: Simon Mathonnet