When it comes to search engine optimization, it's easy to conduct a quick Google search and find thousands of results about what you need to do to get your website noticed online. What you don't often find, though, are the lists of what not to do--the lists that advise against SEO mistakes and quick fixes that seem all too enticing when beginning your SEO journey.

Although it may be tempting to take the easy route when it comes to SEO, we strongly advise you against the black hat techniques that will leave your website worse-off in the long run. Not sure if you're taking the right approach to your SEO strategy? Keep on reading for the top 6 SEO mistakes to avoid.

If you're looking for a hands-on approach with your SEO strategy, you've come to the right place. SEO is an on-going commitment that is the most powerful for your business when executed by a team of professionals. At Profitworks, we do what we do best—helping business owners improve their website traffic and leads—so that they can focus on what they do best. Interested in learning more? Contact our team today. 

Ready to get started? Here are 6 top of the top SEO mistakes we see frequently, ranked in order of their severity.

Top 6 SEO Mistakes

1. Releasing Poor Quality Content

There's really no way around it—content quality is paramount when it comes to driving traffic to your website. In fact, we believe content quality to be the #1 ranking factor for websites in Google's current algorithm.

The reason for Google's preference for content quality is quite clear. Google's role on the internet is to provide the most helpful, relevant, and valuable "answers" to their users' questions or inquiries online, meaning they are scanning thousands of websites to determine which is best at answering these questions. 

Although it is not always clear what Google looks at to determine content quality, some of the determinants that have been identified include content length (i.e, content with word counts over 500), content organization and readability, as well as the uniqueness of content. 

So, what does this mean for your website? It means that simply including a few sentences about your business, product, service, or overall website topic is not going to cut it in search engines. Instead, take the time to write well-thought-out content that includes ideas that are original or unique, and craft the page in a way that is readable to your users.

2. Not Tracking Results

Arguably, failing to track the results of your SEO initiatives is the biggest SEO mistake that your business can make.

Without tracking results, there is no way of knowing whether or not the work you are putting into your website's SEO is paying off, potentially leading to wasted time and lost leads for your business. By taking the time to review things like website traffic, conversions, and keyword ranking over time, you are able to better refine your strategy for more optimal results moving forward.

One of the most powerful tools that your business can use to track your SEO results is Google Analytics. Once set up, Google Analytics tracks your website traffic from all sources, including organic, direct, and referrals, while also monitoring what users are doing when they land on your website. With this information, you can watch to see the behavioural journey of your users when they land, including the amount of time they are spending on particular pages and whether or not they choose to convert. This is valuable data that when leveraged can make the difference between a website that is actually generating sales and one that is not.


3. Not Doing Keyword Research

One of the most common SEO mistakes that we see many business owners make is creating website pages without doing keyword research first. Without keyword research, you are missing out on valuable data that can be found online about the types of phrases that users are typing in when conducting a search, as well as the volume of that specific search. 

For example, if a business made the assumption that most users would search "breakfast in Waterloo" instead of "breakfast near me" when looking for a local cafe, it would mean that they would create a page that isn't catering to the language that most users naturally enter when conducting this type of search while also limiting the amount of traffic that they will receive for that particular page. Through keyword research, your brand is able to identify all of the possible variations that your target audience is using to search for a product or service and spend time creating pages that cater to the keywords with the greatest number of searches.

This approach will allow you to spend your valuable time on your website far more intentionally. To get started, consider using a tool like Google Keyword Planner. The Keyword Planner allows you to enter 10 keywords or phrases that are related to your product, service, brand, or topic and generates hundreds of relevant results based on what people are actually searching for. Using this free tool allows you to view average monthly searches as well as the level of competition or difficulty to rank for the keywords displayed.

Instead of creating pages without researching, be sure to take the extra time to determine the best keywords to use first!


4. Skipping Title Tags or Meta Descriptions

Two of the things that we notice many business owners forgetting when creating for their websites are title tags and meta descriptions. While title tags are visual cues on your page for both readers and search engines, meta descriptions are often back-end summaries of the page that help Google determine and relay to users what that page is about.

It's important to include your chosen keyword in the title tag or H1 tag of your home page so that a search engine like Google can easily connect your content to the specific term that the user is searching for. Similarily, with meta descriptions, including your keyword as well as an engaging description of your content will improve Google's likelihood of actually displaying your content as the answer to a user's search.

Before releasing content on your website, be sure to leave extra time to ensure that you have included your keyword in the right spots, paying careful attention to your title tags as well as your meta description. For more help keeping track of what's important, download our free SEO checklist!


5. Spammy Links

It's no secret that the number of links associated with your website is an important piece in your ability to rank in search engines. When it comes to linking, though, more doesn't always equal more.

In fact, it's much better to have 10 links from 10 great websites than 100 links from 10 mediocre websites. The authority of the website that you are asking to link back to your own website is an important consideration for Google when choosing which websites to feature first in search results.

In addition to the number of referring domains, before linking to another website from your content, there are a few key things to consider first:

    • Is the page I am linking to a trusted website?
    • Does the page I am linking to have topic authority for the keyword I am linking from/writing about?
    • Is the page I am linking to going to provide additional value for my readers?

If the page you are thinking of linking to (or asking for a link from) does not meet these requirements, it's better to avoid the link altogether. You want your website to be associated with similar websites that have strong rankings in order to pull your own website up.

6. Keyword Stuffing

When it comes to "quick fixes" for SEO, keyword stuffing is one of the most common SEO mistakes we see. 

You know that including relevant keywords throughout your content is an important ranking factor for Google, so including that keyword throughout the text in every single paragraph is the perfect solution, right?

Not exactly.

Google sees through deceptive SEO techniques like keyword stuffing and has actually been known to punish websites for these practices in the long-term. Steering clear from keyword stuffing and only using your keywords throughout your content in a rational, readable way is the best way to ensure that your keywords will work for you rather than against you.

Although the optimal number of times to use your keyword isn't always cut and dried, the general rule of thumb is to write content that doesn't read awkwardly. For example, an article with 1000 words and 100 keywords has a keyword density of 10%, while an article with 1000 words and 10 keywords has a keyword density of 1%. If you find that the article reads well with a 1% density, it's likely that you've found the right balance.

SEO Done Right

Doing SEO the right way often means doing SEO the hard way. If you really want to see your business rise to the top of search engines, it means investing your time into an ongoing strategy that will make it happen.

Don't have the time to make the investment?

At Profitworks, we have helped countless small business owners rise to the top of search engines through carefully curated strategies and ongoing SEO execution. We know what it takes to get the results that your business is looking for. Ready to get started? Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you become the leader in your market!