Search engine optimisation is an ever-growing branch of digital marketing. In 2020 alone, corporate SEO spending reached a whopping $47.5 billion and is expected to reach up to over $75 billion by 2023. So, it should come as no surprise that SEO methodology is ever-changing, with new ways and trends being developed overnight.
As a result, companies will always find themselves in a position where they would have to keep up with the evolution of consumer behaviour as well as the continuous updates that search engines such as Google go through.
Still, it’s not easy to always stay on top of these ever-evolving techniques, and mistakes can be made. That is exactly what we’re focusing on today. Read along as we go through seven of the most common SEO problems and how to avoid them.
7 Common SEO Problems
Mistake 1: Getting the wrong audience
One of the critical aspects of search engine optimisation is getting your target audience right. Most marketers out there are under the impression that they know their audience well; however, the moment you ask them about their consumers’ behaviour, they fail to produce a proper answer.
What further complicates this situation is the fact that most consumers expect to get some sort of response from these marketers in real-time. And while it is true that marketers can have a good insight into their audiences based on historical SEO data, this still fails to give them a holistic idea of what’s really going on.
Yes, it is only natural for you, as a marketer, to define your SEO keywords based on your products and services. But we think it’s more important that you try to comprehend what your consumers would use when looking for your products instead.
You may be wondering, “Hey, it’s not PPC; who cares if the wrong people visited my website? I’m not paying for those clicks anyway!”
Well, targeting the wrong audience can affect you because of two things:
- First, you’re actually paying for those clicks, even if you’re not doing it directly. In other words, by targeting the wrong audience, you’re basically throwing money down the drain.
- And, second, Google uses user engagement as a ranking factor. If people who aren’t actually interested in your content visit your website and leave immediately, Google is going to downrank your pages.
- Rely on both historical and real-time data to understand how consumer behaviour is evolving.
- Use Google-based keyword planning tools and any other third-party tools at your disposal.
- Look up the trends that your target audience is following for the current season.
- Thoroughly research what keywords your audience might type up when looking for products or services like the ones you provide.
Mistake 2: Producing the wrong kind of content
Another common mistake that marketers fall into is creating content that isn’t related to their audience. Your main aim with SEO is to rank high for a particular keyword, basically, but there is no way of achieving this if your content is irrelevant.
Search engines such as Google make it their life mission to serve their users with content that is relevant to what they’re searching for. So, it should come as no surprise that your website won’t rank well if you are creating the wrong type of content.
In order to not fall into this problem, avoid doing the following:
- Trying to cover numerous different topics in one article/blog post.
- Producing low-quality content that is filled with the right keywords.
- Using multiple keywords in a single post.
So, your main goal should be to create content that is relevant to the questions and needs of your target audience while also highlighting the keyword you’re going for in a subtle way. Search engines such as Google will then pick up on whatever keyword you’re optimising for and go from there. The higher the quality of your content and the more relevant it is, the better you will rank.
There’s also the mistake of copying and plagiarising content, which people back in the day did a lot. Nowadays, however, most people try their best to avoid copying content since search engines heavily penalise it. So, instead of ripping off people’s content, try your best to create original and relevant content.
Moreover, avoid misleading readers. In other words, your headlines should match the topic your content is about.
This is yet another one of the most common SEO problems that you can face. If you’re not familiar with this already, the quality of your external links is way more important than their quantity. They should be relevant to the content and lead to well-renowned, trustworthy websites.
We also recommend that you build links that lead to sites that have linked to you. This creates a loop of back-and-forth traffic that will greatly benefit you in the future.
Lastly, you need to constantly check for broken links and fix them as soon as possible in order to avoid any confusion on the side of the consumers.
Using a link building tool can make the process much easier for you and your team. We personally recommend using Semrush’s Link Building Tool or Ahrefs’ Content Explorer. We’ve also published an article on the best link building strategies that you can follow.
Mistake 4: Not having a fast, mobile-friendly experience
Yes, SEO isn’t exclusively about having the right keywords and the best content. It also includes the quality of your website. Then there is the fact that most people nowadays use their mobile devices when surfing the web. So, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to fall behind ranking-wise. This is because Google, amongst other search engines, can tell when your website is not mobile-friendly.
In other words, don’t be surprised if you’re not ranking well on search engines due to having a website with a slow, buggy mobile experience.
Expect the same treatment from search engines if your website has a bad load speed or buggy, non-responsive elements. Google allows you to check both the desktop and the mobile performance of your website using their proprietary tool, PageSpeed Insights.
So, in order to avoid falling into this mistake, make sure to ameliorate the load times of your site, for starters. You should also optimise the mobile experience by creating mobile-friendly content and even mobile-exclusive content if possible. Lastly, constantly test your website’s design to make sure that it’s always responsive, even under heavy load.
Mistake 5: Badly optimised (or missing) meta descriptions
Meta descriptions refer to those short, 160-character limit paragraphs that describe what your web page is about. Their main job is to help with the indexation of your web pages by search engines. And while it is one of the more basic features of SEO, a lot of pages miss it for some reason.
Similar to the content of your page, your meta descriptions should be well-optimised in the sense that they match what the user would find on the page. Consequently, try your best to include the right keywords in the meta descriptions as well, not just your page’s content.
Whatever the issue might be, you can address it. If some of your pages are missing meta descriptions, simply run an SEO site audit. That will help you find out which pages are affected and adjust them according to their importance. As for pages with poorly optimised meta descriptions, a simple audit can identify any errors within them. Again, the process of fixing these meta descriptions should be done according to the importance of these pages.
Mistake 6: Not relying on the right tools
The only way to tell that your SEO efforts aren’t going to be vain is to closely follow their progress. Unfortunately, many marketers tend to neglect the numbers, and that’s the biggest mistake that one can make.
Moreover, the SEO scene has drastically developed over the years and with it came a plethora of SEO tools that you can utilise to track and improve on your optimisation. There are tools for basically everything, from keyword research to concrete competition analysis and more. These tools include Semrush, Ahrefs, KWFinder, SpyFu, and more.
Most of these tools are cost-efficient and will help you deal with certain aspects of your SEO strategy. Some are even veered towards enterprises with heavy SEO loads, and they come with a heftier price tag, of course.
Mistake 7: Not updating your sitemaps
Search engines such as Google adore sitemaps. That’s because they help them better understand your website’s structure to crawl through it more properly.
But as is the case with almost every active website on the world wide web, updates are regularly made. Some brands even go through a full restructuring phase, removing and adding many sections in the process.
Failing to update your sitemap will confuse search engines as their AI bots will find themselves crawling through broken sections. This will badly affect your website ranking so make sure to do your best to update your sitemap the moment you make any significant change.
Do you want to avoid dealing with those common SEO problems altogether?
If you’re new to SEO, you’ll commit many mistakes before perfecting your craft, which is totally fine. That said, if you would rather take care of other aspects of your business while outsourcing the SEO tasks to more capable hands, we’re happy to help. Get in touch today!