10 Worst SEO Mistakes And How To Avoid Them In 2023
2022 is over. It’s time to review the year and ask yourself if you got the most out of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Did you see a boost in traffic, leads, or sales? Are your SEO clients happy working with you? Did you meet your goal for the year?
If your answers to these questions are negative, you might have made some SEO mistakes. Making these mistakes might have led to a waste of time and resources. They might have also led to your website being penalized by Google.
What are these SEO mistakes? You’ll find out today. Here are the ten worst SEO mistakes you might be making and how to avoid them in 2023.
Top SEO Mistakes To Avoid
1. Publishing Low-Quality Content
Content is an essential part of SEO. Nothing attracts visitors to your website without it, let alone converting them to leads or customers. But wait, it’s not about having content but about the quality of the content. Your content must be worth reading.
Content worth reading is unique and provides value to the reader—low-quality content won’t do that. This type of content lacks originality, doesn’t solve any problems, and is not readable.
Google bots and humans dislike low-quality content. Aside from the fact that humans won’t read them, Google has continuously updated its algorithm to favor websites with high-quality content.
The recent “helpful content update,” which was announced in August 2022, was rolled out to ensure that the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) is dominated by original and helpful content written by humans and for humans. See a screenshot of a tweet from Google Search Central below;
From the above screenshot, you can tell that publishing low-quality content is becoming useless to the search engine and humans, thus preventing you from getting results with SEO.
So, here are some tips for publishing content both humans and search engines love—high-quality content.
- Write for your readers first, then optimize for search engines: This means ensuring your readers find what they came for instead of content stuffed with keywords.
- Ensure your content is readable and engaging: Avoid large paragraphs, break up your texts with headlines, bring life to the range with visuals, vary your sentence length, and do everything to ensure your reader doesn’t get bored reading.
- Understand content search intent: Every searcher has a purpose behind their search terms/keywords. So, if you were to write on a keyword, you must understand the searcher’s intent. Understanding the search intent will help you create content that meets readers at their moment.
2. Creating Content Without Keyword Research
You must perform keyword research to drive traffic from search engines like Google. Keyword research helps you find keywords that your target audience can use to find your website. When you see these keywords, you create and optimize your content around them so that they can rank on search engines.
Skipping this process will only reduce the number of eyes on your content, regardless of the quality. You may suffer low traffic from search engines, run paid ads, or rely on social media traffic.
But if you did proper keyword research before writing, you’ve set your website up for organic traffic. Some important metrics to track when carrying out keyword research include; the keyword search volume, difficulty, cost per click, and competition.
You should go with keywords with relatively high search volume and low competition. These keywords are easy to rank, thus increasing your chance of getting web visitors.
There are many tools to carry out keyword research, but I am a huge fan of SEMrush.
So I’ll teach you how to find great keywords with SEMrush.
- Sign up for a SEMrush account. You may use the free version to see if you will love it.
- Navigate to the keyword magic tool section.
- Enter your seed word and hit the search button.
- If it returns you to the homepage, click on the ‘’keyword magic tool’’ option again, then move to step five.
- Review the keyword list and select the most relevant keywords for your business or website. You can filter the list by keyword type (e.g., informational, commercial), search volume, keyword difficulty, and other factors.
- Twerk the filter options till you find the keywords that suit your content marketing goal.
3. Not Using Alt Text For Images
An image alt text is an HTML attribute used to provide a text alternative for an image on your website. Search Engine Bots don’t see your images as humans do but can only read your image alt texts.
Putting an image on your website without such attributes will make it difficult for the search engine to understand the image context, thus reducing your chances of getting search traffic through the image.
It is advisable to always use your target keyword or its related keyword for the image alt text to increase the chance of your website being found through image search. Below are steps to add image alt texts on your images on WordPress.
- Login to your WordPress Dashboard
- Open to edit the page or post you wish to add an image alt text.
- Click on the image block
- Go to the image settings section in the sidebar
- Enter your keyword or image description in the alt text box
Note that you use a unique image alt text for all images on your website to avoid confusing the bots.
4. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the repetitive and excessive use of your target keyword in your website content deliberately. While this may look like the right thing to do as a newbie, it is very wrong. Keyword stuffing will only chase your readers away and attract a Google penalty.
Content stuffed with keywords is challenging to read. By 2023, these kinds of content won’t have a chance in Google SERPs. You must understand that the number of times a keyword appears on a page doesn’t matter but how naturally they appear.
So instead of practicing keyword stuffing, you should always write for humans first, satisfy the search intent and then optimize your post for your target keyword.
5. Ignoring Off-Page SEO
To get the most out of Search Engine Optimization, you must take Off-page SEO seriously, just like on-page SEO. Off Page SEO increases your website’s recognition and authority, thus bringing in more traffic.
Google has always favored websites with higher domain authority in terms of ranking. Even if you put out high-quality content, you might rank below a website with higher authority, especially when targeting a competitive keyword.
So, having gotten your keyword research and content game right—On-Page SEO, you need Off-Page SEO to push your website to more faces.
There are several ways to practice Off-Page SEO, but the most effective is the white hat link-building strategy. Link building is a process of getting hyperlinks from other websites to your own. These kinds of links are called backlinks.
However, you must know that all backlinks are different. There are low-quality backlinks and high-quality backlinks. Low-quality backlinks will hurt your website, while high-quality backlinks will help your website grow. So, it would help if you were careful with the links you build.
Avoid links from spammy sites, links not related to you, links from link mill websites, and other cheap ways of acquiring backlinks. Google’s most recent algorithm update, “Link Spam Update,” started rolling on December 14, 2022. This update aims to detect and nullify unnatural links using a Spam Detection System, SpamBrain. See a tweet from Google Search Central below;
Therefore, you should go for links with higher authority than yours that are related to your niche and look natural. The best way to get this link is to publish linkable content like tutorials, white papers, case studies, infographics, and other valuable content. But if that looks like a lot of work, you can consider guest posting or hiring an excellent link-building agency.
6. Not Interlinking
Linking to other website pages (Interlinking) will allow search engines to crawl your website easily, understand its structure, and index it. Now imagine what happens when you don’t practice interlinking—you will have a website with little to no web presence.
Interlinking is not only crucial for your website presence on search engines, but it also improves your website user experience. Readers tend to stay longer on your website when they see other related pages.
Meanwhile, when interlinking, you need to do it correctly. Here are some tips to help;
- Ensure your links are relevant to the content of the page they’re on and the page they’re linking to.
- Use descriptive anchor text for your links.
- Use only a few links on a single page.
- Keep track of your links and regularly check for broken links.
Follow these tips, and you’ll see an improvement in your website traffic.
7. Not Optimizing For Mobile
When you visit a website with your mobile phone, and it’s poorly structured or hard to read, you’ll leave the website. This is the case when people visit your website and it’s not optimized for mobile.
Aside from the bad user experience, Search engines now favor mobile-friendly websites. You are most likely to rank lower than expected when your website needs to be optimized for mobile.
A recent study showed that mobile phones generate 54% of web traffic. Imagine losing web visitors because your website has a bad mobile experience.
Well, many things contribute to a website’s mobile experience, all of which relate to how the website is designed or the kind of theme it uses. Check out ways to optimize your website for mobile below;
- Use a responsive website design/theme. These types of designs fit into any device screen they are being viewed on.
- Optimize your images for mobile. Avoid large images; you may use image compressors and resizers to adjust your images to fit into a mobile screen.
- Optimize your website for speed. No mobile user will be patient with a slow-load website.
- Use an excellent mobile-friendly layout. Texts and images should be a manageable size.
By following these tips, you will likely see a boost in your traffic from mobile users.
8. Having A Poor User Experience
Your website users are your traffic, leads, and sales. When these people have a poor experience using your website, they are likely to leave.
A website with a poor user experience is difficult to access, lacks essential information, has poor navigation, has poor speed, and does everything to frustrate its users.
Poor user experience negatively affects your website ranking because it increases the rate at which people leave your website after reading one page (bounce rate). It also reduces sales, affects engagement rate, and affects many things that would prevent you from reaching your marketing goal.
Aligning SEO and User Experience will help you achieve a better result. So, below are some tips to fix it.
- Make sure the website loads quickly. Users are more likely to stay on a website that takes a shorter time to load.
- Keep the website design simple and easy to navigate. A cluttered or confusing layout can be frustrating for users.
- Use easy-to-understand content while avoiding jargon or technical terms. It’ll ensure the user understands the mission, vision, and company message.
- Make sure the website is mobile-friendly. With the increasing number of users accessing the internet from their smartphones, it’s crucial that your website is optimized for mobile devices.
- Use images and videos to break up text and make the content more engaging.
- Test the website with users to get feedback and identify areas for improvement.
- Consider using A/B testing to optimize various website elements and improve the user experience.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your website provides a positive user experience for all visitors.
9. Ignoring Paid Ads
Even if paid ads do not directly affect your website ranking, including them in your SEO strategy is excellent. SEO is known to involve a lot of patience. So instead of waiting till your website starts getting a lot of traffic on Search Engine. You can run paid ads to keep the business moving.
Combining paid search with SEO will yield a better result than only SEO. If you go through these Google ads PPC stats, you’ll realize how paid search has helped businesses grow in recent years.
Here are tips to help you with your next paid ads;
- Use relevant keywords: Choose the keywords relevant to your business and the products or services you offer. This will help ensure that your ads are shown to the right audience and increase the chances of attracting relevant traffic to your website.
- Use a compelling ad copy: The ad copy should clearly describe what you offer and why it is valuable to the user. Use action words and a sense of urgency to encourage people to click on your ad.
- Use a clear and prominent call-to-action: The call-to-action should be prominent and easy to see and should tell users what you want them to do (e.g., “Learn more,” “Sign up,” “Buy now”).
- Use targeted landing pages: The landing page should be relevant to the ad and provide a clear path for the user to take the desired action. Make sure the page loads quickly and is mobile-friendly.
Following these tips, you can create effective PPC ads that drive traffic and improve your SEO efforts.
10. Not Building A Sales Funnel
Whether you use SEO or paid search to drive traffic to your website, you must have a sales funnel—a visual representation of your customer journey from the initial awareness of your product to the final purchase. This helps you understand the various stages of your customer journey and identify opportunities to improve user experience and drive conversions.
For instance, after analyzing data from the awareness stage of your sales funnel, you may discover that a significant number of potential customers are leaving your website after reading a blog post. It helps you figure out the problems preventing you from making sales.
Sales funnels also help identify the kinds of keywords to target in each stage of your buyer journey. For instance, you target a more general keyword at the awareness stage and a more specific keyword at the decision stage.
Now that you know the worst SEO mistakes and how to avoid them, you’ll hopefully have a better 2023, more traffic, more leads, more sales, and more clients. Or, you can also work with a reputed white label link-building agency like Outreach Monks, and let them do all the heavy lifting. It will eliminate the chances of making any SEO mistakes and elevate your perks.
What Is SEO?
Google defines SEO as “The practice of improving your website for search engines.” It is a collection of techniques intended to enhance the visibility and ranking of web pages in organic search results. Since organic search is the most popular method for users to find and access online information, having a strong SEO strategy is crucial for increasing both the quality and volume of visitors to your website.
What Factors Can Hurt Your SEO Ranking?
Several factors can lower your SEO ranking, including accessibility and indexation, broken and spam links, keyword stuffing, poor quality content, and missing or inadequate meta tags.
What Is More Effective, SEO Or Google Ads?
Focusing on paid ads may be your best option if your short-term objective is to increase site visitors. On the other hand, if you want to improve your company’s online visibility, SEO is the way to go. For a well-rounded and effective campaign, investing time and effort in SEO and Google ads would be best.
What Will SEO Look Like In 2023?
In 2023, machine learning and AI will play a significant role in SEO. As a matter of fact, it is already being used in several facets of SEO, including (but not limited to) content optimization, keyword research, link building, and SEO audit.
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