We all love to think our pages are fine-tuned and optimized for the all-knowing Google. That just comes as part of being an online creator. But why is it that so many hopeful pages produced by individuals and companies end up on the 2nd or 3rd page of search results instead of the first?
They’re likely making some critical mistakes.
Sure, not every page is going to fit into the first page of results. But here we can explore why so many aren’t even eligible for this in the first place although their creators likely thought otherwise after publishing them.
To make your page eligible, think about these common SEO mistakes you could be making.
Common mistake #1 – No unique title tags and meta descriptions
This will drag your web page down so far it doesn’t really matter how great everything else is. If your site has the same meta descriptions/title tags copy and pasted everywhere, kiss the front page goodbye.
The best practice here is to have the main keyword your page should ideally rank for in your webpage title like this, “James Mobile – Custom mobile app development”. From there you differentiate your pages by their different purposes and simply add your company name at the end of the description like this, “Health and fitness app development – James Mobile”
Outside of SEO though, title tags show up in many other visible places like bookmarking and social sharing titles.
Meta descriptions are the 160 character opportunity to interest the searcher in clicking your web page.
Making each meta description as clickable and unique as possible is the best way of doing this. Every page should be different and include the important keywords that page is meant to rank for.
Common mistake #2 – Low-grade content quality
Unfortunately brands still try to get by with the absolute minimum investment into content generation. Hiring very low-paid writers or using a lazy rehash of a different, already existing piece of content can lead to consistent downfalls.
Content like this is often not optimized well for both search engines and readers. When someone visits your page and it’s immediately obvious that there is little to no effort being made to give actual knowledge to them they will, of course, end up buying from a competitor instead of from you.
So taking effort to find the right writers either internally or outsourced is a must. If you aren’t proud to have an article on your website, you need to re-evaluate your content strategy.
Common mistake #3 – Not creating content others want to link to
A sad truth – You can write the best, most mind blowing content in the world and it still won’t get links if it doesn’t have a certain kind of value.
You know the ones. The most linkable stuff is made up lists, visual media like video, in depth how-to’s, good infographics, and other painstakingly created content.
Here’s a few good examples of what highly linkable content is made up of.
- Top 10 Nike Shoes of 2015
- Video guide on how to make the best Call-To-Actions
- Men’s Dress Codes Made Simple [Infographic]
Common mistake #4 – Ignoring conversion numbers
Sure, good content can bring in valuable traffic. But how valuable actually is that traffic.
Looking at all the different metrics that matter in SEO can lead to us forgetting about what the end goal actually is. Checking conversion metrics is highly important for two reasons. Obviously, the first is because you want to make more content based around what’s converting best.
The second, is that you can find your high traffic – low conversion pieces of content and optimize them based on how visitors are actually using them (probably different from when you first made the piece). This can effectively alter the visitor’s perception when using a page and thereby make them more likely to convert.
But the only way to even get the data to do this is to get the right analytics. If you consider yourself someone with any SEO knowledge, you know this is a requirement and sometimes Google Analytics may not be enough.
Common mistake #5 – Forgetting about local search
Every business that needs local customers, especially those with physical locations, need to take a look at local optimization. Google and other engines need different keyword focuses if you’re trying to rank in local versus global.
The number one rule for getting this right is to make sure region specific keywords are included in optimization practices like page titles, content, and meta descriptions. Secondary places to insert region specific tags are on sites like Google Places and review sites.
Common mistake #6 – Optimizing for incorrect keywords
Choosing the wrong keywords is perhaps the most common mistake page owners make.
- Often businesses target short-tail “global” keywords when the majority of their customer are local based.
- Using very general keywords that only leverage searchers that have no buying intent.
- Using overly broad keywords that already have the biggest and best brands ranking for them.
Going for the high value, long-tail keywords is the best strategy here. Specific keywords with potential buying intent brings targeted traffic rather than general traffic, although it may be slightly lower volume.
If your business develops mobile apps, going simply for “mobile development” won’t work. Ranking on Google for “Health and Wellness Mobile Development service in Dallas” is a much more specific strategy.
Common mistake #7 – Not using the right anchor text
Here’s the simple summary: The text that your pages use to link elsewhere should be descriptive of what that other page is for. This means never link to another internal page with a “click here” or “see more” link.
This matters because the text itself helps Google to understand what the linked to page is about. This functions as a ranking signal, especially for internal pages.
As a mobile development company, linking to an internal page using text like “Health and wellness development services” rather than “see here” gives that page just that much more power.
Common mistake #8 – Using unique anchor text
Along the same lines of using good anchor text is the need to use different and unique anchor text when linking to other pages.
Even if the links go to pages of the same topic, anchor text needs to be different otherwise search engines may punish these linking pages.
Common mistake #9 – Focusing on Link Quantity Over Link Quality
Another common SEO mistake is trying to get a huge number of links rather than good links. As Google’s Matt Cutts has said many times, a link from a high authority website is many times more powerful than a link from a low-authority website.
By many times, we’re talking hundreds to thousands of times more powerful. Directory links are the easiest and most popularly “abused” by SEO’s. And because higher quality links are harder to get is exactly why engines like Google know they’re a better indication of your site’s value. With that said – you need relevant links, a balanced number of outlinks, and no links to spammy sites.
This far from the end-all-be-all list of SEO mistakes. Check out what search engine optimization is capable of here.