It’s a well-known fact that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to improve your website’s rankings on the SERP. However, what if I tell you that SEO can damage your website as well. While as surprising as it may sound, but there are a couple of SEO mistakes which not only damage rankings but also affect your website in many ways.
In fact, many SEO experts, during their initial days, make such blunders and end up receiving unexpected results. If you also belong to the same category and have tried several SEO tactics but failed to witness expected results continue reading, I have compiled a list of 10 SEO mistakes which are killing your website and should be avoided at any cost.
Note: We all know that SEO is a vast field which witnesses consistent changes. An SEO tactic which worked for you a year ago may sabotage your website today. So, it is highly crucial to keep up with these changes if you want to see your website in the top rankings.
These SEO mistakes which are damaging website performance
1. Poorly Structured and Designed Landing Pages
Landing pages are widely used by SEO experts to nurture leads. These are the pages on which a user lands before coming to your website. So, a landing page basically gives the user an idea about what service are you offering on your website.
A well-optimized landing page consists of content, images, infographics (in some cases), and last but not the least a call to action button (CTA). However, one of the common website mistakes that many people make is that they pay the least attention while designing the landing page.
Think of it like this, the landing page is the first impression of your overall business. A customer who has no idea about your business’s existence is likely to stumble on your landing pages via various platforms on the internet. In such a scenario, if your landing page is poorly designed or has too much of chaos, you’ll eventually fail to convert a potential prospect. Therefore, it is always advised to have well-designed landing pages.
Here are some of the landing page practices which you should utilize to maximize the lead generation through the landing pages.
Optimize the Landing Pages
Creating highly targeted ad groups only takes you halfway through your journey. Converting a customer is still a strenuous task. It is when your landing pages come into the picture. Everything on your landing page, including the content and the design, makes an influence on the customer. Follow the following landing page tactics while designing a landing page.
- Statistics suggest that landing pages having specific and well-aligned content expect better conversions. So, make sure that your landing pages have relevant and highly-specific content as per the services that you offer. As per Neil Patel’s landing page guide, when you tailor the content on landing pages for individual customers, the conversion rates exponentially increase.
- Don’t add multiple call-to-actions (CTAs) on a single landing page as it makes your landing page a cluster of unnecessary things. Add a single captivating CTA which can allure a customer and convince him to share his/her email with you.
- Ensure that none of the landing pages have lengthy forms which ask a lot of personal information about the user. A user will never fill out a lengthy form because it is a time-consuming task and asking too much of personal information is not a wise choice.
2. Too Much Clutter Above The Fold
Let’s be honest, no one wants to stumble upon a web page which has a lot of things going on (pop up ads, too much information on the side-bars, unnecessarily elongated titles, etc.), as soon as he clicks on the web page link on the SERP. Having too much clutter above the fold is one of the most common SEO mistakes which people usually make as an attempt to allure a customer. However, unintentionally they end up doing the complete opposite.
If you are not familiar with ‘above the fold’, here’s what you need to know. Above the fold is everything that a user sees on a web page as soon as he lands on it via the search engine. So, it includes everything, the title, first paragraph, images (if any), sidebars, ads (if any). Consider above-the-fold content as the first impression that a user has about your website.
So, if there’s too much clutter in above the fold, a user may get irritated and go back to the SERP to look for another website. As soon as this happens, your website’s bounce rate takes a big hit, which eventually destroys the rankings.
Here are some of the tactics to perfect above the fold game.
Add a Captivating Title
The title is probably the first thing that a user sees on your website. Through the title itself, a user gets an idea about your entire article. So, try to make the title as captivating as possible. However, do not complicate the title with unnecessary vocab which a user may not understand as it will make him click the back button instantly. Scribble down the most alluring title while keeping it simple and appealing.
The First Paragraph
If your title manages to engage a user, he will obviously move towards the first paragraph. Here you can get a bit creative with your writing tactics while ensuring that you are providing useful information to the user. As a good practice, many writers and bloggers tend to utilize several hours just to write the perfect first paragraph to ensure that it is engaging as well as highly informative.
The Side Bars
Though the sidebars may not be the first part of your website that a user sees, they are still there. In fact, this is the area where you can add social media triggers or newsletter subscription buttons to make the user a part of your community. Having such buttons in your sidebars is a win-win situation for both your brand as well as the customers.
3. Not Optimized For Mobile
Since mobile searches have already surpassed the number of desktop searches, it is the right time to make your website mobile-friendly. Google has already introduced Mobile First Indexing as per which the crawler will index your website based on its mobile version and not on the desktop version. It means that if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, your web pages may never even rank, let alone engage a customer.
Having a mobile-friendly website benefits your business in many ways. Not only the website rankings will improve, but you will also get the exposure from the majority of your potential audience who perform a Google search through mobile phones. As per a report generated by Statista, more than 52.2% of website traffic was generated through a mobile search, which is only expected to grow in the future.
From the above statistics, it is quite clear that users have started to rely more on mobile phones. If you want to reach the majority of your potential customers, it is imperative to have a mobile-friendly website.
You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to check whether your website is mobile-friendly or not. Simply insert the URL of your website into the search field and hit enter. Google will perform several tests and provide you with a simple yes or no answer. So, in case your website is not mobile-friendly, you can take further actions accordingly.
Here are a couple of tactics which you can implement to make your website mobile-friendly.
- Having a responsive design for your website is the best way to make it mobile-friendly. A responsive design means that your website will have the same content for every platform, be it the mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop. Furthermore, a website with a responsive design will automatically switch its layout as per the screen size.
- Like the desktop version, it is crucial to compress the image size to enhance the loading speed of the website. It is a well-known fact that if your website does not open within three seconds, the user will eventually hit the close button, which will again increase the bounce rate.
- Every time you make a customize your website, utilize Google’s mobile-friendly test to ensure that the changes haven’t affected the mobile-friendly behavior of the website.
4. Not Having a Sitemap
A sitemap is a directory which contains the information of every web page on your website. But, why it is important to generate a sitemap? Well, the reason is pretty simple, the sitemap helps the crawler to navigate through your website to find the most relevant information as per a particular user query. If you haven’t generated and submitted your website’s sitemap to Google Webmasters, the odds for the web pages to rank higher are relatively low.
There are two different types of Sitemaps, i.e., XML and HTML. THe XML sitemaps are completely hidden from the users and are only used by the search engine to find relevant information on your website. However, the HTML sitemaps are placed on the homepage of a website to make it more user-friendly.
Having an XML sitemap is beneficial in many ways. It does not only help the crawler to find information on your website, but you can also prioritize the content on your website. It means that you can customize the sitemap in such a way that the web pages and the content that you want to rank can be set with a higher priority.
If your website’s content is changed consistently, it is crucial to update the sitemap as well. For instance, if you update blogs on a daily basis, make sure to update the sitemap so that every new content is placed on the sitemap. To do so, you can set a frequency (like every day or once a week) and the sitemap will update accordingly.
You can use several tools like Yoast plugin for WordPress and other sitemap generator tools to generate a sitemap for your website. Once the sitemap is generated, submit the URL on Google Webmasters so that crawler can easily locate the web pages and rank them.
Though having a sitemap is not one of the crucial SEO practices, it is always better to be on the safe side. In fact, not having a sitemap is one of the silliest SEO mistakes which is common among SEO professionals and should always be avoided.
5. Unclear Call To Action (CTA)
CTAs have a huge significance in pitching your product/services in front of the audience and convincing him to make a purchase. However, if the CTAs on your website are too generic or doesn’t convey a particular message, a user may change his mind at the last moment. Think of it like this, the CTA is the last section before a user completes the sale and in case it’s unclear, there’s a huge probability that you may lose a potential customer.
Though many SEO experts give it a little or no thought while designing the CTAs, they are a crucial part of every website. Every CTA on your website should be up to the mark so that a customer is left with no other option but to click it.
- Check out the following CTA designing tactics to design captivating Call to Actions.Every other website on the internet has “Submit”, “Click Here”, “Buy Now” written on the CTA buttons. And if you are doing the same, you are becoming a part of the same crowd too. Rather carry a different approach and use your creativity to scribble down an alluring tag-line for the CTA. For instance, you can replace “Join Now” with “I want to Start the Membership” or “I want to become a part of the community.”
- Avoid making the CTAs sound too salesy by using phrases like “Buy Now” or “Grab the Best Deal”. These type of CTAs look too overwhelming are likely to lose a potential deal, especially if the lead is new. Rather drive a customer through a sales funnel while notifying him about the stage where he is at.
Having irrelevant or unclear CTAs is one of the common SEO mistakes which can cost you a huge number of potential customers.
6. Images Without Alt Tags
We all know that images make your regular blogs more captivating and user-friendly. Since visuals are more alluring than content, it is always a good practice to add a picture to your blog posts. However, without adding alt-text to every image, you are turning these images into one of the biggest threat to your website.
Unlike humans, the crawler doesn’t understand the image merely by looking at it. To understand what a particular image is all about, the crawler needs some sort of text. Image title and the alt text tells the crawler the function of an image and its relevance to the blog itself.
In case, the images on your website do not have alt-text the crawler will fail to understand the meaning behind those images and thereby will not rank your website. Even if your website has thousands of images, it is always advised to add alt-text to every single image.
Google has already mentioned the significance of alt-texts in its guide to implementing the best image practices. So, if you haven’t updated the alt-text for images, make sure to do it as soon as possible.
7. Keyword Stuffing
There was a time when keyword stuffing was the biggest asset of every SEO expert. During the initial years of SEO, if you wanted your website to rank higher, all you had to do is stuff the content with certain keywords. More keywords eventually led a website to better rankings (of course considering other SEO factors as well).
However, this practice soon became a curse for the readers as website owners started adding keywords so frequently that their blogs became completely irrelevant. To overcome this scenario, Google decided to ditch the keyword density while indexing and ranking a website.
In fact, Google has started to consider keyword stuffing as a black hat SEO technique. It means that if your website has unnecessary keyword stuffing, it will fail to rank on the SERP. In most of the cases, keyword stuffing can even lead to a Google penalty, which is the last thing you’d want as an SEO expert.
Rather than, inserting keywords, focus on the quality of the content. High-quality content can even rank without the help of keywords. So, make sure that the content quality of your blog posts is up to the mark. To make your content relevant for particular search queries, add LSI keywords which makes it easy for the crawler to understand the overall context of the content.
8. Broken Links
Broken links are the links which link to a web page which does not exist. The linked webpage can be internal (same website) as well as external (other websites). A broken link interrupts a proper flow of the link juice. A huge number of broken links can even damage the rankings of a website.
Your website can have broken links due to many reasons. For instance, if the linked web page is deleted by the admin. In such a scenario, the link is broken because the linked web page does not exist.
You can use Ahrefs, SEMRush, and other SEO tools to find all the broken links on your website. Once found, replace these dead links with active links to reclaim a proper flow of the link juice. However, if you cannot find any relevant web pages to replace the links, simply delete the links as it is better to have no links than a dead link.
9. Not Linking to Quality Websites
It is quite a common practice among many SEO professionals to focus on increasing the number of backlinks. Though it is always good to have a large number of backlinks, spam links poses a huge threat to the website, even if they are huge in numbers. In fact, many websites with thousands of backlinks struggle to rank higher while websites having lesser number of backlinks easily achieve better rankings.
Reason being, the latter category focused on linking to quality websites than to simply building links. It is a proven fact that one backlink to an authority domain is way better than several spam low-quality backlinks. When it comes to link-building, quality always beats quantity.
Linking to a high authority domain is benefits your website in many ways. It builds a brand name among customers and also boosts up the rankings. Since you have linked to quality websites, the search engine considers your website to be a high authority domain and ranks in higher on the SERP.
Apart from this, quality backlinks also improve the domain authority of your website which is again one of the crucial website ranking factors. So, rather than trying to increase the backlinks on your website, shift your focus towards acquiring quality backlinks.
10. Lack of Interlinking
Though internal links do not boost the rankings like external links, they are still an integral part of SEO. Internal linking build a hierarchy within your website, helping the crawler to establish a relationship between different web pages of the website.
As a result, as soon as a user performs a Google search, the search engine navigate through these web pages to provide the user with the most relevant search results.
If you have published high-quality content on your website, internal linking will make a customer spend more time on your website. As a result, the bounce rate gradually decreases, and the rankings rapidly increase.
So, while writing new blogs on your website, make sure to link them with the previous posts on your website to establish a strong network within the web pages of your website.
Avoid These SEO Mistakes and Improve The Performance of Your Website
Though you may have been performing the above-mentioned mistakes unintentionally, they possess a huge threat to your website. If you want your website to rank higher and attain considerable online visibility, avoid these SEO mistakes at any cost. Utilize the best SEO tactics and skyrocket the rankings of your website without having to worry about any negative impact or hire SEO Experts Company India search engine optimization specialist to help in executing the perfect seo strategy for your business.