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15 SEO Traps to Avoid When Starting in SEO

If you want your website to rank higher in search engine results, and gain more organic traffic, especially from Google, you will need to understand how to optimize your website for SEO by keeping abreast of the industry-leading practices and the constant changes in SEO rules.

However, to be successful on this journey, it is not enough to understand what you should be doing. You will also need to keep in mind that the SEO path is not clear of traps. If you aren’t wary of these traps, you run the risk of putting resources into practices that can be counterproductive, making your site rank lower in search results, thereby losing opportunities to convert.

In this article, we’ll touch on the benefits of SEO for your business and discover 15 of the most common SEO traps marketers tend to fall into, and how to avoid them yourself.
Home Blog 15 SEO Mistakes to Avoid When Starting in SEO
Benefits of improving your SEO
Here’s a quick look at some of the primary benefits of SEO for your online business:
  • Organic search is most often the main source of website traffic, hence having sound SEO practice can increase reach.
  • Can lead to a better user experience.
  • Increases chances to capture qualified leads.
  • Increases conversion rates.
  • Helps establish brand awareness.
  • Builds credibility.
These benefits are brought by SEO’s ability to improve the website’s overall visibility in search engines, while also optimizing different elements in your website such as site loading speed, meta tags, among others, to ensure you meet Google’s standards.
Let’s find out what are the 15 most common traps website owners and marketers fall into when performing SEO
Failing to provide the best quality content possible
One of the most vital elements of improving SEO ensuring that you provide quality content. When Google sees that you’re able to provide answers and solutions to what people are searching for, it rewards you by ranking you higher on the search engine results page (SERPs). In addition to that, when users see you as a reliable source of information, they’ll trust you and keep coming back to your site.

So how can you ensure that your content quality is up to the standards? Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
  • Produce fresh content that’s updated regularly
  • Create social media posts designed to address your customers wants and needs
  • Be as factual as possible
  • Your content should link to reputable, authoritative sources (that aren’t your competitors)
If you are outsourcing your content, make sure you employ content writers that can create original and in-depth articles or blogs that provide real value for your readers and customers. Also, you want to avoid using an article or content spinning tool at all costs, because Google’s algorithms can detect this.
Not checking for duplicate content
When it comes to content creation, another similar mistake website owners tend to make is copying content from other websites. Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one website.

The problem with having similar content is that it can confuse Google and compel it to choose one of the identical pages. Although the search engine doesn’t officially penalize websites for duplicate content, it does filter out identical content, which has the same effect as a penalty.

As a common spamming technique, you should make it a regular practice to check if your website has duplicate pages on the internet by using tools like Copyscape. By simply searching for your website or the body of the article you want to check, these tools can show you if your content is being published elsewhere without permission.
Failing to Update Your Old Content Regularly
Additionally, it’s not enough to only create great content for your website. You also need to make it a habit to update old content if you want your website to be seen as an authority in your space. You wouldn’t want your customers to return to your site and abandon it as soon as they find outdated information.

Updating your content provides numerous benefits. It can help you improve your click-through rates, improve the accuracy of your content, link to newer, and better resources, and show Google that your content is fresh.
Hiring cheap
Before we dive into SEO specifics, let’s get this important thing out of the way. You might be someone who is eager to implement sound SEO practices but doesn’t have the expertise. An easy trap you can fall into if you fit this description is hiring cheap SEO help.

There are many individuals and organizations that would offer you SEO services that may look like a steal when you just look at the promises and the price. But after a few months of working with them, you’ll find that your goals and aspirations remain as they were – aspirations.

So to make sure you get the professional help that’ll give you tangible value, take a look at their past clients, reach out to them if you can. Performing research in this regard can sometimes be just as important as doing all the work that follows.
Keyword stuffing
When incorporating keywords into your content, another common trap you need to avoid is keyword stuffing. While it can be tempting to take shortcuts, these are essentially what’s considered “black-hat SEO tactics” that won’t help you, especially in the long run.

Examples of keyword stuffing include adding unnecessary repeating words, or phrases that are out of context, or that are not relevant to the topic. One of the most obvious reasons why these techniques can hurt your website is that it can create an awful experience for your readers, and drive them away from your page.

The best way to fix the problem of keyword stuffing is to keep your keyword density natural by performing effective keyword research, avoiding inaccurate phrases, assigning a main keyword to each page, adding secondary keywords, placing them in the right page elements, increasing your word count, and focusing on the quality of your content.
Optimizing all your pages for the same keyword
In addition to keyword stuffing, another common mistake in the same area is keyword cannibalization, which takes place when you have several of your pages competing against each other for the same keyword or phrase in search engines.

There are multiple problems with keyword cannibalization. It can decrease the quality of your content, dilute your external and internal links, and anchor texts, diminish the authority of your site and minimize your chances of getting more conversion rates.

The best ways to solve these issues are to reorganize the structure and content of your site, identify duplicate titles, build new landing pages, and find new and more relevant keywords to incorporate into your site.
Using duplicate title tags and meta descriptions
Once you’re done incorporating appropriate and relevant keywords into your content, the next step you will take on the SEO path is to create title tags and meta descriptions for your web pages. However, be wary of using duplicate tags and meta descriptions.

The problem with duplicate title tags and meta descriptions is that Google considers multiple pages with the same title tags as having duplicate content. If you have too many duplicate content issues, Google and other search engines might see your site as being of low-quality, and spammy, and this can push your site down in search results.

On top of that, meta title tags are a major factor in helping Google understand your web pages. They are also one of the first impressions your site visitors might have of your website.

The best way to diagnose and fix the problem of duplicate title tags and meta descriptions is to be mindful of your title length, assigning a unique title to each of your pages, and making use of important keywords first. Keep in mind, though, not to overuse them.

Additionally, you can also use tools, like the Google Webmasters Tools, to find and detect any issues with your title tags, so you can make the proper and necessary changes.
Poor and unnatural link building
The next most important thing to do on the SEO path, after taking the above steps, is to perform link building. Some of the huge mistakes webmasters make in this area include focusing on the number of links, rather than on the quality, using a lot of anchor texts, and targeting specific pages.

The problem with building too many low-quality links in your website is that Google tends to lean more towards websites that have a few high-quality backlinks than those that have many but from low-quality sources.

The best way to fix this is to avoid linking to sites that have a bad reputation. Instead, link to popular blogs, widely-read websites, or high-quality resources. Remember, only one link to one of these reliable sources can give more value than hundreds of low-quality links.

Because of Google’s Penguin algorithm, you also can’t just go around, and attach links made of random texts to the pages of your website, and build repeated links of exact match anchors. However, you can restrict your anchor texts to about 5 to 10 links.

Furthermore, to rank better in Google, and other search engines, you also need to build a reputable link profile, instead of targeting specific pages. A good link profile is one that shows search engine platforms that your website is earning links fairly.
Sacrificing user experience for conversion rates
When it comes to website optimization, one trap you want to avoid is sacrificing your site’s user experience for conversion rates. One way you can make this mistake is by using interactive, and full-screen pop-up ads that cover the entire interface of your website.

This type of advertisement can be annoying and frustrating for desktop and mobile users alike as they intrude on their browsing and user experience. Because of this, Google has decided to penalize sites that use these ads. So while you might earn a few dollars from having these types of ads on your site, it comes at a cost that can be much weightier. Therefore, the best thing you can do here is to just avoid using them completely.
Falling in love with images without optimizing them
While it’s true that people are drawn to visuals, you need to make sure that the imagery that you have on your site doesn’t come at the expense of loading speed. Yes, you’ll need to incorporate quality imagery on your site, but make sure that you optimize these by ensuring that they’re in the right format, resolution, size, and dimension, without sacrificing quality.

Loading speed is one of Google’s primary ranking factors, so optimizing your images will boost your rankings. Additionally, when you have a website that loads at an ideal speed, users can get the information they’re looking for quicker, elevating their user experience.

To get started, you can use some popular tools to help you resize your images by choosing the best file format and compression rate, optimize their file names and titles, make use of alt tags, include captions, and add structured data.
Opting for a landing page instead of a serious business website
Another common SEO trap you can fall into is focusing on landing pages rather than a proper website. Although there are many advantages to having landing pages, a serious business website allows you to convey your story, and explain the unique value proposition of your products and services. Having a well-structured website also allows you to provide relevant information, something a simple landing page can’t always do.
Opting for a listing in a popular directory and not owning the website
Talking about the importance of having your business website, another common SEO trap you want to avoid is opting for a listing in a popular directory, such as Google My Business, as opposed to owning a website.

While your customers can refer to your business listing for quick information, like your contact details and business hours, they cannot get all the information they need to know about your company, products, or services the same way a website visit would allow them to.

Apart from losing all the potential business, this can also lead to poor relationships, and ultimately, lack of trust.
Only focusing on desktop user experience
When it comes to optimizing your website for SEO, another common trap you need to avoid is to focus only on providing a good desktop user experience.

According to one report, 52% of all worldwide traffic comes from mobile, while only 45% comes from desktop. Furthermore, “Where to buy” + “near me” mobile queries have skyrocketed by more than 200% in the past two years, and “Best” + “near me” mobile queries have grown by more than 125% in the same time frame.

To optimize your content for mobile use, you might need to make your content scrollable, instead of forcing your visitors to click through multiple pages. Your images should be high-quality and cropped properly to maximize detail, while still ensuring apt loading speed. Also, your videos must be optimized on your pages to make sure it works properly on mobile devices. As an alternative, you can also use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to create light-weight pages that can run faster on mobile devices.
Thinking some magic WordPress plugin will do SEO for you
Another common SEO mistake you can make when attempting search engine optimization is thinking that a WordPress plugin can do all the SEO work for you.

Such tools, like Yoast SEO, may allow you to optimize for keywords, suggest internal linking, and check the quality and readability of your content, but the success of your SEO performance is dependent on the culmination and consistency of your efforts.
Ignoring analytics to test what converts
The last most common trap you need to avoid in SEO is ignoring analytics. Without such tools, you wouldn’t be able to track and monitor the results of your SEO performance, check what works and what doesn’t, how well is the process going, and also fine-tune your site.

The ultimate goal of search engine optimization is to attract visitors and turn them into customers to drive sales. So while you might hit all the right notes initially, with the constantly changing SEO rules coupled with shifts in consumer behavior, you’ll need to regularly monitor what works, what doesn’t, and what you can improve.

To get started, you have the options to choose from among many software tools, including Google’s Webmaster Tools, Moz’s Pro Tools, HubSpot’s Website Grader, among many others.
Final Words
As you’ve learned, SEO can be a very tedious and never-ending process. But its rewards will certainly make all the effort worth it. There are plenty of resources online to help you achieve your goals; just make sure you avoid falling into the easy traps listed above. Also, you can use a Gmail app to ease up your tasks and improve productivity.

More importantly, you need to keep up with the changing rules of respective platforms so you’re always on top of your game.