• Address: PO BOX 334, 32 LAFAYETTE AVE., LEWIS RUN, PA 16738
    • Call Anytime: 1-814-596-0020

Biggest SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


If you work in marketing, you understand the challenge of keeping up with keyword and Google algorithm updates that exist in the ever-changing world of search engine optimization (SEO). As a result, it’s important to keep track of all things SEO, including your meta descriptions, keywords, page performances, and so on.

However, what you’re doing to keep your site “optimized” may actually be one of the biggest SEO mistakes that you can make. If so, don’t panic. We’ve got you covered.

Here are some of the biggest SEO mistakes ill-informed marketing teams make, and how you can avoid them.

Biggest SEO Mistakes

The biggest SEO mistakes also tend to be the most common SEO mistakes. While some may be more damaging than others, there’s always a way to fix them and boost your SEO.

But before you can begin making these improvements, it’s important to know what mistakes you may be making:

  • Neglecting meta tags
  • Using the wrong keywords
  • Duplicating content
  • Focusing on quantity of links
  • Ignoring design
  • Ignoring site performance
  • Not optimizing for local search

Neglecting Meta Tags

Meta tags play a huge role in your ability to rank because they tell search engines how to identify the topic of your page. This helps connect your page to the searcher who typed in the keyword or phrase.

Meta tags can be found in several places, with some of the most important being:

  • Title
  • Headers
  • Meta description
  • Viewports

Your meta tags should include the appropriate keywords, and should be as unique as possible. If you provide a misleading meta description, or don’t provide one at all, Google will auto-generate one based on users’ queries. This can lead to jumbled search results.

Using the Wrong Keywords

This is one of the biggest SEO mistakes that you can make. And until you fix the problem, you’ll find yourself treading water in terms of increasing web traffic.

Keyword research gone bad can have a variety of causes and symptoms. Often the problem boils down to the use of generic keywords. A generic, or short-tail, keyword is a vague word or phrase that draws in a wide audience, but not necessarily out of interest for what you’re offering.

For example, the phrases “best free products” and “men’s shoes” may have a high search volume, but because of how broad those topics can be, they’re more likely to bring in visitors that aren’t your ideal customers.

Your keywords should be relevant to your industry and product/service, have a high search volume, and have a low keyword difficulty. This may sound like a lot to remember at once, but it can all be achieved during your keyword research.

Duplicating Content

Whether it’s a top competitor, direct rival, random third-party group, or even yourself -- you should never duplicate content.biggest-seo-mistakes-duplicating-content

But what do we mean by duplicate content? No, we don’t mean highlighting an entire web page, then giving it the ‘ol Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V. (That would be called plagiarism.) And it should be obvious that you shouldn’t do that.

By duplicating content, we mean duplicate descriptions, paragraphs, heading tags, URLs, and so on. These can damage your rankings significantly, and the effects could last longer than some of the other missteps listed here..

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t generate ideas based on what others have done. Just make sure it’s uniquely tailored to your target audience and industry.

Focusing on Quantity of Links

We can’t stress this enough: Quality over quantity. This is especially true when it comes to linking.

Yes, you’ll need more than just one good link in your content, but only having a few high-quality links is better than having a handful of links that lead your audience back to your RFQ page … or a picture of your grandmother’s cat on Facebook.

One link to a popular and reputable blog can boost your SEO more than 10 bad ones. As a general rule of thumb, try and include links that:

  • Are relevant to your topic and industry
  • Come from a reputable site
  • Offer supplementary knowledge on the topic you’re writing about

Ignoring Design for SEO

It’s easy to overlook design, especially if your primary focus is on written content. However, by ignoring the design of your web pages, you’re making one of the biggest SEO mistakes.

Not everyone will view your website on the same device that you are. Many users conduct searches on their cellphones or tablets, so any page that isn’t mobile-friendly will likely get overlooked.

You also need to keep an eye on the visual elements that exist on your pages. Do they compliment the structure of your page, or do they distract your audience from the primary goal or call-to-action of your page? Do they add any value to the content, or would it be better suited on another page?

Anything that contributes to design should go under the SEO microscope. Avoid clutter, choose a complimentary color scheme, and break up your written content so it’s easier to digest.

Ignoring Site Performance

Sometimes it’s easier just to avoid the problem or an outdated or slow site, right? Wrong!

OK, maybe it’s easier to do nothing, but it will damage your SEO significantly. And if you choose to neglect your site performance, this is exactly what you’ll be doing.

One of the biggest factors that plays into site performance is page load time. Think about this in the context of your personal life -- how long are you willing to stay on a page that’s waiting to render? Probably just a few seconds, right?
However, if a page loads almost instantly, it keeps your reader on the right path to consuming your content.

Many SEO tools can show you how your page is performing, with Google and SEMRush being two of the best. You can also manually inspect the elements we just discussed above -- do you have excessive multimedia or animated design elements that are crippling load times?

Not Optimizing for Local Search

Even if your product or service is something you want to be available across the country, or even the world, it’s important to remember those close to you. This is especially true for companies with a limited radius of service due to freight costs or lead times.

If you ignore local search, there may be potential customers accidentally looking directly over top of you. To get their attention, include keywords and meta tags that are location-specific.

Also, don’t forget to include an address and phone number for your business on some of your pages, either in the header or footer. This will help Google identify your location and present you to local searches relevant to your business.

Moving Forward

Mistakes happen. Luckily, they are fixable. And now that you know about these common SEO mistakes, you can strive to avoid them moving forward.

So, to recap, try and avoid these biggest SEO mistakes:

  • Neglecting meta tags
  • Using the wrong keywords
  • Duplicating content
  • Focusing on quantity of links
  • Ignoring design
  • Ignoring site performance
  • Not optimizing for local search

If you want to learn more about SEO and how to increase traffic to your website, take a look at our free SEO checklist:

download seo checklist