If you feel that your SEO strategy is failing, it might have absolutely nothing to do with Google penalizing you and everything to do with your approach.
While some SEO strategies do fail for reasons outside of a marketer’s control, there are loads of little things that can end up affecting your efforts. SEO is made up of hundreds of different factors, so it’s only natural to get it wrong every now and then. However, being aware of some of the more common mistakes does help.
Top SEO Issues to Be Aware of as a Marketer
Here are a few of the SEO mistakes you might not realise you’re making.
- Keyword Cannibalization
Too many websites have several pages competing for the same keywords, despite there being countless resources that can help prevent keyword cannibalization. The bottom line is Google is not a fan of this, which is why it’s important to identify the pages that could be creating an SEO block.
The best way to look into the keywords that a site is ranking for is to use a keyword tracking tool. Not only can you track a site’s overall keyword performance but you can track the performance of individual keywords too. SEMRush and Agency Analytics are two examples of tools that can be used to avoid keyword cannibalization.
- Search Volumes for Targeted Keywords are Too Low
While it’s not always easy to accurately measure keyword search volume, it’s still important to consider it during your keyword research. Basically, it doesn’t matter if you have 100 amazing blogs on a specific topic – if people aren’t searching for it, it’s not going to do much.
You would absolutely still be able to rank for these search terms but the point is to drive more traffic to your site, which won’t happen if users aren’t searching for what you’re delivering. Before you start using keywords to optimize and create content, it’s important to make sure that the search volumes are in line with your website goals. If the keyword has high search volumes, it probably is more difficult to rank for too, which means your content needs to be good.
Just because some keywords are more difficult to rank for doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt it though. Create great content, check back in a few months, and see what keywords and content performed well so that you can do more of the same.
- Creating Content for the Sake of Creating Content
Yes, content is great for SEO but your content needs to be informative, valuable or entertaining in order for it to have the effect you’re hoping for. Spending time creating subpar content means you will have a lot of other generic content to compete with.
Taking the time to create unique content that will stand out and that your audience will find valuable will offer a much better return on investment in long run.
- Poor Linking Strategies
A linking strategy is essential to SEO success but only if it’s implemented correctly. To begin with, if you’re going to start generating backlinks, make sure that they’re high-value backlinks. This means that the links are coming from pages with a high SEO trust score. Basically, you want Google to know that your site produces valuable content because high-authority sites are linking to yours.
In terms of internal linking, it’s essential that you don’t over-optimize anchor text. It’s recommended that you don’t use keywords in more than half of your anchor text – keywords should also ideally vary to avoid penalization. For example, We sell the best Italian women’s shoes at great prices should not link to www.example.com/best-italian-womens-shoes. This URL should rather link to a sentence like We are passionate about sourcing top-quality women’s shoes directly from Italy.
- Too Many Internal Redirects
While it’s perfectly fine to have 301 redirects in place, many marketers tend to forget that they do affect a user’s experience. When a user hits a 301 redirect, there is a brief pause in the connection while they are redirected to another page. Website speed is still exceptionally important and should be tested on a regular basis.
Remove any 301 redirects that aren’t absolutely necessary if you want to increase your website speed and improve user experience.
- Failing to Understand Your Target Audience
You might be ticking all of the technical SEO boxes but if you aren’t delivering on what your target audience needs, your SEO efforts won’t generate the kind of success you’re hoping for. Any good SEO strategy starts with a thorough understanding of who your target audience is and what they’re looking for online.
Along with creating detailed buyer personas, there are a number of analytics platforms that can provide you with in-depth information on how users spend their time online. Keep researching and gathering data on your target audience if you want to take your SEO strategy to the next level.
- Your Site Offers a Poor User Experience
The more a customer loves your website, the more Google is going to love it too. For example, if the average user is spending 10 minutes on your website, you’re going to rank a lot higher than a competitor that’s only generating an average time on site of 1 minute.
There are a number of ways that you can improve user experience. We have already mentioned how improving site speed can enhance the user experience. Other tactics that you can use include improving website navigation, optimizing your site for mobile, including more eye-catching and engaging media on your site, and optimizing your headlines.
- A Lack of Patience
It would be great if SEO tactics produced results overnight but this isn’t the case. Many marketers need to put in weeks or even months of work before they see any results, so patience really is essential.
There’s also no real way to predict whether your efforts will pay off but it’s important to give your efforts time to take effect.
Overall, SEO is an ongoing project and one that will look different for every client. Be open to trying new tactics and adjusting your strategies based on a client’s objectives and specific target audience.