On-site optimisation mistakes can be very damaging to your SEO campaign. This is true even if you think you are doing something seemingly small wrong or, worse yet, not at all. The small things can be the difference between your website ranking for the keywords you want and falling off into the abyss. The following is a summary of common mistakes people make when optimising their website.
If any of your website’s pages contain any of the mistakes that follow, then they’re something you need to deal with as soon as possible. If you have a keen eye and technological knowledge, then you should be able to fix many of them in less than 10 minutes. Once they have been fixed, you should see an improvement in rankings within a couple of weeks.
1. Using the same page titles and meta descriptions across multiple pages
Your page titles and meta descriptions should be a summary of what the page is about and what content should be expected. If the same titles and descriptions are used for multiple pages where they are not relevant to the content, then search engines will not know what is relevant to the keyword a user is searching for.
2. Listing all your keywords in your page titles and meta descriptions
Your page titles should read like an advertisement for the page. Their combined information be able to attract a user to click on your page over others in the search results. The only keywords that should be included are highly-descriptive ones.
3. Having page titles and descriptions that are too long
Typically, search engines only display 70 characters of your page title and 160 characters of your meta description. Any remaining characters will not be shown and an ellipsis (…) will appear at the end of them if they are too long. This makes your listing look unprofessional and hides important information from the searchers of your target keyword, reducing the number of people who will click through to your website.
4. Ranking your homepage for all of your keywords
If you are trying to use your homepage as a landing page for all of your target keywords, then it’ll be impossible for you to rank properly for all of them. Your keywords should be in the page title, meta description, header, tags etc. and if you have too many keywords in these elements on your homepage, they will send conflicting signals to search engines. This will result in them being unable to decide where to rank your website and lead them to rank you poorly.
5. Using more than one <H1> tag
<H1> tags are the header tags for each page and, as with other optimisation elements, they are taken as a strong indication for what the page is about. Every one of your pages should cover one main topic and keyword and only have a single <H1> tag. All the sub-topics on your pages should come under <H2> tags as these give your page a logical structure and make the main topic and keyword obvious to search engines when ranking your website.
6. Alt tags or images being left blank
As you’ll be aware, search engines don’t see images in the same way as you and me. They rely on the HTML coding of your website to work out that an image exists and where it is placed. If you don’t add descriptions in the alt tags then they won’t know what the images actually are and if they can’t work it out then they won’t give you credit for having them on your website.
7. Keyword repetition in content
Obviously, you need to include keywords in the page for what it’s ranking, you don’t need to keep on repeating them. Using a keyword just a couple of times on a page is sufficient for search engines to work out what your page is about. Search engines also give you credit for phrases closely related to what the keywords are and they also have elements like the page title, meta description, header tags and image alt tags to form a full picture of what your pages should be ranking for.
8. Multiple pages that don’t have much content
Although there isn’t an exact definition for what makes a thin webpage, only having one paragraph of text with no images, videos or other content on would be a good example. These pages have short viewing times and search engines take into account viewing behaviour when determining where a page will rank. This means, of course, that shorter viewing times will negatively affect where your page ranks.
9. Similar content across multiple pages
Every page on your website should have unique content that is very relevant to the keyword that is being targeted. Using content templates across multiple pages on your website, while only changing a few words – such as location and/or product names, provides a poor experience for the people who visit your website and results in search engines not wanting to rank those pages.