By Erin Schroeder, Copywriter & Online Specialist
Just as your website needs regular updates and maintenance, your SEO strategy does, too.
It can be easy to assume that the bulk of the work is done once you identify the right target keywords for your site and work them into tags and page content. Nope. That’s really just the beginning. An effective SEO strategy takes a lot of work upfront and requires ongoing monitoring and updating as user habits and implementation tactics change over time.
As most who are familiar with SEO are aware, relevant, engaging page content remains the number one factor with rankings. But besides the continuous process of checking keyword search volumes and adjusting content accordingly, what are some areas where fine-tuning is often needed with SEO? A study by SEMrush Blog shares the scoop on 11 of the most frequent SEO mistakes. Here’s a breakdown of the top five:
- Duplicate Content
- What it is: This is when you feature the same copy with little to no changes on multiple pages of your site.
- Why it hurts your site: Duplicate content confuses search engines (SEs). Ultimately, SEs want to deliver unique content to visitors and finding repetitive pages makes it hard for them to determine which pages you are trying to rank for.
- How to fix it: Instead of re-posting the exact same content on multiple pages, use cross-links throughout your site or vary up the messaging.
- Missing Alt Tags
- What it is: A missing alt tag is when a web image doesn’t include a descriptor.
- Why it hurts your site: SEs need help “reading” your images. If they don’t have alt tags, there’s no way to categorize images or translate the content. These tags also help visually impaired users.
- How to fix it: Create alt tags for each image and include applicable keywords in this descriptive copy when possible.
- Title Tag Problems
- What it is: The study showed issues ranging from missing title tags (the quick page summary that appears at the top of browser windows) to those that were repetitive or had too much/too little copy.
- Why it hurts your site: These tags are a big factor used for page ranking. Without them, SEs may lessen a page’s overall relevancy or value.
- How to fix it: Write a unique title tag for each page that describes that page, works in the appropriate keywords and adheres to character limits.
- Meta Tag Problems
- What it is: Appearing with website listings in search results, the issue here is that tags are often missing or repeated on multiple pages instead of customized on a page-by-page basis.
- Why it hurts your site: Another key factor in page ranking, these tags have an important role as visitors will scan them and decide if they’ll click on a site or skip to the next entry.
- How to fix it: Just like title tags, write individual descriptions for each page that fit the content featured and highlight the appropriate keywords. Keep them to one sentence.
- Broken Links
- What it is: These are links that don’t go to the appropriate page or re-direct to a 404 error.
- Why it hurts your site: Broken links frustrate users. Plus, SEs only index a certain amount of web pages. If they find too many broken links on your site, you jeopardize the chance that they’ll return to crawl/rank your site in the future.
- How to fix it: Monitor, monitor and keep monitoring. Check your links regularly and fix any that are broken.
So now that you’ve read about the five most common errors, are you confident that you’re at the top of your SEO game? While there are many issues with content, tags and links that can easily interfere with page ranks, a solid SEO strategy that incorporates regular monitoring and updating can help keep your efforts up to par with best practices.