12 SEO Mistakes To Avoid For Better Search Engine Rankings

The power of search engine optimization is stronger than ever before: As many as 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search engine results, according to stats compiled by Search Engine Journal. This is reason enough that you need to employ good SEO techniques and get your business to rank on page one of every targeted keyword search.

Employing poor SEO practices can leave your business buried in search engine searches, making it impossible for your customers to find you. Below, Forbes Agency Council members share advice on the most common SEO errors that could be hurting your search engine rankings.

All photos courtesy of individual Forbes Agency Council members.

Search engine optimization is constantly evolving. Here, 12 Forbes Agency Council members share advice on how to avoid common SEO mistakes.

1. Lack Of Quality Content

While user experience is increasingly paramount, you also have to think about what search engine bots see when they crawl your website. Your content needs to be effective in communicating to your audience and to bots. Each page on your website should have 400 words of quality content at the very least, but 700 to 1,200 words is optimal. Remember, this includes your product and collections pages as well. – Brock Murray, seoplus+

2. Seeing Double

One of the most common SEO mistakes out there is duplicate content. If you have the same content on more than one page on your site then the search engines will be confused and your pages will end up competing against each other or your website will get penalized. – Andrew Miller, Enter

3. Choosing The Wrong Keywords

The definition of “wrong” keywords extends to selecting keywords that don’t accurately describe your products and services, or selecting keywords that don’t convert into customers. Select target keywords carefully, as they are your biggest determinant in SEO success. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

4. Not Optimizing For Engagement

While backlinks are still a heavily weighted value in SEO rankings, you should focus on user engagement. We are finding that longer, well-written content that captures the reader’s attention is increasing rankings. Incorporate images, videos, quotes, resources and infographics to assist with the reader engagement. Your bounce rate should reduce while the time on site and rankings increase. – Breynan Hammons, Innvio

5. Lack Of Title Tag Optimization

One of the biggest errors we see with our clients’ websites is that the textual content is not optimized. It is a best practice to have variations of your primary target keywords in three heading tags across your homepage and any other sub-pages where SEO work is being done. The heading tags consist of H1, H2 and H3 title tags. Keeping those optimized will help boost your rankings. – Darryl Stevens, DIGITECH Web Design

6. Keyword Stuffing

Now that Google’s algorithms are much smarter and always change, they can recognize and penalize sites for keyword stuffing. Instead of overstuffing, use relevant keywords within your site’s content but always in moderation. Always keep your audience in mind. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

7. Absence Of A Blog Strategy

One big SEO initiative that we work on with our clients is developing a consistent, ongoing, informative blog strategy. Too often, people create a blog and don’t take the time to blog properly – helpful, meaningful information with regular posting that uses appropriate keywords. This is very helpful for organic search, plus it provides great content to share on socials and e-newsletters. – Duree Ross, Durée Company.com

8. Thin Content Lacking Target Keywords

One of the most common issues for my clients is the use of thin and irrelevant content that lacks a target keyword and related keywords. Content needs to have depth and deep analysis of the subject, and each piece should focus on one or two keywords at most. Next, semantically related keywords are needed for algorithms to grasp the relevancy of the topic. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

9. Index Bloat

I’d say about 35% of the leads we receive suffer from index bloat in one way or another, whether from poor WordPress optimization resulting in tag, category, media and archive pages being indexed or from an absurd amount of thin content being indexed. Typically, an excessive number of thin pages comes from blogging for the sake of blogging, rather than providing value and answering searchers’ queries. – Kyle Sanders, CWR SEO

10. Not Prioritizing High-Value Non-Branded Keywords

Like with many other practices, success in SEO starts with the fundamentals. And the reality is, many firms, including prominent ones, do not include valuable non-branded keywords in their title tags, especially on their most important pages. Simply put: If you aren’t taking the effort to use the keywords your target market is, they are going to have a harder time finding you. – Larry Gurreri, Sosemo

11. Too Broad Optimization Goals

Trying to attract everyone. Optimizing for broader, more generic keywords is an easy and understandable trap to fall into. But here are the pitfalls: 1) There’s a lot of competition when optimizing for generic keywords, and 2) You may be drawing traffic to your site that will never convert. Instead, be as specific as possible with your keywords. You may get fewer visitors, but you’ll get more buyers. – Joey Hodges, Demonstrate PR

12. Title Tags Not Describing The Page/Business

One of the most common SEO errors is incorrect assumptions about how to label title tags. A lot of companies make their homepage or sub-page title tags the title of their company. Instead, this should be a short description of the product or service the company provides. – Kyle Kramer, Huify

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