5 Common SEO Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
Written by Irina Linnik a marketing specialist at Onilab – a Magento troubleshooting company.
One of the most crucial elements for any online company is SEO — Search Engine Optimisation. SEO drives organic traffic and impacts a brand’s site visibility. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs lose sight of SEO basics when building their websites. As a result, they lose customers and conversions — but a few minor changes can immediately fix that.
Below are some common SEO mistakes that entrepreneurs make and how you can solve these issues.
Slow site loading speed
Page speed has been a ranking factor since 2010 and in 2017, Google started paying attention to mobile device page speed. This means websites with slow loading speed will have a lower ranking than the ones that load quickly — and that’s a trumpet call for the entrepreneurs who wish to remain competitive.
The speed of site loading affects conversions heavily. Visitors are willing to wait no more than 3 seconds for the page to load, otherwise, they will leave.
There are many reasons for slow site load speed, like:
- Heavy images
- Bulky code
- Inefficient hosting provider
- Useless widgets and plugins that take up space
All these seemingly minor things impact the site performance heavily but many business owners do not notice these pain points until too late. To check how well your site performs, use PageSpeed Insights by Google.
Here are some of the methods to address the site load speed issue and fix it.
- Use caching tools (like Redis or Memcached, for example);
- Eliminate unnecessary extensions and modules;
- Optimise the size of your images;
- Check the code to see if there are any unused scripts;
- Choose a lighter framework.
Of course, these are not all recommendations. The load speed depends on the site type, the elements it contains, database load, and a whole lot of other factors. So first perform a thorough audit and then start fixing the identified problems.
No content optimisation
Your website contains many elements, from visual to text content. All of it requires optimisation to speed up your site load and increase the ranking.
For many entrepreneurs, image optimisation may be something that has not been really considered. However, SEO-friendly images contribute to site appearance in search results, better user experience, and higher ranking. Below are the essential strategies for making your images perform better.
Image description is needed so the search engine can understand what it is about during the page indexing. The checklist for crafting an efficient image description:
- Write what the image is about: running shoes, a white Mustang car, etc.
- Write in a simple language;
- Include a keyword IF relevant;
A tip: Put the main subject upfront – i.e., “black-high-heels-milan-buy”. In this example, what the user searched for are the shoes and they are the main subject of an image.
Alt tag or alt text is the text that appears when the image does not load. It may happen because of poor Internet connection or if the user disabled the option of image display.
Alt tags, same as image description, let the users and search engines learn what the image is about. Same rules apply for creating an alt tag: keep it simple, clear, and add keywords.
The main thing about optimising the content on the website is: make it informative for the user. In terms of SEO, make sure to add relevant and searchable keywords but watch their density — too many keywords may cause suspicion from the search engines.
This is one of the biggest issues that many entrepreneurs face when launching their website.
Duplicate content is the identical content that appears on different pages. Because of that, a search engine does not know how to rank these pages and which one is the main. That leads to lower ranking and worse visibility in search results.
There are a few ways to deal with the duplicate content.
Fix the URLs
Say, a website has many categories and some of these pages feature identical products. This leads to the problem of cross-category URLs. Though being different, these URLs eventually lead to the same content, as search engines see it. So the easiest way to fix some of the duplicate content issues is to work on these URLs:
- Apply 301 redirect
This will redirect the user to a link, different from the one they entered. This method is perfect when you have pages that you want to keep visible (for marketing reasons, for example) but don’t want to lower your ranking.
- Apply noindex, nofollow tags
These tags indicate that the page should not be included in the search results (noindex) or should not pass the link equity (nofollow).
- Apply rel canonical tag.
The rel=canonical tag indicates which URL is the preferred, or the primary one. This URL and the corresponding page will be indexed and will receive a higher ranking.
Fix the text
Lack of unique copy on the website is also one of the reasons for the duplicate content issue. Here are the biggest problem areas that many website owners face:
- Identical title tags;
- Copypasted description of a product from the manufacturer.
Title tags describe what the page is about in brief and are displayed in the search results. It is, therefore, important to generate unique title tags for every page of your website to avoid confusing the search engine.
The issue of copypasted content is most widespread among e-commerce websites but should still be considered by any entrepreneur who launches a business. When a manufacturer sends a product, it normally comes with a description — and many store owners just copypaste it to the website. Now imagine how many stores sell the same product and insert the same description?
Lack of keywords
Keywords are either specific words or phrases that users type in when they search for something. And these words and phrases can significantly raise the visibility of your website if used correctly.
The biggest mistake that many entrepreneurs do is ignoring the presence of the keywords in some vital parts of their website. Here are the areas where having keywords is a must:
- Product descriptions;
- Meta tags;
- Image descriptions;
- Alt tags;
The golden rule for keyword placing is: keep the density natural and only include keywords if they are relevant. For example, your image description can be “white-bag-leather” but not “white-bag-leather-buy-now”.
No internal linking
Internal links are the links that go from one page of the website to another page of the same website. They carry out two important goals: ease site navigation and spread link equity across the website.
The issue of internal linking lies in the overall site structure. Ideally, the structure should resemble a pyramid, where the home page is the upper stone and it would gradually lead to the other pages.
So when a crawler comes to a certain page and it does not contain any internal links, the crawler may miss important pages that need indexing. Thus, optimise the site structure and make sure that your pages lead to each other in an organised manner.
These are some of the most common mistakes with internal linking:
- Links are embedded in Flash or Java;
- Links are embedded into submission forms;
- Links that lead to the blocked (robots.txt) pages.
In all these cases, except the last one, the links cannot be crawled due to their format and, as a result, will not lead the crawlers to the pages.
Whether you are just getting ready for a website launch or already have it up and running, remember that SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring.
The amount of traffic and, therefore, conversions, depends directly on how well your site is optimized. So perform the site performance checks once in a while, develop a strategy of eliminating the abovementioned mistakes, and don’t forget to consult with a knowledgeable SEO specialist to make sure your website is delivering the intended value.
Learn how you can avoid these SEO mistakes, and create a website that converts with our Digital Growth Marketing course.