SEO Mistakes: 11 Most common that devalue your site on Google
The same article could be titled instead of SEO Mistakes, how to devalue in the search engines accidentally, or not appearing at the first page of Google although you have done so much work on your SEO.
However, I preferred to give a simple title… the 11 most common mistakes in SEO that devalue your site on Google.
What are the 11 most common mistakes in SEO?
Below I summarize the 11 most common mistakes in SEO. As good as you may are in SEO, you or your colleagues are likely to have fallen into one or more mistakes of the following. It can happen to any of us.
- Page indexing problems
- Local Search Problems (Local SEO)
- Over Optimized Anchor Text
- Keyword Cannibalization
- Low-quality content
- Bad or low quality backlinks
- Poor user experience
- Irrelevant URL, page titles and meta descriptions
- Lack of Google Properties
- Internal Redirects
- Load Speed
1 Page indexing problems
The most common problem with SEO is the accidental de-indexing of pages from our site by Google. You can sign in to Google Search Console and find yourself how many pages are ranked on Google from the total pages you’ve submitted.
In the image above, you see on a webpage of the 4,236 pages submitted to Google, only 3,043 are actually indexed in the Google Index. The remaining 1,193 pages, that is, 25% of the entire site, remain outside Google and are therefore extremely difficult to be found by the end user.
Moreover, the site could lose 25% of its organic traffic potential just because some pages are not indexed by Google.
The only way to index them is to find one by one page and check why it does not appear. If the page you want to appear on Google is of secondary importance, then there’s no problem. You can leave it as it is, but if the page that does not appear is of primary importance, you should see what’s going on.
The possible reasons for non-appearance are:
- Something blocks this page in robots.txt
- The page is being cannibalized by another similar on Google’s search results, and so it’s completely recalculated
- The page is orphan from backlinks, has no backlinks (it is in other words orphan page) or has no social media signal and so it is left in obscurity and
- Perhaps the page is considered to be in violation of Google’s quality guidelines and has therefore been algorithmically penalized.
You should therefore take the following steps:
Check if this page is blocked by robots.txt or if you have blocked it in any other way from Google Bot.
Check if this page is cannibalized by another landing page that may have similar content. Be sure to change the content and slightly differentiate the keywords.
Be sure to create a few backlinks on that page so that it can be indexed again.
If the page is suspicious of spam, you’ll probably have to take all the necessary steps to make it acceptable by Google and restore it.
2 Local Search Problems (Local SEO)
What do we mean with the term local search? Local search is the search for a country at national level. For example SEO In Greece. We also believe that local search has to do with region search, for example SEO Athens.
The first problem of local SEO at country level is dealing with websites that have more than one languages and have poor management of targeting using HREFLang or no use of HREFLang.
HREFLang, which we use in WordPress in the config file, indicates the language or languages that our site has on Google. In order to properly register the languages of your site, you need to follow Google’s tips.
A great tool you can use is The hreflang Tags Generator Tool.
In the second case, when you have a site that targets in more than one search region with different keywords, for example:
PIRAEUS WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT
NIKEA WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT,
multiple issues are sometimes caused by the keywords’ sub pages.
The practice you usually follow is to create different region pages for each site. Then we have to write different texts on each page.
However, several times, in the search results, one site appears with the keywords of the other, that is, the NIKEA WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT page appears when we search for PIRAEUS WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT.
The possible causes of this problem are the following:
- Double content on sub pages and therefore one page appears
- One page is registered on Google My Business that also serves adjacent areas. That is, in Piraeus main region we have also set Nikea as a service area, and Google therefore judges right to show Piraeus against Nikea.
- Wrong targeting of keywords. You may have targeted the keyword NIKEA WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT instead of the main page of Piraeus, so Piraeus appears because Google considers the Piraeus site more relevant.
- Cannibalism of sub pages. For cannibalism, read more below (reference 4).
3 Over Optimized Anchor Text
Keyword optimization has its limits. Over-optimization in keywords divides in two strands, over-optimized internal page and over-optimization of external page.
The usual error that occurs when we create links for your site, is to use the same keyword everywhere in the anchor text. Do not worry, anchor text is the keyword that, when you click on your link goes to your site or at a sub page from your site.
The best thing is to have:
- keyword spreading and
- dispersed backlinks.
In the keyword spreading, you should not use the same keyword for your main page, and in the dispersed backlinks you should not only target one page from your site. You should also have other sub pages where you use different keywords.
A useful tool to check if you have proper keyword spreading and backlinks within your site is the Ahrefs.
You should be careful to have less than 30% of the same keyword and 70% of backlinks targeting different sub pages within your site using different keywords.
Below I quote a few examples of backlinks that you need to create to achieve the right spreading.
- Branded – an anchor text that includes your brand name or slight variation, for example: ‘paramarketing.org’, ‘visit paramarketing.org’.
- Generic – an anchor that uses a generic term but does not include branding, for example:‘here’, ‘read more’, or ‘visit site’.
- Image – a link that has no anchor is generally shown as a blank in AHREFS export feature. Other clues might be file extensions in the alt attribute ‘jpg’ is probably an image.
- Miscellaneous – an anchor that does not qualify as generic, but is otherwise unrelated to the website. Forum and comment spam often includes anchors such as ‘Steve’, ‘Stuart’, or ‘Stan’.
- Low Quality – an anchor that is more than 100 characters is generally an irrelevant anchor unless it’s a long URL. Another low quality anchor is a foreign language and symbols.
- Targeted – an anchor that includes the exact or partial term you are trying to rank for, effective to gain rankings but higher risk for tripping a Penguin filter against your site.
- Topical – an anchor that is on topic, but does not include your targeted term. For example, an affiliate site reviewing ‘best running shoes’ might include topical anchors such as: ‘healthy workout’, ‘burn lots of calories’, or ‘high impact sport’.
- URL – this is arguably the most obvious one, but anchors that are naked URLs such as ‘paramarketing.org’ and ‘https://paramarketing.org’ would count as URL.
4 Keyword Cannibalization
One of the most common SEO problems too many sites face, is the cannibalism of keywords. The first time I heard this term from an American Professor in Marketing, at University, a few years ago. The exact term was product cannibalism and referred to the big car industries who produce a car per distinct category.
In order not to cannibalize the VW Polo onto the VW Golf, for example, it should have distinct features that differentiate it from Golf. It should be smaller, not to have the same level of equipment, different target, for example, not to aim to the new family man with one child who wants to buy Golf.
But, when we talk about Keyword Cannibalization, we have to deal with disappearance of certain pages at the search results of Google because they have the same keywords.
Why is this happening?
Simply because the pages themselves are competing with each other and Google decides which one will appear in the search results, suffocating all others.
For example, if I click on Google: Create a Backlink, it will show me only one search result from my website, Paramarketing.gr.
But within the site I have another 10 sub pages associated with the term Backlink Creation, which are not displayed and will never be displayed as long as there is this specific result in the search results.
Which is the solution to keyword cannibalism?
The first step is to examine all pages that have the same keyword or key phrase in your site.
Then you should decide which pages you want to appear and which not.
The third step is to change the content, the URL and the keywords with new keywords that you want to point from this certain pages, and you are done.
Repair all the broken links internal and external.
External backlinks can be repaired with 301 redirect of the old URL into the right sub page.
5 Low-quality content
Low quality content is also one of the common problems in SEO and here all SEO experts make a mistake. They give much more weight to link building and to out-of-page SEO than checking the content of their website that may be lacking far behind.
In a previous article, for fine content, I’m explaining analytically why you should have unique and adequate content on every page of your site.
Opening dozens of pages with the keyword in the URL and a page title means nothing, because after 2011 Google launched the famous and notorious Google Panda Update and punishes all pages that have no content or low quality content.
Low-quality content is defined as copyrighted content, content and text non-meaningful, or content that is engineered by spin software.
Before doing anything, bear in mind: Is it worth reading your website content or you made it just to be there?
6 Bad quality backlinks or poor quality backlinks
Poor quality backlinks are all those backlinks, even if you might create them, it is impossible to let your site upgrade on Google. It is more possible to fall cause most backlinks carry negative SEO and all backlinks are not the same. The same backlink can upgrade a site and at the same time decrease classification in another because of relativity.
The basic principle on which you should support your link-building strategy is that you do not need 100 low quality backlinks to get the ranking you want on a site, but a few good backlinks that can be measured on the fingers of one hand.
To be able to create some good backlinks that will make sense to your site, you should first have a budget in order to access some branch magazines and some industry guides. This is the first step. The second step is to assign the difficult and complex task of creating links to a SEO company.
The right way is not to try to get as much backlinks as you can, but to find some that will classify you at the front page of Google, and your competitors cannot acquire.
In the creation of links, there is a paraphrase of a sentence of Kafisia, an ancient Greek, that suits best… “The good is not at all, but it is at the best“. The rule is that many backlinks are not the best, but the best backlinks are more than enough by themselves.
7 Poor User Experience
User experience is interrelated to SEO and a major mistake that is being done in SEO by far, is not to count the experience the final user has when entering our site.
- Does the user find what he wants right away?
- Is Navigation easy and comprehensible?
- Are the images and content adequate?
- Do we include videos and graphics?
Poor user experience results in abandoning the site, increasing the bounce rate, and consequently the organic decline of our website in the search engines.
8 Irrelevant URL, page titles and meta descriptions
The amorphousness of keywords with URLs, page titles and meta descriptions are SEO mistakes that beginners usually do, since they all know that the key thing to appear with a keyword on a Google page should definitely be in the URL, in titles and in the meta description and of course within the text.
You can see more in the SEO guide for on-site SEO.
9 Lack of Google Properties
A new trend in SEO for 2019 is the use of more and more Google Properties.
Google Properties are all objects produced by Google programs such as Google Sites, Google Maps, Youtube Videos, Blogspots, Google Docs, and other more that are ranked faster on Google, and altogether upgrade all sites that contain them or use them.
You may have done everything to appear on Google, but your competitor may have an inferior site and yet still is in a more upper classification than your site.
Do not let the lack of knowledge deprive you of the first on Google. Do not forget to subscribe to our updates.
10 Internal page redirects (Internal Redirects)
This is one of the most common issues that websites face. A large volume of 3XX Redirects on your website seems fine to most – if it’s a 301. However, this isn’t really true and here is why:
A 301 redirect is designed for when a user requests a page that is no longer available and has been permanently moved. This is something that happens a lot across the internet. The server after a moment of latency returns a different URL and the page loads as usual.
The issue with the above is the term latency and it’s something most webmasters ignore. The physical distance between a user and your server means that even a tiny bit of header information takes time to send and receive.
If you are looking to improve your user experience, then you should make your website as fast as possible and therefore remove all 301s when not absolutely needed. This will be better for your user and help authority flow within the website unhindered.
However, what’s the difference between a 301 and a 302 redirect?
Whilst a 301 redirect points towards a permanent move from one location to another, a 302 is a temporary move. From Googlebot’s perspective this means that:
- 301 Redirects should index the new URL, rather than the previous URL
- 302 Redirects should index the previous URL, ignore the new URL
Google has claimed to handle both the same but it doesn’t make sense that they would do this. Both status codes have different purposes and should be treated differently.
Make sure you’re using the right redirect on your website.
11 Load Speed
Loading speed, although a very important SEO factor, is even overlooked today by many web designers.
Even companies that have invested millions in their corporate presence on the internet seem to ignore absolutely the speed of loading. Do not overlook it.
Measure the load speed of your website not on Google Developers because it measures the relative rather than the ultimate loading speed but a reliable tool like Pingdom.
How do you understand that you have a SEO problem
The most important thing is to understand which is.
See More About SEO Mistakes:
- The 10 Most Common SEO Issues in 2019
- Why People Are Afraid Of Backlinks?
- Boost Targeted traffic To Your Blog Employing Easy Research Motor Optimization Tip