You might think you’re helping your site by putting keywords on the page, adding a meta description or pinging your blog, but are you sure you’re doing it right? All too often, website owners try to increase their site’s traffic by making SEO changes on their own. Little do they know, they’re making HUGE mistakes that can get them penalized by search engines and actually hurt their site and their brand in the long-run.

Have you tried doing any SEO work in-house? If so, make sure you haven’t committed these deadly sins of SEO now – before it’s too late!

Choosing the wrong keywords.

You can’t have a great SEO campaign if you don’t choose the right keywords to base it on. If you go after big-time keywords, with millions and millions of searches a month, you’re not setting yourself up for success, are you? Start by choosing highly relevant, local keywords that can get your brand found by qualified leads. Typically, you’ll want to choose keywords and phrases that incorporate your central products or services, as well as your geographic area (unless you’re a totally online business). Also look for a good number of monthly searches and a low to medium level of competition.

Not optimizing your CMS.

Whether you’re in WordPress, Joomla, Magento or Drupal, your content management system needs to be optimized. You need a custom site map, an SEO-friendly URL structure, a robots.txt file and the ability to edit titles, descriptions and keywords for each page. If you’re on a CMS that doesn’t let you customize these areas, it’s time to find a new platform.
Forgetting to pay attention to images.

While your copy is a great place to insert your keywords and optimize your site, so are your images. Any time you upload a photo to your site, you should be utilizing that “alt” tag. Enter a few descriptive words (ideally a site keyword that’s applicable), and be sure to customize the title, too. If you’re not doing this, you’re missing out on a HUGE opportunity. Alt tags can help your images get indexed in image searches, and they can help your entire site rank higher, too.

Having too little (or poor quality) content.

Every page on your website should have at least a few hundred words of text. This not only tells users more about the product or service on the page, but it also helps search engines better match your pages with searchers’ requests. Additionally, it also gives you more room to work in those keywords and phrases, so you can get found by qualified leads.
Going overboard.

Your keywords need to be present in your site, but they don’t need to be everywhere. In fact, keyword stuffing can actually hurt your brand, making it look spammy and inauthentic. When that happens, search engines will stop serving you up to users altogether! Remember, search engines are designed to find the best content for searchers, so write for your target audience – NOT the search engine.

DIYing it.

If you’ve taken some SEO classes or you’ve worked in a search marketing position before, then by all means, start optimizing your site. But if you’re new to the field, you have no experience, or you’re just flying by the seat of your pants, you might want to take a step back. Chances are, you’re hurting yourself more than you’re helping. Instead of investing your time and energy into “figuring out” SEO, use those resources and find a qualified professional to handle it. They’ll know how to deliver real results. Learn more about the dangers of DIYing your SEO in this blog post.

Not having a focus.

To put it simply: your site needs to be an authority in something. Search engines serve up the best possible sources of information for searchers, and unless it considers you a good authority on a topic, it’s not going to send users your way. So pick a topic or industry, and stick to it – in your blogs, in your copy and in your imagery. The more content you have on a subject, the more likely a search engine will rank you highly in results.

Duplicating content.

Duplicate content is a major no-no in search engine eyes. Unfortunately, sometimes site owners do it totally unintentionally! If you have a few versions of your homepage (say /index, /home and /home.html) then those are ALL duplicate pages. Search engines won’t know which one is right, so instead of serving up all of them, they’ll serve up NONE. And that’s not something you want, is it?

Are you the victim of these all-too-common SEO mistakes? Then call Steadfast Creative. Our inbound marketing experts can help you optimize your site so that it helps you, not hurts you. Schedule your consultation now.

Author Info

Brad Parnell
Founder & CEO

Brad is the Founder & CEO of Steadfast Creative, leading the team in exploring new ways to solve creative problems and bringing direction and vision for the company. His passion is building relationships, providing solutions and empowering his team to send new ideas out into the world. With over 10 years of agency experience serving local and national brands, he is focused on results for his clients and team. Outside of  work, Brad serves on the board of directors at his local Chamber of Commerce and loves giving back to the community and spending time with his wife and kids.