Bloggers occasionally make one or several common SEO mistakes, myself included. Some are not so obvious, while others can be easily avoided simply by getting into the habit of spotting them and using better optimization practices.
Without wasting much time on a formal introduction, let’s look at some common misconceptions and mistakes we sometimes make while blogging.
Neglecting Search Engine Traffic
Many of us have been conditioned to “write for people, not search engines.” While I completely agree with this statement, it also doesn’t mean you have to forget about the latter.
Competition has gotten tough over the years and Google has really cranked up the heat with fierce search engine updates. As a result, many rely solely on social media traffic and list-building for ongoing results.
Fortunately, these “obstacles” may actually give you a better chance to rank now more than ever, because your lazy competitors were left behind as a result. If you were writing quality content from the beginning, keep doing just that in addition to paying attention to keyword usage and other techniques as well.
All in all, there is nothing wrong with catering both to people and search engines alike.
Optimizing Only for One Keyword
It’s easy to take the easy way out when writing a keyword-focused article, relying only on the exact keyword you wish to rank for. Instead of using only your chosen phrase, gather a series of high-to-low competition keywords and use them throughout the article accordingly.
For example, you may wish to insert a relatively competitive keyword into your post title, then use narrower (long-tail) keywords as sub-headings (H1, H2, H3) and finally, use other “small fry” phrases throughout the article. These latter phrases can be obtained through the Google Suggest engine (those suggested keywords found at the bottom of most search results pages). You may also use a website like UberSuggest.org for faster and more thorough suggestions.
In the end, your article will be packed with a wide variety of complimentary keywords that assist the main phrase you are truly aiming for in the long-run.
Mistaking Adwords Competition for Organic Competition
This is an old one, but for some reason it refuses to die. Some people see the “Competition” column found in the Google Keyword Planner and think this is meant for organic ranking purposes. In my opinion, this still ranks as one of the most common SEO mistakes to date.
This information is strictly for Adword bidders, as it tells them if others are targeting a specific keyword too little or too much.
However, this data does have some redeeming value for you as a publisher; a “Low” competition keyword generally means it is not targeted by many bidders, which you might want to avoid if your blog is monetized by AdSense. Why? Because in this case, it would mean that your blog will show mostly irrelevant ads.
As a rule of thumb, your articles should always link to other, related pieces within your blog. This not only creates additional link juice, but it prompts people to stay on your website a little longer as they explore “just one more topic” – a tactic that has worked great for sources like Wikipedia.
As a result, Google may rank your website (or some of its links) higher over time, taking the lower bounce rate and retention rate into consideration.
Speaking of interlinking…
Not Pairing Links with Relevant Anchor Text
It’s common to see sentences like, “Click here to read more” while linking to other articles on your website. In fact, I am quite guilty of having done this myself from time to time. But I am using my mistakes as a tool to learn and remind others to avoid this if you are very serious about search engine optimization.
If you interlink to an article with the target keyword “Find dates over 50,” for example, type out the actual target phrase and use it as the anchor text for your link. This helps search engines associate the destination link with said phrase much more than a mere, “Click here.”
Relying on Free Hosting Solutions
Can a Blogger or WordPress.com blog rank for competitive keywords? It sure can. Sadly, most free hosting solutions simply lack the power of true search engine optimization.
You will miss out on powerful plugins that better handle sitemaps, keyword usage and many other things related to SEO. Most serious bloggers, for example, couldn’t live without tools like Yoast SEO – and for good reasons.
Ditch your free Blogger blog, get reliable and affordable hosting, install a proper Content Management System (CMS) and start blogging properly.
Relying On Google Keyword Planner Alone
There are about one thousand ways to perform keyword research, so getting deeply into them requires a full PDF guide with illustrations and examples. But here are some basic tips for starters…
The Keyword Planner is too one-sided or one-dimensional. For example, a search for “Weight loss” will generally show you related keywords, but most of the time you won’t see other results loosely associated with weight loss. This includes plateau-related problems, and just about everything else that comes from your weight.
Instead, it might be a good idea to use tools like SEMRush or AuthorityMetrics. They allow you to analyze a competitor website for all the keywords they are ranking for. This gives you a better idea about keyword selection, and shows you a broader range of phrases to choose from.
The above sources can do much more than that, as this is merely one of their uses. Overall, this is a very basic explanation, of course, but the gist is to never rely solely on one service when performing keyword research.
What other common SEO mistakes are you aware of? What techniques have you started implementing into your blogging routine? Let me know below!