These days, people use search engines to find just about anything, from products to local events. Many businesses acknowledge this and put effort into website search engine optimization (SEO), or plan on doing this in the future. For businesses going the DIY SEO route, using the right approach takes time, effort, and often some amount of failure, including a few SEO mistakes.

Google rewards websites with good SEO and demotes the rankings of those that don’t follow these practices. Unfortunately, what some website managers believe is good SEO practice can in fact involve many common SEO mistakes that negatively affect keyword rankings and, as a result, website traffic.

To help businesses avoid this, we compiled a list of 7 common SEO mistakes and how to fix them, or better yet, avoid them altogether.

SEP Mistake #1: Keyword Stuffing

The first inclination of someone wanting to do SEO is often to find a keyword and include that keyword as many times as possible in content. Here’s an example: “This cooking event is the cooking event that is the best cooking event for cooking events and people who like cooking events.”

Not only does this example read horribly and turn possible attendees away, Google hates it and will demote pages with this kind of keyword stuffing.

To avoid this mistake, include keywords in a way that sounds normal. Don’t use the same keyword over and over; use variations. Always read content aloud to make sure it sounds natural before publishing.

SEO Mistake #2: Ignoring Local Search

Many event businesses operate in a certain locale. For businesses that are looking to gather traffic from a certain location, it’s important to pay attention to local search.

This means including region-specific keywords instead of just global ones. For example, using the keyword “Tampa paint and sip events” instead of “paint and sip events.” Also, make sure to include an address and phone number on the website to show up in local search results.

SEO Mistake #3: Focusing on the Wrong Keywords

Another common SEO mistake is focusing on the wrong keywords. This includes keywords that

  • Don’t convert – the keyword used isn’t something that people search in order to make a purchase
  • Aren’t searched for – there isn’t enough search traffic for a term to give results
  • Are highly competitive – a keyword is dominated by competitors and there is little chance of ranking high enough to gain traffic

The biggest reason for this mistake is lack of keyword planning. Those tasked with SEO often do not take the time to think about what customers want when they search or the amount of competition for keywords. Proper planning with tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner can help businesses find the right keywords with monthly traffic details and competition.

seo mistakesSEO Mistake #4: Thin Content

Thin content is another big SEO no-no. This is when a website has many pages with little searchable content. It could be a product page with only an image and a one sentence description. Thin content doesn’t give Google much to work with, so these pages are essentially useless in contributing to SEO.

The way to battle thin content is simple: beef it up. Add more text with keywords sprinkled in. If you’re not sure what content to add, keyword research can give some ideas on what information might be useful for readers. What readers want is most often what Google is looking for in high-ranking websites.

SEO Mistake #5: Not Using Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text that leads readers to another webpage. When linking to other website pages within content, it is tempting to use generic anchor text like “click here” to get readers’ attention.

This generic text doesn’t tell much about the purpose the link serves and therefore doesn’t offer anything to search engine crawlers. Businesses can avoid this SEO mistake by using keywords in anchor text. It’s important not to use the same anchor text over and over, as Google sees this as a no-no. The aim is to use variations of keywords and avoid anchor text that sounds over-fabricated.

SEO Mistake #6: Duplicating Content

Duplicate content involves having multiple webpages devoted to the same content. This is a problem for Google because it’s not clear which page should be retrieved for a search. The overall effect is reduced rankings and traffic.

To solve this problem, businesses must decide which page is the preferred one and redirect the other pages with duplicate content to this page. This will eliminate any confusion and help improve rankings.

SEO Mistake #7: Not Investing in SEO

Perhaps the biggest SEO mistake is not investing in SEO in the first place. Businesses may not know what SEO is or don’t believe in the power it holds. Unfortunately, not investing in SEO means missing out on the possibility of a lot of growth.

The fix to this common mistake is easy: invest in SEO, even if this means using a few tips and tricks. Just fixing common SEO mistakes can increase search engine rankings dramatically.

Are you guilty of any one of the seven common SEO mistakes? Taking the time to search for these traffic-suckers and implement simple fixes pays off in increased website traffic. Try it. You’ll be glad you did!