5 common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them

Published on Fri Jul 27, 2018 by

A lot of businesses get a website built and leave it at that - job done. The successful businesses use their website to generate sales or business leads, keeping things updated and running a regular blog. They smash the social media channels with links and fresh information. To get the very best value out of all this hard work, you need to follow a few simple pointers - search engine optimisation or SEO is crucial part of any business these days. Avoid these mistakes !

1. Being mobile-unfriendly

More than half of online searches are from mobile devices. Make sure that your site is optimised for smartphone use. Not making your blog posts mobile-friendly is a problem if you want to rise on search rankings to improve visibility. Using a traditional design instead of a responsive one will reduce your visitors and potential customers. A responsive web site is clearly the best way to go - it automatically adjusts to the devices page or screen size. We can make a new site or alter your existing website, so that it can become easily accessible on todays popular mobile devices.

2. Writing for search engines, rather than people

Although keywords and keyword phrases are a necessary element for SEO on your blog posts, they should appear natural and in proper sentences. Google can tell whether you are forcing keywords and phrases into your site to encourage clicks. As you write in your keywords, whether they are "commercial photographer" or "corporate photography" make sure they flow with the sentence you are writing. Also try using different phrases in your pages and mix it up a little - go for long-tail or multi-word phrases. Also reference and link other relevant posts and pages on your own site that readers may be interested in - this will help boost click through rates.

Optimise your images for SEO - advice available

3. Forgetting to add in alt tags to your images

As a professional photographer I understand the importance of images - they help connect directly with my clients. Images should be named properly and alt tags added, so clients who are searching can find them and importantly search engines will index them correctly. If your images are named something vague or a camera generated file number, potential clients and customers won't find them, or the page they are located on. For example with my wedding photography site, if I name files "John-Jane-001.jpg" as my naming convention it won't really be that helpful for anyone to find. Instead a better way to name the images would be "St-Georges-Hall-wedding-001.jpg".

Search engines also look at something called alt tags. These provide an alternative (hence alt) way to describe images using words. You can use around 140 characters in an alt tag but again don't keyword stuff this tag - go for proper sentences and descriptions. Done carefully you can actually rank for long tail keywords and be found on Google images. For example an alt tag which features "Bride and groom ceremony photo by Liverpool Wedding Photographer" or "St Georges Hall Wedding Photography" would help the page rank on search engines and will appear for clients searching for a Liverpool wedding photographer.

4. Re-using content across posts and social media

Search engines spider your whole website and social media links for relevant information following a search. It is important to have unique content throughout - if you are repeating text or articles, search engines might serve up older posts - or worse still flag a penalty on particular pages, meaning your site might not appear and potential customers go elsewhere.

Like me you will probably feature similar keywords in your blog posts. Try mixing up the way they are written - different versions, perhaps different geographical locations. If you can note down what you use, where and the frequency - trust me you will see the benefits and get those random customers looking for something quite specific.

Stuck for content - look at writing up case studies from interesting past work, check what are hot topics in your business sector and utilise resources like a good old thesaurus to help you come up with new keywords and phrases. Content is king and the more quality content you have the better the search engines like it.

5. Broken links and poor titles

Inbound and outbound links from posts and pages need to work. It will annoy visitors and cause Google to add bad marks against your site if they don't. Use one of the many page checkers available on a regular basis to avoid this.

Another basic mistake is using poor page or post Title tags and URLs. Space is limited and there is always discussions with the SEO community on how effective these are. But it seems so simple to get these working in your favour. For example rather than call a page "Case Study 1" with the URL "case-study1.htm", go with "PR photography in Liverpool - a case study with Shelter" and the URL "pr-photography-liverpool.jpg". Again it seems really obvious advice but I have worked with loads of clients that don't know this and seen loads of web sites that don't have any strategy when it comes to naming pages or using effective URLs.

Fix broken links for SEO improvements - Liverpool web designer can help

We can help you at the planning stage, as part of our web design service to avoid SEO mistakes. We will help with optimising your site from the outset - advice with site architecture, how it links to your social media accounts and suggestions for writing killer posts, so they attract the maximum number of click throughs to particular pages. We can visit your business as a consultant, or write a report on how your site is currently doing and give advice on how you can improve page rankings yourself. But we won't promise the moon on a stick - there are no quick solutions to SEO, it is all about playing a long game and we'd be delighted to join your team.

Tags: website, web, design, seo

Author: David J Colbran

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