Now that you’re familiar with the top six SEO mistakes that can be made to your website, (if you aren’t head to part one of our blog) you’re probably wondering what you can do to avoid, or fix, these issues. Just as there are ways to set your SEO off track, there are ways to set it right again. Here’s how to troubleshoot the most common problems—and get your website back on track.
Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Keywords
How to Fix It: Choosing the Right Keywords
It probably goes without saying that the best way to stop choosing the wrong keywords is to start choosing the right ones, and you can accomplish this by setting up a solid keyword research strategy.
You can use tools such as Google’s free Adwords Keyword Research service to look up the specific words and phrases your target audience is searching for and include these in your site content. It’s even more effective to tailor your content around these specific keywords, so that you’re catering to your visitors’ needs rather than peppering phrases into existing content willy-nilly.
Be mindful that “go big or go home” isn’t your motto here. You’ll want to find the search queries that generate an adequate volume of website results (say, between 50-200) but that aren’t so competitive that your site won’t rank high in the search results (the odds are easier to get lost in the shuffle if the search results are a few hundred-plus).
Mistake #2: Keyword Stuffing
How to Fix It: Running a Site Audit
If you fear that some of your pre-existing content may be overrun with a few too many keywords, the best thing to do is run a site audit.
Use an online audit tool to crawl your pages and see what the low-ranking pages are and where there is duplicate content. From there, you can go about editing. If you don’t have many pages to crawl, you can also use the old-school “find” function (Ctrl + f on PCs) and search for any incriminating keywords and phrases.
Pair down the keywords on each page to a maximum of three, and make sure they are the optimal keywords to be using.
Mistake #3: Not Utilizing Analytics
How to Fix It: Set Up an Analytics System and Use It
We get it: a behemoth of a site like Google Analytics can be intimidating at first glance. But investing a small amount of time and effort into learning it (or another Analytics system, for that matter) will benefit you greatly.
The analytics of your site allow you to actually see what’s going on behind the scenes—there’s no guesswork involved. This is the data laid out for you, in real time, letting you know which pages visitors landed on, which ones they’re bouncing off of, how long they spent on each page, what their demographics are, etc. By taking just a peek at this information, you will have a better understanding of what’s going well (and what isn’t) with your website.
Find an analytics system that you can commit to checking on a regular basis and use this system to show you where to improve. Once you get into the habit of checking, finding, and fixing (and you start to see your rankings go up), checking your analytics will become second nature.
Mistake #4: Having Low-Quality, Non-Optimized Content
How to Fix It: Optimize Past, Present, and Future Content
This is an SEO mistake where a site audit and an analytics system will do you a world of good. An audit will allow you to see what your weaker pages are (look for high bounce rates, low page views, little time spent on the page, broken links) so that you can edit them to become optimized.
Human eyes on a page also help, so crack open each page and look over them to see how the layouts look, if there are any missing photos or broken videos, and if there is any outdated information.
An analytics system will assist you in your site audit, as well as keep you up to date on your site specs in real-time. Use site auditing and analytics tools regularly to stay informed about how your content is doing. Not only will you be able to fix any problems as they crop up, but you’ll also be able to tailor your future content in ways that will best interest your target audience.
Mistake #5: Poor Internal Linking
How to Fix It: Utilize “Topic Clusters”
Effective internal linking can seem like an easy task—attach a link to an article you posted to a keyword within the article you are currently posting—but to really maximize your results with this strategy, it should be done with tact.
Instead of writing your content and finding previously published pages to link to within it at random, use the organizational strategy of “topic clustering” to be more systematic about it. Think of all of your content (your pages, articles, blog posts, etc.) in terms of “topics.” Underneath each topic, choose one page as your “pillar” page, which will act as the anchor for links to pages of the same topic. In this way, you will create an organized, strategic web of links that are optimized to what your visitors are searching for.
Find more detailed information about how to topic cluster here.
Mistake #6: Not Having Mobile-Friendly Pages
How to Fix It: Determine if Page Speed is Slowing You Down
A page that is slow to load is a page that doesn’t convert.
Visitors will bounce from pages that don’t have a fast load time, and current research shows that mobile visitors will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. If you’ve built out pages with mobile use in mind but are still seeing less-than-stellar analytics results (another plug for using analytics!), find out if low page speed is the culprit.
Use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to determine the main causes of your low page speed (which can range from too-large images to unused or excess bits of code to formatting issues) and set about fixing the issues. A little bit of tweaking can render massive results.
While it’s true that most SEO mistakes can’t be fixed overnight, it is also true that with the proper tools, time, and attention, these problems will get solved. By running a site audit, optimizing your current content, and making a solid plan for future content, you will ensure that your SEO rankings will improve (perhaps even boosting you to that coveted #1 spot on Google).