Natalie is an Aggie Alum (Gig 'em!) with a passion for helping those find what they are looking for... at least on the web. When she is not optimizing websites, Natalie can be found trying out a new recipe, dragging herself to the gym, and spending time with friends and family.
SEO involves many areas from content writing to technical optimizations and all that falls in-between. It’s a full time gig, not one for just the weekends or as an employee’s third responsibility. If a business website is treated as a part time job…we’ll just say beg you to reconsider, as soon as you can. It can be easy to overlook some items, especially without more advanced tools that allow you, or your employees, to dive deeper into a website. Check out a few common SEO mistakes that can occur without more advanced tools, as well as a few items to keep in mind to routinely check.
1. Content Gaps
BrightEdge is a tool that allows digital marketers to easily identify areas where their content is lacking, or where there is opportunity to rank for a keyword, which can drive visitors to your site. For example, we can input a website URL into Brightedge’s tools and see that site’s ranking keywords and directly compare that to one of our client’s sites. BrightEdge even has a separate tab for opportunity, which makes it beyond simple to generate new ideas for content.
2. Un-Optimized Content
It's easy to enter targeted keywords into the backend of a CMS. However, take it back to basic SEO. Is the keyword in the meta title and description? Is the keyword in a header tag? Is it used in a link from a different page pointing to the one you are trying to target for a keyword? This is painfully simple, but it is also extremely easy to overlook, especially with larger sites. Tools such as ScreamingFrogcan run crawls that will allow a digital marketer to see every keyword, header tag, 404 error, or lack thereof. This is an extremely powerful and useful tool to use to run an initial and continuous audits on a site, especially large ones, to better track down where errors, duplicates or missing content may be.
3. Forgetting about Alerts and Annotations
Working together across digital marketing fields is crucial in order to better fully understand a site and to also avoid common SEO mistakes or other related errors. For example, a search engine optimizer may report on an analytics anomaly that occurred because of a development update. If you’ve got a website that’s being worked on by different people, it can be difficult to keep everyone on the same page, but this can be done using Google Analytics! Four words: Analytics is your friend. Our recommendation is to be sure to use Google Analytics Annotations to clearly mark notable events that may affect the website (and encourage all members of your digital marketing team to do the same). Then, set up a calendar reminder to dive into Google Analytics, set up Google Alerts, or use anomalies detections in tools like BrightEdge to be able to easily track notable change in traffic, conversions and more.
4. WWW vs Non-WWW
Choose one. Ensure that the non-www version of site has a 301 redirect to the www version, or vise verse depending on the preference. There are two issues here really, both of which have the same answer. The first is that the non-www URL is not pointing anywhere and returns a 404 ‘page not found’ error. The second issue is that the non-www URL could render the same as the www version – this would effectively create two exact copies of the same website. Either way, you can create plenty of headaches through his inconsistency. You can address this through your hosting provider and then make sure you tell Google which you prefer.
5. Trailing Slashes
It's dupe. Stop your researching now, it is duplicate content. Correcting the issue is pretty simple though and can be fixed with a simple 301 redirect rule for all pages without a trailing slash pointing to the version with a trailing slash.
6. Secure HTTPs pages
This is another duplicate content issue that often gets overlooked. Http and Https pages will render the same exact content. This can occur when relative URLs within the website are used through an automated CMS. In order to correct this, any navigation to non-secured pages should be http. In areas that are not secure, the https version need to be redirected using a 301 to the proper http versions.
7. Not Refreshing Keywords
Do your keywords match what people are searching for? Did you do some advanced keyword research that you thought hit the nail on the head, but then only came to find out that those are not generating traffic to the page, or conversions? Let's take it back a second. As SEOs, it is an awesome feeling when you see a page ranking in position 1-10 for a keyword you targeted. That took work and strategy and is worth feeling good about. However, bottom line, if that keyword is not keeping people on a page, if it is off-topic from what they are really looking for, if it ultimately does not generate more interest or a conversion....what is it good for? Visibility, yes. Visibility worth talking about and attributing to the success of a business, no. Take the time every other quarter or so to revisit keyword targeting on a site. The keywords may be relevant, but they might also need a refresh. Advanced tools can greatly aid in discovering issues with a website as well as helping to explore new opportunities. SEO is vast and things get overlooked on websites every single day, it’s easy to do. If you’re searching for an agency that helps to ensure that less things get overlooked, contact Forthea.