We see it all too often with businesses that decide to handle their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts in-house or work with the wrong agency. Simple onsite SEO mistakes can mean the difference between a page 1 and a page 20 ranking – or a #15 result versus the #1 result. Considering 95 percent of search traffic goes to results that show up on the first page – and most traffic goes to the top 3 results – small mistakes can cost a business a ton of revenue.

When we’re evaluating how our SEO services can help businesses improve their rankings, here are some of the most common mistakes we see with onsite SEO efforts, which are those that are integrated directly into the business website.

1. Not Doing Keyword Research

Keyword research is the essential first step for successful onsite SEO. Using a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool or Moz Keyword Explorer, the researcher is able to see:

  • What the most popular keywords are in terms of search volume
  • What “longtail,” or longer and more specific keyword searches, can be meaningful for a business
  • Keyword variations that relate to keywords you want to rank for, but that you might not have realized were important
  • How competitive certain keywords you want to rank for are

Once you’ve done your research and are armed with a batch of solid keywords, you can focus copywriting, tagging and content efforts on those terms. Keyword research also helps you execute better pay-per-click advertising campaigns, so you can drive more traffic to a new site when you’re ramping up efforts, or direct people to a landing page.

Without keyword research, you might be guessing at what people are searching for related to your business and be totally inaccurate. You could waste time writing content around topics that have no effect on your revenue. The whole direction of your website might be misguided.

2. Failing to Create with Keywords in Mind

If you’ve done keyword research, that’s great, but keywords gain more power through helpful and relevant content. Instead of creating content that is just fun and shareable, your content should be keyword-optimized. That means:

  • Adding keywords to headlines, sub-heads and photo tags
  • Using keyword searches to drive topic ideation
  • Naturally integrating keywords throughout content

Your blog, web pages and website resources become much more powerful when you make them searchable. All the hard work, time and money you put into creating amazing content may mean nothing if it’s never seen because it’s not showing up in search engines.

 5 Common Mistakes We See Businesses Make with Their Onsite SEO3. Neglecting the Mobile User

One of the simplest ways to optimize your SEO efforts is to make your website mobile-friendly. Google announced mobile-friendliness is a ranking signal that impacts Google Search results on mobile devices. Nearly 60 percent of searches occur on mobile devices, now surpassing desktop. Get seen more on mobile by making your website:

  • Load quickly
  • Have easy navigation
  • Read well on a small screen

If a business forces a user to pinch and zoom as they use their website, not only will users get frustrated and leave. The business will also never show up when a person is searching for the solution they provide.

4. Lacking Security

Just like mobile-friendly components contribute to search engine rankings, so does website security. Google has stated that websites that do not work on an https:// url, meaning they lack Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security, will be penalized in rankings. An SSL certificate protects your website data through encryption, which also protects the users who visit it.

Not only does a non-https:// website get punished directly by search engines, but it can also turn off legitimate websites from wanting to link to yours. Backlinks, which are links from reputable sites back to your website, are important to overall SEO efforts. A lack of them means your website is not viewed as a trustworthy, credible source across the web, which is a no-no for search engines.

 5 Common Mistakes We See Businesses Make with Their Onsite SEO5. Keyword Stuffing

It’s a misconception among some businesses that the more keywords you can spread over your site, the more likely you will be able to rank for them. For example, a women’s footwear company that wants to rank for “women’s shoes” might think that creating a blog post that has the keyword “women’s shoes” in it 30 times is a good idea.

Not only is this type of content difficult and painful for the user to read, but it’s a red flag to search engines that you’re “keyword stuffing.” Using the same keyword over and over again or in ways that are not natural can get a website penalized by search engines.

High-quality, legitimate and credible content is the best type you can have. You’re writing for the user, who might type in exact phrases from your content into a search engine. The user who comes to your page will be engaged by your valuable content, which increases time spent on site and viral share of your content — factors that benefit SEO. While you should use keywords to guide and inspire your content, they should be integrated in the most natural way possible that benefits the user.

Do Any of These Sound Familiar?

If your business has made any of these all-too-common SEO onsite mistakes, it’s not too late to improve your rankings. Other factors like duplicate content, broken internal links, missing meta descriptions and more can all impact SEO. It’s important to take stock of your site and get to work to fix problems like these and optimize your content.

AlphaMind Studios is here to help. We offer free SEO consultations. Contact us for how we can help you improve onsite SEO for your business.