How To Avoid Common SEO Mistakes

Most people nowadays are aware of search engine optimisation (SEO) – the practice of optimising your website and online activity to promote greater visibility in the major search engines. It’s a very popular topic, but we still see some common SEO mistakes being made on a regular basis.

There’s no set list of SEO ‘rules’ – Google have their guidelines as do the other search engines, but these are just guidelines. Many people turn to online blogs and forums for advice, and unfortunately not all that advice is best practice or up to date. If web owners make mistakes with their SEO it can at best be a waste of time, and at worst harm their site.

So what are some common mistakes we see?

Using too much flash and scripts on your website

The major search engines are much better at understanding flash now. Gone are the days where the advice was to avoid it at all costs. It can be fine to use the odd bit of flash – it can be a great way of adding an extra level of dynamism to your website and used well can look great! However you must avoid building your entire website on flash or relying on it too heavily. Search engines are still put off by too much flash, so make sure you add supporting text and graphics to the pages that have flash.

Not using the ALT attribute on images

The ALT attribute is added to images to describe their content. They used to be used to help the visually impaired understand the content and images on a website. However nowadays search engines use them to get a better understanding of your web page and the images on that page. Try to make sure you have the ALT tag on all images and try to incorporate some keywords in there too. But remember – don’t keyword stuff!! Mix it up and try to keep to one primary keyword per page. Remember to add synonyms and alternative keywords as well.

Duplication

The main SEO issue here is not really to do with taking content from other websites (which isn’t great in terms of SEO, but far worse in terms of business ethics), but more to do with duplication of your own content. You might be sat here thinking that you wouldn’t ever copy your own content – you might not, but your content management system (CMS) might.

Many websites are built using a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or DotNetNuke. These make it easy to build dynamic, flexible and modern websites. But a key issue is that they make it very easy for duplicate content to be created. For example, you might write a blog post like this, and add a few keyword tags. If you don’t then use those tags again on other blog posts, when someone searches for content using one of those tags, all they’ll find is that one blog post.

So you could have a URL that looks like www.example.com/tag/tag1 and www.example.com/tag/tag2 and www.example.com/tag/tag3 – if tag1, 2 and 3 haven’t been used elsewhere, all those three URLs will provide a duplicate page – just the one blog post that uses each of those tags… does that make sense? This is just one example of how duplicate content can easily be created on your own site without you even realising.

The reason Google doesn’t like duplicate content is because it can be viewed as cheating. Google likes large websites, with lots of fresh content. So by creating duplicate content, you are effectively growing the number of pages on your site. But these pages aren’t full of fresh, unique content. So Google assumes you’re trying to grow your site without actually adding any new content.

If you want to find out more about some of the common SEO mistakes you might be making read these posts:

If you want some help managing your SEO, please get in touch with us today.