Top 5 Painfully Obvious SEO Mistakes

We all make mistakes, we’re only human, but when we start making SEO mistakes, it can have a disastrous effect on our page rank. Here are some of the top 5, most obvious, in-your-face, ‘how did I not notice that’, SEO mistakes… And the easy steps to take to avoid them. Prepare for a few face palm moments.

1. Using the wrong key words. This is easily done; you’ve built up your website from scratch, it’s your pride and joy, it’s your baby. You understand exactly what it is that you’re trying to achieve, you’ve spent hours painstakingly selecting the key words to best describe the aims of your site; they’re perfect and poetic. It’s just a shame that your site is overlooked, because your keywords don’t match with actual search terms your users throw at Google.

Quick Fix: Do a bit of research into the needs of your target market, get inside their heads, and figure out what they search for. And then, once you have traffic passing through your site, respond to the key words that are driving them there. If you run a boutique pet store, but people are finding you through ‘chihuahua nutrition advice’, optimise with these key words in mind, and figure out why ‘high end pet food’ isn’t working for you. 

2. Ignoring the Title tag and Focussing too much on the Meta tag. We all know how important that Meta tag is, you’ll see a lot of articles claiming it’s the magic touch your SEO campaign needs to succeed, just a sprinkle of Meta pixie dust, and all your SEO dreams will come true. Just to give a brief explanation of what both tags do; when you search for something in Google, it returns a bunch of results like so

The Title tag makes up the linked text, and the Meta tag is supposed to make up the description below (But Google generally just whips something up.) So they’re both important, and it can’t hurt to use them. It’s as simple as that. (Unless you go crazy and ‘over-optimize’, but that’s a whole other jar of cookies.)

3. Out of Date Content. The web is constantly changing, and with the pervasive influence of social media, it’s changing fast. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can set up a site, get your key word frequency perfect, and then just leave it. Your website needs fresh content, as this will encourage the search engines to continue crawling and indexing your site. More crawling means higher keyword relevance. Keep your content on topic and relevant to the aims of your site.

4. Getting too fancy with Flash and Javascript. “How on earth can this possibly be a mistake? My website is beautiful and animated; it’s far superior to any HTML equivalent.” I hear you scream.  Well, having a Flash only website can deter some users, either because they don’t have the right plugin, their plugin isn’t up-to-date, or they just don’t like Flash. And if you’re going to get fancy with javascript, it’s advisable to make sure you have a site map, as this will prevent any links from being missed.

5. Lumping words together in URLS. We’ve all seen the hilarious results of lumping together words in your URL, which results in the rest of the Internet laughing at your expense. Whatever happened to Experts Exchange?

With the risk of looking silly aside, omitting a ‘-‘ or a ‘_’ from your web address and URLs can make it more difficult for search engines to pull out your key words. Take care with links, and make sure they reflect the content on the page. And while I’m on it; when you’re interlinking on your site, make sure the linked word is a keyword, and not ‘click here’, or ‘go to this page’.


So there you have it, some of the top, and most easily avoided SEO mistakes. How many have you been guilty of in this past? And did I miss any?