5 most common SEO mistakes to avoid in 2021
A guest post by Andrea Atzori.
The growing importance of SEO
This year where the importance of SEO has grown considerably. Marketing budgets have been revisited as a result of the global pandemic. So doing good SEO is more important than ever before.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of brands and digital marketers have put SEO at the top of their list. This is both whether they intend to do this in-house or hiring an SEO agency. Their focus is to improve the organic visibility of their business, whilst making a sustainable investment for the long term.
But what does it take to do SEO well and make it count in 2021?
We could certainly provide a long list of optimisation strategies and tactics. Such as focusing on page speed optimisation and aligning SEO to the upcoming (Google) Core Web Vitals. Also, leveraging schema markup to ride the growing wave of voice search.
However, it still pays off to focus on the basics to avoid SEO mistakes and make sure the foundations are in order.
So if you blog or have a successful online store (perhaps hosted on Shopify), it is still important to pay attention and not make the following 5 SEO mistakes in 2021.
What are these most common SEO mistakes?
1. Understanding basic technical optimisation with the latest trends
Title tags and meta description optimisation may not be exciting, but search engines still use these to gather critical information about your website landing pages and content.
Well optimised titles and descriptions should be the difference between your listings and your competitors’. High rankings per se are not much use if people don’t click.
A well written and enticing title and description can help attract more clicks. And in turn a better click-through rate leads to better rankings. It acts as a signal to Google that your listing is compelling and valuable to the user’s search.
This is why you should look at your click-through rate and not just the rankings when measuring your SEO effectiveness. Unfortunately this often gets missed, as we tend to focus on just the average position, impressions and clicks.
2. Optimising content for the same target keywords
Another common, and easily avoidable SEO mistake, is optimising various content for the same or similar keywords.
Instead we should focus on our initial keyword research (assuming you have done this) and the keyword mapping. Each page on your website should have only one primary target keyword, which is unique to that page, and a few secondary terms which compliment your main target.
Ideally this should have been planned from the beginning. But if not, now it is a good time to get going with keyword mapping. This is also a good opportunity to revisit the intent behind these targeted keywords and make sure they match the most relevant content.
3. Targeting too many keywords and too competitive
Following on from the point above, for 2021 set your target to be a realistic one.
We all get over excited when we think how SEO can provide the potential for endless amounts of ‘free’ traffic. But in reality the business owner or brand wants to dominate the SEO landscape and target the most high-volume and generic keywords.
The problem is that they’re not alone. These keywords are highly sought after, and as a result are very competitive and difficult to rank for. But realistic SEO with an achievable plan and targets are more likely to bring rewards rather than chasing what’s too far away.
Another SEO mistake is not realising you are in it for the long haul.
4. Prioritising (content) quantity over quality
It’s important to make sure there is a good balance between quality and quantity.
When producing content, and especially for SEO, it is easy to focus on the latter. But Google’s recurring updates and advice have always taught us we should always focus on the quality of the content. High quality content adds value to your audience. Period.
Good content also gets shared and Google will reward its popularity with better organic rankings in the SERPs.
You need to have a well researched and planned content calendar. This is to produce enough articles to keep your audience engaged (and because Google loves fresh content). But you also need to find the right balance and accommodate any external factors might alter your content schedule.
5. Not optimising for Local SEO and ‘near me’ searches
One of the major changes of the pandemic caused people to work more from home. This resulted in a sharp increase in the number of searches which included the ‘near me’ modifier and the continued growth (and importance) of Local SEO.
Almost every business should have a local listing with Google My Business, and also to optimise it for Local SEO. Often businesses neglect the importance of registering the business with the relevant local directories. Though this can be tedious, it’s surprising how much visibility from industry relevant local directories can add to your business local listings.
Additionally this can be the main factor for allowing your website to show up in Google Maps. This is useful for users searching for the products and/or services you offer and they add the location or ‘near me’ to their query.
Bonus: 6. Underestimating and underusing internal linking
Finally, we leave you with an additional bonus point. Do not underestimate, or underuse, the opportunity internal links provide. This is a common SEO mistake SEO agencies see time and time again.
Perhaps because we tend to think SEO it is all about acquiring new external links. But even in 2021 a good internal linking structure will increase the visibility of key internal pages, especially those not accessible through the homepage, main navigation and/or the footer.
Internal linking is often a missed opportunity. So after reading this article, why not take a look at your website or blog and start reviewing its internal linking?
Are you ready to avoid these SEO mistakes?
The year 2021 could be your opportunity to make SEO count, but to make this happen focus on the basics and do them right. Avoid the common SEO mistakes we have highlighted and make them your priority for the next couple of weeks or months. Not only you should start seeing the results, but you will also gain the motivation needed to tackle another year we expect will be full of challenges.
About the author
Andrea Atzori is the co-founder of Sydney’s SEO Agency Ambire. Andrea has over 20 year’s experience in Digital Marketing, SEM and SEO and has covered senior roles working for global agencies in the UK and Australia.