The 7 Worst SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Among the many websites that make up the internet, there is information on just about every subject. But let’s just say SEO is on your mind today. If you perform a broad search for SEO techniques, hundreds of articles and millions of videos pop up in an instant. Here’s our guide to the 7 worst SEO mistakes to avoid on your website.

While knowing how to optimize your business on any search engine is beneficial, at Idea we believe being aware of your SEO mistakes (and fixing them) is even more important.

As industry professionals specializing in custom web design, digital marketing strategy, and all things in between, Idea is here to cover the 7 SEO mistakes you should avoid in order to boost your SEO ranking for your website.

What Is SEO?

Straight from one of the top search engine companies in the world, Google provides a great definition. “SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of including content on your site that has the potential to improve your site’s visibility to search engines and their users. In other words, SEO can help your site show up more often in relevant searches.”

The SEO ranking of your website directly correlates to more views, more clicks, and more conversions – meaning more money in your pocket! Improving your ranking by just a few spots can mean exponentially more users clicking on your website. But that also means if you slide a few spots down in the rankings you are losing out on more opportunities, so you need to pay attention to common, easy-to-fix SEO mistakes.

Avoiding SEO mistakes is crucial to getting more traffic to your website, and maintaining a successful business. Here are the worst SEO mistakes that are dragging your website’s ranking down.

The Top 7 SEO Mistakes to Fix Right Now

Mistakes are bound to happen. What matters is that you fix them as fast as you can! Keeping an eye out for these 7 common SEO mistakes will help keep you on the right track to improve your website ranking. 

1. Why Keyword Stuffing Hurts Your SEO

Keyword Stuffing Hurts Your SEO

While getting your keywords into your content is an important way to improve your SEO ranking, overdoing it can actually be more harmful than helpful! It’s one of the most common SEO mistakes.

While incorporating keywords triggers SEO searches that match, overusing phrases or keywords drops your SEO rank. Search engines filter for the cheap overuse of keywords as it isn’t a true way to provide authentic content for users. Keyword stuffing makes your content have poor readability for whoever visits. 

By weakening the user experience level of your website, your rank will also weaken. Avoid this common SEO mistake and don’t let keyword stuffing knock your website down in SEO rankings!

You might be asking, well how do I write my phrase enough times to be considered relevant and avoid keyword stuffing? The answer is content marketing! With a solid content marketing plan, you create new content each month and this content can feature a healthy number of keywords for SEO. Together, along with a lot of other SEO magic(techniques), this content marketing plan will allow you to use your key phrases enough to signal that your website is relevant to search engines. 

It doesn’t happen overnight, and you can expect to write dozens of content pieces that are at minimum 2,000 words long. If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it is, but to rank well on SEO it takes a lot of work and there are no cutting corners. When you cut corners you make mistakes, and SEO mistakes will cost you!

If you don’t have the time, resources, or technical understanding to develop a comprehensive content marketing plan, don’t worry. You can always try a content marketing plan from the experts! They understand how to craft quality content that engages users and avoids common and uncommon SEO mistakes!

2. Use Your Key Phrases In Your H1 and H2’s to Prevent SEO Mistakes

Now that you know to use your keywords in a natural, readable way that doesn’t interfere with the user, it is time to learn where to use them! Obviously, your main and related keywords should be written throughout the content of the page, but using your website headers is another strategic way to perform better on SEO rankings. 

By including your main keyword in your H1, your main title of the page reinforces and shows search engines more importance to this SEO ranking keyword. But keywords shouldn’t be saved for only the H1. Having the main keyword and related keywords frequently in any other H2 or H3 paragraph headings as well helps to track that keyword well for increased SEO rankings. 

Your headings are also another great opportunity to not just use the keywords, but long-tail key phrases, like questions that users may type into the search engine. For example, instead of writing “SEO example?” consider using “What are some examples of SEO?” or “What is an SEO example?”

The second phrase is worded like a question that someone may type into Google. By having these exact phrases in your headers you increase the quality of your page in the eyes of the search engine. Avoiding keyword stuffing and using your keywords correctly is one of the most important SEO mistakes you want to avoid.

Prioritize Keyword Research for SEO Optimization

3. Prioritize Keyword Research for SEO Optimization

Using your keywords appropriately is only part of avoiding SEO mistakes though. Making sure to do your SEO keyword research and select relevant keywords is extremely important. Not only does this help increase your rankings, but SEO keyword research allows you to keep track of the relevant shorttail and longtail SEO phrases related to your topic. 

Some main factors to take into consideration when determining what SEO keywords to choose for the month or for a blog are volume, rank, and keyword difficulty

Higher volume means that a specific keyword is getting a lot of traffic – it is a common SEO word people are searching for. But when SEO ranking keywords have too much volume, it can be harder for your content to get noticed even with it being a popular search word since many other websites are also writing content on this. Typically, the broader the keyword, the greater the volume.

Keyword rank is your website page’s specific SEO ranking on a search results page for a particular keyword search query. Ranking higher up can be beneficial to generate more views for your content. 

Keyword difficulty quantifies how difficult it is to rank on a search engine for that particular keyword. A lower difficulty score typically means it is easier to get SEO rankings. Keywords with a decent search volume and low difficulty are ideal targets for your SEO plan. However, that doesn’t mean they are the only targets worth tackling.

Sometimes, if you are struggling to see an impact from your SEO and content marketing it may be worth targeting lower volume keywords that are low in difficulty. While these will not lead to huge levels of traffic, your website can become an authority for these phrases and build your domain authority which will improve your SEO over time.

We discuss this more in our blog, The 10 Most Common Misconceptions About SEO (and why SEO is worth it!).

Just remember that these keyword rules are not set in stone. With unique combinations of all three, at times having a higher or lower keyword volume, rank, or difficulty can be beneficial. Keyword analysis can be very particular but paying attention to these small details can help to avoid SEO mistakes. 

Backlinks are an important part of the formula search engines use when providing SEO ranking to websites. Using them wrong, however, is one of the SEO mistakes you need to avoid. When it comes to backlinks, adding internal and external links to your website allows you to strengthen your SEO rankings in two main ways. 

Why Internal Linking is Important for SEO

Having an internal linking strategy provides further support by connecting to other pages of your website. This naturally connects users to other related company information while keeping them within your website. This increases statistics such as average time on a page, and average clicks each page is receiving. 

These internal links to other content also help improve the overall SEO for your website. The links themselves should also be created with some thought behind them. Instead of using generic terms like “to learn more about linking click here” use specific SEO phrases like “Here’s the best internal linking strategy for your website.”

The links should be descriptive and also relevant to the content of the page that they link to. Using phrases in the link that aren’t relevant to the page content they link to will not help your SEO, in fact, it could hurt it. Its one of the common SEO mistakes we run into with our clients!

How External Links Build SEO

Another form of link that should be an important part of your link-building strategy is external links. External links improve your SEO ranking by supporting your website with professional, authoritative sources to third-party websites.

Your third-party linking should always be to an authoritative source, like Pew Research, Forbes, etc. Linking to government websites and .orgs are also considered authoritative links and beneficial to your backlink strategy.

Current SEO standards include a recommendation for at least one external link in each piece of content (blogs, news, or case studies) that you post.

Pro tip: when adding internal or external links, always make sure they are edited on the back end to open on a new tab! This helps to prevent users from accidentally navigating away from your site. 

While internal and external links are limitlessly helpful, beware! Changing the original link URL without creating a 301 redirect will bring up a 404 error code, which means not found. 

After changing a URL it’s crucial to update that link wherever the old URL is placed on your website. If you skip this step your readers will not be able to find the content you’re directing them to. 301 redirects help to provide a feasible solution to avoid causing even more SEO mistakes! 

5. How Slow Websites Affect SEO

Slow Website Speed Performance on SEO

Slow website speeds hinder SEO rankings. Search engines highly prioritize the user experience, and a slow website makes it more difficult for them to find the information they need. 

Do you know what speed your website pages are downloaded and displayed? If your answer is no, then you need to check out Page Speed Insights. This tool will diagnose performance issues on your mobile and desktop site, provide a score for both mobile and desktop and showcase suggestions for improvement. 

There are tons of ways to optimize your website speed like minimizing JavaScript and CSS files, reducing plugins, and more. One of the biggest killers for website speeds is images which is why it is one of our SEO mistakes to avoid!

6. Don’t Forget – Optimize Images for SEO too

Pictures are a great visual aid in your website content. They break up paragraphs, provide visual interest, and keep users on your website for longer. In fact, it’s a good idea to have an image or graphic in every scroll of content.

While images are critical, they could be where you are making a few SEO mistakes! Here are some tips about images and SEO:

Why Larger Images Are Not SEO Friendly 

As we just discussed, your website speed is also a key factor in your SEO techniques. Larger images can slow down your website and reduce your SEO ranking. Make sure to downsize your images before uploading. The proper size should be no more than 200 KB and the proper file format should be .jpg or .png.  

There are great free tools available online to compress your images like With these resources, you can easily avoid SEO mistakes related to image sizing!

What is Image Alt Text?

Alt text, also known as alt tags, is written text explaining what an image is, helping in cases where the image is not displayed or providing ADA-friendly visuals. The United States Government states, “We must provide alternative text for images, audio files, videos, and all other non-text elements published online.”

 Alt text provides a way to establish the purpose of the content. Alt text helps search engine crawlers which in turn boosts SEO rankings. For information on how to write appropriate alt text for images, videos, and more, check out the U.S. Government accessibility article.

For your website images, utilize your keywords on that by incorporating them into the alt tag of a least one image, especially the featured one! 

If you want to learn more about how to leverage images correctly in your content marketing, check out our article 8 Expert Tips For Image Content Use in 2022.

7. Content Length Requirements for SEO Ranking Improvement

Content Length Requirements For SEO Ranking Improvement

Simple enough to remember: the more content written, the higher you can rank. While this isn’t exactly helping your carpal tunnel, there is a method to this madness. 

By having longer content, it is easier for Google to determine what your article is about. More content helps the search engine crawl, interpret the information, and rank it in the relevant SERPs.

According to RankMath, a top-rated SEO tool, “The main word count you should be aiming at  for regular pages and posts is above 600 words.” It is important to note that longer blogs perform better. So when writing a blog it is better to have between 1,500 to 2,000 words. A piece of pillar content should be no less than 2,500 words. 

Idea Marketing Group still believes in quality over quantity, meaning you shouldn’t write content just to increase word count. At the end of the day, if there are relative topics to expand your blog or page content, that’s great! But we don’t recommend adding words just to stretch your website copy. 

If you run into writer’s block, you can always rely on our expert digital marketers and SEO experts to write your content for you through our seo marketing plans.

Let the Leading Chicago SEO Experts, Idea Marketing Group, Optimize Your Website SEO

If you are saying to yourself, “Wow my website has these SEO mistakes”, then it may be time to contact Idea Marketing Group.  Avoiding or correcting these 7 SEO mistakes will do wonders for your search engine optimization. 

Not sure where to start? Check to make sure these SEO mistakes are not currently happening on your website. If they do not need to worry, that’s what we are here for.  

At Idea Marketing Group we understand how these mistakes can be easily performed which is why we would love to help you reach your SEO goals. Running a business is time-consuming. Thinking about SEO mistakes may not be your priority right now, but with the help of Idea Marketing Group you will be ecstatic you took the opportunity to have better SEO.

Idea Marketing Group is a top-rated Chicago web design company and marketing agency. We strive to build long-term relationships with our clients. We will create more brand awareness for your company and help you stand out online. Whether you want to review an existing marketing campaign or start a new one, we are just one call away and ready to help.