Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a pretty vital part of having a successful website foundation. But with it’s sometimes overwhelming components, it’s easy to make mistakes without realizing it.
And I’ll tell ya, with Google being pretty unforgiving sometimes, it’s important to be aware of the mistakes that could be derailing all of your efforts.
Making just one mistake could be detrimental to your website and your SEO rankings.
Which mistakes am I talking about?
The ones that most people overlook.
I’m not talking about SEO keyword mistakes or on-page optimization mistakes, all though those are extremely important to be aware of.
I’m talking about ignoring how your website works as a whole.
Google has straight up told us that how your website works is a HUGE part of your rankings.
And when I talk about “how your website works” I’m not just talking about your navigation menu and your contact form. I mean, those are absolutely important, but you also have to pay attention to the deeper foundational things.
Because Google’s main purpose is to give it’s users the BEST solution to their problem.
Google not only wants it’s users to find what they need easily and efficiently, but they want to deliver quality solutions to their users.
And problems with your website foundation could be disqualifying your site as “quality” according to Google.
Alright, let’s dive into the 3 SEO mistakes you’re making that are hurting your ranking.
#1. Website Speed
I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again.
The speed of your website matters.
Not only does website speed matter for you website visitors, it matters for SEO.
Users expect every single page on your website to load in under three seconds, and, therefore, so does Google.
And we’re not just talking on desktop, we’re talking mobile too.
How fast should your site be?
As fast as possible.
Sounds vague, but consider these stats:
- 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
- 40% of visitors will abandon a website page that takes 3 seconds or more to load.
How can you find out the speed of your website?
There are a couple free and easy to use tools available online that you can pop your website URL in, and the tools will scan your site and give you a website speed score, along with a step-by-step breakdown of exactly what the biggest problems are and how to improve them.
- Page Speed Insights by Google: lets you know how your site loads on both desktop and mobile
- Pingdom Page Speed
What else can you do to speed up your website?
Well that really depends on the platform that your website is on.
But one of the main culprits of a slow loading website, regardless of the platform, is having non-optimized images.
Good rule of thumb: Resize your images BEFORE you upload them to your website. If you’re uploading 4000px wide images, you’re making your website do a TON of heavy lifting.
#2. Broken Links
One of the ways search engines rank websites is by crawling their links.
If you have broken links on your website, it can stop search engine spiders from crawling your site. And if they can’t crawl it, they can’t index it to show up in search results.
And it’s not just “crawling issues” that broken links create, it’s issues with your overall SEO ranking too.
If you tend to leave broken links on your website for too long, it could signal to search engines that your website is “low-quality”, which we definitely want to avoid.
And then think about it in terms of a website user.
We’ve all been there, browsing a website, clicking a link, and then being told “that page doesn’t exist anymore.” No bueno.
It could leave a negative impression of your website with your visitors, especially if it happens more than once.
Not sure if you have broken links?
If your website has been around for at least a year, it’s very likely you have a few broken links.
Think about those blog posts you posted last year, did you link to any of your other blog posts in them? (I sure hope so! That’s an on-page SEO must)
But if you changed or deleted any pages, posts, or permalinks, you could have a broken link on your site.
And then what about other websites? Did any of the websites you’ve linked out to change their URL? Is the website still up?
Linking to a page, post, or website, that isn’t there any longer (or at least where you said it lived according to the URL) could result in a broken link.
How can you check to see if you have broken links?
The good news is, you don’t have to comb through your website page by page with a magnifying glass to see if any of your links are broken.
That would take forever.
You can run your website through a free broken link checker tool online and it will scan your website and give you a heads up on any broken links it finds!
My favorite broken link checker tool: Broken Link Check
We’ve all encountered the annoying pop-ups on sites that make us click away before we even see the page—but what about on your own website?
Have you thought about if and how pop-ups are hurting your SEO ranking? Because they totally can pack a negative punch if you’re not doing them right.
So, back in January of 2017, Google made the executive decision to penalize sites that use “intrusive interstitials:” essentially, what that means is pop-ups that don’t add anything (and often take away from) the user experience, the product, or the brand.
What should you be keeping in mind if you have pop-ups?
The timing of your pop-up matters.
If your pop-up happens as soon as a visitor lands on your homepage, it’s distracting and likely isn’t improving your user’s experience.
Instead of having the pop-up trigger on “entry”, have it trigger on “exit intent”.
(Lot’s of pop-up plugins and software programs have this as an option)
Even waiting until your user has been on the page for a minute, and then the pop-up appears, would be less abrupt.
#2. Forced Wait Time:
Are you making the user wait X seconds before they’re allowed to close out of the pop-up?
User’s don’t like that. And Google doesn’t like that.
#3. How easy are your pop-ups to close?
Is the “X” to close out of your pop-up insanely obvious? If it’s not, it’s considered a bad user experience.
This is especially common when viewing a website on a mobile device.
If your pop-up isn’t 100% mobile responsive and easy to close, it could be a major issue.
What kind of pop-ups are okay?
- Lightbox pop-ups (usually for image viewing)
- Cookie or legal notices
- Modules to help users log in to your site if they have an account
- Chat boxes (usually because they tend to help the user’s experience)
- Boxes that direct the user to leave feedback
- Small pop-ups that take up around 15% of the screen
Basically, if they’re not intrusive or disruptive to the browsing experience of the user, you should be good to go.
The key is relevance. You want to stay away from obnoxious or spammy pop-ups.
Wrapping it up!
We all know that improving your SEO is important in the web world, but what's equally as important is steering clear of these all too common SEO mistakes.
We don’t want all of your SEO efforts to slip through the cracks, especially when it can be avoided.
Implementing the solutions I outlined in the post will not only allow you to bump up your SEO rankings, they’ll also help you increase your website traffic AND make your website rock solid for the people that matter most, your target audience.
Have you made any of the mistakes above? How did you fix them?
Let us know in the comments!
Mariah Magazine is an online business coach & SEO strategist that helps online business owners figure out how to grow their business in a way that energizes them. Her zone of genius focuses on visibility, boosting traffic, finding the gaps in their market, and then zoning in to get results….without paying for ads.