18 Dec 10 Mistakes You’re Making with Your On-Site SEO
There are hundreds of factors that Google looks at to determine how to rank your site, both those found on your site and off of your site. But when it comes down to it, a site that doesn’t have solid on-site SEO practices doesn’t have much chance of ranking well in the SERPs. To help you make sure your site is on the right track to being in good SEO shape, we’ve compiled a list of 10 common mistakes often made with on-site SEO.
1. Not Using Title Tags Correctly
Title tags are one of the main factors Google looks at to determine what your site is all about. They’re important for Google, but also for those viewing your search results on Google.
Some site owners never bother with optimizing their title tags in the first place, while others might optimize them too much by making them too long or stuffing them with keywords and location terms.
Proper title tags should:
- Be 50-60 characters
- Have a unique version for each page
- Describe the topic of that particular page
- Include keywords in a natural, readable format
- Also included branded terms for the site itself
2. Ignoring Meta Descriptions
Even though Google doesn’t consider these as a ranking factor any longer, they’re still important for improving click-through rates for your site from the SERPs. Meta descriptions should give searchers an expanded description of its specific page and website that compliments the title tag in about 150 characters. Nowadays, Google often shows custom meta description snippets based on specific searches, but it’s still best practice to create unique, compelling meta descriptions for each page on your site.
Even though it might be tempting to adopt a super minimalistic, image-based web design for its sleek look, not having crawlable HTML content is practically an SEO death wish. It’s important that your home page and major sub-pages have at least a couple hundred words of content that incorporate relevant terms to what you’re offering and where you’re located. Otherwise, Google will have a hard time knowing where to place your site in the SERPs.
4. Keyword Stuffing
While HTML content is important, trying too hard to optimize it is a big SEO no-no. Stuffing your site content full of relevant terms and locations might have been effective about a decade ago, but today it can actually make your site worse off. If you have poor website copy that’s hard to read due to excessive keywords or even lists or paragraphs including location after location, it’s time to make a change. Website copy should be written first and foremost for the reader, not the search engine. Keywords and locations should only be used when it makes sense for readability.
5. Not Implementing 301 redirects
If you’ve migrated to a new site, or are planning on it in the near future, 301 redirects are important to make sure all of the old pages get permanently redirected to the proper new page.
Even if you haven’t migrated sites, 301 redirects still play an important role in making sure no duplicate versions of your site exists. If you can access your site by typing in www.example.com, example.com, or even www.example.com/index.html, then you need to work on your 301 redirects. While these versions all look the same to you, Google views them as duplicate sites.
6. Your URLs Don’t Include Semantics
Do the URLs of your site’s subpages look something like this? www.example.com/index.php?pageid=57
If you’re not able to determine what a particular page is all about based on its unique domain, Google can’t, either. Making the simple change to semantic (i.e. readable) URLs like www.example.com/white-shoes can make a big different in the quality of your on-site SEO.
7. No Img Alt Tags
If you have images on your site and haven’t optimized their alt text, you’re missing out on another area where you could spruce up your on-site SEO. These aren’t a huge ranking factor, but they can still add some relevance to your page. Img alt text should describe what the image is and can (if it does so naturally) include relevant key terms. Img alt text should not, however, be a place to just stuff keywords. Optimized img alt text can be a good way to improve your site’s visibility through Google image search, too.
No one likes to click on a broken link, and Google doesn’t like them either. Doing some regular basic housekeeping on your site can prevent it from accumulating a large amount of broken links that can be a red flag for Google. If you’re uncertain about your site’s current status with broken links, a broken link analysis might be helpful.
9. Nonexistent XML Sitemap
These are easy to set up and cost nothing, so it’s always best practice to implement on your site. These will be particularly beneficial for sites with a large number of pages to tell Google what pages exist and where.
10. No Google Analytics
If you don’t know how people are using your site, you won’t know how to improve it. Setting up a Google analytics account is one of the best ways to learn how visitors are finding your site and how they use your site once they click on it. If you haven’t implemented Google Analytics on your site yet, start today!
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of every on-site SEO ranking factor, making sure your site doesn’t make these 10 mistakes can definitely give you a leg up on your competition. Have questions about the state of your on-site SEO or need assistance with correcting any of these 10 mistakes? Multifuse can help! Contact us today.