10 Common Mistakes that are Hurting your SEO

October 23, 2012 Kirsten Thornton

Search engine optimization can be overwhelming and confusing. There are a few key tips to always remember when optimizing your site, but there are also a few key things to always watch out for. Make sure you're not letting your hard work be undone by any of these common mistakes.

1. Poor Choice of Keywords

Be smart about choosing the keywords you want for your website. Don't just choose 'Insurance' as your keyword. Do the research. Be Honest about your expectations. See what your competitors are up to. Use free tools like Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find keywords with high search volume in your target area.

2. Page Loading Time

For search engines, page loading time is an official ranking factor. Simply put, users are happier to use sites that load faster. This can also help decrease your bounce rate and increase conversion rates.

3. Poor URLs

Through Insurance Website Builder's console, customers can take advantage of customizable page URLs. Keeping generic file names like YourSite.com/12-info.html don't let the search engines or users know what your page is about. Naming your pages with descriptive URLs will give you a boost in the right direction.

4. Duplicate Content

The main point of SEO is to gain favor with search engines. Having content on your site that is elsewhere in the web makes the search engines work harder to figure out which content is the original. After a while, search engines will simply stop spending the extra time and effort crawling sites that have duplicate content. So make sure you're constantly addressing new topics in blog posts or replacing old content with new content to eliminate the chances of repeating yourself.

5. Default Title & Keywords

The first thing users see in search engine results is the content used in the Title and Description of your site. Don't leave your Title and Description as the default, which is probably just your agency name. Utilize your keywords and include information specific to your site and agency. This is often the first impression made upon users in search engines, so don't leave it to chance.

6. Choosing Looks over Content

It's easy to choose a great design and think that will be enough to attract users to your site. Unfortunately, users are attracted to sites through search engines, and search engines aren't attracted to design. Make sure you make your site desirable for both search engines and users.

7. Keyword Stuffing

Search engines cannot be manipulated. Do not repeat and inundate your site with keywords to the point where it comes off unnatural. This is frowned up on by search engines and turns users away. In the end, your traffic and ranking will both suffer.

8. Ignoring ALT Tags

An ALT tag is used on images to describe the photo. This has made ALT tags become an integral part of SEO, as they offer descriptions and make use of keywords. Images in particular reinforce what is considered highly important. Some search engines have lowered the importance of ALT tags, but they still remain an imperative and required element of SEO.

9. Quantity over Quality

When it comes to link building and backlinking, some think that the more links, the better. This is not always the case. As mentioned in this list of valuable tips, link to other trusted, authoritative sites. As with keyword stuffing, going overboard is unnatural and frowned upon by search engines. Concentrate on building relevant links, rather than a certain amount of links.

10. Set It & Forget It

The most common and dangerous SEO mistake is when sites are updated once, then forgotten about. Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and always looking for something new, so don't let your site go stale. Updating, blogging, and coming up with new content may not be easy, but it's necessary. Pick keywords, utilize a strategy, and be consistent for a few months. At that point, feel free to research new keywords and repeat the process all over again. But do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, think that SEO is a one-time project or commitment.

There are many ways to make your rankings increase, but be weary of quick fixes. SEO is a slow and steady process. As quickly as your ranking rise, they can also fall. It's important to maintain your SEO efforts, so make sure you're keeping a steady pace. Be sure you're looking out for the easy mistakes that so commonly hurt and reverse SEO efforts. Follow this list, as well as this beneficial list to make sure your site is heading in the right direction.

About the Author

Kirsten Thornton

Having always been a computer nerd, Kirsten Thornton works on the HTML and CSS that drives Insurance Website Builder websites. Before joining ITC in 2010, Kirsten had the unique experience of attending Loyola University in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. The storm left the school with costly repairs and lower attendance so she switched majors to graphic design when computer science got cut. Kirsten balances a mixture of back-end coding, front-end designing, New Orleans culture, and Texas pride.

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