Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Why Did My Website's Google Rankings Drop?

Did your website drop from the first page of Google to nowhere overnight?

Are you checking your ranking and slowly going down or not showing up at all?

Most Common Mistakes

Google’s algorithms are aimed at helping people find “high-quality” sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content.

But rankings can fluctuate for multiple reasons. Sometimes its due to human error and preventable.

The quick list of why sites drop:

  1. Tracking the wrong keywords
  2. Recent Google algorithm update
  3. New website
  4. Low quality content
  5. Low quality links
  6. Losing high quality links
  7. Cheap hosting
  8. Google penalty
  9. Competitors trying harder
  10. Business moved locations

What Can You Do?

Useful Google guides to read:

Business owners contact me all the time saying:

I have always had great ranking for my website, it showed up at the top of page one and I was getting a lot of business. Then something happened!

How could this happen? And what can you do to fix the problem and get the traffic and leads going again?

Unfortunately, SEO mistakes can occur.

Interns, hacked sites, poor content, mobile issues and mismanagement can break a site and devastate a business without warning.

Once a major loss damages and disrupts a business, the battle as a site owner has just begun.

Below are more in-depth explanations on what not to do to improve your SEO and ranking.

On-Page SEO Mistakes

#1: Content Quantity Rather Than Quality

Content is still king. While there are other elements of SEO important to reaching the top of the search engines, high quality content remains at the top of the list.

Google says:

low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content.

How To Fix This: First step is to find the weak content on your website. To do this you can go to Google and type site:domain.com and see what pages are indexed in Google. From there determine what pages should be there, and if there are pages that should be deleted. If you built your site from a WordPress theme its possible you have pages and pages of irrelevant content indexed and worst it has nothing to do with your business.

#2: Unnatural Links

The effects of low quality link schemes is silent but deadly. Unsuspected business owners can be subject to these penalties.

Unethical SEO companies build poor backlinks on spammy third party sites to generate short term results for clients. Kinda like steriods for websites.

But be aware, Google’s webspam team may take manual actions on unnatural links.

When a manual action is taken, Google will notify through Webmaster Tools. If you have a warning for unnatural links to your site, it’s best to remove these links and request a reconsideration.

How to Fix This: You can fix unnatural links by making sure they don’t pass PageRank. To do this, add a rel=”nofollow” or remove the links entirely.

After fixing or removing your unnatural links to your site, let Google know about your change by submitting a reconsideration request in Search Console.

#3: General SEO Mistakes

If you’re handling the SEO for your site, investigating these key areas is going to help you kick major butt in fixing your seo issues.

  1. Lack of communication: Before you panic, check with your marketing department, It department or in-house webmaster. A simple seo fix might be one email away.
  2. Site crawl errors: Website errors can prevent your site from showing up in search engines. Use Google Webmaster Tools to find your site crawl errors.
  3. Search engine algo changes: Learning about algorithms can help pinpoint recent fluctuation in your sites ranking. Moz has a great historical record of Google updates.
  4. Recent site updates: If your site was recently updated by a team member, its possibly they inadvertently triggered an seo failure.
  5. Recent CMS updates: WordPress sites regularly undergo system wide software updates to fix bugs and exploitation. If your site has custom features, its possible a recent update triggered an seo mistake.
  6. Domain name expired: It’s possible your credit card was expired and your Domain Registrar could not charge your card to renew your domain.

#4: On-Page Technical SEO Issues

After examining your big picture SEO health, its time to find and fix the problem.  A large majority of SEO problems are due to human error.

  • Rel=canonicals: The rel=canonical tag functions as a 301 redirect for search engines without physically redirecting readers.
  • Nofollow links: If used in the wrong places it Nofollow links can cause havoc by no passing along link juice to deeper pages.
  • Meta Robots: Excludes individual pages from search results.
  • Robots.txt: A text file created by webmasters to tell search engine robots how to crawl and index your site.
  • Page titles: Verify their visibility in search results and in your source code.
  • H1 tags: Verify your H1 tags contain relevant keywords to describe your pages.
  • Forgetting Image Tags: Ensure every single image on your website is optimized to be searched and indexed by search spiders by including ALT tags on each image.
  • AJAX sites: Sometimes they can serve search engines the wrong content.  This is common with website builders like Wix.
  • Hreflang: Verify your language tags are serving the correct pages.
  • Navigation links: Verify that you have not recently changes your site wide navigation. Lack of links to deeper pages can hamper their placement in search results.
  • Internal-links: Same concept as above but related to links within the content of a page.
  • Meta Descriptions: Used to describe the content of a page to visitors in search results. Verify their visibility in search results and in your source code.
  • Shared Hosting: Sometimes servers go down and neighbors commit crimes. Check with your hosting provider and make sure your site does not share the same IP with shady neighbors.
  • Https / SSL: Duplicate content issues can arise if you are serving both secured and unsecured sites to search engines.
  • Failed plugins: When not consistently maintained, plugins can have a cascading effect on the rest of your website.
  • Site Speed: Google uses site speed as an SEO ranking factor—not a huge one, but definitely an important one.
  • WordPress reading settings: Visit the reading settings in your WordPress dashboard. Make sure you unclicked the Search Engine Visibility button that says Discourage search engines from indexing this site.

#5: Failure To React To Changes In Google’s Algorithm

Any SEO will tell you Google does not share their ranking algorithm with the general public. In fact it’s the job of SEO companies to understand, and to an extent, replicate the algorithm. But there is still nothing better than information released directly from Google itself.

How to Fix This: Google Search Console is a completely free tool that takes a few seconds to set up. Some of the analytical highlights include:

  • Website impressions, clicks, CTR, and position by page and keyword
  • Robot crawl stats & errors
  • Sitemap/robots.txt configuration
  • Structured data tools
  • HTML improvement recommendations (e.g. title tags and meta descriptions)
  • Site link structure analysis
  • Website security monitoring

Preventative SEO

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventative SEO is something everybody hates, whether its your car, home or SEO, nothing can seem more costly than paying money before its broke.

But often paying to fix a problem is far more.

Lucky for online marketers, it’s easy to avoid SEO disasters by following a couple of steps.

  • On-site diagnostics: Regularly determine the baseline health of your site’s SEO.
  • On-site monitoring: Your site is active 24 hours a day. Knowing if your site goes down is crucial to the long term health of your SEO.
  • Search algorithm updates: Google makes major updates every year. Knowing about those updates can give you a better understanding of why your search results are fluctuating.
  • Email alerts: Computers never sleep. Scheduling email alerts is a great way to monitor the health of your site.
  • Best practice training: SEO changes on a quarterly basis. Continued education is critical to the health of your site and SEO campaign.

SEO Tools

Think of on-site diagnostics like running a blood test. Many of the problems sites have with SEO is not visible with the naked eye.

Using SEO reporting tools can help you identify and fix a problem before it effects your SERPs.

Monitoring the health and stability of your site is crucial to inbound marketing.

The same tools used to benchmark success can be used to stem disaster.

Tools to use:

  • Google Analytics: Monitor for major and subtle traffic changes.
  • Google Webmaster Tools: Use the search analytics dashboard to benchmark your current position with the previous months position. Use this to determine if you have any isseus that should be addressed.
  • Jetpack Notifications: WordPress sites have the advantage of leveraging up-time alerts through Jetpack. the faster you know about a situation the more time you have to repair it.
  • Site Analyzer: I will generate quick and simple SEO reports for any page of your site.
  • MozCast: If Google is up to something you can be rest assured that MozCast will alert you.
  • SEMRush: Maybe you want to learn more about your website. Maybe you want to spy on a competitor. SEMrush allows you to do both.
  • Raven Tools: Raven offers a variety of SEO tools, including its popular website auditor.
  • DeepCrawl: Discover missed opportunities with your site structure, orphaned pages, and SEO effects on UX.

Search Engine News and Updates

Keeping tabs on your search health is an important task. This includes monitoring your own ranking performance but also keeping track of recent search algorithm updates.

Major fluctuations in search ranking is a telltale sign of a bigger problem. It could be an on-site technical SEO issue or an off-site SEO issue related to a recent Google algo update.

Blogs to read:

SEO Training

In the fast-paced SEO field, continuing education is important for career growth and improvement. Maintaining best practice training in SEO, is just as important as any other industry.

Guides to read:

Conferences to attend:

Conclusion

Once you make a few key SEO changes to your website, you may soon realize you have only touched the tip of the iceberg.

Dealing with extensive search engine optimization (SEO) damage and financial losses can be a daunting task, especially for owners who are not prepared, or unfamiliar, with finding SEO mistakes.

95 responses to “Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid”

  1. Scarlett Johnson says:

    Thanks for explaining about the seo mistakes and thank you so much for giving me the tools and list and how to prevent site crawl errors etc..Definitely I will share with my seo team of my company.

  2. Shahla Banu says:

    Hi,
    Well written post. SEO is a important fact to more traffic. The mistakes make in SEO is effect to reach your goal. Current mistakes essentials. That is the important of this blog. Everyone want to careful about all the points you mentioned. And you say how to prevent site crawl errors. All the things you defined are essential.Thanks for sharing this content

    • Charlie Rose says:

      Glad you found these tips useful. And hopefully you aren’t suffering from some of these common SEO mistakes.

  3. Thanks for sharing i got lots of knowledge.

  4. Hi Charlie,
    You have killed it, mentioned every possible factor which affects SEO.
    Thanks, for sharing knowledge and its a great post on SEO which I came through these days. I would suggest my Students read and bookmark this post. Thanks and keep doing good work.

  5. Michael says:

    A big thanks to clear the doubts, but I’m having issues in my webmaster tool which is: hEntry … I’m really confused how to solve that can you please make a detailed post on that issue. Thanks in advance!

  6. Mark says:

    I would like to say thank you for what you have done. I’m a beginner in marketing world and now I feel much more confident in ecommerce marketing

  7. Naevias SEO says:

    Hi Charlie,

    This article is amazing! There are definitely a lot of takeaways to improve my knowledge about SEO mistakes. Everything you’ve provided is useful and in general applicable to every website’s SEO.
    I want to thank you for the great information and keep providing amazing content!
    best regards,
    Elias

  8. Stacystone says:

    It is actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  9. It’s really a helpful article. I actually focus on keyword research for SEO. if you get keyword use wrong, you’ll seriously hurt your business. That’s because you’ll miss out on the benefits of getting organic traffic when people click through to your site from a list of search results.

  10. carl says:

    Once you add a ssl cert and make your site https and put a re-direct on the old http. Should I delete the http to avoid duplicated content?

  11. Peter says:

    I do think that main points in your article are vitally important in SEO. First of all of course day to day analysis and as you call it preventing SEO. Other thanks for a warning about unnatural links. It’s kind of traps and pitfalls in seo-strategy.

    • Charlie Rose says:

      Its beast to keep an eye on whats going on on a daily basis. Either reviewing it weekly or monthly but tracking it daily.

  12. Awesome blog. Thank you for sharing your nice post. I understand Seo mistake fairly & its help me. Thank You Sir.

  13. kishore says:

    Thanks for your valuable insights

  14. kishore says:

    Thanks for your valuable insights. Keep up the good work

  15. ravi says:

    Dear Charlie Rose,
    These insights are invaluable for teacher like me. i follow in my site also teach to students all the points which you mentioned here. thanks and please write another post how to add rich snippets to cms using manual method if possible. it would be great for me and my students.

  16. Mac Balor says:

    I must say a big thanks for clearly explaining the common SEO mistakes to be avoided, general and technical SEO issues are useful for every digital marketer, best thing in blog is the SEO prevention and tools that are going to help every professional in the SEO team, each and every word is must read.

  17. Valentin says:

    Great advice thanks for sharing.

  18. Max says:

    Thanks for sharing this article Currently working on seo just submitted the xml file on webmaster waiting for indexing.

  19. I look at a lot of articles and this is a good one. For real! I see way too many “spammy” complements given for articles that have very little quality info within them. Aside from the link resources the section on technical SEO is a great section to give people some food for thought to do some follow-up research on.
    Thanks for that.

  20. JB says:

    Hello, nice article. I just curiuos, how moz cast determine Google algorithm changes?

    • Charlie Rose says:

      Pretty sure a lot of it has to do with tracking fluctuations in their own personal index thats based on Googles. Plus feedback from people like ourselves and others.

  21. Amol Pomane says:

    Good Post. How SEO mistakes will generate a broken link and increase the bounce rate?

  22. 10seos says:

    Great article. You have covered every single detail in this. A big help for all seo people. Thanks for sharing the article. I really liked the way you explained everything in simple way.

  23. Alex says:

    Great article. Thanks a lot, it was very useful for me and my first steps in SEO.

  24. Ridley Fitzgerald says:

    Thanks for the clarification on what to do with SEO. It makes sense that a lot of issues stem from human error, so that list is helpful. Can I do SEO for my personal blog? I don’t own a business or anything, but more traffic would be nice.

  25. Manish says:

    must say it’s so useful
    I understand Seo mistake fairly & it’s helped me.
    Thank You, Sir.

  26. Drell Torres says:

    A very helpful blog. Indeed, in doing SEO, mistakes are inevitable. But this blog helps us to be aware of the things to keep an eye, especially to the owners who are unprepared, unfamiliar with finding the error. Also, for the SEO’s who do the task, these would serve as guidelines and few reminders to be awakened again. Great Job!

  27. Braden Bills says:

    I’ve always wondered what consideration goes into SEO. It makes sense that you would want to ensure that you find a company that uses good methods! You want to find one that knows that spamming isn’t a good way to make a business more popular.

  28. Scott Cooper says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on SEO. I’m interested…How do you tell what directory sites are Spammy?

    Thanks

    • Charlie Rose says:

      Great question. Typically we start with a visual examination and then crawl it for other signals that point to quality vs. spammy sites.

  29. Sameer Shah says:

    I have a drastically lose position on serp; why?

  30. These are the common problem, we should avoid while optimized our website. Thank for such a interesting article.

  31. I’m really enjoying your web content. Thanks for sharing this article. It will help other users as well :).

  32. Roma Sindhi says:

    Thanks Charlie for sharing this. Google Webmasters is a great tool; it helped us check our indexing issues and optimizing our website better.

  33. kate says:

    Thank you, this info is helpful Very informative, Even the comments and responses that you are giving are so informative, I got the answers I needed. Still learning and enjoying!!!! Thanks and Best Regards!

  34. Viva Traffic says:

    The less mistakes we know not to make, the more WINS. Great article!

  35. SEO says:

    Do you mind if I re-purpose this content? Awesome stuff.

    • Charlie Rose says:

      We don’t mind if you site some of our examples in your article. But its not good for anybody if you copy it all. Once you put up your post let us know.

  36. John Weekes says:

    Thanks Charlie,
    Good to see info put out there that isn’t a gimmick or a ‘one weird trick to fix your SEO’ type site. SEO is a skill, and like all skills it takes time, patience and a few bumps along the way to master.
    I’m just at the beginning of my journey, and now have your site bookmarked as a place to come for good advice.

    Thanks again,
    John

  37. cbd shop says:

    Thanks for explaining about the seo mistakes and thank you so much for giving me the tools and list and how to prevent site crawl errors etc..Definitely I will share with my seo team of my company.

  38. Awesome and Very Informative Article on mistakes that we make in SEO. Thank you so much, It Helps me a lot!!!

  39. Softnos says:

    very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

  40. Mario Briana says:

    You share the great seo points for avoid the seo mistake. I read your blog and you very well explain the seo mistake avoid. Thanks for the great information share with me.

  41. marcel says:

    grate mistake is not buying links. google is all about high backlinks, that’s all

  42. Ranjeeta says:

    Hello sir i want know about my website my website name is seopitara my ranking is droped but am not understand the reason please help me . Your all seo point is nice am applied all point in my website thankyou.

  43. Thanks for mentioning cheap hosting. I think hosting plays a vital role in SEO as website loading speed largely depends on hosting. Moreover, nowadays website loading speed is a very important ranking factor.

  44. Abhishek says:

    Hello Charlie Rose.

    I have reviewed your whole article and it is very helpful to understand, what is the main reason to drop keywords ranking. Can you suggest best backlink checker tools (free or paid) both.

  45. Hello Charlie,
    Its amazing to read about SEO and digital marketing stuffs. I am also to this things and love to read different blogs and ideas of people sharing their own perspective. keep up the coolness 🙂 it’s great.

  46. Good tips for SEO mistakes. I can definitely relate with these as I have made a bunch of them when I was starting out. But these will always be evergreen mistakes to learn from.

  47. Hi Charlie,
    Excellent and precise points, thanks! Even seasoned SEOers tend to commit these mistakes every now and then. I’d like to add another mistake: not spying your competitors. Before building links or mapping your content, it is important to spy your competitors to find out what they are doing that is working, so you can replicate it and even improve it.

  48. Awesome and Very Informative Article. Thank you so much, It Helps me a lot!

  49. Hi Charlie,
    Very nice post, I certainly love this website, keep on it.

  50. ramakrishnan says:

    Thanks for sharing this list of ranking factors. These are very important to keep in mind these factors for ranking of a website. Keep sharing more articles like this.

  51. ramakrishnan says:

    Thanks for sharing information on common SEO mistakes. It is very important to avoid these mistakes for better ranking. Please share more articles on Seo. Your articles are very informative.

  52. kiran sahu says:

    Thanks for the good overview. I am currently trying to dig deeper into the topic and it’s easy to do the various methods for link building but very hard to not step into the common traps. Your article helped me to avoid some of them.
    Cheers.

  53. viona dsouza says:

    This was such an informative article! It emphasized the importance of keeping track of the Google algorithm updates and keeping a tab on your own page ranking. this article will further help me incorporate such lessons in my training sessions.

    • Charlie Rose says:

      Thanks for reading my blog post on Common SEO mistakes. Many fluctuations can be brought back to algo updates. While it doesn’t always tell you what you did wrong it does give you the feeling of “oh I didn’t break something”.

  54. Hussain says:

    Mainly, the low quality content is the main reason why site drops. If the content is poorly optimized, the dwell time decreases, bounce rate increases and the rankings ultimately falls down. It often related to bad keyword research and low quality backlinks too.

  55. Lilly Watson says:

    Thanks for sharing! I don’t know what happens to my site. I am very disappointed. It happens after two days of adding Google Adsense to my site. Can you provide in details and the steps how could I overcome from this situation?

  56. Suchhafen says:

    This is probably one of the most valuable posts I’ve seen in a while. I can definitely relate to having unwanted no-follow links being a trouble-shooter.

    Thanks for putting this together!

    • Charlie Rose says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read our blog on common SEO problems and leave a comment. Is there anything you would add to the list?

  57. It’s really a helpful article.
    I actually focus on keyword research for SEO.
    if you get keyword use wrong, you’ll seriously hurt your business. That’s because you’ll miss out on the benefits of getting organic traffic when people click through to your site from a list of search results.

  58. Thanks for identifying these common mistakes in SEO. I like the helpful info you supply for your articles. Good read!

  59. After new algorithm update my site visitor drop. I don’t know how to recover from this problem, please suggest me how to recover from sudden drop in serp. Thanks!

  60. Thee Bazaar says:

    Thanks for sharing an amazing piece of information on a topic that remains untouched by others. The best part about this article is that it has covered all the Necessary questions that one must ask from a digital marketing agency.

  61. Steve says:

    Hi Charlie, really helpful article for those who have not much knowledge of SEO and for those who are facing problems to improve their blog rank on search engines. I also found many things in this article which I think would help me a lot.

  62. Mohammed Asgar Khan says:

    @Rose, It is a wonderful article and a great help to beginners like to avoid mistakes and makes more out of it.. thanks for sharing a piece of your knowledge.

  63. Shrikant dadhich says:

    Yes, I agree with you. We should avoid these mistakes…thanks for this helpful article

  64. Roy says:

    Hi,

    I was looking to a way to index my site on google when I came across your blog, I must confess that it is very informative.

    Was also trying to check the theme you used here, but couldn’t get the name.

    Thanks.

  65. S22 creative Studio says:

    Avoid Content Sharing and blogging in Low DA PA website and consider spam score for how much and after do Posting Comments or Image.
    Social bookmarking is very important only do in High pr website..!

  66. Hasikar Technologies says:

    Thank you for this post. I love to read about SEO and digital marketing ideas. This post is very informative and clear to understand, as a beginner, I love to read blogs about SEO and digital marketing.

  67. Weka SEO says:

    Hi Charlie,

    You mentioned that:

    “AJAX sites: Sometimes they can serve search engines the wrong content. This is common with website builders like Wix.”

    Do you still have ranking issues with websites that were built in Wix?

    We’ve not directly ranked websites in Wix and tend to want to convert them to WordPress for suitable SEO rankings.

    I know they used to be problematic in the past because of the url issues.

    Let me know your thoughts?

    thanks

    Jonathan @ Weka

    • Charlie Rose says:

      With certain hyper local companies Wix is ok. But the moment you try to multi focus it gets complicated and less predictable. But yes we perfer WordPress or other CMS / Static HTML solutions.

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