Are You Making These 4 Additional Silly SEO Mistakes?

In May, we reviewed some of the more common “silly” mistakes that digital marketers make when they become consumed in the constantly evolving world of SEO. With so much to do within our daily digital responsibilities, it can become quite easy to overlook the simple things. While we only mentioned three last time, let’s pick up where we left off last month and review more of these mistakes.

4. Title Element Negligence

While there are over a few hundred factors that go into a Bing or Google ranking algorithm. The title element has and still is a very fundamental and important element of SEO. The most explicit issue I often see is the lack of keyword focus. This area of a site page should not be keyword stuffed but in the least should carry a unique topical representation of what the page is about. Down the road, with the help of in-depth keyword research, you will be able to get a feel for what terms you should target. But for now you need to at least create some synergy between title elements and the topical theme of the page.

The implicit issue I often see that isn’t so easily noticed is title element duplication across entire sections of a site. I call this implicit because many times title element focus is noticed and adjusted for top pages such as the homepage, service, product pages, etc. But internal (still search-critical) pages have been overlooked. Common issues seen are Blog section, whitepaper, press release and resource section pages simply carrying title elements of, ex. Press Releases and other section names instead of title elements crafted after the topic or title of the page.

What do I do?

Again, use a tool that will scrape all site pages and give you a quick view of the title elements across your site.

title-element-negligence

5. Unknowing Duplication of Content

I have talked in detail about issues that are easily seen and those that are not. Duplicate content is one of those areas that typically is not as easily recognized. Specifically, the type of duplicate content that I am focusing on here is any content that you are providing that can be found on two URLs. There are different types of duplicate content but those can be tackled down the road. These include the duplication of copy from another site onto your site.

My concern is that you may unknowingly feature content on two different URLs such as a page found at a page extension and with no extension, i.e. /index.html vs. no extension. Duplication is also found with parameter usage. Do your pages feature filter or sort functions that present basically the same content and are in need of pagination or canonical tags? You may wonder why eradicating this duplication is important. It is a sign of sloppiness to a search engine, it requires more crawl spend for a crawling bot to crawl duplicated content and you may be accruing links to two different URLs of the same content, thus splitting your link equity.

What do I do?

To get a feel of what may be in the search results, review your organic landing pages in Google Analytics and walk out several hundred pages to see all of the pages that refer traffic. 

unknown-content-duplication

6. Improper Internal Linking

When it comes to links, typically the major focus is directed towards inbound links coming into your site from other sites. While it is a very important part of SEO it isn’t the only type of linking to consider. How we link internally across site pages helps search engines to understand what we deem as the most important pages of our site. Where many begin to confuse search engines and impede their understanding and crawl of the site are when the following errors occur:

  • Linking the brand logo and homepage linking across the site to a duplicated version of the homepage (or internal page), ex. example.com/index.html vs. the absolute version of the page.
  • Internal links on site pages or navigation are broken and showing a 404 status.
  • Possessing an internal link structure where you have placed non-important links in footer and main navigation so that they are linked more across the site instead of other important, search-critical pages.

What do I do?

Review your Google Webmaster Tools account in the Internal Links section to understand what site pages Google sees as the most linked to content across the site. Also, review the Crawl Errors section here so that you can gain clarity on error pages that Google is finding and where they are originating from. You may find out that you have broken links in many places across your site. Aside from this research, there are many other tools out there that can identify broken internal links.

improper-internal-linking

7. Wait, a Seventh Mistake?

Yes, as I am thinking about the silly mistakes many make on websites – I can’t leave this topic without expressing the error I see very, very often as of recently. I know you may think that social does not have much to do with SEO. However, keep in mind if your content is shared widespread across social properties, it provides social attention factors to search engines as well as opportunities for inbound links.

The social element that many flub that drives me crazy is Open Graph tagging. Open Graph tags are a great way for ensuring that a proper representation of your site page will be posted socially but this area is often neglected. What I often find is that an Open Graph image is not given, or images are simply a brand logo. For instance, a blog post of enticing title and theme alongside an image of brand logo can reduce enticement real quick. An additional example includes titles that are often led off with the name of the site category that will not read well in the social display.

What do I do?

Utilize a tool and review a sample page of your site you might desire to be shared socially to gain an understanding of what the display will look like. Don’t have time for that? Go to that page on your site and attempt to share it. How does it look?

open-graph-testing

Conclusion

Yes, I know, SEO is a never ending process of adjusting to algorithmic trends, taking advantage of keyword and content opportunities and ensuring that you are easily crawled and indexed. However, before you start or even if you are currently absorbed in an SEO effort, it pays to ensure you are not making these silly mistakes that could impede organic search bliss. 

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