As an SEO specialist who has worked with websites small and large across Africa, I’ve seen these 7 deadly SEO mistakes trip up way too many site owners, who then wonder why their site isn’t ranking or getting traffic.
Trust me, I’ve been there!
However, I’ve also seen businesses make incredible strides in their SEO by simply avoiding these common pitfalls.
So, whether you just launched your beautiful new website or have had one for a while without getting the rankings you expect, avoiding these common errors can mean going from the Google search equivalent of a street vendor to a bustling storefront overnight!
Mistake #1: Not Doing Keyword Research
I cannot stress enough how important keyword research is!
Pick Relevant Keywords to Target
Without strategic keyword research and targeting, search engines can’t tell what your most important pages and content focus on. By identifying relevant keyword terms and topics that prospects search for and organically using them throughout your on-page content, you make Google’s job easier for displaying your pages for those searches.
Back Up Keywords with Topic Authority
But it isn’t just about cramming keywords onto your site anywhere. They need adequate context and topic support! So don’t just repeat “crypto” 100 times on a page and expect to outrank Binance. Back up keywords with in-depth content focused specifically on those topics.
Mistake #2: Weak Metadata that Cloaks Your Site’s Purpose
One major area site owners neglect (myself included years ago) is page-level metadata. Stuffing keywords randomly onsite while your actual page titles, descriptions, etc. are generic or meaningless is like showing up to a festival dressed for the office.
Make Your Title Tags & Meta Descriptions Count
Title tags and meta descriptions act like headlines and “previews” for your pages in search results. They should grab attention while accurately conveying the topic, so searchers will click to your site instead of elsewhere.
I once helped a client whose title tags were just different combinations of their company name. But after optimizing them to focus on keywords for their services page, they saw 4X more organic traffic in just 3 months!
Mistake #3: Creating Thin, Low-Quality Content
In 2023, creating truly unique, useful content is how you earn trust and authority in Google’s eyes. Despite this, I still see site owners…
Don’t Duplicate or Curate Content
- Curating lists of tips from elsewhere or duplicating existing content
- Having 5 pages that basically say the same thing
- Publishing short, unhelpful articles just to have a blog
Offer Truly Useful Content Instead
The fix? Establish your website and subject matter experts as authoritative resources!
Share hard lessons learned, data-backed research, or actionable best practices instead of just introducing yourself or describing basic services over and over. Exceeding expectations earns links, shares, and rankings!
For example, a restaurant that ranked well for “traditional ugali recipes” could expand into a definitive guide to making all kinds of ugali. That earns more search visibility than a short post briefly explaining the staple dish.
Mistake #4: Ignoring Mobile User Experience
Since 2015, Google has made mobile-friendliness and fast load speeds major ranking factors. As more users access the internet on mobile devices with sometimes spotty connections in areas across Africa, ensuring your website follows UX best practices is mission critical!
Don’t Let Slow Load Speeds Deter Visitors
I learned this myself early on.
Despite decent organic traffic to my blog, bounce rates were high. Google PageSpeed tests revealed load times exceeding 15 seconds on mobile networks! By optimizing images and caching, I shaved off over 10 seconds. Traffic began converting much better after that.
Stay Optimized for Any Device Screen Size
Resisting the urge to cram too much content and images onto pages pays off with cleaner page designs. Use minimum effective imagery and large enough text for even 5” screens to digest. Nobody pinching and scrolling to read squinty text hanging out there for long!
Mistake #5: Not Earning Backlinks
Besides solid metadata and content, Google considers backlinks from external websites one of the top trust and authority signals. But inexplicably, many neglect link building! Without them, you hamper your potential reach and discovery.
Run an Ethical Link Earning Campaign
Reach out to websites related to your industry with roundups and resource lists relevant to their audience. Offer your unique insights as suggestions for contributor posts.
Mistake #6: Using Inept Site Architecture
If search engines can’t easily digest your site structure, pages and content will be obscured from results no matter their quality. Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should!
Mind IA, Navigation, and URL Structure
I see sites with global navigation bars linking to empty pages, chaotic information architecture, confusing URLs packed with numbers and symbols that offer no clues about the page’s purpose.
By taking the time to logically organize sections in digestible hierarchies, using simple CSS menus, and employing descriptive page slugs and URLs with keywords, you help search bots deeply index more of your pages.
Mistake #7: Not Tracking Rankings & Analytics
Now for the biggest SEO sin that holds more site owners back than anything: refusing to crack open Google Analytics, Search Console, or track rankings.
Monitoring is the Only Way to Optimize
Without understanding how visible your site is in searches, which pages perform best, where visitors come from and what they do on your site, any optimization attempts are shooting blindfolded!
I suggest every site owner open free accounts with Google Analytics and Google Search Console ASAP!
Check rankings for important keywords monthly to gauge progress. Use goals and dashboards in GA to see what content gets the most visits and engagement. Mastering and responding to these insights separates the search visibility winners from the rest.
START CLIMBING THOSE RANKINGS ALREADY!
By now, you should understand the core SEO mistakes dragging your website’s visibility and search traffic potential down. The great news is that fixing common errors like excluding keywords, slow site speed, and not earning links has an immediate impact once put into practice correctly.
Within weeks, you can expect to see your target keyword rankings begin inching up the first pages of Google. That translates into exponential growth in organic visitors from search engines scoping out your industry terms. Pay attention to visitor behavior once they hit your site too. Because higher conversions of that growing traffic into leads, signups and paying customers awaits as you continue these essential SEO best practices.
So why wait any longer?
Commit to auditing your own website for the seven all too common SEO mistakes that may be holding your website back from ranking and traffic glory. Identify areas needing improvement, implement the fixes discussed and join the ranks of site owners winning more rank, traffic and conversions through smarter search optimization now!
Now get out there, crush some rankings and thank me later!