25 SEO Mistakes That Destroy Your Google Ranking

25 SEO Mistakes That Destroy Your Google Ranking - Even if you don't know much about SEO , don't worry. I will explain everything to you in a simple and practical way, so that you can apply the corrections step by step.

25 SEO Mistakes That Destroy Your Google Ranking

Even if you don't know much about SEO , don't worry. I will explain everything to you in a simple and practical way, so that you can apply the corrections step by step.

With this post I want to help you understand what we are talking about and then you can solve everything easily.

Some of the mistakes or things you should be aware of are easy enough to fix. Others are less common, but you should know them regardless, so you don't commit them in the future.

In SEO, taking action to rank is as important as avoiding making mistakes.

When you work on the SEO of a website, it is just as important to take action to position yourself, as it is to avoid falling into mistakes that could penalize you or damage your positioning. But, keep in mind that not everything that harms you has to be a penalty . Sometimes there is a lot of confusion about it and there are people who think it is the same when it is not.

penalty is a punishment that Google imposes on you for doing something you shouldn't have, according to their rule-setting algorithms. A simple SEO mistake is something that could harm you, even if it's not directly related to a concrete Google algorithm.

So how do you know if you are making SEO mistakes ?

It would be nice if, every time it penalizes you, Google warns you in a timely manner and notifies you exactly the reason for the penalty , so that you can eliminate the problem quickly and accurately.

And it wouldn't be bad if Google would periodically inform you of the SEO factors that you are not optimizing properly, to always have your website perfect for SEO . But, I'm sorry to tell you that's not the case. Therefore you have to analyze your site point by point, detect errors and start optimization from now on.

The problem with making mistakes in SEO is, if you get penalized, you drop many positions in the search results and the solution may not be as easy as just removing the mistake. Sometimes the damage remains , which can be very difficult to repair, or it can hinder or slow down your positioning strategy.

For this reason, it is essential to be clear about the SEO mistakes you shouldn't make, how to detect them and how to fix them .

  1. Duplication of content

Duplication of content can take place with both external and internal content .

External: This means that you have literally copied or plagiarized texts from other websites and inserted them into your own. This is something that Google pursues a lot and that you should avoid at all costs. Not only because of Google, but also to avoid being branded as a plagiarist, which could damage your prestige among the community of users and content creators.

Internal: This is when you have the same texts in a high proportion across different URLs on your website. If your website has many pages with the same text, Google may consider that it is not necessary to show them all, as they do not add anything new, which would mean losing visibility in the search engine. This usually happens when you have indexed pages of taxonomies, products with the same description, footer and sidebar with very large texts, etc.

Because it hurts you

Google analyzes your content using the Panda algorithm and Panda doesn't like you filling the internet with URLs that don't provide anything original. Also, duplicate content makes the user experience worse and can be frowned upon by this, as it offers the same texts in different sections.

Now, there is a lot of discussion about this among SEO experts… Does duplicate content penalize? The truth is that not always, and moreover, all things being equal in similar projects, in some cases it does and in others it doesn't. So why take the risk?

How to know if you have duplicate content

Enter your website domain in the Siteliner tool to know the percentage of internal duplicate content you have throughout the site and page by page.

To analyze duplicate or plagiarized external content on a website, you have plagiarism tools like Copyscape , where you can enter a website URL and the tool will tell you where that content is textually replicated. ( here you can read a test among numerous plagiarism tools)

How to fix it

In case of internal duplicate content, edit the matching content or add more text to reduce the match, cancel the taxonomy indexing, decrease the amount of text in the widget areas, cancel the indexing of the pages generating duplicate content if they do not have relevance or potential to position the site.

If it is external duplicate content - that is, content on your site that is already on other websites and was posted by them before you did, remove it immediately. If it's the other way around, that is, if you've been plagiarized, in theory you shouldn't be penalized for it. However, in case you are not sure, you better review it carefully, you never know.

  1. Toxic inbound links

At this point, we should have understood the fact that we can't go around buying links without thoroughly evaluating their origin and quality . Until recently, many websites lived off systematic link buying, but Penguin 's algorithm is getting more and more precise and can penalize you if you overdo it.

The toxic backlink is that which comes from penalized domains, which send links in bulk to other websites which are in other languages ​​or which work in a different language, with exact massive anchor text , on forbidden topics such as pornography, gambling, fake medicines, etc.

Because it hurts you

You may be penalized by Google's Penguin algorithm .

How do you know if you have toxic inbound links? Check your website with SEO tools like Ahrefs or Search Console and see if there are any suspicious links due to their strange name or different language. Analyze the content of those websites, check if they are in another language, look carefully if the subject matter is different or suspicious (pornography, fake medicines, gambling), count the outbound links to any other suspicious sites .

How to fix it

With Search Console's disavow feature. Even by stopping to buy links on "strange" sites.

  1. Thin Content

Writing little content on your pages and posts is something you should avoid. Not just for that classic SEO dogma that says: "Google wants you to write at least 500 words to rank". But also for another important reason: a rich content, which satisfies the user's demand for information about the research carried out well, is a content that generates longer residence time, less bounce and, ultimately, greater user loyalty. .

Google recommends creating content with value, rich and unique, long enough to be useful to users, which is actually Google's main goal: to offer users the best possible content for every search.

Because it hurts you

Websites that have many indexed sections with little or no value content dilute their authority among many URLs, which is not good for the overall authority of the site. They also force Google to crawl irrelevant content, and on very large sites, this can create a crawl budget problem .

Pages with low and irrelevant content usually fail to meet the user's request for information, so they are abandoned sooner and receive fewer links, shares, and even conversions.

How to know if you have thin content

Look at the amount of content you have in your sections and posts. Also, analyze the quality and real value of your content.

Check with Google Analytics how the user interacts with your content. If in general there are low dwell times, too many bounces and few page views per session, you should ask yourself if your content is good enough or complete, that is, if it has enough length and quality to satisfy the user's search intent.

How to fix it

Start writing better and longer texts, with more value , more epigraphs and headings. Remove low-content pages from the SERPs that have no relevance or potential to rank, as well as contact pages that only have a map and a form and things like that.

Also, whenever you decide to work on a keyword, put some effort into it, instead of trying to get by with any text. Think carefully about what the user who is entering a search query in Google really wants and give them all the information and value possible.

That is to say, don't work by thinking of a keyword just for each URL, but of the global search intent that each URL can satisfy. So it is better to create complete, broad, rich content with synonymous and various ways of expressing the keyword.

  1. Absence of important tags (title, h1)

As you know, the contents on the Internet are encoded in the HTML language. Within this language there are tags that, for Google, have more importance than others.

The two most important tags that should never be missing in any of your URLs are:

  • Title: tells Google the main title of the page, written like this:. By the way, all CMSs like WordPress and others, should by default insert in the title what you write in the title box at the top.
  • H1 : is the most relevant header tag. In a page or post you can have h1, h2, h3, etc., and the one that should never be missing is h1, as it is next in relevance after thetag. As in the case of the title, the main title you write in the box above should also be in h1.

In addition to these two tags, it is not bad that you introduce others that are also relevant in your content and that you put in them one or several keywords that are related to the main search intention you are working on in your content. (also the tags, h3, h4, h5, etc ...).

This helps Google understand your content and gives relevance to what you put in these tags, as well as giving your texts a much more hierarchical and crawlable visual look.

Note: the most important h tag is h1. The h2 is a little less relevant, and so on with all the tags, in decreasing importance.

Because it hurts you

If you don't use relevant tags, Google cannot understand the relevance of the keywords you use within them. That is, you would be leaving aside one of the most important elements to reinforce the relevance of your content, in regards to the keywords you use. Furthermore, your texts would have a much more monotonous appearance and this could damage the permanence of the users.

How do you know if important tags are missing

There must be a unique title and a unique h1 for each page on your website. If you want to programmatically check if these tags are displayed correctly, go to your website and right click "View page source", there you can use the search command Control or CMD + F, to search for "title" and "h1" and so to see if they are there and if they appear only once.

How to fix it

In theory, if you use a good CMS (such as WordPress), with a good template and you haven't touched anything weird, every URL on your site (pages, posts, products, etc.) should show in the code a title and a h1 . If not, it could be because you have a poorly SEO-optimized code template, or maybe your company's developer had an oversight and left the site without relevant tags. In these last two cases, the php code needs to be tweaked .

Important: Ask an expert for help before you start tweaking your code, if you don't know much about it.

  1. Over-optimization of keywords (keyword stuffing) 

It is not that by writing your keyword in a repetitive and forced way in your texts you will position yourself better. To write good SEO text, you don't need to enter the keyword over and over again. Gone are those distant times when to position yourself better you had to put the keyword in each paragraph, luckily for users, who found themselves reading hostile texts full of repeated words. Now this doesn't help.

And not only that, if you exaggerate or over-optimize, you will be running into what we know as Keyword Stuffing and this does not appeal to Google, because it moves away from the philosophy of writing organically and from the thought of offering value and satisfying the user.

So a tip: always write naturally , without thinking too much about repeating the keywords here and there. Use synonyms and rich language. Google will like it more and so will the user.

Because it hurts you

If Google detects excessive and forced use of the keyword, it can determine that your text does not have real quality and does not offer natural semantics, which could damage your ranking.

How do you know if you are repeating the keyword too much

With free SEO tools  or Keyword Density Checker , you can easily check if you are doing Keyword Stuffing.

How to fix it

In this, as in many other aspects of SEO, there are different theories and opinions. It is curious to see that when you write a text without obsessing about entering keywords here and there and you do it in a natural and fluid way, the writing percentage of the keyword is usually around this proportion.

So, analyze your texts and, if you exaggerate, reduce the amount of keywords that appear exactly and look for synonyms to enrich the text for Google and the user.

  1. Incorrect keywords

A more common mistake than it may seem is to focus on keywords that you shouldn't. If your ranking goal is wrong keywords, everything you do in your website SEO will fall on deaf ears, that is, you will invest time and resources to not get a lot of real benefits.

What are the typical mistakes when choosing keywords?

  • Thinking that the only positioning objective is your own brand. Brand positioning can be interesting for users who search for you on Google to see your popularity or reach your website in case of branded searches (those who search for your brand on Google, even if they already know the domain). But it doesn't bring you new users in connection with a search, so this type of placement is usually not very profitable.
  • Choose keywords that are too general , especially at the beginning. Even if they have more searches, shorter or generic keywords tend to be more competitive, for this very reason. So, if you have a modest project and want to compete with the greats in your industry right from the start, you may work in vain for a long time and end up discouraged. In these cases, it is better to start with longtail keywords , which are more specific and include more terms, where there are fewer people competing and which respond to a more concrete search need.
  • Focus on keywords that are not searched for by simple intuition, without doing a previous keyword research . Even if you know your industry or profession very well, always analyze how users search to find the services or content you offer. It's not always what you thought. A good keyword study prevents you from wasting time on keywords that no one is looking for.

Because it hurts you

Working with the wrong keywords on your site is a crucial issue . If you focus on the wrong keywords, all the content creation and SEO optimization work you will do next will not do much good.

How to know if a website is working with the wrong keywords?

To get a reliable conclusion, you need to do a Keyword Research the right way. However, websites that are doing poorly on keywords usually have some easily identifiable commonalities: title of the home page only with the brand name, use of the main keyword of the site in many URLs, concatenation of many different keywords in the same title, etc.

How to fix it

Start doing a thorough Keyword Research for your site right now. It is the first step to take for any SEO strategy and it deserves that we dedicate the necessary time to it, until we obtain a good number of keywords, so that we can distribute and assign them among the various URLs, those already existing and those that will be created in future.

  1. URLs indexed by mistake

Not all URLs of a website need to be displayed on Google, that is, it is not necessary to index everything. Pages on the site that have little content or that are irrelevant , or that don't focus on any keywords, since what they offer has no intent to search, you shouldn't index them on Google. Not even those that have content plagiarized from other websites or that coincide with other internal URLs.

On the one hand, having irrelevant indexed pages, which are of no use for SEO, forces Google to crawl content that it will never rank and wastes crawling time on your web, and that's not good. On the other hand, even pages with duplicate content (for example, cards of similar products), could harm you if Google indexes them, as I told you in another paragraph.

Also, when working with a CMS like WordPress, a very typical problem is with premium templates, which often include demo content , that is, predefined sample pages and elements, and which you usually upload along with the template to see what design possibilities includes.

This content is usually in English and is already present on the model's sales page. Many times, by mistake, you end up building your own website and leaving all that content indexed. Content that is duplicated, is in another language and is not intended for any research intent. Therefore, it is very important that when you finish designing your website, you delete all demo content immediately, to avoid problems.

Because it hurts you

As I explained at the beginning, pages with duplicate text (for example, legal notice and cookie law pages), could be considered by Google as irrelevant URLs, since they do not provide original content, therefore, you should not index them. Also, there is no point in indexing these types of pages, as they provide an irrelevant theme for your users.

Having a lot of URLs indexed with duplicate, irrelevant or sparse content could (be careful, not always) penalize these URLs and, furthermore, it represents a greater crawl effort by Google and this could compromise your Crawl Budget .

Put another way: which URLs should you index? The answer is simple: only those pages that satisfy a specific search intent (that is, that work on a specific keyword) and that optimize their content for SEO.

Which ones don't you need to index? All the others.

How to know if you have any URLs indexed by mistake

Go to Google and type " site: yourdomain.com" . (Note: do not put “yourdomain.com” as it is, put yours). Below you will see a fairly rough summary of the URLs of your site that are indexed and that appear in Google in SERP format (search results box).

Starting with your site: indexing analysis , do a thorough review of each of the URLs that appear:

Are there any taxonomy pages of those that are filled with duplicate entries on the site or directly blank with no content? Remove indexing.

Do you have the Contacts page indexed and maybe it just has a map, a form and some text? Leverage indexing (or work on it with a keyword and add relevant and unique content).

Do you see the pages of Legal Notice, Cookie Law, General Conditions, Privacy Policy, etc? Un-index them as well.

How to fix it

Once you've scanned and noted URLs that shouldn't appear in search results, you need to remove indexing. There are two ways to do this:

  1. If you work in WordPress or a similar CMS , you have plugins , extensions or modules that allow you to add the “noindex” attribute to any URL with just one click.
  2. If your website is built with pure code, you have no choice but to manually add the robots tag, inside thetag of each URL you need to de-index. The syntax is as follows:.

That way, the next time Google crawls these URLs, it knows it doesn't have to show them as search results anymore.

  1. URLs not indexed by mistake

This is just the opposite of the previous one. This error consists in not having indexed the relevant and important pages to be placed. Pages with a high authority, content quality or important such as the home or start and other main pages of the site.

Why does this happen? It can be for 4 main reasons :

  1. You have de-indexed the entire web in robots.txt. You have set Disallow: / so that Google does not index anything during the development phase of your site and you forgot to remove it.
  2. In the General menu of WordPress, in the settings, you have selected the box that is used not to index the site by search engines.
  3. You have mistakenly entered the "noindex" tag on certain pages, either via code or with the Yoast SEO plugin , within the plugin box at the bottom of everything, in the "Allow search engines to show this post in the results?" .
  4. The page content is irrelevant to Google because it is too sparse (thin content) or has too many matches (duplicate) with other URLs on the site.

Because it hurts you

It's obvious. Not having relevant site pages indexed is taking away your chance of getting organic traffic. If you have optimized your pages so that they appear in Google as high as possible, don't forget to index them so that users can find you from the search engine.

How do you know if there are URLs not indexed by mistake

Go to Google and use the command site: yourdomain.com (Note: don't put “yourdomain.com” as it is, put yours) to see what it is indexing and what is not. Also to get a more precise data, do the analysis on the Indexing side of Search Console .

How to fix it

If your indexing problem stems from low-quality, poor, or duplicate content, fix it as soon as possible . If the problem is due to the fact that you set the noindex tag by mistake, remove it immediately, either from the plugin if you are using a CMS or by removing the robots noindex tag from the code if your website is custom.

  1. Don't optimize the CTR

A typical mistake with an easy fix, it's just a matter of devoting your time and attention to it. CTR stands for Click Through Rate, that is, the click-through-impression ratio of your Google search results (SERPs).

Today, CTR is one of the most decisive SEO factors. The percentage of users who click on your result compared to total impressions on Google is something you need to improve at all costs. But it is not always optimized as it should be, due to the rush or not giving the CTR the importance it deserves.

Some of the most common errors in SERPs are:

Titles cut off because they are too long.
Titles without keywords .
Poor and poorly written titles.
Too much commercial and brand presence in the SERPs of valuable content.
Meta descriptions of little value , without keywords and without breaking down the value of the content.
Having used important visual elements , such as emojis and symbols.
Showing the date if the content is very old .
Not having used rich content (rich snippet) when the theme allows it

Because it hurts you

Not optimizing your CTR not only reduces the number of clicks you could get and, therefore, the visits you get to your site, but CTR is a direct SEO factor that affects your rankings.

How do you know if you don't have an optimized CTR?

See what the search result boxes look like. If they don't stand out from the competition, if the headlines don't attract attention, if the meta descriptions don't encourage clicking, in short, if you have worked little or nothing on them, it is clear that you are losing potential traffic .

How to fix it

If you work in WordPress, as most people do, there is nothing better than using the Yoast SEO plugin to access the edit box at the bottom of each page and edit the SEO title and meta description. Plus, you can practice persuasive copywriting techniques to get more clicks. Another cool element you can implement is the rating stars, with a free plugin like this one .

  1. (Slow) page loading speed

A slow loading is another typical mistake that can damage your SEO and, in the case of an extremely slow loading, the user experience on your website. Google wants web pages to load quickly and without interruption, both in the desktop version and on mobile devices. You can use tools like GTMetrix , Page Spaeed Insights or Pingdom Tools to measure loading speed .

Ideally, your website should load in under 2 seconds and get notes close to the letters AB in tools like GTMetrix .

What are the errors that can damage the loading speed?

  • Images not optimized in width and height . Never upload images larger than what will be displayed on the web page. If you are going to put an image that will display at 300px on the web and upload it at 1200px, you are unnecessarily uploading some weight. To resize images to the correct size you can use tools like Photoshop, Fotor, PicMonkey, Gimp or any image editor.
  • Images not optimized in weight . Once you have your images of the correct size, you need to optimize their weight in kilobytes, without them losing quality. With online tools like Tinypng you can do this very easily. Also, in WordPress you have plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer or Smush , which do this automatically.
  • Too many plugins or extensions in your content manager. Plugins make your life easier and let you do wonderful things, but don't overdo it, as you may end up overloading your website with requests. Try not to have more than 10-15 plugins on your website. Even if you think some are essential, review your website with a critical sense and spirit of optimization and remove the ones that are not really necessary.
  • Pop ups and elements in javascript. This type of element overloads the weight of your website, making requests to the server and including many calls to javascript files. Also, Google doesn't want to see them on mobile devices, not even paintings. And, from the user's point of view, they are sometimes too invasive. Other elements such as sliders, parallax, lightboxes, mega menus and in general any type of effect or animation that uses javascript, slow down quite a bit. Use them in moderation.
  • Hosting Cheap servers of poor quality are usually not a good option. Even if you save some money, they end up hurting you in the long run. Not only because of their slow loading, but also because of their poor security and poor support. Always hire fast, quality hosting, it's worth it.
  • Pages too large . Pages with too much content tend to slow down, although including a lot of text can also be useful for SEO. The trick is to find the right balance. On the other hand, onepage navigation pages, that is, those that have all the sections in a single URL, tend to accumulate too much content on a single page and make speed optimization difficult. Also, in many, but not all, cases they are not useful for SEO, as they reduce the number of URLs and the ability to work keywords separately.

Because it hurts you

An excessively slow page loading speed can damage your ranking and also worsen the user experience which, indirectly, can also affect the degree of user satisfaction when they interact with your website.

How to know if your website is very slow

Analyze your domain with the GTMetrix tool , which will give you some very interesting metrics, such as the Page Speed ​​Score , (global score for the performance metrics that Google considers important) or the loading speed of the site, as well as the page weight and the amount of external and internal requests that your website makes to function.

When can you say the web is slow? Try to make sure it doesn't take more than 3 seconds to load. And starting from there, optimize as much as possible.

How to fix it

The performance optimization of your website has the technical name of WPO (Web Performance Optimization). There are many actions you can take to improve the speed of your website.

The most common are the optimization of the weight and size of images, the use of a cache system, the deferred loading of web elements, the hiring of a fast hosting plan or the reduction of plugins and external resources. your website needs to function (such as style sheets, Javascript files or inserting element codes from other websites).

  1. Non-optimized URLs

Another aspect that you must not forget is the optimization of your URLs and slugs , as Google takes them into account. Review your website and check the following.

  • Including the search expression or keywords of the content, separated by hyphens and without prepositions , conjunctions or articles, as non-relevant words. The structure of your slugs (the part of the URL that appears to the right of the domain starting with the slug /) should be as follows: / key-expression. So the full URL would look like this: domain.com/key-expression. In this case the slug is / key-expression.
  • How folders or directories are constructed in URLs . Try not to put the most relevant content slug too far from the main domain. Don't do things like: domain.com/category/subcategory/slug. This would mean telling Google that the page at the end is not very relevant, as it is very far from the main domain, so it feeds less on its transfer of authority. Simplify, order correctly and in a way that makes sense , and try to create short URLs, always and when you don't have many URLs in your website, because in this case you have to organize them by levels, to facilitate tracking from part of Google.

Because it hurts you

We do not recommend using URLs that are not optimized, excessively long and filled with irrelevant words. Google prefers friendly , semantic URLs, as it understands them better, and so does the user.

How do you know if you haven't optimized your URLs

To easily check what a website URLs look like, you can use the site: command in Google, so you can see all your SERPs with their URLs. You can also use tools like Screaming Frog .

How to fix it

When you create new URLs (or already existing pages *), go to your URL editor (in any CMS you can do this) and optimize them. Leave only the keyword words, separated by dashes, and remove everything else.

* SUPER IMPORTANT: be careful, if you change the URL of a page, even if it's just a preposition, you are deleting the previous URL completely. If so, be sure to redirect the old URL to the new one, with a permanent 301 redirect , to transfer much of the authority, traffic, and links from the old URL to the new one. If you don't redirect, you will lose all these values ​​and start from 0 which would be very bad for your SEO.

  1. Unresponsive site

At this point there are no more excuses. All websites must fit perfectly on any device. Maybe you think your website is perfectly responsive because in the specs of the template you purchased it says it is. But you don't have to trust it.

Take a thorough review of web behavior on different mobile devices and screen sizes, because sometimes you can get surprises. Not all templates perfectly fit their content to all devices, and it would be a shame if users of a particular device couldn't enjoy a usable experience on your website because of this.

If you find errors in a device, for example: a text exits the screen, a button is too small to be clicked easily, the items have very small and illegible text, etc… They need to be corrected.

How to fix it

  • If you use WordPress, you have plugins like WP Touch, which allow you to touch some elements and make them responsive, although not all, so it is useful for small text tweaks and something else.
  • Another option is to edit the CSS code of your template yourself and perfectly adapt each element in each screen range. Editing with CSS is not very difficult, but it does require some knowledge.

Because it hurts you

Google has long argued that websites must offer content that is adaptable to all devices . If you don't respect this premise, you could see your positions damaged. Also, as with other factors, it's not just about Google, it's about users.

How do users interact with content that doesn't fit their device? They tend to leave earlier, which negatively affects the average time spent on your website, and they are very likely to decide to leave without interacting with your website, which would increase their bounce rate.

And, also, don't forget that SEO is about driving traffic to your site and that the traffic must be monetized to the maximum. Users tend to perform less profitable actions on a website that doesn't offer them properly adapted content. That is, think about conversion.

How to know if your website is not responsive

It's very simple: open your website on different devices and see what happens. If the content doesn't fit vertically and crosses the screen at the sides, forcing you to navigate sideways, if the buttons and text seem too small, if the web looks the same as you see on your desktop screen, your site isn't responsive.

In addition to analyzing it directly on each device, so as not to have to buy them all, you can use the free Responsive Design Checker tool , to simulate the look of your website on different devices.

How to fix it

In theory, virtually all of the templates you use to design your website are responsive . Even so, you would do well to analyze how responsive the model you intend to purchase is, as not all are equally optimized and it is evident that some fit better than others.

If you still need to fix the responsive versions of your website, you can do it using CSS code, with Media Queries functions.

In case your website is custom made with pure code, that is, if you don't use a content manager like WordPress or similar, you have no choice but to directly tweak the CSS code. If you think this is very difficult, ask a developer for help.

  1. Do not determine the preferred domain version

This is something that shouldn't happen under any circumstances and, in fact, it doesn't happen much, but sometimes it happens in some hosting that are not very good or when your website technicians have done wrong domain management. This can be very damaging to your ranking.

If you have your website in the www version and also in the version without www., You would be showing absolutely the same content in two different URLs, which would be duplicate site content .

For this reason it is essential that in your hosting you have established the preferred or canonical version of your domain, and that a redirection from one version to another is carried out automatically.

Because it hurts you

In the case of incorrect redirection of the versions of your domain, you may have duplicate content, having the web completely replicated as a mirror in the different versions.

How to know if you don't have a favorite domain redirected correctly

Enter your website address with www in your browser. and then put it without www, i.e. only domain.com. If in both cases the URL remains as it is, without redirecting to one another, you are falling into this error and should fix it as soon as possible.

How to fix it

Talk to the hosting and ask them to do it for you. In good hosting, the support helps you as much as possible and solves these kinds of advanced technical issues.

If this is not the case with your hosting, do it yourself, by editing the .htaccess file , found at the bottom of your website in the hosting, within the site's files and folders. You can do this via hosting administration or via FTP, with tools like Filezilla . If you can't find this archive at the bottom of your web archives, make sure the hidden archives are on display.

Once inside the .htaccess file, to have the www version automatically redirect to the domain-only version, without www, add the following:

  • RewriteEngine On RewriteCond% {HTTP_HOST} ^ www.yourdomain.com [NC] RewriteRule ^ (. *) $ Http://yourdomain.com/$1 [L, R = 301]

Very important: do not insert this expression inside another one, be sure to insert it separately, so that it does not affect other functions of the site.

  1. Don't have https

The secure version of the site ( SSL ) is something you should already have running on your site. Not just because Google has already recommended it, but to prevent your website users from leaving if they see that your site is unsafe, which could lower your average dwell time and increase your bounce rate, as well as damage your conversion goals due to site insecurity.

As browsers begin to show the absence of SSL, users become more and more aware. Also, on a website where transactions are done, you need to install it already.

How do you know if you have https or not

In the browser, look in the address bar, where your domain is written and check if it includes the s in the http protocol like this: https://domain.com . Also, look for any icons or messages in your browser that indicate the site is not safe.

How to fix it

In professional hosting, the installation of https is usually simple, even in some it is already included for free in the basic package. All you need to do is run the feature or contact the server's support team to have it fixed for you.

Because it hurts you

Google has long said that internet security is a priority. Therefore, not having the https protocol in your domain, although it does not directly penalize you, is something that Google does not like very much . So why take the risk?

Furthermore, as browsers show more visibly and clearly that a website does not have SSL, it can become a deterrent to some users, who may leave your site due to the manifest insecurity it offers, which would affect the permanence and on rebound.

How to know if you don't have https

It's very simple: look in your browser's address bar and check if your domain includes the https or http protocol. If your browser doesn't show the protocols, copy the domain directly from the browser bar and then paste it anywhere else to see if it includes https or not.

How to fix it

Talk to your web hosting support to have it enabled for you. Some hosting includes it in the purchase plan and it is just a matter of requesting it. Other hosts charge you for this separately, although it is usually not very expensive.

  1. Massive links with the same anchor text

As Google has refined its Penguin algorithm, there has been less room for error and risk in link buying and other link building strategies .

A typical mistake when buying links or guest blogging or, in short, somehow forcing the insertion of links to your website, is to always use the same anchor text or a very similar one, with a precise keyword. or with a brand + keyword. This, a priori, should not be negative, in fact, it is very positive that the anchor texts of the backlinks , which point to your page, include keywords.

The problem is when you always use the same or very similar, like brand + keyword. This is so idyllic and rare that Google might suspect it's not a natural link at all, and this could lead to penalties for your site. Keep in mind that, in general, when they link to you naturally, in many cases they just put your brand or words without keywords in the anchor text, and this Google knows.

Because it hurts you

Google can penalize you via the Penguin algorithm if it detects a link profile, inbound or outbound, where there is a massive anchor text match.

How do you know if you have a link profile with excessive anchors

There are tons of free tools for analyzing links and anchors. A very interesting tool is Cognitive SEO's Backlink Explorer. There are also paid ones, such as Ahrefs , Semrush , Sistrix, etc. Check your domain with one of these tools and draw your own conclusions.

In addition to using the tools, you should also know if you usually buy the same anchor text massively or if you use them to other websites. Be very careful with this one .

How to fix it

If the inbound links are good , talk to the person who made them for you to vary the anchor text . If they are toxic or suspicious-looking links, use Google's Disavow tool immediately.

If these are outbound links from your website, simply change them. Always use different words to insert your links, especially in URLs where you put a lot of links to other websites.

  1. Few internal links

Internal links are an important factor in optimizing your website's SEO. Therefore, not optimizing internal links can damage your ranking.

Internal links help, on the one hand, to transfer authority from one page to another. On the other hand, they favor the crawling of your site , since Google traverses the URLs by jumping from one to the other, that is, following the traces of the links (as long as they are "do follow" links and that the URLs do not have the "disallow" "Towards robots).

In addition, internal links allow you to take advantage of sending internal authority via anchor text, with keywords working your landing pages. Also, a good internal link to relevant content helps reduce bounce rates and increase the number of page views, and facilitates user loyalty.

Because it hurts you

If you have insufficient internal linking, it could affect Google crawling your website and passing the internal authority of your URLs. Additionally, links broaden and contextualize content for the user, which can help them stay longer on the site and reduce bounce rates.

How do you know if you have few internal links

You can analyze directly with the Google Search Console internal linking tool . There you can see which URLs on your site are most linked internally and from which URLs.

How to fix it

Link, link and link at any time and whenever you can, expand the information to better satisfy the user.

  1. Do not optimize the user experience

The user experience , that is, the way in which users interact with your site, is an important aspect that you cannot ignore. The user experience includes concepts such as site usability, readability, ease of performing actions on the web, understanding the entire conversion process in a simple way, etc.

If you don't work on user experience, you are making a mistake. It is not that Google does not like sites that do not optimize the user experience, in this case it is the same user who "penalizes" you through his behavior on the site. If we take into account that for Google, when it comes to crawling sites, user signals are increasingly important (dwell time, bounce, CTR, etc.), this is an aspect that you cannot ignore.

For example, a pop-up that comes out too early and interrupts the user's browsing on your site, or that on mobile devices takes up the entire screen and cannot be closed easily, frustrating the user experience and leading to leaving your website too soon.

SEO must be done to be relevant to the people, who are the ones who consume your content, even if it is Google that decides the ranking criteria . So if the user doesn't like you, Google doesn't like you. Keep that in mind.

Because it hurts you

A website that does not optimize the user experience can lead to a worsening of the user's navigation signals within the site. That is, you can reduce the average dwell time and increase the bounce rate . This is bad for SEO.

How do you know if the user experience on your site is not good

It is possible to analyze the traffic, permanence and bounce metrics, according to the implemented projects. You can also track user navigation with heat maps and recordings.

Additionally, you can also survey a significant sample of your users to get feedback on their experience on the site.

How to fix it

The best thing you can do is constantly measure user satisfaction with your website, until you manage to offer them the best possible experience.

  1. Cannibalization of keywords

One SEO mistake that happens often and that can hurt you enough is cannibalization. This is a penalty to those who have more than one URL for a single keyword or search intention, in fact, in this way, it happens that the authority is dispersed among one or more URLs and ends up competing against themselves with the own URLs.

I'll fall back in a simpler way with an example: you have a post that competes for the keyword "SEO Guide" and you create another post that works on the same keyword, or maybe a different one, but which responds to the same intention as research, such as: "Manual for learning SEO". If you do this, Google doesn't know very well which URL of your site is most relevant to this search intent, therefore, you lose competitiveness for that query and you may not be able to rank any of them well.

Also, all the authority, links, shares, etc., that these URLs are gaining, are scattered among them all, instead of having it all in one URL, which is super competitive and can aspire to top in. Google.

It is a mistake to work on the same keyword in all of your URLs. This doesn't make you stronger overall for that keyword.

Remember: 1 URL = 1 search intent or keyword.

Because it hurts you

Scattering authority for your keywords across different URLs is the worst possible strategy . These kinds of mistakes end up damaging your positioning enough. You need to make Google understand very clearly that you want to work with a different search intent for each URL, or it can end up not knowing which URL to show for certain searches.

How do you know if you have cannibalization

On the one hand, it analyzes your content globally and tries to group it by search intent . If two articles offer content that satisfies the same user's search intent, why split them instead of merging them into one piece of content to offer greater value?

On top of that, tools like Sixtrix let you know quickly if you have cannibalized URLs competing with each other.

How to fix it

Before you make mistakes, plan . Create a content plan and schedule the publication of pages and entries with different keywords.

Second, it optimizes what already exists . If you see that there are two or more URLs competing for the same keyword or search intent, group them into one and try to create very valuable pages, which offer absolutely everything the user might need to meet their demand. of information. Sometimes, there are cannibalized URLs that don't even have content, in this case just de-index.

  1. Don't have Sitemaps

The Sitemaps archive helps in crawling and indexing by Google. Therefore, it is an important archive for optimizing your SEO and it is not recommended not to have it.

This file tells Google which URLs are prominent on your site and whether you want to index yes or yes in the search engine. Having sitemaps helps improve overall site indexing and helps Google understand the context of the URLs you are trying to index well.

Because it hurts you

The lack of the Sitempas archive can generate slow indexing problems or even content that you are unable to index, with consequent damage to SEO.

How do you know if you have sitemaps or not

With the free Sitemap Test tool you can quickly see if your website has a sitemaps archive available or not. Also, if your website is in WordPress, with Yoast SEO you can directly try to put www.yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml in the browser, as this is where sitemaps are hosted.

How to fix it

If you don't have Sitemaps, you can create it with SEO Yoast (in WordPress) or use an XML Sitemaps  and then you can upload the archive to the root of your hosting.

  1. Don't check and fix 404s

404 errors are all those URLs within your site that don't meet . Why? Maybe because the URL was changed, the page was deleted, or because someone linked you wrongly.

Because it hurts you

 If you do not periodically check for 404 errors on your website, you could lose traffic to relevant areas of the site, as users arrive at pages that no longer exist, instead of being redirected to the right place. And not only do you compromise traffic, but you could also hurt crawl efficiency, as Google wastes time crawling these 404s.

How do you know if you have 404 errors

You can analyze it in the Search Console, under Crawl Errors and also with Screaming Frog . This tool also indicates the pages you are inserting with a 301 redirect, so that you can see the already resolved 404s.

How to fix it

A 404 error is resolved as follows, as appropriate:

  1. If it is a page that has changed URL , it redirects with 301 from the old one to the new one. Here is a free 301 redirect plugin .
  2. If the 404 URL doesn't tell you anything and you have no idea where it redirects, do it by default to the site's home page.
  3. If it's a 404 that doesn't come from any real URL , but has been dynamically generated and doesn't matter, you don't need to do anything.
  1. Outgoing link broken

Broken links are outbound links from your site to other websites that aren't working or that have removed the content or changed the URL. Having too many of these broken links can be a problem .

The reason: Google crawls the links on your website and in doing so wastes time. Forcing the search engine to spend Crawl Budget resources to go through each of these useless links makes no sense and could make Google fail to crawl or find it difficult to index some of your URLs.

Also, as far as the user experience is concerned, broken links are a nuisance to the clicking user and denote a lack of website optimization.

Because it hurts you

The worse the scanning efficiency, the worse the user experience. This can affect your Crawl Budget , especially when you have a lot of broken links on your website. Furthermore, poorly optimized and revised content, with broken outbound links, can be perceived by the user as not very current and not very useful and this can damage the dwell time, the bounce and the appearance of the value of the content.

How do you know if there are broken outbound links

Very simple. Enter your domain in this tool and you will be able to detect and resolve any errors you find.

How to fix it

In this case all you have to do is fix the links one by one, linking them well, looking for alternatives to the links of sites that no longer exist, or removing the link directly. However, if you work in WordPress, you have a very useful plugin that makes your task much easier, since in addition to detecting broken links, it takes you directly to each of them, to be able to fix them quickly.

  1. Don't use social tags

Do social networks influence SEO? It cannot be said that they affect directly, but they can be a correlative influence factor .

That is, having more followers won't rank your content better, of course. Rather, if you have active and well-divided communities of users by interests, when you publish from your social profiles, you can be able to send traffic to your site, whenever and when the content you publish is of value to users.

Therefore, it is important that you fully optimize the way your URLs appear on social networks, to increase the clicks they generate on your website. And this can be optimized by using HTML code tags.

Because it hurts you

Not optimizing the way your content is shown on social networks means giving up some of the potential traffic you can get from them. Although social networks don't directly affect SEO, they do add traffic to your website, especially in the beginning, when you haven't indexed or ranked your content on Google yet.

How do you know if you don't have social tags

Check if your content posts shared on networks show the image you want to show, usually the main or header image. Also, check if the title and description appear correctly.

Other than that, you can analyze your website code (right click> View Page Source Code). In the code part you can do a search with Control + F (on PC) or Command + F (on Mac) and see the social tags appear and are filled in. Especially, check that the title, description and image fields are filled in , since they are the most visible and decisive to motivate users to click.

How to fix it

You have two options. If your website is built on WordPress, one of the best solutions is to use the Yoast SEO plugin , which allows you to add social tags in the Social section.

If your website is customized with pure code, you can add these tags manually inside theheader tag.

For Facebook, Linkedin and Google Plus:

For Twitter:

  1. Cloaking

Cloaking is an old blackhat SEO technique that consists of closing down the engineering of the search engine and the user, for example by showing a content to the user and a different one from the bot they are tractian. If you use this type of technique, you will most likely be penalized by Google, which is the best for not engaging in this type of cheating, especially not a very experienced SEO.

Some examples of blackhat:

  • Put the text in the same background color or off the screen so that Google indexes it, but the user doesn't see it.
  • Show one content or another depending on the user's IP.
  • Doing multiple redirects, so that in the end the user ends up seeing different content than what they expected.
  • Insert content from other websites for the user and try to have the search engine index other camouflaged content.

Because it hurts you

These kinds of techniques may have worked in the past, but not today. Google has learned to understand the crawl context better and can perfectly understand if we are trying to trick it or if the version scanned for the bot and the version for the user are different.

How to know if you are cloaking

If you manage the SEO of your website yourself, there is no question. If you have hired a specialist and your positions and visits have been deteriorating for some time, perhaps he has done some extreme practice that may have penalized you . Never leave your project completely in the hands of another person if they are not completely trustworthy and always ask them for a status of what they do on your website.

How to fix it

By stopping doing it. That is by removing from the web all the codes and traps destined to position themselves by deceiving the search engine and the user. If you have been unlucky and have taken a penalty for this, even if you have already cleaned up your website, there is nothing to guarantee that you will recover the positions again. Therefore, (personal opinion) it is better to do a responsible SEO , focused on the real value with which to obtain user loyalty, links and CTR.

  1. Content that is too commercial and of little value

I have seen it often in my SEO work, although nowadays, fortunately, a little less. Customers who tell you that their blog isn't working and when you take a look at their content, you find that they are trying to sell with posts, instead of focusing on bringing value to users , to attract visits and retain them on the site.

A company blog, aimed at positioning, does not serve to tell the latest news of your company that are not of interest to your users. A blog is not used to sell products, that's why there is the shop. A blog does not even need to tell the first thing that comes to mind. We need to make an analysis of what we want to achieve, who is the target and what interests that target. From there, we'll do keyword research and create a scheduled content plan.

If your blog does not attract organic or social visits, is not linked by other users, nor does it generate an acceptable average residence time, ask yourself why.

Because it hurts you

If you don't offer valuable content that users really care about, or that helps or serves them in any way, you won't be able to attract or keep them on your site; this will damage the SEO aspects related to user interaction: CTR, dwell time and bounce. Not to mention the importance of offering good content, to create a community and promote conversion.

Furthermore, if you work only on commercial keywords on your website, that is, those that mention products or services, you are leaving out all that large number of informative keyword words that can have search volumes even higher than transactional ones.

Not all Internet searchers know what they want to buy when they search, but they start by learning and refining their search bit by bit as they learn and contextualize what they really need. Why not offer content to attract those users early in the process? At best, you will sell them your service or product, and at worst, you will have gained very valuable traffic .

How to know if you're making low-value content

A website that offers no value for attracting users has a number of very identifiable characteristics :

  • there is not much traffic in the blog and not even in the comments;
  • posts are almost never shared ;
  • posts are not linked naturally;
  • the content generates few interactions in social networks;
  • post titles are unattractive and talk about internal company issues;
  • the header images of the articles are of low quality , copied from other sites or do not have much to do with the content;
  • the SERPs are not optimized and there are few clicks on Google (low CTR);
  • the internal aspect of the items is not very attractive , with raw text, which is not classified by size, little use of images and videos, little extension;
  • the posts are limited to replicating industry news, without adding value;
  • posts are used to sell products and services directly, as if it were a catalog.

How to fix it

Creating a website that is important to users is not a day-old thing. First you have to be honest and critical of the company's editorial line and evaluate if what we publish really interests people. Knowing this is easier than it sounds - people show what they're really interested in when they enter their words or phrases into the search engine.

Therefore, after doing thorough keyword research and creating a suitable content plan, you need to start writing truly relevant content. Content that interests users, because it solves a problem related to the service you offer, or because it entertains them, amuses them, intrigues them or makes them feel part of a community.

In case you already have a blog full of irrelevant content, I advise you to group the contents, that is to group by URL all the articles that bring something of value and have not worked on their own or that were created with an intention similar search. The URLs you remove (if they had any traffic, network impact, links, or some kind of relevance) you can redirect them all to the main article.

If the content will be made to you by someone outside on request, it is important that you make them understand the crucial importance of creating truly relevant content . It's not just about taking the keyword, putting it in the title and starting writing. Nor is it about writing articles almost daily for the mere fact of publishing a lot, without paying attention to the quality of what you publish. It's about adding value .

  1. Don't write a medium to long-term SEO plan

If you want your website to attract a lot of traffic and be relevant to users, work towards that in an organized way and dedicate all the necessary time and resources.

I think that SEO must be understood as a culture within the company, which is implemented through organized strategies, rather than as a set of tricks and shortcuts to "rank first on Google" as if by magic.

Good SEO is technical and it is also the correct execution of those techniques. Therefore, SEO is knowledge and constant work . If you want to position yourself by doing "magic", you will probably not reach your goal or end up with your site penalized.

Because it hurts you

Any strategy based on improvisation, that is, on the real absence of a strategy, has many chances of not achieving the desired results. If you don't develop an SEO plan that works in an organized way on the most important aspects of ranking, you will struggle more than others who are already doing it. Study and plan factors, such as developing a content plan, constantly optimizing CTR in SERPs, strategies for getting links over time, etc.

If you don't plan, you lose control of the process. If you don't plan for the future, you aren't living beyond the day to day and you do n't foresee what might happen. For example, if you do not do keyword research periodically, it can happen that you arrive late on some keywords for which the competition is already positioned.

How to know if you have a suitable SEO plan

Are you planning to create content over time? Do you do keyword research regularly to detect new search intentions? Have you set an approximate number of links to get each month and have you planned strategies to get them? Have you prepared a detailed document with all the actions that affect SEO and have you organized them over time in order of importance? Have you given each of them the time, financial resources and techniques necessary to complete them?

If the answer to most of these questions is no, you are probably working with too much improvisation and may not have achieved the results you expected yet.

How to fix it

Analyze your industry. Analyze your competition. Analyze your goal. Analyze your strategy critically. Analyze who you are and what your goals are realistically. What do you want to achieve? You can do it? Do you have time and money for this? Is it necessary to allocate more internal resources and change habits within the company?

Once you have made it clear what context you are in, make a complete SEO plan , dedicating all the necessary time and resources to it. For this there are models and methodologies developed by SEO professionals that can be very useful.

And most importantly, give SEO the importance it deserves within the actions of your global digital marketing strategy.

Have you made any of these mistakes on your website? Did you find any others?

Doing good SEO requires constant work, knowledge and experimentation . If you work on SEO on your website or do it professionally, it is possible that you know many of the aspects we have covered in the post, or even that you want to tell us about other errors or related issues.

There is no single point of view in SEO. The important thing is to share our experiences, so that together we can reach the most correct conclusions possible. Sometimes there are issues that can be debated, as each case is different and the circumstances of each project vary from one to the other.

With this post I wanted to tell you about some of the most common SEO mistakes I've ever made or seen in client projects. The idea is not to dictate an absolute sentence, but rather to contribute my point of view and start a debate that will help all of us to learn more.

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