Last Updated: 13th Dec 2018

You want to have a winning SEO strategy in 2019. There is alot of SEO mistakes to avoid and convuluted information on the web, which makes it difficult to decide which pieces of advice to take since there are many conflicting opinions and SEO approaches. Digital Next has worked on several successful SEO campaigns over the past 5 years. Through our methodology, we’ve learned that there are certain processes that must be implemented and that it is important to avoid making mistakes that could be costly to your SEO campaign.

To assist with getting to the information you need first, we’ve divided these into sections covering strategy, analysis, technical implementation, content optimisation and link building in SEO.

SEO Strategy Mistakes To Avoid

With ample noise of KILLER strategies flooding the internet monthly, it’s common to forget some of the basic fundamentals of SEO in your hunt for that life-changing solution. Take a look at some of the core fundamentals of SEO strategy mistakes you should avoid.

1. Don’t set unrealistic goals and expectations.

This is a common problem in the SEO space. Whilst it is ok to be aggressive and ambitious with SEO targets, setting unrealistic goals will only prepare you for failure and disappointment. Instead of focusing purely on SEO rankings, measure the SEO success through metrics that affect the business’s performance. This will usually be in the form of traffic growth, conversions, engagement and sales.

Make sure that an SEO benchmark report is conducted prior to SEO activity commencing and develop a roadmap strategy based on realistic targets that the SEO team will be able to achieve over the desired timeframe.

An SEO consultant will be able to share forecasts and projections based on 3, 6, 9 and 12 months based on the success of other SEO campaigns.

2. Don’t ignore long-tail keywords.

The long-tail keywords in your SEO campaign will generally be the highest converting keywords and they will be the ‘low hanging fruit’ in your SEO campaign. Stakeholders will want to see their site rank for high traffic keywords, however, the competition for these keywords may be high and make it a mid to long-term goal in the SEO campaign.

Google also tends to rank web pages for long-tail keywords and will then rank the website for more competitive high traffic keywords.

For example, if a new website is trying to rank for the keyword “car hire”, it’s unlikely that they will be able to rank for that keyword in the short-term. It would be better for them to focus on keywords that will generate them rankings and traffic from long-tail keywords.

It would be better to focus on long-tail keywords, such as locations, deals, and travel behaviours. For example:

  • Car hire Darwin
  • Discount car hire
  • One-way car hire

3. Don’t ignore your audience’s demographics and behaviours.

People doing SEO can get too caught up in the numbers and forget to look at the behaviours of their target audience. It’s important that you have your audience demographics setup in Google Analytics and pay attention to the type of content that they engage with, as well as the keywords that they are using to find the content that is on your website. If you run campaigns such as paid search or display, use the insights from those campaigns in your SEO strategy.

Technical SEO Mistakes To Avoid

Whether you have a technical SEO professional to consult or are self-learning SEO implementation, we’ve narrowed down our top 3 critical SEO mistakes to avoid when getting down and dirty with code.

4. Don’t ignore the importance of the website’s HTML and architecture.

The HTML of the web pages and the architecture of the entire website are the most important factors for the SEO foundation. Search engines need to access, crawl and index the content that exists on web pages on the website. Even though having a fancy, aesthetically appealing website is important, a site that uses clean HTML and has good site architecture will always outperform a site who’s HTML is messy and has poor site navigation.

Always make sure that the site’s code is developed as cleanly as possible. This means limiting the use of CSS, JavaScript, and any coding objects that aren’t search-friendly.

Use of the most up to date HTML code.

Check to see if the web page is developed in the latest HTML or if the web pages on the site use an older HTML version.

Use of meta tags within the tag.

Make sure that the right type of meta tags are included for the campaign that you are running. The basic meta tags that should appear include:

  • Title tag.
  • Meta description tag.

Depending on the optimisation requirements for the web page and the site, you may need to incorporate other tags such as:

Accidentally omitting the relevant tags can affect your site’s SEO visibility and performance.

Add schema mark-up 

JSON schema mark-up may also be used within the tag to provide the search engine crawler more information about the web page. Alternatively, schema mark-up can be implemented using RDFa and microdata within the HTML.

You can click here to see the schema mark-up recommendations from Google.

You can also click here to test the schema mark-up on your web page.

5. Avoid crawling errors on the website

Search engines cannot index what they cannot find. So it is important to know how the search engines are accessing and crawling your website and your web content. The search engine spider will find and crawl the content on the site through the links that are on the site and the navigation permissions set in the page, robots.txt file and Google Search Console. Errors in these can significantly minimise the SEO visibility of the website. Please ensure that errors are minimised with the following.

XML sitemap

A dynamic XML sitemap should be on the website and the file path should be stated in the robots.txt file. This will allow the search engine to find, crawl and index the live URLs on the website. Having a dynamic sitemap will keep the URLs up-to-date at all times.

Once the XML sitemap is submitted in the Google Search Console, the amount of crawled and indexed pages can be monitored. Any indexing issues should be immediately flagged and reviewed.

Website’s menu navigation and internal links.

When crawling the website, the search engine spider will use the links to understand how the content is structured on the site. It will also use the links to discover new content on the site. So by adding links to the content in the navigation menu or internally within the content, you will allow the search engine to discover and understand the relevance between the linking web pages.

Broken links

Broken links on the site are problematic because they provide a poor user experience for the website’s visitor. But it also causes content indexing issues. If the search engine finds too many broken links, it will stop trying to crawl the site and it won’t try to index any more pages. If the site is a large site like an e-commerce site with several products, then there is a risk that several products won’t get found or indexed by the search engine.

Monitor the broken links closely and have processes in place to either maintain the content and URLs on the site, or implement a permanent redirect (301) to the most relevant web page.

Avoid redirection errors.

This is a common problem that occurs, especially when there is a site relaunch or migration. You want to minimise the amount of redirects by keeping the URLs as original as possible. This is because authority gets minimised when a 301 redirect is implemented. (Click here to see more)
The second thing is when redirects are implemented, there are a few things that need to be avoided. These include:

  • Incorrectly redirecting all URLs to the homepage.
  • Accidentally creating redirect loops.
  • Accidentally creating redirect chains.

Mobile SEO Tips

Google keeps on pushing for webmasters to have their content optimised for mobile. More people engage with their mobile devices as smartphones continue to evolve. There are a few factors that should be incorporated on websites.

6. Get A Mobile Responsive Design – No Excuses

Make sure the website can recognise searches from a mobile device and that it will take the user to a mobile-friendly version of the website. If the business has a mobile application, provide them with the option to download the mobile app and to engage with the mobile application on their device.

7. Add Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Search engines are pushing for AMP content to be served on mobile devices. AMP pages are a simplified version of an HTML page, which can be served quicker on mobile devices. The pages can serve article and product content. It can also trigger the content to leapfrog the competition in the organic search results. It’s important that this is incorporated otherwise competitors could use it to their advantage.

Quality Website Content Is Still Critical

The content that appears on your website will be the foundation for your website’s SEO success. Don’t make the mistake of investing in mediocre content and expecting amazing results. Businesses need to develop a content marketing strategy that will allow their website to generate links and traffic.

Conduct a content audit to identify which pieces of content generates inbound web traffic and inbound links from the business’s existing site, as well as competitor’s sites and other similar websites in the industry. Create a content schedule and then publish the content with an existing audience that it can be promoted to.

8. Validate Your Business Credibility

You need to make sure that the search engines understand the credibility of your business. There are a few simple ways this can be implemented.

Adding the business’s name, address and phone number to the site.

This is also referred to as NAP in SEO. This is used by search engines to identify that the business is real and not simply a virtual business. This is particularly useful for brick-and-mortar businesses.

Add business citations on the web.

Ensure that the business’s name, address and phone number are consistent on the web to maximise the organic search visibility.

9. Use EAT to the business’s advantage

The EAT acronym refers to Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. It is increasing in importance in different niches (in particular, “Your money or your life” niches) so that there is credibility behind the website. This can refer to the authors on the site, reference links, citations, and other credible factors.

Although it isn’t needed in every niche, sites that choose to incorporate this will have an advantage for any future algorithm updates.

Don’t overlook voice search!

Voice search has emerged over the past few years with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It’s expected that voice search will continue to get bigger and the only way to stay ahead is to get organic search listings that will rank your site in the rich snippet results, so the results will be read to the person conducting the voice search.

This means that the website’s content needs to be optimised to rank in the rich snippet results if businesses want to benefit from searches from voice devices.

There are several exciting opportunities that await in 2019 in the SEO space. Don’t let your business become one of the victims of a costly SEO error simply due to implementing incorrect tactics, methodologies or strategy. Get in touch with one of the SEO consultants at Digital Next to discuss how the team can help your business achieve its SEO goals in 2019 today.

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