So you decided to get serious about your content marketing. Nice!
You’ve been publishing blog posts for a while now and you’re feeling pretty good about them. Those cheeky puns have you giggling and your extended metaphors are always on point. If you could, you’d high-five yourself!
You’re feeling confident, so you have a look at your analytics. Only to find…well, nothing. No new visitors, an atrocious bounce rate and zero new leads.
You hate Google now. In fact, if Google was a person, you’d stab him in the eyes with a pencil, because clearly he’s not using them to see your eye-poppingly good content.
But, before you go all GI Jane, maybe see whether you’re doing anything that’s offending the search engines. There are a number of bad practices that could be killing your rankings.
Here are 5 mistakes you’re possibly making when it comes to SEO.
1 Images That Are Way Too Big
You have searched high and low and finally found the perfect image for your website. For downloading you always opt for the biggest file size, because high res is best, right? NOPE, absolutely not.
When it comes to your website, be very wary of uploading image files that are built for billboards.
Big images = slow load speed.
We live in a time where we want information and we want it now. I’m not even willing to watch a 2-minute ad on YouTube – I always Skip. Users don’t wait longer than 3 seconds for your website to load before they’re outta there faster than a little black dress on sale.
2 Catchy Title, But No Purpose
You have a way with words and you love to lead with a hook. That’s awesome! But, Google likes to skim your content before diving in deeper. They do this by reading your metadata, titles and headings.
It is VERY tempting to use your sub-heading for quirkiness, but you could be causing a lot of cyberspace confusion.
For example: Your blog post is about keeping a secret so your title is “Keeping the Cat In the Bag”. It’s funny and can lend itself to A LOT of adorable cat memes (now all I’m thinking of is kittens), but Google will battle to understand it. Next thing you know, you’re on the first page for “cats in bags”. Not what you intended, huh?
Stick to safer titles and sprinkle your humour within your paragraphs.
3 Too Many Keywords i.e. Keyword Stuffing
You have just learnt about the power of keywords and now you want to put them EVERYWHERE. Do that and enjoy life on Page 10 of Google forever.
Back in the ol’ days when the Google dinosaurs ruled the Earth, keyword stuffing was a genuine problem. SEOs would add lines of keywords on each page, so that they ranked better thanks to Google’s less sophisticated algorithm.
Times have changed and the dinosaurs are gone. Do that these days and search engines will show you the exit sign.
Don’t ignore keyword research, but include 3 – 5 super relevant variations at the most. Don’t worry, Google will do the rest. Rather focus on creating the most unique and valuable content you can.
4 Not Hyperlinking To Relevant Articles
In the old days, there was this mysterious thing called “link juice”. It was believed that the more you link out, the less authority you give the page you were creating i.e. it loses link juice.
Gone are those days. And I’m actually still wondering if they ever even existed. Google LOVES it when you link to other articles, because you are providing more relevant information for your audience.
The cardinal rule of SEO: ALWAYS BE THINKING OF YOUR READERS.
Make sure you are linking to relevant content – be it within your blog or elsewhere. In fact, here is link to better linking. Ah, sweet irony.
5 Not Filling In Your Metadata
Let’s get technical for a second.
It is so easy to just ignore configuring your metadata i.e. alt tags, meta titles and descriptions. Especially since your audience don’t really see it, and it just feels like one extra step you simply don’t have time for.
But, we’re not trying to impress your audience in this instance, we’re trying to impress Google.
Your metadata is a structured way to communicate information to the search engines about your blog post. Google will eventually scan your content looking for relevant keywords, but the metadata helps tell them MORE about the page.
Make the time and fill it out – it’s more important than you think.