On-page SEO lays the solid foundation for effective link building.
In fact, several studies found that if your on-page SEO is properly executed, then content promotion, link building, brand marketing, and every aspect of your content marketing strategy will produce dramatic results as well.
If you’re struggling to improve your search rankings, then you probably haven’t done on-page optimization. Or have you?
Remember that on-page factors cut across keywords, design, usage metrics, depth and value of content, among many others. These are the factors you need to pay attention to before you start building inbound links.
Perhaps, you’re still making some common mistakes when it comes to this aspect of your website—I want to help you pinpoint these mistakes, and show you how to avoid them going forward.
Here are the 10 common on-page mistakes you must avoid:
1. Not optimizing your homepage for conversion
Is your homepage optimized to convert your website’s visitors?
Your homepage is the most important page of your website. It not only attracts customers to your business, but it is also your first impression for website visitors.
Many businesses ignore their website’s homepage SEO optimization—probably because they don’t know what to do.
Your homepage generates a lot of traffic as well. An analysis by KISSmetrics revealed that most of the time your homepage is your highest traffic source.
No matter the on-page strategy you have developed for your website, if you ignore your homepage you’ll be doing your business a disservice.
Your homepage should be focused on your unique value proposition. When users land on this page for the first time, the desire to subscribe to your newsletter and become lifelong customers should be initiated.
Bryan Harris’ website (videofruit.com) homepage is optimized for conversions. You’ll notice how the title of the homepage is crafted to draw the user in, and there’s a prompt to opt-in to an email list.
There are no intrusive elements like social media buttons, blog feeds, irrelevant menu buttons, sidebars, or the like.
More so, make sure that your homepage is optimized for search engines and users. Evaluate your title tag and meta descriptions. Make sure they’re targeting your primary keywords (e.g., best digital cameras).
No, don’t try to manipulate Google by stuffing keywords into your meta data as this can get you penalized. But rather, use the keyword naturally—and make sure it reads naturally with the rest of the sentence.
Your homepage, in particular, must load quickly for users. No one wants to wait for more than 3 seconds before they can see your menu or offer. Speed is an essential factor when you want to increase homepage conversion rate.
2. Not optimizing your website for mobile users
Your website users are mobile, are you? How mobile-friendly and responsive is your website?
According to an official Google statement, more than 50% of search queries globally now come from mobile devices. Recent studies found that about 66% of the world’s population use mobile devices to access the internet.
That said, it’s extremely important to optimize your website for mobile devices in order to reach mobile users.
Have doubts about your website’s mobile-friendliness?
Use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to check how your website displays on mobile devices.
Here’s how to do it:
Visit the Google Mobile friendly speed test tool, and enter your website URL (e.g., saasbrand.com) into the search box. Then click on the “RUN TEST” button.
Next, be patient and let the tool analyze your page.
If the page is easy to use on mobile devices, you’ll see a test result that’s similar to this:
If your page isn’t mobile-friendly, here’s what you’ll see:
Google will give you insights on how to make your web pages mobile-optimized. You simply have to follow their tips.
3. Targeting several keywords and ignoring user intent
Are you focusing so much on keywords that you are ignoring the user’s intent? Come on, this is 2017.
Targeting several keywords on your page might have worked way back in the day, but Google Panda and Penguin algorithm updates redefined it. Today, keyword stuffed content goes against Google’s guidelines. It’s considered as a spammy page.
The truth is that optimizing your content page for several keywords won’t help you rank higher, and even if it does, you risk getting punished for low-quality content. Here’s an example of a keyword stuffed page. You absolutely want to avoid having a page similar to this:
Instead of focusing on keywords, look beyond each of the keywords and understand the intent behind it. For example, when a user enters the search term “social media strategy” what do you think the user is looking for?
Does he want to learn how to develop a social media strategy, or what a social media strategy is about?
The only way to find out is to conduct research on the user. Through your research, you’ll be able to uncover the “intent” behind that search term.
Then, it’s your responsibility to create compelling content that will address this intent, not the keyword. Does that make sense?
4. Creating thin pages or pages that lack value
Creating high-quality content consistently is hard work. But there’s no other way to build a successful online business in the long-term.
Though you may start out with PPC advertising, after acquiring these customers the only way to retain them is by creating and publishing compelling content on your blog.
Content that answers your customer’s questions is an integral part of your SEO strategy. All things being equal, you can’t be penalized by Google as long as you focus on the user. More so, the best way to get significant results from your content is to give it away at no cost. That’s why Neil Patel could spend $30,000 on content and still give it away for free.
On the other hand, if you’re still creating thin pages, then you’re going to be left behind. SEO has evolved so much since the Panda and Hummingbird updates. In the eyes of Google, some examples of thin pages include duplicate pages, doorway pages, or automatically generated content.
The days of 200 – 300 words content is long gone. Even if it’s a basic definition article (e.g., what is social media marketing), don’t stop at the definition. Dig deeper and address some of the related topics such as the benefits, tools, cost, among many.
Here’s an example of a thin page:
The web page in the screenshot above is meant to explain what a CRM is. Sadly, the page contains only 241 words. While the definition is good, it doesn’t give searchers enough information to help them understand what a CRM software is—in the eyes of Google this page is low-quality and thin.
Instead of creating such thin pages, create helpful pages which contain long-form, detailed, and interesting content with images, videos, and audio to help readers understand the topic better.
Of course, you can create this type of content yourself, but if you’re too busy you can get a good content writer to help you with the task.
5. Having duplicate meta tags
Have you made the mistake of using the same meta tag across all your web pages?
Well, I see many website owners making the same mistake. Meta tags ought to be unique to every page as search engines rely on them to gain firsthand information about the content of your web page.
Here’s an example of a webpage with a good meta tag:
You can see that both Zappos and 6pm have great meta tags, that of Zappos is even more interesting as it has loads of valuable information on the meta description—a phone number is added to it and customers know that they’re getting free shipping.
A good meta tag will increase your click-through and conversion rate. Endeavor to write a unique meta tag for all your web pages.
6. 302 Redirects
Some website owners still don’t understand why and how to use 301 or 302 redirects and so, using it incorrectly can affect your SEO negatively.
You can tell from the image above that 302 redirects are used to redirect your users to a different URL temporally and it only transfers partial page qualities to the redirected web page.
However, 301 is used when you intend to move your website to URL permanently. In 301 redirection, all the page qualities such as domain authority, page authority, traffic value, pagerank, and more, are transferred to the redirected web page.
A common mistake website owners make is to use 301 redirects when they want only a temporary redirect. Don’t do that.
Most importantly, don’t use too many redirects. According to Matt Cutts, former head of the webspam team at Google, anything more than 3 redirects is bad for your website.
7. Improper use of Header Tags
How do you use the header tag — H1, H2, H3…?
Using header tags properly is a common SEO practice that’s still valid to date. It’s true that header tags may not impact your search rankings, but they will help readers who scan and skim the content. In other words, it will help with user experience.
Interestingly, John Mueller, from Google, in this video, said there is a ‘slight boost’ in ranking for using header tags correctly.
But so many website owners ignore using them at all or they use headers incorrectly. Ideally, you should use the H1 tags for your title, H2 for your subtitles, and H3 for other important paragraphs on your page.
8. Slow page speed
Do your web pages load up quickly?
A slow website can be annoying. User experience is very important to Google and users alike.
If users find too many slow websites from a Google search result, they’ll likely move to another search engine. Google doesn’t want that. So, in 2010 Google announced it was going to regard page speed as a ranking signal, and it did.
However, many website owners still don’t take this seriously.
But, here’s the thing: 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
Ensuring that your web pages are fast is important as it will reduce your page abandonment and bounce rate.
So, what can you do to increase your page speed?
You can do a lot, really. But you can implement these practices right now: Don’t use heavy images, remove plugins you’re not using at the moment, avoid too many banner ads, optimize your code for high performance, use cache plugins to clear your cache data, and more.
9. Not using Analytics
As digital marketers, we’re all looking for traffic; however, you need to use SEO to boost your conversions and grow your business. Traffic isn’t a core metric to measure. What’s the need of driving people to your website without converting them?
In your online business, you should be concerned about conversion.
The question is, “How do you know which of your pages are converting search users into leads and customers? How do you learn about your visitor’s interaction with web pages?
Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with making intelligent guesses; however, if you want to get the best metrics, you need to use Google Analytics. According to Salesforce, 56% of businesses rely solely on Google Analytics.
Google Analytics will give you the most accurate information about your website traffic, user engagement metrics, conversions, and more.
By looking at the chart below, you can easily tell how your website is performing, and the overall health of your web pages.
10. Lack of internal linking
Internal linking is an important part of the web. It allows your visitors to navigate through your web pages, and find what they’re looking for.
Since your homepage likely receives the most traffic, you need to interlink other pages from the homepage. That way, some of the link authority from the homepage will be transferred to internal pages.
The structure looks like this:
There are marketers who don’t interlink their web pages. This is wrong. When you interlink your pages, you create a path for search engines to crawl, find, and index your content.
If search engines find it hard to crawl your website content, you’ll struggle to rank your web pages.
Here’s an example of an internal linked content:
Take baby steps and fix these mistakes on your web pages.
And remember that beyond other SEO strategies that can help you get links, build brand awareness and improve your online reputation. Avoiding these common on-page SEO mistakes will help you get optimum results from your efforts.
If you find yourself making any of these mistakes, that could explain why your pages are not ranking better than your competitor’s. But now, you know exactly what to do to improve online visibility. Don’t you?