7 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2024

7 SEO mistakes to avoid in 2021: search engine optimization, Cleveland

The impact of SEO on the survival of businesses online has become an undeniable part of marketing. Any business or website that wishes to grow must incorporate SEO into its digital marketing strategy.

However, it takes expertise, patience, and a small amount of money to see this through. Digital marketers have a few misconceptions about SEO, which leads them to make certain mistakes that neutralize all their SEO efforts.

In this article, you will learn 7 of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid. You will learn from the mistakes that several top-shot digital marketing experts have made that you can avoid.

Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid and Why

Below, we will look at seven of the most common and deadliest SEO mistakes to avoid. Some of these mistakes can lead your business into a downturn and most likely never get you found on the search engine.

1. Not setting clear SEO goals

Nothing beats the clarity that an SEO strategy helps you to get. Most business owners dive into SEO without goals, plans, or strategies. They simply create several articles and publish all of them whenever they feel like it. This is top of the SEO mistakes to avoid for a reason.

For you to experience real progress and growth in your website, you must understand what it means to get traffic, get leads, and turn them into customers. Below is a list of SEO goals you should set if you aim for success.

A. Be realistic

Don’t be one of those digital marketers that set up a website and hope to rack up one million visitors in a week and start making sales in the next. An SEO campaign is a long-term strategy that takes patience and skill. If you’re not willing to wait it out, you’d better not start it.

B. Plan to increase organic traffic

Organic traffic is the kind of traffic that comes to your website without you having to offer them a promotion or paying for ads. They simply saw your website on the first page of Google or any other search engine and decided to check it out.

One of your SEO goals should be to boost the organic traffic to your website. Search engines will favor your website if your SEO strategy and game are strong enough to satisfy user experience and intent.

C. Go in search of quality backlinks

Backlinks are links that direct visitors from a website with high domain authority to yours. From the explanation, you should know that backlinks from a new or struggling website are not quality ones.

Hunt down opportunities for quality backlinks and you’ll give your website a higher fighting chance in the race to higher traffic and sales.

D. Boost page speed

Website visitors are impatient. They want an answer to their questions and they want it as quickly as possible. If your website takes too long to load, you’ll only end up losing all the traffic you should be getting.

Another bad part about high loading time is that Google and other search engines begin to rank your site low because they have metrics that show that users are not finding your content attractive.

E. Aim for featured snippets

Featured snippets are a superb way to appear on top of search results and increase traffic. To explain how this works, let us assume that you search for a term like, “How to prevent oily hair,” below is an example of what featured snippets will look like.

Aim for featured snippets: SEO mistakes to avoid

Seeing something like this, searchers already have an idea of what to expect in the article. They expect a listicle and this makes it even easier for them to read.

F. Quality internal linking

Internal linking is one of the 4 basic SEO activities you must indulge in if you ever want to make a success online with your website. Internal linking is the linking of several pages on your website that have similar content pieces.

However, while you do this, you must ensure that you avoid keyword cannibalization by all means. Keyword cannibalization is the mistake of having too many content pieces with the same or too closely related keywords on the same website.

G. Reduce the bounce rate

Bounce rate should be your biggest enemy when trying to scale digital marketing. The bounce rate refers to the rate at which visitors leave your site after a few seconds of being there.

If you have an article that’s supposed to be a 2-minute read and visitors are leaving after 15 seconds, there might be something wrong with that page or the content you have written. Focus on creating quality content and ensuring that readers stay on your site and even click on other links.

H. Remember to tie your SEO goals to your business goals

Your SEO goals should never stray too far away from your company goals. Your business goals don’t start and end at making money. Sometimes, the best thing that can happen to your company is becoming a popularly known and accepted brand.

Focus enough energy on ensuring that your website shows more details about your website and makes it easier for you to keep customers and potential customers aware of your product.

I. Increase conversion

If you’re getting traffic to your website and only 1% of it buys from you, there may be a reason for it. You’re either not focusing enough time and resources on copywriting or you don’t create relevant content for your target audience.

Without clear goals, you’ll end up with a bunch of vanity metrics and not much else. Conversion doesn’t have to be sales. It could simply be subscribers to your email list, visitors who are willing to share your posts, and many more.

2. Not meeting search intent

Search intent is the main reason search engines rank any page or website in the first place. It is referred to as the motivation behind a user’s search in Google. How does it work?

People come online to search for something. They expect that they’ll find the result or answer on Google. If by any chance your page ranks on the search results and you didn’t proffer any solution to their problem, the users quickly leave your site. This is what is known as a ‘bounce’.

Google and other search engines will automatically infer from your bounce rate that users are not getting the information they seek from your website and you will drop in the rankings.

The longer it takes you to fix the problem leading to the huge bounce rate, the deeper you’ll fall down the results pages.

Another important thing to know about search intent is that keywords need to be selected for special purposes.

There are mainly four types of search intent and we will look at all four of them below:

A. Transactional search intent

With the high rate of online purchases in recent years, many companies have created a system that lets them sell online. Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, and many others allow customers to buy products from them and have them delivered in a few days.

An example would be doing a Google search for the term, “School bags in America” with a mobile phone. Below is the kind of results page you should be expecting:

Transactional search intent

From the screenshot above, you can easily see that Google is suggesting pages that allow users to buy a product rather than learn about school bags. It would be a self-imposed waste of time to create a blog post on that keyword.

B. Commercial investigation search intent

Commercial investigation intent is similar to transactional intent. The difference is that the buyer doesn’t want to buy the product right now.

To make it clearer, below is a screenshot from creating a Google search on, “The best Android phones under $200” on a desktop.

Commercial intent for ranking

From the image above, you can see that Google is suggesting pages that have information regarding the best Android phones under $200 and not sites that are offering those phones for sale.

If you run an eCommerce website, a good trick you can use in a case like this is to create a blog article and invest in quality link building where you can create links directly to the page where you have those products for sale.

C. Informational search intent

Informational intent is exactly what you’re doing right now. You clicked on this page to learn how to avoid common SEO mistakes in your journey. The pages that would be suggested by Google will look like this one you’re currently reading.

Google knows that what you need is information, guidance, and knowledge and will only provide websites and pages that offer just that.

If you were to search on Google for, “How to choose a good husband,” below would be an example of the kind of results you’ll get.

Informational intent

D. Navigational search intent

The navigational intent is not easy to achieve. You need to be very famous and highly useful to the visitors for them to navigate to your website. The navigational intent simply represents searches that are made specifically for a website.

Users are often too lazy to type in the entire URL, so they just go to Google and type in, “Facebook” for example, hoping that Google would point them to the Facebook site.

in summary, Google favors sites whose content satisfies the particular query that the user typed in. You should always ensure that your keyword research is top-notch to avoid being fed the crumbs that fall from other site owners that use SEO best practices.

3. Overlooking mobile traffic

More than 50% of all traffic comes from mobile devices and that’s no fluke. Imagine not optimizing your website to accommodate that 50% of website traffic.

Google favors mobile-friendly websites because mobile-friendly websites are also one that caters to the needs of desktop searches. There is a good chance that you’re accessing this web page right now using your mobile phone or tablet.

If you ever want to rank and increase your organic website traffic, don’t ignore mobile traffic. Mobile-friendliness and page speed are important ranking factors for your website’s rankings.

Cut this one off the SEO mistakes you’ll make and watch your website go up in rankings.

4. Ignoring keyword research

Assumptions are one of the biggest killers of a company. There is a reason businesses spend millions of dollars on research yearly. No one is asking you to spend millions of dollars too but a simple keyword research strategy can save you from a lot of trouble.

Many marketers make the mistake of assuming that they know what their customers and site visitors want. They assume that just because the topic sounds interesting, then the visitor wants to see it. That is not true.

This is one of the biggest SEO mistakes you’ll ever make. It’s bigger than just a mistake, it’s an assassination of your website.

While there’s a chance you could be correct with the prediction and assumption of possible keywords to incorporate into your website, you don’t want to leave your growth to chance. So, how do you do keyword research?

A. Brainstorm some relevant topic ideas

Before you begin your journey to keyword research, you must first have a base keyword, also known as the seed keyword. Seed keywords are easy to come up with. All you have to do is pick a popular search term in your niche.

For example, if you’re into fashion, your seed keyword could be any of ‘fashion, clothes, style, shoes’ and many more. It is at this point that your assumption should start and end.

B. Look through the related searches area

Google related searches

When you have searched for your seed keywords, the next step is to go to the bottom of the search engines results page (SERP) and get keyword ideas suggested by Google.

What Google is trying to tell you is that “Hey, here are some terms that many users want answers to as well.” You can never go wrong with those because they’re suggested by Google themselves.

C. Wikipedia table of contents

Wikipedia is where all the information is at. If you’ve searched for the seed keywords and it happens that Wikipedia has some information on it, you should check out their table of contents for some content ideas.

D. Google and YouTube suggest

Google and YouTube suggest are just as good as the ‘related searches’ section of Google. They show you some of the best content ideas for blog posts. Still using the fashion seed word, here’s what it looks like:

Google suggests content ideas for SEO

You don’t have to create content on the suggested keywords, you can use them as new seed keywords for more ideas.

E. People also ask (for long-tail keywords)

The people also ask section is filled with tons of content ideas. It shows you exactly what people are typing into search engines. They are called long-tail keywords because they include other words aside from the regular seed keywords. The screenshot below is an example of what the people also ask section looks like.

People also ask section for SEO

F. Use SEO tools

There are tons of SEO tools online offering to help you search for keywords and also give you brilliant ideas on how juicy a keyword is. Some keyword research tools include the following

There are very many more you can choose from. Once the keyword research is completed, you can move on to create content around the ones you have chosen.

5. Missing important Links

One of the SEO mistakes you want to avoid is linking your pages to sites and pages with low or no authority. We’re talking about external linking and backlinks.

Linking to or from a website should be done strategically. You shouldn’t link to a site because it has information about your keyword. It could be detrimental to your site as visitors may find the new site interesting or better than yours.

Only link to relevant sites with solid reputations. Well-ranking, relevant sites. You must know that the quality of your backlinks and external links is more important to you than the quantity.

Another counterproductive practice is using ineffective anchor text. Anchor texts are used for internal linking. Internal links, as explained earlier are used for connecting two pages on the same website to help your target audience find out more about the topic and keep them on your site for longer. The longer they stay, the better for you.

Below are some guidelines for effective internal links:

  • Don’t use the same text over and over when linking
  • Don’t use words such as “click here” as your anchor text.
  • Ensure that the link directs the user to a page on your site that helps them learn more about the title
  • Link descriptions should be clear, concise, and precise

Internal links can improve your SEO and marketing efforts if used properly. No SEO strategy is ever complete without effective linking and this includes back links, anchor links, and external links.

6. Publishing low-quality content

The quality of the content you publish has a huge role to play in your success online. Content marketing is considered one of the most important SEO best practices.

Content is king and must be treated with respect. However, there is a misconception about what content is. Many marketers think that content is limited to written words. Don’t make the mistake of believing that.

Content can come in the form of a video, pictures, and also audio. Creating SEO content means creating articles that cater to at least two or more of these content types. Before you can create a content marketing strategy, you must first ensure that every content you publish is top-notch.

Below is a list of things you should keep in mind when creating content:

A. Never publish duplicate content

Search engines know the age of all the websites online. They know when a website updates new content and if a new site is publishing the same content, they’ll never rank it. The first one remains on the rank table. Invest in creating original content.

B. Create easy to read content

Your content should be easy to read and understand. Create content like you’re making them for 5th-grade pupils. Please, don’t make the mistake of sounding too serious with your content. An easy-to-read content doesn’t have a direct impact on your search engine rank but can reduce your bounce rate.

C. Optimize title tags, meta descriptions, meta tags, and image alt texts

Title tags, meta descriptions, alt texts, and meta tags are important metrics for ranking. The title tag is what search engines display on the results page along with the meta description. Both of them combined are referred to as meta tags.

Image alt texts also need to be optimized. This helps you to rank in the image section of search engines as well as helping searchers with reading disabilities to find your content easily.

D. Avoid keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is similar to cannibalization. The only difference is that the former happens on just one page. Trying to get your page optimized to too many keywords at the same time can send the wrong signal to search engines and send you low rankings.

Focus on one keyword per page and your content marketing/SEO strategy is already on the right path.

7. Ignoring Site Performance (user experience)

Last but not least on SEO mistakes to avoid is ignoring the performance of your website.

The performance of your site plays a huge role in your rankings. Performance can range from page speed to design to accessibility to several other things that can help you sustain your position on search results pages.

There are several free and paid tools and techniques that help you monitor how well you’re performing on search engines. Performance should be optimized for both desktop and mobile.


Search optimization is the gold in digital marketing for all sites. However, avoiding SEO mistakes can be challenging, especially when you’re desperate to see a change occur.

If you use all the techniques and ideas suggested in this article, you should notice a relevant boost to your ranking in just a few weeks.

If you need help scaling your online business, feel free to reach out to our search engine optimization experts to let us take you high up the rank table in weeks.

Anthony Milia

Anthony Milia

Anthony Milia is an author of Marketing Magnifier, marketing consultant, and owner of Milia Marketing, an award-winning Marketing firm located in Cleveland, OH. Anthony helps Small and Medium-sized businesses get the best ROI for their marketing dollars by shedding light on their sales and marketing challenges.