1.) robots.txt Disallow
The biggest mistake a site can make is to robots.txt disallow your entire site (or even important pages)! I actually made this mistake not too long ago. I was developing a WordPress site with the “discourage search engines” options checked so the site wouldn’t be ranked while in progress. Silly me – I forgot to uncheck that option before submitting to Google (facepalm).
Sometimes it does come in handy to direct / block the crawlers: Create a robot.txt File
2.) A Slow Website
On the rare occasion I’m OK with waiting and waiting and waiting for a page to load. But that’s only because I know that what I’m looking for will be found there. Otherwise… “This site sucks. I’m out of here.”
3.) Not Defining Title Tag & Meta Description
The search engines will be looking for this stuff and comparing it to the content of your web page. Consistency is key
4.) No Analytics
Not having analytics for your site is like the old saying, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If you don’t have analytics tagging for your site, then how do you know if users are even finding your site or how many are converting?
5.) No Branding
Brand recognition from your website, to social pages, to email marketing and other promotions… Over time this builds trust, a confidence in your products and service. SEO practices are a smart investment, but they change all the time – sometimes even becoming obsolete.
6.) Not Being Mobile Friendly
Google does penalize sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. Also, the majority of internet users are on mobile devices, therefore having a mobile friendly website is a necessity for good user experienceIf your business has a brick-and-mortar location, having a mobile-friendly website is even more important. According to Google 4 out of 5 searches have local intent and of those 88% are done by users with smartphones.
7.) Google Tunnel Vision
Assuming everyone will find you on Google is a missed opportunity for more traffic. While Google’s share of organic search is approximately 64%, Microsoft sites are hovering around 21%. With Bing, Yahoo and AOL under the same roof (Yahoo and AOL are powered by Bing), it’s foolish to ignore over 20% of searchers.
Another thing to keep in mind is the popularity search engines in other countries. For example, “Yahoo!” is popular in Japan and “Baidu” is the largest search engine in China. If your audience is international, it’s worth it to optimize for these other search engines.
8.) Not Investing in Quality Content
Understanding your audience and creating compelling content is critical to growing your online traffic and increasing your brand awareness. Creating quality, long-form content is what will help you skyrocket to the top ranking positions. Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between long content and higher rankings. The average Google first page result contains almost 1,900 words. That’s a long article! Consider the length of content (and overall quality) when writing your next article and go beyond the average 300-400 word-count post.
9.) Ignoring Technical SEO Basics
In order for your website’s pages to be ranked and discovered by users, search engines need to first crawl and index them. You might have the best content around, but if search engines can’t find it then you’re wasting resources and missing traffic opportunities.
On top of great content and back-link development, SEO takes into consideration many other technical items such as:
• Ensuring your site is crawlable with internal linking, XML Sitemaps and HTML sitemaps
• Monitoring and fixing broken links
• Managing duplication and URL structures
• Creating clear navigation and site architecture
10.) Black Hat Link Building
In the world of link building, “Black hat” link tactics are considered against Google’s guidelines. Stuff like buying or selling links, link farms, link exchanges and automated link programs. Google has ways of detecting these unnatural link programs and regularly penalizes sites abusing backlink development.