07 Oct How Many Of These On-Page SEO Mistakes Are You Making?
The on-page SEO for your website is similar to a home’s foundation. Without it, your house (website) will sink down into the ground or fall deep into the SERPs. I have been fortunate to have seen nearly every on-page optimization problem that can arise, so I can help you avoid making many of the common SEO mistakes that people tend to make.
If you are planning to build a new website in the near future, then this guide can help you avoid making mistakes that potentially could ruin your SEO campaigns in the future. If you have a website already, there are some changes that you can make immediately, and as soon as they are recognized by Google you will start benefiting from them.
Believe me, we have worked on websites and got them to rank using quality backlinks, and then a Panda penalty has completely ruined the efforts because we didn’t initially spend time on optimizing the website properly.
However, we have learned from our mistakes, and don’t make them any longer!
These days, we don’t build any links at all until we are 100% confident that the foundation is created indestructible. That is how important it is.
You could have links coming from God himself and it wouldn’t matter if you happen to be making some of the mistakes we are about to discuss. In fact, chances are, your website will completely disappear out of the SERPS. I am honestly not trying to scare you away. I just want to ensure that you really understand just how critical on-page SEO is.
There are three major reasons why I am writing this article. First, I don’t want your website to get hit with a Google Panda penalty. Second, I would like you to be able to rank your website easily. Third, not only do I want your website to be loved by Google, but I also want to ensure that your visitors have an excellent user experience since it will bring more conversions to your website and business.
Are you ready? Let’s go.
What is Considered To Be “Good” On-Page SEO?
The first thing I want to do, before I start to critique other websites, is to detail what I think “good” on-page SEO is. A website that is built with SEO in mind will have the following:
Any solid on-page SEO strategy should start with keeping users in mind. When it comes to Google’s link building standpoint things can be frustrating. However, they do have one fundamental principle that I do agree with: that is that websites should be built for users. You will soon see, that all of the following issues that I am about to detail impact user experience. That is why Google is forced to devalue or penalize your website.
When your website is optimized for the users, users love it, Google loves it, so you will make more money as a result.
Of course, there quite a bit of technical things involved in most on-page optimization. However, you also need to keep in mind at all times that every page that is part of your website needs to be designed with your users in mind and be valuable.
Each page on your site must have unique content. This is absolutely necessary.
When your site architecture is strategic, it makes it very easy to rank new pages. You also won’t need to obtain as many backlinks in order to get the results you desire.
It is absolutely critical to know where your keywords should be placed in order to rank a page.
13 On-Page SEO Mistakes That Google And The Panda Penalty Hate
Based on our experience working with both small and large (30,000 + pages) websites, the following are the most common on-page problems that we discovered and continue to see with each new client that we work with:
1. Duplicate Content
If you don’t correct this problem, it can absolutely kill your website. Unfortunately, it can cause many different problems for your website, and yes it takes some effort to solve, but it really is that critical.
2. Keyword Density
You will have problems ranking if any of the pages on your site have keyword densities greater than 1-3%. You also will be at risk of getting slapped by Google. The key here is to think of writing naturally first and then re-evaluating your work from a keyword standpoint.
3. Pages Lacking In Value Or Thin Pages
Pages without any content or valuable content devalue your website, don’t serve any purpose for your users, and clutter up the search engines. Don’t waste the valuable space on your site. Focus on providing immense value on every page, or don’t have it at all.
4. Duplicate META Tags
Some webmasters believe copying and pasting the same META descriptions over their whole website is okay. Panda does not like this at all. Trust me on this. Plus, if you are not specifically editing your META descriptions, you are missing out on getting people to click through to your pages.
5. Broken Links
Having many broken links is sloppy, unprofessional, harms your website’s flow, and makes Google believe that “user experience” is something that isn’t important to you. This is a big mistake. Make sure you understand the technical elements of your website, that status of your pages and have a handle on the site architecture.
6. 302 Redirects
Having numerous temporary redirects are usually unnecessary, and when used excessively can also harm your website. Get things fixed, figured out and live sooner rather than later.
7. Ineffective Link Flow
Having ineffective website architecture probably will not get your site penalized. However, you will have high bounce rates, lower conversions, and less time spent on your site by visitors. This will make it more difficult to rank your website’s pages. Start conserving the trust and power of your site instead of bleeding it out to other sites.
8. Slow Page Speed
When a website is slow, it provides poor user experience. This it taken into consideration by Google when they are ranking your website. Your site should be fast and responsive if you expect to compete in the current online infrastructure
9. Using Header Tags Improperly
When more than one to two H1 tags are used on a page, your keyword placement effectiveness can be diluted. Consider only using one H1 tag per page.
10. Missing ALT Tags
If you don’t specify what your images are in the ALT tags, Google won’t have any idea what they are. The robot doesn’t see your impressive photography. All it sees is the code.
11. Missing META Tags
Although this isn’t a critical problem, if you add them it can help to increase the click through rate on your pages when users find them in the SERPS.
12. Having Too Many Indexed Pages
When it comes to being an “authority” in the eyes of Google, this is one of the largest misconceptions. For some strange reason, many webmasters believe that having lots of indexed pages makes their website authoritative. However, this is completely untrue.
If you have lots of quality indexed pages, then it absolutely is true.
However, if there are 10 blog posts on your website, and a total of 400 indexed pages, then you probably have lots of thin pages and duplicate content.
13. Certain Trust Signals Are Missing
Most of these issues, as you can clearly see, all involve improving user experience. In fact, creating the best possible user experience is the ultimate recipe for optimizing your on-page SEO.
Taking An In-Depth Look At The Technical Aspects Of SEO
If your website has any duplicate content on it, then fixing it should be your top priority. In terms of on-page optimization, duplicate content is the most obvious mistake people are making.
The most common types of duplicate content are indexed archives, categories and tags, numerous pages for an identical product and copying a manufacturer’s product descriptions onto your site. If your website is an eCommerce site, there may be canonicalization issues causing you to have duplicate content.
How Duplicate Product Descriptions Can Be Fixed
Make them unique!
There have been many eCommerce store owners that have hated me for saying this, however each product page on your site must have content that is unique. This is an absolute requirement.
Don’t ever simply copy your own or a manufacturer’s product descriptions. If you take the time and create content for your website that is 100% unique, your conversion rates will increase. Google will also send additional long tail traffic to your products. Most importantly, putting in all that effort will really make your business stand out.
There is one very easy way of generating unique content for these pages apart from simply writing a section of text: that is, having user generated content on your pages.
Create a question, comment or review section on your pages, and ask consumers who purchase your products to leave a comment or review.
How Multiple Pages Can Be Fixed For An Identical Product
This is a very common problem I see with eCommerce stores. They will have a single products, but then have 10 pages for every size and another 10 pages for every color that the product comes in.
Google really hates this. First of all, it fills up the SERPs with meaningless content, and second of all it is virtually impossible to write unique descriptions for 20 separate pages for the same exact product.
The solution to this is to simply consolidate all of these separate pages into one page. Your users and Google will both love you for it.
If the consolidation process is too technical, then you can use “noindex, follow” on your duplicate product pages.
Archives, Categories and Tags
WordPress indexes these by default. It can cause some fairly serious duplicate content problems for you. I strongly recommend that you noindex these. If you are using WordPress, this can easily be dong through using Yoast SEO or the All In One SEO pack plugin.
I always use the keyword density tools since it is very comprehensive. Just remember, the keywords that are in your IMG extensions, ALT tags and other parts of the code are not counted. Each page on your website should have a keyword density of 1 to 3 percent. You are starting to live dangerously if you go beyond that.
Tip: If you write and publish a long tail keyword-based, quality blog, and it doesn’t rank within the top 100, it is probably due to having either a too low or too high keyword density. Or you are being foolish and attempting to rank for a keyword such as SEO with a blog post, which is of course something I know you wouldn’t ever try to do.
Every time I create a blog post for my authority website, it ranks within the top 30 for the target keyword without having any backlinks. That is solely due to keyword density and placement.
Regarding Keyword Placement
Since your keyword density needs to be kept to approximately 1 to 3 percent, that doesn’t give you much leeway. So for optimal rankings, you need to know precisely where your keywords should be placed.
The most important places where your target keyword should be placed are in the title, URL, first paragraph or sentence, last paragraph or sentence and first image ALT tag. You can also sprinkle the words throughout your copy or into the header tags.
What I do is first put them in the critical places, and then I adjust the keyword density either up or down as needed.
Tip: Whenever you are creating a landing page or blog post, write naturally. Don’t worry about keyword density while you are writing. After you have completed your copy, then go back and ensure that you have the right percentages.
Effective Site Architecture To Easily Rank Your Website
What really enables me to rank pages across websites without having to get a lot of backlinks is strategic site architecture. What you need to do for your website is to create a “silo” structure.
When it comes to site architecture, here are a couple of tips for you to keep in mind:
The first anchor text is the only one that is counted by Google. So you need to ensure that if the same link is being used more than one time on the same page, that your best anchor text is used first. You can use the navigation to do this very easily.
When it comes to your navigation, be smart about. This is something that eCommerce stores really struggle with. If you sell shoes and there is a tab on your navigation for color, the drop-down menu should have options for “Red Shoes,” “Blue Shoes,” etc. and not “Blue,” “Red,” etc. Creating landing pages is another thing you can do to solve this problem if you don’t want to have a cluttered up navigation bar.
As an example, you could create a landing page or category for shoe colors. Then you would write unique content and place “Red Shoes,” “Blue Shoes” and other internal links on the page directly. Then the landing page would be linked in your navigation bar. Using this type of strategy helps to prevent your navigation bar from getting too clutter and provides for the best link flow.
When it comes to internal links, don’t go too crazy with them. Google has stated that the optimal number of internal links for a page is between 100 and 150. This is a good standard to use from a link flow and usability standpoint.
Now that every page on your site has unique content, you have optimized your site architecture in terms of link flow, and have strategically placed your keywords in the best places, you won’t be making any of the common SEO mistakes that I detailed above.