I cringe at the mere recall of my initial SEO strategy… It was so bad. I wish I had paid more attention to the SEO gurus, read more articles and studied more before diving into blogging and attempting to rank my posts!
Below I’m going to share eight of the horrible mistakes I made when I first started out so you don’t have to make them!
1. Writing Too Much
Uh-huh… Yep. You can actually write too much. Who would’ve thought it…!
Most pro bloggers write anything between 700 and 4000 words per article. Anything less than 700 is pretty poor going and the search engines aren’t likely to find that acceptable.
BUT, saying that, on the flip side, you can create posts that are TOO long too.
Unless the article is one of the most incredibly compelling articles you’ve ever written, avoid going over 6,000 words as people are unlikely to have the time to read it. if you have that much to say, try creating two 3000 word articles instead.
2. Super Slow Site Loading Time
Bruno Cervera / Unsplash
3. Not Using HTTPs
You’ve probably noticed that almost everyone these days uses SSLs.
Google prefers sites which use HTTPS over HTTP so definitely add an SSL certificate to your blog. This process is a bit technical so if you’re unsure how to do this, don’t risk it and hire someone who can do this for you.
4. Having Too Many Roundup Posts
Roundups, also known as curated posts, are absolutely fantastic. They look great, and they bring in tonnes of Pinterest traffic.
You can assemble a load of awesome ideas from other bloggers along with their stunning images to offer some truly helpful and super visually stimulating posts.
BUT here’s the catch…
They often don’t contain much copy! Usually, people just throw a load of images with links to the original posts together, a couple of lines describing the finds, and then they leave it at that.
Google does not like this… At all. Nope, not one bit.
You may even eventually get a ‘thin content’ penalty which will adversely impact your rankings and the amount of traffic to your site will decrease.
That’s really bad for business! Plus you can’t reach as many people as you did before.
You can avoid being penalized by creating say, one roundup post for every 8-10 posts consisting of at least 900 words each along with images (stock or your own). Also, when you create a round-up, include at least 700 words!
5. Forgetting to Complete Your Meta Descriptions
raw pixel / Pexels
Some search engine optimizers will argue with you all night long about how important meta descriptions are. Some will tell you they’re completely unnecessary…
I’ll admit that in the world of SEO, there are some truly confounding and contradictory statements that are often made by apparent ‘gurus’. The reality is this; Google has never and may never, ever publish a document stating exactly what it takes to rank a site in their results pages.
We have found what works well purely through trial and error and some best practices that have been issued by Google in the past.
That is all.
Personally, I think meta descriptions are very important and you should fill them out for each and every one of your posts.
6. Using More Than One H1 Tag
I was totally guilty of doing this.
In my early years of web design, I would often make the mistake of using way too many H1 tags.
And this would often sink my rankings (until I removed them all, leaving just the one and they bounced back).
You can use numerous H2 and H3 tags, but only one H1 tag otherwise the search engines get confused about what you’re aiming to rank for!
7. Forgetting About Content Quality
What I’ve personally found to really help rank a blog well is this: quality content.
Quality content gets shared. Quality content gets backlinks. Quality content gets bookmarked. Quality content gets revisited… and it gets plenty of viewing time, which means a lower bounce rate.
You may have noticed visiting sites that look totally outdated, few images, and high competition, however, they STILL rank high up in the SERPs.
They seem to violate all the best SEO practices all the gurus keep on reiterating when it comes to ranking well.
It’s confusing at best.
The design of your blog could be horrendous, yet if the content is stellar, people will spend time reading it, scrolling down until they’ve read it all, and may even share, bookmark, or link to it from a social media site like Facebook, or their own blog.
All these indicators are registered — and highly valued by Google and so they are usually placed above the others in their results pages.
Obviously, if the same brilliant site has a major design flaw such as an exceptionally slow loading time, it won’t rank as well as it could, but the vast majority of websites, especially those built on WordPress with a light theme, will load at least reasonably quickly.
Quantity is super essential don’t get me wrong; you can’t just throw up five awesome 4000-word posts and call your blog a blog, but I believe that having just 40 posts containing quality content is far better than having 400 posts containing boring, generic content that doesn’t speak to your readers.
8. Not Making Use of All the Characters Allowed in Title Tags
Corinne Kutz / Unsplash
Ok, so I’m actually admittedly kind of guilty of this myself.
I have my brand name at the end of my title tags for most of my posts and it consumes a total of 19 characters, which is a lot considering you should aim for a total of 30 characters in your title tag at the most to avoid them getting truncated (which means cut off from view in the results pages).
BUT, I want my brand name out there and that’s why I do it. If you’re not that bothered about advertising your brand, use your title tag limit wisely to get great rankings.
I sincerely hope that you have already completed all of the above points so that you stand a really good chance of ranking your articles well, but if your rankings are currently very poor, go over the above points and see if anything is missing from your SEO strategy!
I’d also just like to say that there is A LOT more to a good SEO strategy than the above, but these points are some of the most important, and often overlooked or undervalued by new bloggers.