Raise your hand if SEO confuses the f* out of you.
I know how you feel.
When I first started blogging I knew nothing about SEO. The more I read about it, the more confused and overwhelmed I felt.
That confusion led me to make some SEO mistakes I’ll be talking about in this post.
Thankfully, I didn’t let the fear stop me. I continued to learn and read about SEO.
With time, I learned some things. I grew to understand how SEO works and how I can use it on my own website.
SEO is not as complicated as it seems at first.
Yes, there is a lot that goes into SEO but you don’t need to know “everything” and do “everything” to see results.
You wanna start with the basics. And then slowly add on to it.
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What is SEO?
Before we start talking about the mistakes, let’s first see what SEO is. What it actually means.
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of optimizing your content for search engines (e.g. Google).
SEO helps your content appear in search results so people can find it and visit your website when they search for something.
With SEO you can drive quality traffic to your website. You can use SEO to get the right people to your website.
It’s not just about driving a lot of traffic. You want the right kind of traffic.
The kind of traffic you can convert into subscribers and customers.
That’s why SEO is so important and helpful for any website.
Now, let’s talk about SEO mistakes you could be making.
Common SEO mistakes Bloggers make
SEO is a huge topic. There are so many different things that go into it. Google looks at lots of different factors when deciding what content to put where in search results.
With such a big topic come many possible mistakes.
Some of them are small and insignificant while others can be detrimental to your website.
In this post, I’ll be talking about the biggest ones. The ones that can have the biggest (negative) impact on your website and traffic.
#1 Ignoring SEO
The number one mistake we need to talk about is completely ignoring SEO.
This is the most common mistake new bloggers make when they are just starting out.
They simply do nothing about it.
They just focus on things like Pinterest and social media and completely ignore SEO.
If this is you, please stop ignoring it. Do something about it.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Algorithms change. Accounts get suspended and closed. Social media platforms get shut down (remember MySpace? …didn’t think so).
That’s why it’s so important to diversify your traffic and not just rely on social media.
Your traffic could disappear overnight.
One of the best things about SEO is that it’s a lot more stable and reliable than social media.
You aren’t dependant on anyone else’s platform (if you have a self-hosted website). Nobody can just shut down your website when they feel like it (unlike on social media where profiles get suspended and closed all the time).
That’s one of the many reasons why you should work on SEO and diversify your traffic.
You shouldn’t wait to learn SEO. You should do it from the beginning.
The longer you wait, the longer it will take you to start getting organic traffic.
You see, when you create a website, Google doesn’t automatically start showing your website is search results.
You, first, need to submit your website to Google and then “wait”.
When you first start a website, Google puts it in a “sandbox” for around six months.
What that means is that Google puts your website on a “probation” period where it can evaluate the quality of your website.
You can get traffic in those first few months but it won’t be high and you won’t rank high.
After those months pass and Google determines the quality of your website, it will start showing your content higher in search results. And you’ll notice a sudden increase in traffic.
The older your website gets and the more SEO optimized content you create, the more traffic you’ll start getting (there’s a lot more that goes into it than just writing posts but with time and quality content you’ll start getting more and more traffic).
#2 Relying too much on Yoast SEO
The next thing we NEED to talk about is Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO is an SEO plugin that has lots of helpful features that can help you improve your SEO.
It has this one feature where it gives a score (red, orange, or green light) for how well each page or a post is optimized. A green light means that your post is well optimized.
Many people think that having a green light on a post means that it will rank on Google.
The truth is, the green light doesn’t mean anything.
Yoast is just a tool that can guide you. And that’s it.
Just because you have a green light, it doesn’t mean your post is properly optimized and that will rank first on Google.
And the other way around, if you don’t have a green light, it doesn’t mean that your post isn’t good enough.
Yoast can help you remember to fill in your meta description, image alt description, to remind you to include your keywords more, etc. but it doesn’t guarantee anything.
That are lots of other things, besides the post itself, that determine whether the post will rank on the first page of Google or not.
For example, the keyword you chose. Have you chosen a keyword you can rank for? Are people searching for that keyword? What is the intent behind that keyword? etc.
#3 Targeting the wrong keywords
Now let’s talk about keywords.
When it comes to keywords, there are many different mistakes you could be making.
The most common one is targeting keywords that are too competitive and too hard to rank for.
When your blog is still new and doesn’t have a lot of authority, it’s impossible to rank for big keywords that have a lot of search volume. The competition is too high for those keywords.
That’s why you should find long-tail keywords and create content around them.
Long-tail keywords are more specific search terms that include 3 or more words.
Because they are more specific, fewer people are searching for them. They are less competitive and easier to rank for.
Don’t let the words “less” scare you. Short-tail keywords can bring a lot of traffic.
Most searches on Google are for long-tail keywords.
Just think about how you use Google and what you search for. Most of the time, you go to Google for a specific question or to find specific information, product, etc.
Start with finding long-tail keywords that have lower search volume and difficulty score. As your blog starts to grow, you’ll be able to rank for more competitive keywords.
How to know if you can rank for a keyword
Now you’re probably wondering: “okay, I understand that but how do I know if I can rank for a keyword?”.
You can use an SEO tool to help you.
You just log into Keysearch and enter your keyword in the search bar. There you’ll be able to see lots of information about the keyword (like search volume, which websites are ranking for it, etc.). What you want to look at is the competition difficulty score.
You want to look for keywords that have low competition difficulty score.
You can also just go straight to Google and search for that keyword.
Look at the websites that are on the first page.
What websites are ranking for that keyword?
If it’s mostly high authority websites (e.g. Healthline, Forbes) the chances of you ranking for that keyword are close to zero.
On the other hand, if it’s mostly smaller websites and blogs, you have a shot.
Besides just the authority, also take a look at the content on those websites. Are they niched down or do they have a wide variety of topics they write about?
#4 Keyword stuffing
The next no no when it comes to keywords is keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is overusing a keyword and adding it everywhere, whether it makes sense or not.
Yes, it’s important to use your keyword through the article but you want to make it sound natural and not forced.
Don’t forget that people will be reading your article so you need to write your posts for people, not Google!
#5 Only focusing on on-page SEO
In this post, I talked a lot about keywords and writing posts but that is not all.
Just doing keyword research and writing a post around that keyword isn’t enough.
That is just one part of SEO. And it’s called on-page SEO.
There is also off-page SEO that includes other things that aren’t directly related to the post.
You see, there are thousands of different factors Google takes into consideration when choosing what to put on the first page.
One of the most important ones is backlinks.
Backlinks are links from other websites that lead to your websites.
Backlinks help you build authority and authority helps your website get “stronger” in the eyes of Google. The more authority you have, the easier it will be to rank for keywords. And you’ll be able to rank for more competitive keywords (here are 31 different ways to build backlinks).
As you can see, there are many different mistakes bloggers can make when it comes to SEO.
The biggest one is ignoring it completely.