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SEO mistakes you’re probably making without realising

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this blog, I’m sharing SEO mistakes that you’re probably making without realising, because no one told you otherwise, or things have changed since you last brushed up on your SEO skills and knowledge. If Google updates its algorithms dozens of times a year, how can anyone expect to know the latest algo rules? Keep reading on for SEO mistakes to avoid in 2022.

“Don’t do as I do”, was the advice my dad gave me when I was learning to drive at age 16. I give my eldest daughter the same advice as she is learning to drive. She now pulls me up on things that I’m doing wrong, and fair enough!

If no one tells you, how do you know you’re doing something wrong?

SEO mistakes you’re probably making without realising

SEO mistakes to avoid in 2022

Using heading tags to make your text bigger

Heading tags (H1, H2, H3, H4 etc…) are bits of code that explain to Google’s bots the importance of a heading and how it fits in within the page structure.

H1 is the most important heading tag and is the one that shows up as your page title in the Google search engine results page and also in the Google browser tab. It should only be used once on each page.

Then from there, you would structure your headings as H2s for a main heading, and if there is a sub-heading in this section you would make that sub-heading a H3, and if there’s a sub-sub-heading you would make that a H4. Think of the layout of a traditional table of contents, and that should help you.

But what some people do is use heading tags to make their text larger instead of just making their text larger by changing the font size. This can muck up the page structure and confuse the Google bots, not to mention create confusion for text readers.

It’s a bit like using a highlighter in a textbook and highlighting every single line instead of only the important words!

Using your primary keyword in all anchor text you write

Once upon a time we were told not to use anchor text like “read more” or “click here” and we started using our keywords in anchor text.

Problem is, Google has figured out that people are using anchor text as a way to stuff more keywords even if the keyword doesn’t belong in the anchor text. There should be a connection between your anchor text and the page you’re linking to.

However, best practice is to use a combination of exact match anchor text, partial match anchor text and “naked links” (which is when you would use a word like “read here”, “click for more” etc…).

And sneaky Google doesn’t just look at the anchor text but looks at words that surround the anchor text, so if you’re keyword stuffing in the same sentence as the anchor text but have made the anchor text a naked link, you could still be caught out.

(I know, where does it all end?!).

Using your primary keyword in the alt text even when the keyword doesn’t describe the image

Using a photo on a page as a decoration only? Don’t use your primary keyword in the alt text if it has nothing to do with the photo. That’s just bad for accessibility. I don’t care if you think it’s another opportunity to use your keyword- imagine someone using a text reader and that photo of the flying bird you’ve used is described as an “Australian email copywriter”.

Primary keywords in alt text is only useful if you’re using your product photos or your own personal branding photos on your website. You want these photos to rank in Google, so you should be using your primary keyword in the alt text. For your personal branding photos, your name and/or business name should be used.

Linking to blog posts on your website that are not topically relevant to the one you’re linking from

Internal links are links from one of your website pages to another.

From a reader’s perspective, you want to guide them to the next page they should read that relates to what they’re come to your website for in the first place. You don’t want them to leave after reading only one page.

But internal links are also important because topically relevant pages that are linked together improve your website’s authority on that topic. Google’s bots use the links to find all the pages relevant to that topic and think, “this website is a good source of information on xyz topic”, which will help improve website rankings.

Linking to pages and posts that are not topically relevant can dilute your website authority on that topic.

This is why it’s important to create a clear content silo that groups content together according to topic. It’s ok to cover different topics on your website, but there’s an art to how you set up your internal linking structure.

Oh and if you do need to link to a topically irrelevant page or post, make the internal link a “nofollow” link so that Google ignores it but your readers still see it.

Using the same primary keyword on multiple pages

I see this happen a lot with local SEO- businesses that are targeting a specific location, and use their primary keyword on each page.

For example, a plumber in Melbourne using “Melbourne plumber” and variations of this keyword as the H1 heading tag and the meta descriptions for each page.

Doesn’t matter if you use Melbourne plumber, plumber in Melbourne, best plumber in Melbourne, Melbourne plumbing- you can’t fool Google’s bots. Google will view these keywords as the same keyword.

Sometimes, you can’t help but use a primary keyword on more than one page and that’s ok. For example, if you’re an email copywriter then you might use this keyword and variations on more than one page: your home page, your email copywriting services page, a blog post about email copywriting.

But there’s a difference between using the same primary keyword in on-page elements on every page and just mentioning it in the copy. The former will get you into trouble.

A summary of the SEO mistakes to avoid in 2022

Here’s a summary of the SEO mistakes mentioned in this blog:

Using heading tags to make your text bigger

Using your primary keyword in all anchor text you write

Using your primary keyword in the alt text even when the keyword doesn’t describe the image

Linking to blog posts on your website that are not topically relevant to the one you’re linking from

Using the same primary keyword on multiple pages

Don’t stress if you’ve been making some of these mistakes. None of them are as dangerous as making a mistake while driving! Go forth with this new knowledge and apply it to your and your client’s website for a better user experience and improved SEO results.

 

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Nat Alleblas- SEO Sleuth: helping copywriters, marketers and web developers with their SEO needs. When she's not slaying SEO, Nat can be found with her head buried in a book or is smashing out a spin class. But not at the same time. Loves eggplant lasagna.