3 Most Common SEO Mistakes

Even though the landscape of search engine optimization (SEO) has been in a state of change for the last couple of years, it’s still one of the most useful ways that you can market your online business. SEO is content marketing that’s done with the intention of increasing your website’s visibility in search engines and driving targeted traffic there.

Whether you’re a novice or expert at SEO, it’s fairly easy to make mistakes in an effort to get results faster or save time. To do SEO correctly, however, you can’t cheat or cut corners. SEO is an expansive subject that involves a lot more than optimizing for keywords.

Thanks to the rise of mobile and voice search, Google’s algorithm and SEO strategies have been continually evolving. Marketers and online business owners have been working hard to stay up to date with the latest SEO information so that they can keep ahead of their competition. While there are no shortcuts to SEO to success, there are common SEO mistakes that you can avoid.

Using Black-Hat SEO

When people refer to black-hat SEO techniques, they mean SEO techniques that try to cheat the system and trick Google into boosting a website’s rank and sending traffic its way. There are many such techniques that have been used for years by the unwise.

Over the years, Google and other search engines have devised ways to detect these unscrupulous practices, and they can catch most of it quite easily. Once they catch the culprits, the penalties can be severe; you run the risk of having your site banned by Google.

Examples of black-hat techniques that you should avoid include using:

  • Automated content
  • Content flooded with spam
  • Content scraping
  • Gateway pages/cloaking
  • Unrelated keywords

Educate yourself on ethical white-hat SEO techniques, and stick to those.

Ignoring Reviews

Ignoring reviews, quality content, and substantive content is a grave mistake when using SEO techniques. Whether you have no reviews or you have no idea of what reviews you might have, you can’t afford to ignore this vital aspect of online marketing. Reviews are especially important if you own a local or service-based business.

As many as 88 percent of consumers rely on online reviews to make buying decisions. Seventy-two percent say that positive reviews influence their opinion of local businesses greatly. An unsung SEO hero, reviews are one of the best marketing tools small businesses have at their disposal.

Improper Keyword Use

Keywords are an essential component of search engine algorithms, but that’s not a license to go nuts and overuse or misuse them. Any keyword used should be researched to ensure that it’s worth optimizing. Then, you need to determine how best to use them in your content. The following keyword usage methods should be avoided.

  • Keyword Stuffing: This happens when keywords are crammed into any possible space without good reason to do so in the hope of boosting your ranking.
  • Using Wrong Keywords: Optimizing the wrong keywords for your content or the wrong type of keywords (short-tail vs. long-tail) is a mistake.
  • Only Optimizing One Keyword: This is like keyword stuffing, but you only focus on the keyword that draws the most traffic. It’s far better to optimize as many keywords as possible. Think of this practice as putting all your eggs in a single basket.


When using SEO to increase your business website’s visibility, always be certain to use white-hat SEO techniques, and execute those strategies correctly. By seeing yourself as a perpetual student of SEO and staying current on strategies, you’ll reap the benefits of your efforts in increased website traffic.


Lisa Sitwell

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