The rules of search engine optimization are always changing. What worked well in the past, may not apply today. In fact, some previous practices may now be working against you. Including excessive keyword use, low page speed, and poor browser security. To help you with some SEO tips and tricks, here are three common SEO mistakes to avoid.
At this point in the game, when it comes to ranking well on Google’s search engine results page (SERP), everyone knows that targeted keywords are essential. Keywords help Google understand what a web page is about. In short, the more descriptive a website is, the more Google regards it as an authoritative domain and the better it ranks. But keywords are not effective when repeated excessively throughout a web page. Google views keyword stuffing as an attempt to deceive their algorithms on one hand and hinder user experience on the other.
Over the years, Google has developed an ever-improving artificial intelligence. Google can now determine when disproportionate keyword placements are unnaturally positioned to cheat the system, defeating Google’s end goal of providing an exceptional user experience. While keyword stuffing might initially seem like a bright idea for your search engine marketing efforts, it does more harm than good. If you’re currently keyword stuffing and getting away with it, it’s only a matter of time before Google notices and takes action.
As previously mentioned, Google is smart enough to detect when keywords are being abused. But that doesn’t mean you should stay away from targeted keywords. Instead, sprinkle keywords and keyword variations into your content in a way that reads and sounds natural. Not only does this make your website appear and sound more professional, it tells Google that you back their mission to deliver a fantastic user experience.
HTTP VS. HTTPS
HTTPS stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.” Unlike HTTP, it encrypts messages sent between a browser and the website being visited. Although HTTPS seems obvious for e-commerce or banking websites, it’s important to make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS, even if your website doesn’t involve the exchange of confidential information. Google prefers that websites use HTTPS and rewards those that adhere to best practices while penalizing those who don’t.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR SITE IS HTTP
If your website uses HTTP, don’t sweat it – simply talk to your web developer about migrating to an HTTPS website. But don’t forget about 301 redirects. A 301 redirect is used to move traffic from the old HTTP pages to the new HTTPS pages in order to retain rankings. You will see a slight dip in rankings at first, but after a few months, everything should be back to normal.
SLOW PAGE SPEED
It’s no secret that people don’t exercise patience when it comes to their desktop and mobile devices. According to Google engineers, if a page takes longer than 400 milliseconds (0.4 seconds) to load, users will leave and find the information elsewhere. Additionally, because a slow load time negatively affects user experience, a slow page speed hurts your chances of ranking well in the search engine results page.
3 SIMPLE WAYS TO OPTIMIZE
Here are three easy and straightforward ways to help keep customers glued to your website:
- Leverage Browser Caching – The first time a webpage is visited site information is stored in a user’s browser. This is called “caching.” To reduce load time upon subsequent visits you can choose exactly what is cached and what isn’t.
- Optimize Images – To increase your page speed, be sure that the file size of images on your website is not too big and that each is formatted correctly. In general, JPEG images under a 1MB are a safe bet.
Now that you are familiar with our three common SEO mistakes to avoid, to recap, you should: stay ahead of your competitors by using targeted keywords naturally, use HTTPS for additional security, and optimize page speed for a better user experience. No matter if you are a startup or if you’ve been in business for years, it’s in your best interest to keep up with the ever-evolving SEO tips and tricks. It’s worth it!
Author bio: Mallory Knee is an SEO Analyst at Logical Position, a Google AdWords Premier Partner digital marketing agency. Logical Position specializes in Pay-Per-Click Management and Search Engine Optimization for small to medium-sized businesses.