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Top 30 SEO mistakes that penalize your site's SEO

Top 30 SEO mistakes that penalize your site's SEO

The results of an SEO strategy sometimes take a long time to be visible. However, these results may never appear. Why ? Because you make some mistakes that keep you from getting to the top spots in search results.

So, if your SEO seems to be stagnating, we advise you to check that you are not making one of these 30 common mistakes!

Common Content Mistakes That Impact SEO

Top 30 SEO mistakes that penalize your site's SEO
Top 30 SEO mistakes that penalize your site's SEO

1. Obsolete content and information on the site

Your old content can undermine the authority of your website. If search engines can favor more recent texts, with young numbers and examples, they will.

On a regular basis, remember to consult your old articles to bring them up to date.

2. A low ratio of text to HTML

The text / HTML ratio is the amount of content visible to visitors compared to the amount of code on the page.

According to Woorank, a good text to HTML ratio is between 25 and 70%.

3. Contact details not found

Contact details are essential for your website so that your visitors can contact you.

Your address, phone number or at least your email should be easily accessible to help develop a sense of trust among your visitors and even improve your ranking in search results.

4. Poor behavior of 404 pages

The 404 pages are harmful to the user experience and conversions. They make your visitors frustrated that they cannot get to the page they want or want.

To prevent Internet users from leaving immediately, some improvements should be made to the 404 pages. Make them attractive by playing on humor for example and insert a call-to-action or a link to the home page of your site.

5. All your products on one page

For a site to be efficient at SEO level, each web page should ideally focus on a flagship idea (and therefore on a main keyword). You may have had a great design idea, allowing all your products and services to be presented on one single page in a simple and intuitive way… For users, at least, because Google might not like it.

Imagine a company that has both consulting, software development and professional training activities: cram it all on one page and search engines will have a hard time understanding what its activities are.

URL errors

URL errors
URL errors

6. Links to HTTP pages on an HTTPS site

Links to old HTTP pages can cause an insecure dialogue between users and a server. Which will penalize your SEO.

7. No anchor text for internal links

Internal links with phrases like "click here" or "this article" are wasteful from an SEO perspective. While this can increase the number of clicks, you are depriving yourself of the ability to tailor your anchor text , one of the most important elements of SEO.

8. URLs containing special characters

Search engines can misinterpret the special characters in your URLs. Pay attention to the way your CMS translates the titles of your articles into link. Better yet: consider writing them yourself.

9. Long, messy URLs

The misuse of connectors, hyphens or special characters can lengthen your URLs. Which will make them difficult to understand for robots. Remember to keep it short, with only the main terms.

10. Backlinks in press releases

With the latest version of Panda, Google has made it clear that press releases don't help SEO.

Make sure all links in the press release are "  nofollow ". Same advice for directories or other sites of "low" quality ...

Technical SEO errors

Technical SEO errors
Technical SEO errors

11. Forget about title tags and meta descriptions

The title tags and meta descriptions are essential elements for the search engines. They use it to understand the subject of your content and better position it. Remember to fill in these fields with unique content.

12. Omit the H1 tag

Misusing H1 by failing to include your main keywords - or, worse yet, not using it at all - is shooting yourself in the foot in terms of SEO.

Even if the H1 can sometimes compromise the dream design of your page, for example because it takes up too much space, it absolutely must be present. After all, what's the point of having a beautiful site if no one stumbles upon it during their research?

13. Disregard

Véritable guide pour les moteurs de recherche, le est un standard qui permet de baliser votre contenu. Ces balises donnent de précieuses indications aux robots de Google et jouent un rôle prépondérant dans votre positionnement.

14. Too long title tags

Title tags over 60 characters are cut in the SERPs. This hinders their reading for the Internet user, which can decrease the click-through rate (and therefore your positioning).

15. Title tags that are too short

Conversely, when you write a title tag under 60 characters, you may be missing an opportunity to optimize your SEO.

16. Using bad redirects

Using the wrong redirect sends the wrong message to search engines. If you want a 301 redirect, but you are using a 302 redirect, it hampers your SEO.

If in doubt, see our guide to choosing your url redirect .

17. The Sitemap.xml not specified in robots.txt

Without a link to your sitemap.xml in your robots.txt file , search engines won't fully understand your site structure.

18. Excessive use of CSS and JavaScript

You can add functionality to your site using scripts and add-ons to set yourself apart from your competition. But do it sparingly.

By integrating too many CSS and JS elements, you significantly increase the loading time of your site's pages. And you know how patient internet users are these days ... You lose a lot of opportunity to convert your visitors and negatively impact your SEO.

19. Unsimplified JavaScript and CSS files

Even if you have limited the number of CSS and JavaScript elements, these can increase your site's load time.

Here, the goal is to gain page loading speed. Indeed, reducing the size of JavaScript and CSS files saves precious seconds, which will improve your positioning on search engines.

Webdesign errors that harm SEO

The design of your website contributes to the success of your business. Your interface must first be functional and easy to use to keep your visitors on your site and push them to convert. Many of you know all this.

But what many forget is that design also impacts SEO. Visitors who stay on a site for a long time and a low bounce rate are positive signs for Google. Keywords or even backlinks are not the only elements influencing your natural referencing ...

Let's take a look at your website design and take a closer look at the mistakes to avoid to boost your SEO and your conversions.

20. Unreadable content

Content is the basis of your SEO. The EAT criteria Google require reliable content today from an expert source and non-authoritative proof in the middle. Despite your best efforts to produce high quality content, if it is unreadable you will get little engagement from your visitors.

Presentation is important, so avoid:

  • Hard-to-read fonts
  • Long paragraphs and long sentences
  • Paragraphs written entirely in bold or italics
  • Colors that reduce the readability of your text

The Numara Software company unfortunately made this first mistake. Their texts were difficult to read. When they decided to change their font from 10pt to 13pt they saw their conversions increase by 133%.

21. Excessive use of images

To capture the attention of Internet users and make reading a long text easier, it is good to add images. But be careful not to overdo it. Your images weigh down your page and have an impact on its loading time.

Moreover, the web pages which include many graphics are never those which are the best referenced, Google penalizing the slowness of loading.

22. An unsuitable image format

Also pay attention to the format of your images, make the right choice between a JPG and a PNG . And while GIF adds animation, and sometimes a touch of humor to your content, it's still a heavy file.

23. Non-personalized images

To illustrate your website or even your blog articles, you are tempted to use royalty-free images from online bookstores. This choice is completely understandable because it saves you time in the production of your content.

But have you noticed that some of these images are used across dozens or even hundreds of sites? Internet users are now so exposed to these “stock” images that they end up ignoring them.

En personnalisant vos illustrations vous les rendrez plus pertinentes face au sujet abordé dans votre page web et augmenterez vos conversions de 161%.

24. Broken internal images

When an image file no longer exists or its URL is misspelled, it negatively impacts your SEO.

25. An inappropriate infinite scroll

The infinite scroll is found on one-page sites and social networks. This type of navigation is suitable for delivering so-called “linear” information where the Internet user does not necessarily wait for an end. You therefore understand that it is not necessarily wise to set up an infinite scroll on your website.

In addition to drowning your visitors in the mass of information, this navigation is cumbersome and slows down the loading of your site. In terms of SEO, you will also have difficulty positioning yourself on different keywords.

Therefore, prefer a site structured in several pages: it will be easier to manage and you will be able to develop a real natural referencing strategy.

26. Des pop-up intrusives

The use of pop-ups is debated: some find them disturbing when visiting a site, others see them as a real opportunity to increase conversions. Internet users have a lot of trouble with advertisements that jump out at them, disrupting their reading.

So avoid pop-ups that take up space on the screen and favor more discreet boxes, linked to the content of the page that is viewed.

27. Web elements replaced by images

Images, when used correctly can optimize your page. On the other hand, avoid at all costs replacing web design elements (for example a button) or textual content with an image.

If you use this medium as your primary form of navigation, search engines will have a hard time understanding its meaning. Your SEO will inevitably take a hit ...

28. Text in images

On the web, we often find images containing text - more specifically: images on which text has been added directly with photo editing software .

While this practice is justified in certain cases, for example for content intended to be shared on social networks (featured image of a blog post, etc.), it should however be avoided if possible.

Indeed, Google cannot "read" an image like a human. The text included in the illustration is therefore not analyzed by the search engine and does not contribute to your SEO.

Also, by embedding letters in an image in this way, the text is not responsive. It may therefore be unreadable on mobile ...

29. Media too heavy

Images, videos and other GIFs have an undeniable interest in web design: in addition to the purely aesthetic aspect, they have an incredible ability to capture the attention of visitors and create engagement.

But their use is double-edged: these media can be very heavy, risking turning your site into a snail. However, Google appreciates and rewards fast load times.

While it is quite easy to optimize images by resizing them and slightly reducing their quality, this is much more difficult with video : with this type of file, the slightest loss of quality is quickly felt ... sacrifice the quality of your videos, save on quantity: don't overuse these very resource-intensive files.

30. "Black Hat" methods for quick gains

Although very effective, " Black Hat  " methods  are risky for your SEO. Since they violate the guidelines of the search engines, they are severely punished by them. The penalties incurred range from the simple downgrading of a few places to a complete delisting.

Among the techniques to avoid, we find: keyword stuffing, purchased links, link exchanges (or farming), hidden text and links, or blog comment spam.

This list of mistakes not to make is not exhaustive. Other practices are of course to be avoided, but by starting by following these first tips, you can easily improve your conversion rate as well as your SEO.

My name is Duc "JOSEF" Le and I work in Digital Marketing at Mageplaza and BlogAvada. Mageplaza offers a comprehensive collection of over 230 extensions that are designed to work seamlessly with the latest versions of Magento 2 (Adobe Commerce). Meanwhile, BlogAvada is a blog that serves as a platform for sharing information related to websites, mobile apps, e-commerce, digital marketing, and other related topics. I encourage you to visit our websites to learn more about what we have to offer.

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