At Bright Vessel, we have reviewed hundreds of websites throughout the years. Working directly with our customers on Search Engine Optimization, we’ve encountered many common issues. Website owners might have some SEO knowledge, but search engines are constantly changing, and practices quickly become obsolete. It’s important to see that you’re not making these common mistakes!
We at Bright Vessel have an all-encompassing approach to SEO. We aren’t just about tweaking technical aspects: we want your website to be the best it can be. Because of this, our list of common mistakes is a little wider than what you’ll usually find out there!
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1. Improving WordPress Website Speed
Although it’s easy to forget, Google and Bing love fast websites. The faster a site is, the higher it ranks. Google even has a tool for owners to check the speed of their websites, which can be a great first look. Google PageSpeed Insights will tell you what aspects of your site need improvement concerning speed.
Things to check are the following:
- Load Time
- Image and File Optimization
To check speed, try the following tools:
Image and File Optimization
One of the first things the Bright Vessel team recommends is to optimize images. It’s important to check the size of the pictures on each of your pages, as they can be too big. Bigger images take longer to load, and those precious seconds can make an impatient visitor leave your site. WordPress has plenty of plugins that will resize images to be smaller and more comfortable to load.
Another way to make your website run faster is enabling browser caching and gzip compression. Browser caching means your returning visitors will take less time loading your site. On the other hand, gzip compression means your static files will be compressed, thus making them faster to load.
Here are some great tools for image optimization and caching:
When we get a client that has been working with WordPress for a while, one thing we do is check their activated plugins. Due to the many available plugins, it’s easy to end up installing too many, clogging up your site. Review whether you use all the plugins you have installed. Do your research and find out if other similar plugins take up less time, or if you can find one plugin that does the work of many. Generally speaking, the fewer WordPress plugins you’ve activated, the faster your site will run.
2. Focusing on the wrong keywords
The soul of good SEO work is finding the perfect keyword. You’ll need a phrase that’s specific, but not so particular it would only take a savant to Google it.
It’s relatively common to see website owners focusing on keywords that are very generic, and already “taken” by big companies. If you run a small local burger joint, you won’t just rank for “best burgers.” Why? There are plenty of bigger companies already aiming for that keyword.
What you should do:
- Focus on something more specific, like adding your area to the “best burgers” phrase. This creates a long-tail keyword, which is easier to rank – and most of all, it gets better results. If someone’s looking for the best burger restaurant in your city, your more significant keyword can lead them to you.
- Optimized each page for a longer and specific keyword. Combining all of those keywords will lead to far better results. Not only will you get more visitors, but they’ll also be visitors interested in precisely what you’re providing!
3. Skipping metadata
Metadata is the text that appears on search engine result pages (SERPs) on each website. That includes the specific title of the page as well as its meta description. These texts are among the most important ranking factors for Google, and you have to pay close attention.
A few tips:
- Add your chosen keyword to the page title and meta description.
- Write a text of the proper size, so it’s not cut off by Google. This isn’t just so search engines see you, but it’ll also be the first contact many users have with your site. Meta descriptions don’t help you rank up, but they do improve the way your site looks to visitors.
- Write catchy and short copy to introduce possible visitors to each of your pages.
4. Neglecting content
Great content is the foundation of any website, though many site owners forget that very quickly. Here’s what constitutes great content for search engines.
- Each page should have at least 300 words of original content.
- Link inside your website and to outside sources. This tells Google you’re an expert on the subject.
- Write content for your readers, providing exciting and fun information. Overstuffing your text with keywords won’t do you any good these days, as this practice will affect readability. Think of your audience ahead of search engines. That’ll get you noticed on Google much faster!
Original and natural-sounding content is the key here. Keyword stuffing and plagiarism will get you penalized. It’s not worth it. Write your blog posts yourself or get a professional writer to do it for you!
5. Not inviting your visitors to explore the site
So, you have new visitors on your website after Google took them there for one reason or another. Now that they’re there, you want to keep them browsing around everything you have to offer. Many website owners fail to encourage readers to stick around and explore further.
What you should do:
- Creating a call-to-action (CTA), which usually means action on your visitor’s part. This can mean signing up to your newsletter or even directing them to your Contact Us page for further questions.
- Make sure your CTA button stands out from the rest of the text. If it blends in too much, you can miss a few clicks. Bright colors are your friends here!
6. Ignoring mobile devices
It’s been a long time since users searched solely through their computers. Most adults on Earth have a smartphone in their pockets, and they’re continually browsing and searching online. Having a website that’s difficult to navigate on mobile is a big no-no these days.
- Have a responsive website. Since this year, Google has mobile-first indexing, which means the search engine looks at your site’s mobile version to rank you.
- Take Google’s mobile-friendly test. Here, you can check whether your site fulfills their minimum requirements in this area. You can also visit your website from your phone or tablet and see if it feels comfortable. Browse around, click on different links and see whether it’s smooth. And then work from there!
Learn from the mistakes of website owners before you and enhance your website for Google and your visitors. Better yet, let us help your website reach its most incredible state! Bright Vessel specializes in customized SEO solutions for all kinds of sites, always focusing on their particular needs. Visit our website for more information!