This post originally appeared on Searchenginewatch.com
SEO is extremely important for growing your brand in 2020. This is especially after social media’s importance in driving traffic reduced and Google became the major source of referral traffic in 2017 by driving 35% of site visits.
By using SEO, you can improve your website’s ranking in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and reach the top rankings. You must do this because the first search result gets more clicks than other results.
While doing SEO of your website, there are a few things to be kept in mind and these are the SEO mistakes. If you commit any of these errors, you might end up harming your reputation. Here are some of the most deadly SEO mistakes that you must avoid in 2020.
1. Unsatisfied search intent
While you may write helpful content, if it isn’t well-targeted, the people finding your website may not find it useful after all. You may have figured out your target audience as well but if you don’t take search intent into account, all your efforts may go into vain.
Search intent is essentially the intent behind the search. Your website and content need to satisfy this intent by providing a solution. This is why it’s crucial to understand what the searcher is thinking when they search for something. Your website needs to provide the answer to this thought.
For example, if a user searches “SEO” on Google, it means that the user wants to know what is SEO? But, if a user searches “SEO services” then that person is looking to hire an SEO expert or company. Both keywords (SEO & SEO Services) have a different intent. So, if you’re targeting the keyword “SEO Services” but asking “what is SEO?” you can’t succeed with that content because you are unable to satisfy the intent behind that search phrase.
2. Traditional SEO techniques
Just the way the internet is changing, SEO is developing and changing too. To stay at the very top of the search results, you need to keep up with these changes and apply modern SEO techniques.
If you keep applying the traditional SEO techniques, then you may end up getting penalized. Those days are gone when you can rank by using keyword stuffing, PBNs, and other traditional methods.
Today, Google is smarter than before. Now, it can rank for those keywords that you have not mentioned in your content too. Recently, Google made an algorithmic update called Google BERT that helps Google to better understand the content and user-queries.
If you want to succeed with SEO, then you should adopt modern SEO techniques. Traditional SEO techniques can penalize your site but can’t outrank your competitors.
3. Not updating yourself
As mentioned above, SEO is a dynamically changing field and you need to keep yourself up-to-date with all the latest happenings. This is necessary because Google keeps bringing out new updates every now and then. If you miss out on a major update, your website might get affected and you may lose out on valuable traffic.
You should keep yourself updated with the latest SEO changes and updates. Google released various updates this year including broad core updates like 3rd June Core Update, Google BERT, and many others. You must keep yourself updated about them.
4. Ignoring structured data and search features
Structured data is essential to stand apart from the crowd, especially when you reach the first page of the search results. Through structured data, your search result may end up featuring even above the first search result. Additionally, the result would look bigger than all the other listings and may become the go-to choice for your searchers.
Similarly, you must concentrate on improving your website’s internal search functions as well. People who come to your website must find it easy to look for relevant information and the search feature can help with this. Try to incorporate search into your website and also try to optimize your listings such that your searchers find exactly what they were looking for.
There are different types of structured data for different types of content that you can use on your site. Like as,
- Product Review (for product review)
- How to (for “how-to” content)
- FAQ (for FAQ content)
- Address (for company address)
- Books (for books)
- Events (for events)
5. Ignoring conversion optimization
The end goal of all businesses is to get customers and for that, you need to first generate leads and then convert them. However, many businesses end up ignoring conversion optimization and only concentrate on the top of the funnel.
Instead, it’s necessary to provide everything that your leads need to become paying customers. Load them up with reviews, case studies, and show them why they must purchase from you. Make it easy for them to make the purchase as well. By ignoring conversion optimization, you may end up losing loads of customers and hence, revenue.
It is the most important and no-cost strategy to increase your revenue that you shouldn’t ignore in 2020.
6. Not focusing on branded anchor text
Anchor texts are important for your SEO and make up a huge part of your link building strategy. While you may get loads of backlinks from reputed sources, the anchor texts of these links are extremely important.
You might use anchor texts that relate to your pages or blogs. However, by ignoring the branded anchor texts, you might not be able to improve your brand’s authority. Branded anchor texts can help in improving your brand recognition and through that, your brand may start ranking higher on search results too.
Also, branded anchors look more natural than keyword-optimized anchor texts. I found that most of the sites that saw a boost in their rankings during the Google 3 June update had more branded anchor texts than others. That’s why you should focus on branded anchor texts.
7. Only text is the content to focus
Probably you have heard that videos are the future.
It is true! Because videos are the easiest way to learn and people prefer to watch videos over any other content format. This is the biggest reason for the popularity of YouTube.
But you must have noticed that videos appear on Google’s SERPs too. Google knows that videos are the future and people like to watch videos. That’s why Google shows them on the SERPs.
Videos also take less time to rank on Google than text content and are more engaging content format.
Google has also started adding podcasts on Google SERPs. These two content formats are still growing and less competitive than text content. That’s why you should also focus on these rather than only writing blog posts.
8. Not focusing on branding and brand searches
“Brands are the solutions” and Google loves brands.
SEO is becoming more brand-centric day by day. Now, SEO is not just about getting traffic. You need to do it to build a brand too. If you want to win the SEO game and make your business a trustable and profitable brand then you need to focus on branding.
You should increase brand searches for your business. When more people start searching for your business on Google, then it will automatically start to rank you on top. This is an evergreen strategy to grow your business and establish yourself as an authority.
9. Not ready for mobile
Nearly 50% of all traffic comes from mobiles. If your website isn’t ready for mobiles, Google will automatically consider it unfriendly for its searchers. Ensure that your website is responsive and build it for mobiles in the first place. By tapping into the mobile traffic, you’ll also be able to increase your website’s visibility.
Mobile-friendliness and page speed are considered as ranking factors of Google search. So if you want to grow your business and get SEO success then you shouldn’t ignore the mobile.
10. Unclear SEO goals
It’s essential to have clear SEO goals before you set out doing SEO for your website. If you don’t know what you wish to achieve from doing your website’s SEO, you’ll probably never be able to grow it. The key is to identify what you want from your website and SEO and then plan out your SEO strategy. A haphazard strategy will get you nowhere.
11. Prefer people over search engines
Last but not least, write your content and plan your SEO strategy for the real user not for the search engines. Because ultimately, you need real customers to generate sales and revenue to run your business. Search engines are nothing. Your business depends on customers and not on the search engines.
Search engines like Google are just a medium to get new customers. No one knows when Google will penalize a site and drop its rankings. But if you prefer your customers more, then there are enough chances that your customers will promote you as well as Google will also love you and rank you higher. That’s why you need to keep your customers satisfied with your services and products.
Now that you know all the deadly SEO mistakes, try to put conscious effort into avoiding them in 2020. If you don’t design your website for mobiles, have clear goals, focus on different forms of content, you may end up suffering. Try using modern SEO techniques and keep yourself updated with the latest ones to stay ahead of the competition.
What are the other deadly SEO mistakes that you must avoid in 2020? Let us know in the comments.
Harpreet Munjal is an entrepreneur who is helping businesses to outrank their toughest competitors and grow their revenue online. He can be reached out on Twitter @munjalharpreet.
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