Discover Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid Beginners Making. Search engine optimization is important, especially when you’re trying to rank your articles, products, job listings, or whatever on search engines. However, many beginners make a lot of mistakes with their SEO efforts. And by avoiding these mistakes, your website can rank higher on search engines and attract more visitors. So, let me share what those mistakes are.
Now, what I’m sharing here are eleven of the most common SEO mistakes made by beginners. I was guilty of some of them too when I was new to SEO, so I hope with this post you can avoid these costly SEO mistakes so that your journey with your blog or website will be a smooth-sailing one. Mistake Number Eight is what holds most websites back from reaching their potential. But let’s start with the first and biggest SEO mistake made by new bloggers.
What are the most common SEO mistakes made by beginners?
The most common SEO mistakes made by beginners are Targeting Highly Competitive keywords, Writing Long-Form Content, Not Writing Quality Content, and adding Broken Images and Missing Alternative texts. As someone new to blogging, these costly SEO mistakes must be avoided.
1. Targeting Highly Competitive Keywords
When you start as a writer or blogger for your website, it can be tempting to compete with bigger sites by targeting competitive keywords or topics. Right?
Who wouldn’t want to rank for keywords with lots of traffic? With traffic, it builds authority and ultimately leads to more sales. However, this is often a bad idea for several key reasons.
First, you don’t have the experience or expertise to create content that truly competes with the high-quality writing that is commonly found on more established blogs or websites.
Second, targeting a highly competitive keyword or topic would likely mean that you face fierce competition not only from other bloggers or websites but also from big brands who have the financial resources, capability and manpower to quickly rank in search results.
This means that even if you somehow do manage to achieve top rankings, they will likely vanish just as fast as big sites start competing for those same keywords. By Choosing low-competition keywords, you can rank easily on Google search results as well as beat high-authority websites.
Thus, it is really not worth the effort when you’re just starting out as a beginner. Instead, it is better to focus on finding less competitive keywords and topics that will allow you to build your audience naturally through quality content creation. This will give you a stronger foundation for success over the long term.
We recommend using tools like Ahrefs to give you insights into the topics you are targeting. It has a scoring system to judge the keyword difficulty based on the number of referring domains it needs to rank at the top. The lower the score, the easier it is to rank. If you want more free methods to research topics and keywords, you must follow another post on the 23 Best WordPress SEO Tips. I have given all the SEO tips that are needed by new bloggers and SEO learners.
Now, since we’re talking about targeting the right keywords, it leads me to another SEO mistake to avoid, which is to avoid writing long-form content.
2. Writing Long-Form Content
Okay, I might get a lot of hits on this because it goes against most of the SEO tips you hear out there. But hear me out. If you have been researching SEO tips, you would have come across some experts talking about writing the best content out there. In other words, skyscraper content or ridiculously long content, includes writing an article that is 3000 words or more and provides the most valuable information on a given topic.
But let me ask you a question. When was the last time you actually read an entire 3000-word to 6000-word article? For me, it was literally five years ago. Now, if I want long-form content, I would prefer for it to be delivered to me in videos or podcasts because I can listen to it while traveling. I won’t want to strain my eyes for some information.
Plus, most long-form content that is ranked at the top is usually content from high-quality websites, which means you’re competing with sites that have many quality backlinks that are usually well written, well researched, and tons of resources are used in content creation.
So as an individual, as a beginner, writing a piece of long-form content that is high quality, well well-researched, could take weeks, if not months. The question is, what if it doesn’t rank? This usually happens for new sites, which means no traffic is coming to your site, you won’t get natural backlinking, which means your site has no authority, and Google would trust those authority sites more than yours, even if your content is better written than theirs. It’s a chain of events that are stacked against you.
You have wasted your time creating the content and you’re not getting results. Is it good to write Long-form content, when you’re a beginner? I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
So our recommendation is to do proper keyword research, as we have discussed earlier, and utilize Rank Math Content AI, which is Rank Math’s proprietary AI system that analyzes the content that is currently ranked on the search engines based on the targeted keyword and the location you have provided.
Once Content AI analyzes the web, it would suggest a range for the length of your content because other websites that are ranking at the top fall within the range. With this information, you know how much effort you need to get ranked. Focus on topics that give you the most chance of ranking with the least amount of effort, especially when you are a beginner.
If you want to target more competitive keywords that require long-form content, great. But wait for your website to have more authority. You’ll eventually get there as you focus on ranking for short-form topics. By that, I mean around 1000 to 1800 words. I’m pretty sure you can find those topics in almost any niche.
3. Not Writing Quality Content
Now, here’s how we define quality content if the title of your content is, for example, “Do I need talent to play guitar?” And you write a sentence, No, you don’t need talent to play guitar, and you continue to write about how beginners can learn guitar. This is an actual problem I’ve encountered when reviewing content for beginners. But do you see the disparity between the title of the article and the actual content?
People who are searching for the keyword “Do I need talent to play guitar?” Are typically beginners who find it hard to play guitar and are doubting themselves. So, what they’re expecting is credible information that will convince them that you don’t need talent to play guitar.
You should be talking about some doubts that people have when playing guitar, like, Am I smart enough to play guitar? Or should I play guitar if I have short hands and fingers? And basically, the mindset beginners should have is to overcome all obstacles. Those people who are searching for, “Do I need talent to play guitar? Are not expecting a tutorial on how to play the guitar step by step?
So understanding the intent of the focused keyword you’re targeting is of utmost importance. Once you’re off-topic, you won’t rank. So before you write content, determine who you are writing for. Here you can see how to decode User Search Intent to get higher in Google search results. You may want to read some articles that are ranked at the top and try to understand who they are writing for. Once you nailed it on the User intent of the search term, you craft content answering the search terms specifically. That’s what we call quality content.
4. Shady Link Building
Let’s face it, We have been there before. If you have not done any link-building for your site, consider yourself lucky that you’re starting on the right foot.
Now, not all link building is bad, but low-quality or shady link building could destroy your website entirely. You might have come across some shady link-building services that promised thousands of links for a low price. It sounds too good to be true, right? Big mistake if you use them. Not only will using such a service get you penalized by Google, but it will also result in low-quality links that won’t do anything to improve search engine ranking.
So save yourself some headaches and money. If you want to do link building, cool, you can do it. Either do it naturally by writing high-quality content that other blocks and websites in your niche actually want to read and link to or do HARO outreach through this website. Help a reporter out. News and media outlets reporters are constantly looking for credible sources to link to.
So get on the platform and pitch your content, or hire someone who has experience in HARO outreach to do the job for you. But the key here is creating quality content, and your target audience is not people on social media or people searching for information. You need to write content targeting people who own blogs and websites, in or related to your niche. Because those are the people who can link back to you. It makes sense, right?
No matter how great your content is, if no websites are willing to link to you because they view you as a competition, it is hard to grow authority, especially when you are a beginner.
5. Keyword Stuffing
If we were back in the 2000s, keyword stuffing was actually an effective SEO strategy. But after the Google Panda update in February 2011, the Google Hummingbird update in August 2013, and many other algorithm updates that followed suit, keyword stuffing is now a mistake you should avoid at all costs.
For example, the target keyword I want to rank for is how to lose weight effectively. So I’ll write something like
“Here’s how to lose weight effectively, eat healthy food, drink more water, and exercise regularly, That’s how to lose weight effectively. It sounds simple, but they actually work. A client came to me and asked how to lose weight effectively, and that’s exactly what I shared exactly on how to lose weight effectively.”
You get the idea. You cram as many targeted keywords as possible into a sentence, and you continue to do so throughout the content. First and foremost, keyword stuffing is extremely unintuitive for site visitors. People are looking for valuable, engaging content that speaks to their needs and interests without the fluff. They don’t want to sift through a sea of generic keywords in order to find what they are looking for.
So to avoid keyword stuffing and actually succeed in your content-creating efforts, again use Rankmath content AI. On top of suggesting the length of content, it also analyzes the web and suggests the keywords that should be added to your content. It will also suggest how many of each keyword should be added to your content. That way you will avoid overusing a particular keyword in your article.
6. Improper Use of Header Tags
Another common SEO mistake is the improper use of header tags as a way to style content. It might be aesthetically pleasing, but it’s actually bad for SEO. When I was new to SEO, I used H3 tags to style quotes. I use H1 tags on links to make it more visible. Looking back, it is funny how it all began for me. So the rule of thumb is to view heading tags in a hierarchy.
There should only be one H1 tag on any page of your website. Take it that H1 is the title of the book and then H2 heading Tags further elaborate the purpose of the book. In other words, the chapters of the book Following that, H3 tags go into detail for each of the H2 tags.
When you’re reading a chapter in the book, there are headings in the chapter and those are the H3 tags of your articles. H4 supports H3, H5 supports H4. You get the idea. Never have an H4 heading tag within the H2 if there is no presence of H3, you’ve got to follow the hierarchy of heading Tags.
7. Missing Alt Text on Images
Having Alt Text on your images is an SEO practice that still stands today. However, if you are using the WordPress editor, there is a high tendency that you will miss adding the Alt text.
Let me give you an example. If you are on other tabs, when you are uploading an image, it will not remind you to add an Alt text. You have to click on the image and go to the settings, where you can add the Alt text here.
It is so easy to forget about adding Alt text to your images. Although Rankmath does have an SEO audit that checks if you have your focus keyword on one of your image’s Alt attributes, that’s just on one image. What about the Alt text for others?
So to solve that, we recommend using Rank Math as your core SEO plugin because they have this Image SEO module where you can set the file name of your image as the Alt text by default. So even if you forgot to add your Alt text like in the above example, if you go to the source code, this is the image link and this is the file name.
You can see that the Alt text was added for you. Even if you forgot to add alt text for your images. This is just one of the things Rank Math does for you in the background to help you adhere to SEO best practices. But there is a lot that they do, so we highly recommend that you use Rank Math as your core SEO plugin.
8. Not Focusing on Site Structure
There are a number of reasons why it is bad not to focus on the site structure from the start. To begin with, having a proper site structure gives your site more topical relevance. With a clear site structure, you can ensure that your content is logically organized around the topics, making it more targeted and relevant for both users and search engines.
For example, if your website is in the WordPress niche, you could have high-level categories such as web hosting, WordPress themes, and WordPress plugins, and then within one of the main categories, say the web hosting category, You could have shared hosting, VPS hosting, or dedicated hosting, and within each of these subcategories, you could be writing hosting reviews, talking about how to choose the best hosting, talking about the specs, and basically geeking out about everything related to the subcategory.
A good site structure is the interlink or in other words, adding internal links throughout these articles because of their topical relevance, Do not link to any other pages in different categories unless necessary.
Blindly writing content without considering slight structure is like taking a shot in the dark. By neglecting site structure, you’re essentially guessing which keywords people might be searching for rather than focusing on what really matters, which is providing high quality, engaging content that truly resonates with your target audience.
Since Google will rank pages based on their relevance to other pages on the website as well as external linking signals, creating content blindly is not likely to earn you any brownie points with search engines.
In short, failing to focus on site structure from the start can undermine all your other SEO efforts and limit the reach and impact of your website. So if you want to succeed in ranking your content, and your articles in today’s competitive search engine world, make sure to prioritize site structure every step of the way.
Rank Math has an internal link suggestion feature to let you know what other pages under the same category you should link to. You can choose either the titles or focus keywords option so that Rank Math will search for internal linking opportunities based on the titles of your articles, or the focus keywords you have added to Rank Math.
Personally, I like the title options, but you should try both options over a period of time to figure out which is the best option for you. To make this work, select one of your articles as the pillar content, which means the most important article of the selected category. Whenever you write a new article and you’ve selected a category, Rank Math will suggest a list of related articles for you to link to.
9. Improper Use of External Links
A great way to optimize your website for search engines is to add external links to your content, which means in your article you’re adding a link to a piece of content from another website.
External links serve a number of purposes, such as directing users to valuable and relevant information. They allow visitors to learn more about related topics and they help search engines understand the context of your articles. However, if you are not careful with the content you’re linking to, it might negatively impact your website.
For example, when users click on an external link from your website and it doesn’t lead them to where they expect, or the external content turns out not to be useful at all, they will immediately look elsewhere for their information. This leads to a poorer user experience, which may lead to poorer performance on search rankings.
Also, if you’re not careful about who you’re linking to, you may end up linking to some websites that are part of link farms. They are groups of websites that are created solely with the purpose of linking to other websites through their own content. They may seem legitimate at a glance, so you have to further analyze their website to ascertain their credibility. When in doubt, do not link to them. Only link out to, for example, known leaders or websites in the industry or niche.
So to maximize the benefits of adding external links to your content while avoiding potential negative impacts on your SEO rankings, you should carefully consider the quality and relevance of each link you choose to include in your article.
Only link to websites that offer truly valuable and relevant information, and make sure that the links you include are placed in a way that makes sense to your readers. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that adding external links to your content will actually improve your SEO results.
10. Neglecting Mobile Optimization
More and more people are searching for things, consuming content, and buying products on their mobile devices, so it is essential that websites are able to display well on smaller screens. Without careful attention to mobile compatibility, your site runs the risk of being overlooked or ignored by users on the go, and this lack of engagement can lead to poor performance on searches and a lower overall ranking.
In order to avoid losing valuable traffic, it is important to make sure that all aspects of your websites are finely tuned and ready to meet the needs of modern web servers on a variety of devices. After all, Google has made it clear that they reward websites with a good user experience.
Nowadays, there are so many WordPress themes that are mobile-friendly by default, and if you’re still using mobile-unfriendly themes, that’s on you. So make sure that you’re using a mobile-friendly theme. Now, a quick note is that before you publish any content, try viewing the draft version of it on your phone. Make sure that all the elements are visible and there aren’t any awkward misalignment or overlapping of elements. If there are, make sure you fix them before publishing.
11. Neglecting Site Speed
If you are like most people, you probably take website speed for granted. After all, what’s a few seconds here and there? But when it comes to SEO, website speed is actually quite important.
- Firstly, site speed is officially a part of the ranking factor called page experience and it uses metrics from core web vitals to justify the page experience of a site. In simple terms, if your site is low, you’re probably not getting ranked as highly as could be.
- Secondly, people are impatient. If your site takes too long to load, they are likely to click away and find another site that is faster and once they are gone, it is unlikely that they will come back.
- Finally, slow sites frustrate users. I’m pretty sure you know what I mean.
What is the main mistake of SEO that beginners make?
The main mistake that a lot of new bloggers and digital marketers make includes the tendency for the wrong keywords, Insufficient site update and maintenance and lazy loading site speed issues.
What is the first thing to do in SEO as a new blogger?
The first thing to do in SEO as a new blogger is to make sure your website has enough quality content that engages your users to rank easily and easily higher on Google search results.
What are the SEO basics things that a beginner and new bloggers should learn and follow?
The SEO basics things that a beginner and new bloggers should learn and follow are choosing the right host for hosting their site, Making a User-friendly structure of the website and targeting low competitive keywords for the best performance in the eye of Google.
What SEO mistakes to avoid in 2024
Top SEO mistakes to avoid in 2024 include avoiding using duplicate Content, avoiding Slow Site Speed Structure for giving bad reviews on Google, Making sure to optimize your website for mobile users, utilizing Low-quality content, using Broken Images or Missing Alternative Texts to your images, and finally must update outdated Content and Information on your blog. These are the main and reasonable mistakes that you must avoid in 2024 if you start your new blog in 2024.