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I don’t know about you, but I love a good scare. Want to go to a haunted house? I’m game. Thinking about watching a horror film? I’ll bring the popcorn. However, if you ask me to commit any of these terrifying search engine optimization (SEO) mistakes, I’ll run for the hills (but not the hills from The Hills Have Eyes). Want to learn all about the SEO blunders that keep me up at night? Keep reading at your own risk—don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1. Your Website Isn’t Optimized for Mobile
Here’s a hair-raising fact: according to Google, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. If your site is hard to read, has buttons that aren’t clickable, or is missing a web form, you might as well bury your website in a haunted cemetery—oh, and both Google and Bing explicitly say that you will not rank as well in mobile search results without a mobile-ready website. This is spooky stuff, people.
By making sure the text on your site is big enough to read, the buttons are clickable without too much zooming, and the website will adjust to the user’s phone screen, you can make sure your website stays mobile-friendly.
2. Your Website Doesn’t Have a lot of Content
In order to have a successful SEO campaign, content is king—your site will not rank without it! Let’s liken this to the spookiest night of the year: Halloween. When kids are trick-or-treating, what do they care about? If you guessed candy, you get a gold star. Kids will skip houses that aren’t handing any out and they’ll begrudgingly take the sugar-free lemon drops from well-meaning homeowners, but you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll run to the houses with a huge supply of king-sized chocolate bars.
How does this relate to your website’s content, you might ask? Think of every page on your site as a candy bar. The more high-quality pages your website has, the better your rankings will be. And our research shows that the websites that rank the best have an average of 1000 or more words of content per page—that’s the equivalent of the sweetest candy out there.
3. Your Website Is Missing XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the URLs available on a site. Their sole purpose is to allow site owners to submit all existing pages on their website to search engines for indexing—and there are free sitemap generators and even simple sitemap creator plugins for sites built on WordPress). Once they are submitted, XML sitemaps will tell search engines where to look to find the pages—that way, the search engine can index them. If your sitemap is nowhere to be found, the pages on your site won’t be indexed as quickly.
It’s also a good idea to verify your website with Google Search Console, which can be used to:
- Improve your search visibility
- Submit and update your XML sitemap
- Find and fix website errors
- Analyze search data
- Add structured data markup language
- Detect and resolve website hacks
Of course, if all of this is more intimidating to you than a zombie apocalypse, consider hiring a digital marketing company—and the team at Blue Corona is pretty great at SEO and slaying zombies.
4. Your Website Has Slow Page Speed
Page speed is an important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm—that means site speed can affect where your website ranks on Google. On the other hand, though, website speed can make or break user experience. After all, even 3 seconds of waiting decreases customer satisfaction by about 16% and a 1 second delay in page response can cause a 7% reduction in conversions. If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is!
Fortunately, there are ways you can improve your site speed:
- Check out your website’s load time using Google’s free page speed tool
- Talk with your web developer and see if there are any changes that can be made
- Avoid websites with lots of flash, Java Script, and hefty items to load
- Optimize for mobile speed
5. Your Website Is Missing These Three Parts of Code
Even though the coding of your website can look as intimidating as a foggy forest at midnight, there are three main factors you want to ensure every single page of your website has:
- H1 or Header Tag – this is the page title or topic of your page. It is usually the first text found on the page. Having the <h1> tag in the code around this text lets the search engine know what the page is about.
- Title Tag – This is found in the tab or top of your browser and seen in Google search results as the blue underlined link. You have ~70 characters to fill out your title tag and should include relevant keywords and phrases.
- Meta Description – The meta description is also seen in the search engine results as the two lines of text below the title tag and the link. This should include a sentence or two enticing the user—also known as a call-to-action—to click on your link rather than the other nine on the page. This is in the code of your website using the <meta name=”description” content=”write your sentence here”> tag in the <head> element of your site.
Make sure these on-page SEO factors are a reality for your website and you are less likely to be haunted with poor rankings.
Avoid These Blood-Curdling SEO Mistakes by Calling Blue Corona!
If you’ve made it to the end of this grizzly tale without screaming or hiding under the covers, I commend you. However, if your website isn’t properly optimized for search engines, your scary story is still happening right now. But don’t fret—Blue Corona can help you maximize your online real estate in a snap. Fill out the form below for a free SEO analysis from our team!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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