A Checklist of 20 Common SEO Mistakes


Everyone tells you what to do, but very few ‘experts’ tell you what NOT to do when it comes to SEO. Here is a checklist of common SEO mistakes for you to reference during your search engine optimization.

#1 – Do NOT begin SEO on your site without a plan in place.

You must have a clear vision of your goals and how to reach them. Research keywords and competitors and match keywords to target pages. You also need to understand the difference between on-page SEO and off-site SEO and develop a separate plan for each one.

#2 – Avoid Duplicate Page Titles

Google is more concerned with your SEO Title than the one you display at the top of your page. Each SEO Title should be unique and incorporate the keyword you identified for that page.

#3 – Do NOT assume SEO is contributing to your bottom line.

Track your ranking, the traffic it brings, and the results that come from SEO. Continually measure and evolve your SEO strategy. Remember that as much as 60% of Direct Traffic in Google Analytics may really be traffic from search engines.

#4 – Never feel content with Page 2 results.

The last position (#10) on the first page only gets 2.97% of the clicks. The second page of results gets even fewer.

#5 – Don’t compete against yourself.

You should never target multiple pages with the same keyword.  The content of each page should be specific to its target keyword(s). However, you can write multiple articles on the same topic if you incorporate long tail keywords.

#6 – Don’t mix your URL format.

You should pick a link format and stick with it. Google sees “www.mysite.com” and “mysite.com” as two separate pages and possibly as duplicate content. Canonize your URLs by making a non-www redirect to the www version.

#7 – Avoid long titles.

A page title should less than 60 characters or it may not display correctly in the search results.

#8 – Don’t forget about internal links.

Internal linking does not replace the need for incoming links from other websites, but it is a part of the overall rank factoring process. Use your keywords in the links to your target pages. For example, if the page you are linking to is all about “custom web design,” then make your link read custom web design. Remember, Google only cares about the first link in a page to another specific page. Having 5 links to the same page (on one page) won’t help. Only the first one counts. This includes your menu.

#9 – Don’t quit too soon.

SEO results take times, even a couple years or so. If you’ve done your plan properly and ROI looks good and the keywords are strong, continue on. Metrics such as bounce rates and fall-off can help you pinpoint issues with your content. Remember that SEO is only effective if you keep the people on your site.

#10 – Duplicate URLs are a big BIG No-No!

From the search engine’s perspective, it looks like two different pages, and thus duplicate content. Depending on the situation, search engines can react to duplicate content in a variety of ways. Your penalty could be anything from ignoring one of the pages to dropping the site.

#11 – Don’t plagiarize!!

If duplicate URLs were a big no-no, then this is an even bigger no-no. It’s bad enough if you duplicate your own content, but if you steal text from another site, you can only hope Google just drops you into a black hole. You could find yourself involved in a lawsuit.

#12 – Never hide keywords or content on your landing page.

Trying to trick people into clicking through to your site will backfire on you. High bounce rates tell Google that you are not optimized properly and your rank will fall. A bad user experience will sour people on your company. Be straightforward and clear about the content on each page and on your site as a whole.

#13 – Don’t over-saturate a page with keywords.

A good rule of thumb is a keyword for every200- 300 words. Put the keyword in the introduction, a heading, and again in the conclusion. Always incorporate them as naturally as possible.

#14 – Avoid too many reciprocal links.

If Google sees a large number of reciprocal links, it starts to look suspicious and your rankings may suffer. (However, a few are very good especially if the two sites are industry related).

#15 – Never mass-publish content that includes a link to your website.

All of a sudden, Google will see tons of new links– all using the same keyword that point to you. This does not look natural.

#16 – Related to #14 -Do not exchange links with non-relevant sites.

This dilutes the relevancy of your own site and Google is all about relevancy. After all, if their users have a bad experience, they just might lose their hold on the search engine crown.

Who are we kidding… that’s not going to happen. But they will ignore you if they feel you are irrelevant.’

#17 – Deceptive redirects can cause you problems.

Don’t use redirects people unless pages have actually moved.

Some sites have pages that are optimized to the extreme. These are often called “doorway” pages. When a visitor comes in, they redirect them to a user-friendly page, rather than showing them the SEO optimized page.  If Google finds these deceptive redirects then the offending website can lose some or all of its credibility with the search engine.

#18 – Don’t let your website content get stale.

Publish new content that your audience likes on a regular basis. Google favors websites that are fresh and continue contributing valuable information to their audience.

#19 – Do not let your SEO optimizing overshadow the presentation and usability of your website.

Googe is important but so are your customers. If your presentation is cumbersome and unappealing, it won’t matter how much SEO you’ve done. You won’t get conversions.

#20 – Don’t underestimate the power of meta descriptions.

No, they do not help improve your ranking.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Meta descriptions do influence rank in a roundabout way. More click-throughs WILL help boost you the search results and the primary purpose of meta descriptions is to convince visitors to click on your listing.

Ranking only matter when you get clicks, right?


There you have it, a long checklist of SEO no-nos for your website. Honestly, when it comes down to it, write valuable content and label it correctly. If you do that then you will improve rank rather than suffer penalties.

Effect Web Agency believes in strategic web design. We don’t just build beautiful, mobile-friendly sites, we also offer web consulting services and ongoing support. You can count on us to deliver the perfect design built around your web strategy, help you with digital marketing, and give you continued guidance on how you can continuously improve your website performance.


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