5 content mistakes in SEO!

Although it’s vitally important that you consider your audience when creating your site and providing engaging and valuable content, it can be easy to forget some of the SEO best practices that you should be using in order to protect the integrity of your site. You have invested time and money into your business – don’t waste it with a website that won’t even show up in the search engines because of a few simple techniques that have been overlooked.
If you want to make sure your site remains fully optimised, then here are some common SEO practices you’ll want to avoid.

1. Duplicate Content

It’s common practice for a large sites to have a number of pages containing duplicate content, particularly if there are a great deal of pages covering the same products or services, with similar descriptions. However this will not do your site any favours when it comes to ranking in the search engines.
The problem with duplicate content is that it confuses the search engines – if a number of pages contain the same information, which landing page should it show for a particular search query if there is more than one match? In effect, you are making your pages compete against each other. You already have competition in the business world, so don’t add yourself into the mix as well.

Before you start deleting all your duplicated pages, stop! The pages you have can still hold value for you, although firstly you’ll need to redirect them. One of the most effective ways of rectifying the issue of duplicate content is to set up a 301 redirect from the duplicated pages to the original page, or the one that you want to keep as the main source of information.

The search engine will no longer see a number of different pages – just the one you want them to, which should begin to rank higher. If you want your audience to still see the content on the duplicated pages, but you don’t want these to be read by the search engines, you could also consider the use of canonical tags. It is similar to a 301 redirect as it will ‘inform’ the search engine to read multiple pages as one, yet it allows you to keep the additional pages for your customers, if you believe there is value in doing so.

2. Thin Content

You may think all of the content on your website is valuable but this isn’t always the case. Content which doesn’t provide a real use – otherwise known as thin-content – is a worthless addition to your site. Having keyword-rich content is not the same thing as having content that has solely been created for keyword rankings. If you’re still producing the latter, then you should stop right now. This includes things like automatically-generated content, content scraped from other sites or low-quality guest blogs. Relevancy is the key to the content you provide for your audience. Does the content on the page match what they are searching for? Does it provide them with a solution?

A web page with just a few sentences is not going to be much help to the customer, if it doesn’t fully explain the product or service – think about creating lengthier, richer, more rewarding content that will actually provide value for your audience.

Google is the equivalent of an information service – it wants to display content that its users find useful, interesting and informative. If it’s not relevant, it won’t rank, simple as that.

3. Not letting the robots crawl your site

It’s a more common mistake than you may realise, but some web developers will noindex the test version of your site whilst they are working on it, forgetting to remove this when it goes live.

If your site is set to noindex this will prevent any search engines from crawling your site. To them, your site won’t exist and you’ll drop off the rankings.
There may be certain pages you may want to avoid being crawled so it’s fine to exclude these but if you want your entire site to be found by the search engines you’ll need to make sure that the robots.txt file is set to be indexed.

4. Forgetting to include Alt Tags

Google Images is becoming a search engine in its own right so it’s important that you also consider the images on your site as being important in terms of SEO.
Search engines are not clever enough (yet) to actually view your images so they can’t automatically see what they’re about. They will however scan the images on your site for text so it’s always wise to include a relevant Alt tag on your images to associate it with your page and the keyword that you want to be ranking for.
Here are a few tips on optimising your images effectively:
As well as Alt Tags you should use informative file names so that the search engine can gain intelligence as to what they are about. Avoid using names like File12345version2.jpg and instead rename your file Italian-Restaurant-London.jpg.
Although smaller thumbnail images may be useful to your audience, they are much less valuable in search terms than larger images, so where possible make sure that the largest of images on your site are indexed.
The size of images can have a major impact on your site speed, which in turn will have an effect on the user experience. Keeping the quality high, but reducing the file size will help to improve your site speed.

5. Incorrect Tracking with Google Analytics

Analysing the data you get from your site can be extremely rich and Google Analytics is a wonderful tool which will help you do just this.
You can scrutinize your traffic to see where your visitors are coming from and how they found your page, how they use your site and lots of other interesting behaviours. However if you haven’t implemented Google Analytics properly, all this remarkable data will be going to waste.

You need to make sure that:
The tracking code has been added to every single page on your site, not just your home page. Easy if you have a relatively small site, but even if you have hundreds of pages you still need to add the code to every single one if you want your data to track correctly. You should also remember to include any sub-domains if your website includes any of these. You exclude internal traffic. If there are a number of employees within your business who regularly access the website then this could misrepresent the information you are seeing on your traffic and visitor figures within Analytics. In order to get the most accurate information about who is using your site, you should exclude yourself and any other colleagues/employees. This can be done by creating IP address filters. Rich site data can be one of the best tools you have to increase your business and your ROI. If you do not know how your website is performing, where your enquiries come from, or why certain pages may be attracting more visitors than others, then this could have a negative impact on your entire campaign.