11 Most Common On-page SEO Mistakes (& How to Fix Them)

October 2, 2018

SEO can be complicated, and very technical.

As a result, many business owners can make simple mistakes that can negatively effect their position in search engine rankings.

We put together this comprehensive guide to the 11 Most Common On-Page SEO Mistakes, and How to Fix Them for business owners like you.

We took the time to learn these SEO techniques that help improve click through rate and website traffic so you don’t have to.

Knowledge is power. Take as much of ours as you’d like.

1. Not Properly Optimizing Your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

how to properly optimize your title tags for seo

When you enter a query into Google search, the results that are displayed have a title and a description.

In the SEO World these are commonly called the Title Tag and the Meta Description. The reason for this is the way that they appear in the HTML code that creates web pages.

Arguably these can be some of the most important lines of text on any web page.

Are you going to click on the title that has little to do with the key word or phrase that you typed into the search bar?

Or how about the description that doesn’t properly explain what type of information is contained in an article?

Probably not.

Without getting too in depth about the underlying psychology behind this, it’s pretty simple.

People want value. And people are going to click on titles and meta descriptions that are most closely related to what they are searching for.

While you may not be able to properly guess every search that will be typed in, you can assume someone looking for say good running shoes will not be typing in the phrase “tacos in Massachusetts”.

So how can you optimize your title tags and meta descriptions to generate more traffic?

Here’s a few easy, yet effective techniques for getting more clicks to your website by utilizing title tags and meta descriptions more effectively:

Use questions in your title tags.

People are asking questions in Google. Naturally, if they see a question similar to theirs in the title of an article, they are more likely to click.

On top of this, they will more likely read the description as well.

Chances are if you bring value in the description, they will click through to your page.

Here is an example. Let’s pretend a user was looking for running shoes. Perhaps consider a title like:

“What Are The Most Highly Rated Running Shoes?”

This right away helps to bring the user close to their end goal of finding good running shoes.

Make sure your title tags are the proper length.

Now you may be asking, what is the proper length for a title tag?

According to Google 50 to 60 characters is the proper length for a title tag. Any more than this can risk being cut off in Search Engine Result Pages or SERPs.

The last thing you want is a result that looks like this for your users:

how to optimize your title tags for google

Any less than that risks not being effective enough, or not appealing to the right audience.

If Google is giving you 50 to 60 characters per title tag, be sure to try and use as many of them as possible.

To check the length of your title tags in characters, simply put them into a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, and use the character count tool.

Don’t have exact match keywords or phrases in your title tag and h1 tag.

Just to be clear, an h1 tag again refers to the HTML code used to create web pages.

This better tag is recommended to only be used once per page. And is often found at the top of the page, as the article or page title.

For example, the code to this blog’s h1 tag looks like this:

optimizing your h1 titles for seo

So why shouldn’t you have exact match keywords in your title tag and on page titles?

Simple. Google doesn’t recommend it.

And The Unbroken code in the SEO world is, if Google doesn’t recommend it or Flags it as inappropriate behavior, you quickly stop doing it, or suffer potentially negative effects on your Search Engine Rankings.

So what should you do about this dilemma? This is a perfect opportunity to jump into the next tactic I am suggesting.

Use synonyms and paraphrase.

Ideally, you want your title tag to be the best that it could possibly be. So if your h1, or on page title has to suffer a bit as a result, that is fine.

Basically, your title tag is the most important because it appears in the search engines.

Your h1 is also important, but it is alright to tweak it a bit, Because by the time someone sees it, they have already visited your page.

Now that being said, we still want our h1 to.be relevant to the subject matter of our article. And we still want to try and capture user intent within it, and utilize keywords and phrase our users might be searching.

Let’s revisit our earlier title tag for good running shoes. Right now it reads:

“What Are The Most Highly Rated Running Shoes?”

Not bad. We could improve it more, but that’s for a later section. Be patient!

Now if we turn around and make this the exact h1 title on our blog, it’s going to send bad signals to Google that we might be keyword stuffing, or that we might not be a legitimate source for information

So what can we do to optimize our h1 title for a blog post?

Easy, let’s use some synonyms, and provide some more information to both elaborate on the title tag, and give search engines a reason to index our page for an equally good user query.

Let’s change it to:

“A List of the Top 11 Best Rated Running Shoes”

Looks good, but let’s add a bit more just to make it more juicy for our readers, and bring a bit more value.

How about this:

“A List of the Top 10 Best Rated Running Shoes: From Comfort to Performance”

Nice. This still matches the title tag enough that people won’t even notice, yet does not match it enough for Google to notice.

This h1 title also describes a bit more about the list as well, telling the readers that not only are we describing the comfort of the shoes on this list, but the performance as well. This is an article I want to read now as a user, because its title has been properly optimized.

Also, note that it uses the word list and the word best. These are two very highly effective words to use in titles that we in the SEO world call modifiers.

Another perfect segue into the next section.

Use modifiers for your title tags.

Modifiers, in short, are additional words and bits of information you can add to your title to make them convert better. These include words like Best, Guide, List, Top, etc… and special characters like [brackets], (parenthesis) and (&) amprisands.

It has been shown that using modifiers such as parentheses, brackets, and commonly used words has helped to improve click-through-rate astronomically on SERPs.

Why? No one is sure. But it works.

Let’s revisit our previous title tag:

“What Are The Most Highly Rated Running Shoes” Currently, with spaces, this title tag is 45 characters long. As you remember from earlier, the optimal length for a title tag is between 50 and 60 characters.

In order to add a modifier like a number, a buzzword like “guide”, best”, list”, or “top”, and some brackets, parenthesis or numbers, we might have to trim our existing title.

No problem. Let’s get to it. Try this title tag on for size:

“10 Best Running Shoes For Comfort & Performance (Athlete Approved)”

Now that is a click worthy title! This title is 66 characters long… a bit long for Google, but we can always use the Yoast Snippet Tool for WordPress to see how it will look.

Occasionally, we can use up to 70 characters in a title tag, depending on the letters it contains. For example, 70 M’s are much wider than 70 I’s when it comes to font size.

This title also puts the keyword, “best running shoes” closer to the front of the title tag, which sends signals to Google that it is more important.

Always try to put your target keywords closer to the beginning of your title tags when possible.

Now that you are a master of title tags, let’s move onto optimizing your meta descriptions to get more clicks.

Optimizing your meta descriptions for on page SEO.

While meta descriptions are not as important as title tags, they still serve the dual purpose of informing your users about and persuading them to click on your article. As well as also giving search engines a crawlable description of what is contained in the page.

For meta descriptions it is very important to not be too salesy.

Too often, I read through meta descriptions that instantly try to get me to convert on a product or service.

If you’re doing things right from the content production side of things, you should not have to try and sell people when they first arrived on your page.

You should first Instead try to offer value through the information you give your user, showing them that you are a thought leader in the industry and that you have authority on the subject matter.

Once you have done this, it is up to the user to decide whether they want to learn more about your services.

So how does this principle of bringing value apply to creating very effective and clickable meta descriptions for your website pages?

Simple. Add value in the description.

Reiterate the main points of your article.

What’s happening in your article? How does it help a user? Why?

These days, it can be pretty difficult to attract someone to an article online.

On top of the fact that there is plenty of other competitors with similar content, people are less trustworthy now than they have ever been of articles and news that is being promoted to them.

You want to make a meta description that somewhat reflects these ideals.

You also want to be sure that while reiterating the main points of your article, you are not using exact text matches of something found in the article.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use a few of the same keywords or phrases, but rather that you shouldn’t just copy an entire paragraph from your article and paste it into your meta description.

Answer any immediate questions, concerns or doubts a reader might have.

When someone is reading through your meta description, they want to find additional information that will push them towards clicking on your article.

Many times this comes in the form of answering any additional questions that are as brought up by the title of your article.

Additionally, you want to try to fight off any doubt they may have that your article is the best answer to their question.

Do this by utilizing the meta description properly, to provide value, and give them just enough information that they’re reeling for more.

A great way you can do this is by actually asking questions you think the user would within your meta description. And then answering them in a short, succinct sentence afterwards.

This serves the dual purpose of directly answering a user question which they might have used to fight off the need to open your article, and also provides the search engine with yet another way to index your page so that it answers user intent.

You are directly answering use your questions before they have even landed on your page.

Be sure to use long-tail keywords and phrases you are trying to rank for.

Much like your title tag, when it comes to optimizing meta description, it is important to remember to use keywords and phrases that you are trying to rank for with your content.

You don’t want to be spamming with this so as to alert Google and possibly suffer ranking setbacks.

However you do want to include at least a few key words that you were trying to rank for within your meta description. Preferably the closer to the start of the meta description you can get, the better.

Make your meta description actionable.

Lastly, you want to make your meta descriptions actionable.

What I mean by this is that you want to create a sense of need to click on your article within your meta description.

A great way to do this is add something towards the end of your meta description like, “click here to learn more” or “read more here” or “find out why”.

Something that nags at the user’s curiosity to learn more.

Be sure to follow Google’s guidelines for meta description length.

As always, Google has certain standards when it comes to making the best meta descriptions.

Meta description should not be any shorter than 160 characters, or any longer than 320 characters.

Depending on the page, this leaves a lot of room to play with.

Usually when the page is in a blog format, you want this manager description to be more towards the 320 character side of things in length.

When the page of something short and sweet like an about page, it is okay to be one under 160 characters. However, it is not recommended to have any meta description below 80 characters.

Another instance where shorter meta descriptions are better, as in the case of pay-per-click ads (PPC).

These are the ads that appear in the top three results of your Google SERPs. For PPC campaigns, you want your meta description to be short and sweet. You want to immediately tell the user what it is they are getting out of your product or service, and why they need it.

Putting it all together.

creating great title tags and meta descriptions for your website

Remember our article with it’s bright and shiny new, super effective title tag?

Let’s give it an equally awesome meta description now using these techniques.

If you remember our new, and fully optimized title tag, “10 Best Running Shoes For Comfort & Performance (Athlete Approved)”.

Let’s give this meta description a try:

“Having trouble trying to decide which running shoe is right for you? Don’t worry. We put together this list of the 10 best running shoes as approved and reviewed by professional athletes for their comfort and performance. Find the right running shoe for you today.”

This meta description is 264 characters long, which is right in between where we want to be for Google’s guidelines.

It immediately asked a question, and utilize the keyword best running shoes, and also the key word running shoes within the first half of the meta description.

Lastly, this SEO optimized meta description informed the users why they need to read this list, and added a little bit of value by declaring that not only was just a list of best running shoes, but it was compiled from the reviews of professional athletes.

We also made the description actionable by prompting the user to find the right running shoe for them today at the end of the description.

Great job!

Let’s just do one final check in the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress to see how it looks:

optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions for google

It seems to look pretty good! Now let’s get on with some more SEO tips to avoid some major on-page SEO mistakes.

2. Keyword Stuffing In Your Content

tips for optimizing onpage seo

Back in the day when search engine algorithms were far more primitive, all someone had to do was purchase a domain that had their main key word in it, and then repeatedly stuff key words into their content in order to get ranked high on the search engines.

Those days are long gone.

Now, if you are caught keyword stuffing, it can cost you a hefty price in lost traffic to your website.

Google penalizes those who attempt to use this type of black hat SEO to grow their web traffic.

Any agency that honestly believes they can get away with keyword stuffing in 2018, no matter how creative they are, is just plain wrong. And they should be avoided at all costs.

Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Not only is keyword stuffing highly dangerous because of penalties that can result from actions taken by Google, it is also highly ineffective.

Think about it this way, say you manage to get your page to the number one spot on Google by keyword stuffing.

I click on your page thinking that I am going to be arriving on an article that will help me better answer my question that I asked the search engine.

All of a sudden, I learned on the page that has little to no information about what I typed in, and I’m left to wonder why was I taken here, and why was this page displayed to me?

After a few quick bounces off of your page, Google will start to notice that your page has a high bounce rate. This means that people are entering your site and leaving within the first few seconds of being there because they are not finding any value.

So even if you are not penalized from Google for keyword stuffing, the chances are people will arrive on your page and leave instantly.

This will then send bad signals to Google, causing you to drop in rankings accordingly. Now, you have hurt your rankings, and probably spent thousands of dollars to an agency who is putting your website at a very high risk, for very small reward.

Bottom line, don’t keyword stuff. It’s like a little kid trying to steal from the cookie jar when their mom’s in the kitchen.

This isn’t 1995, Google search engine algorithms are much smarter than you.

3. Creating Low Quality Content

how to create high quality web content to boost sales

If you don’t know by now, content is King.

When it comes to 95% of searches on Google, the top result that isn’t paid advertising is almost always the most comprehensive and well-put-together piece of content out there.

Why is making quality content so important to ranking well on Google?

The answer is really simple. People want answers to their questions. And if they can get all of the answers to all of their questions in one place, why wouldn’t they do it?

If you were just producing content for the sake of doing so, and it lacks real direction, real depth, and real quality, you are really putting yourself at a disadvantage compared to your competition.

The solution? Spend more time on content creation. Quality over quantity should be your mantra.

Look at Brian Dean, CEO of Backlinko, one of the best SEO and content marketing agencies in the country.

Over the life of his company, Brian Dean has only produced less than 30 pieces of content in total.

However, every single piece of content from Backlinko is a smash hit. They go all out, outlining every last question and concern you could possibly have as a user.

They are in-depth, and well over 10,000 words each. They provide comprehensive examples and guides that show users step by step how to accomplish what they were trying to achieve.

They contain lots of actionable content that can be used today to help business owners grow their website period on top of this they have lots of great videos, pictures, and infographics to keep users entertained and engaged throughout the entirety of these long posts.

Each month, Backlinko generates over 800,000 unique site visitors, worth well over $200,000 worth of traffic if measured in cost per click.

What’s the key to success? Quality content.

Make sure your content is long enough.

A study done by Moz revealed that the number one result on Google for most blog topics has roughly 2,251 words.

The the rest of the results on the first page of Google average about 1,781 words per post.

If you are aiming to create quality content, this should be your benchmark.

However, it is important to note that it is not just about word count. It is about making each word count.

On top of that you want to make sure that your content is being packed with the right long tail keyword phrases that people are searching for in Google in order to optimize your positioning on SERPs.

This brings us to my next biggest on-site SEO mistake business owners make.

4. Choosing The Wrong Target Keyword

how to choose the right keywords to rank for

I see way too many people trying to rank for the most ridiculously hard keywords imaginable.

If you are small business owner with a very small web presence, the last thing you are ever going to be able to rank for is a keyword that lacks depth.

What I mean by this is, if you are trying to rank for the word “shoes”, which receives millions of searches per month, and has extremely large competitors competing for the top result such as Nike, Adidas, Jordan, and more, the chances of your small business ever making it to the first page on Google are actually zero.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pessimist by any means. But I am a realist.

Trying to rank for this search term just doesn’t make any sense for your small business.

Instead of trying to rank for such a broad term, try ranking for a much more key word such as “best running shoes for cross country runners”.

This is what we call in the SEO world a long tail keyword. What is a long tail keyword?

It is a keyword phrase that contains the key word we are trying to rank for, which is shoes, but adds multiple modifiers to it in order to make it a far more specific target audience.

Rather than trying to compete for the millions of potential clicks for a word like “shoes”, you have now narrowed down the number of people searching your term to a few thousand.

An easy way to find some tail keywords that you should be trying to rank for is typing a few words into Google search engine, and letting it autocomplete for you.

Once you have searched a few of these results, you also begin to notice that at the bottom of the page there are other suggestions in the “people also searched for” category.

If you keep clicking on these, Google will give you dozens, if not hundreds of other similar search queries people have entered.

This is an amazing free resource that is super easy to use to identify long tail keywords that you could be ranking for today.

Implementing long tail keywords into your content.

Now that you have identified a few long tail keywords that you are looking to rank for, it is important that you try to include these keywords and their variants within your content as much as possible.

Be sure to use long-tail keywords in your articles.

Again, you want to try to avoid keyword stuffing. Don’t just run through your pages adding your long tail keyword every other sentence.

Rather, sprinkle it in as seen fit within your existing blogs and pages.

Within a few weeks, you will begin to notice that you are ranking for more long tail keywords in Google Search Console as a result of these content changes.

Over time, these long tail keywords will compound into a lot of potential traffic for your site, and can help strengthen your Domain Authority, especially as a small business owner.

5. Missing Out On Internal Linking Opportunities

how to optimize your internal link structure for seo

So what is an internal link, how does it help me generate more traffic, and how should I go about using them on my website?

As you may have guessed, and internal link is simply a link placed within your website that links out to another page on your website.

You did all the work to get someone to your website, so why not do a little bit more work to keep them on it?

This is just one of the goals of creating and maintaining an internal linking strategy.

The second important part of creating and maintaining an internal backlink strategy is that it actively helps Google rank you for more of your longtail keywords.

Think of it like this: if you have 100 blog posts on your website, and you create internal links on each of them that link out to another one of your articles, you are sending Google signals that connect all of your post together in order to show that they are interrelated with one another.

On top of this, it also helps to strengthen your back link profile. This has been reported as one of Google’s major ranking factors over the last few years.

Techniques for optimizing internal links for onsite SEO.

When creating internal links, it is important to remember that you should not just be linking out willy-nilly. You want to be internally linking to relevant articles that will also assist the user in answering their question.

So, if we go back to our guide for the best shoes, we want to be internally linking two other similar articles that can help users.

Say for example we have another page that talks about the different types of shoe sizing for different foot types. For example some people have flat feet, because of this they need alternative footwear options.

Somewhere with in this post we want to also internally link to our footwear sizing article.

When internally linking it is very important to use long tail keywords as linking opportunities.

For example, within our best running shoes article, we should have a section like this, “some athletes have flatter feet than others. This can make purchasing athletic footwear very difficult. We have outlined some great alternative footwear options for athletes with flat feet here.”

BAM. Internal linking opportunity.

Don’t be the person who links this page to the word “here”. Instead, try to link the long tail keyword “alternative footwear options for athletes with flat feet”.

Not only is this more likely to get clicked on by users, it is far more likely to show Google that you are an authoritative source for this long tail keyword by establishing a link profile that leads from one article to this related article on your site.

You want to be careful out over when internally linking to not include too long of a long tail keyword. For example, you would not want to link this entire paragraph. Try to keep your internal links on long tail keywords as short as possible, while still being descriptive and unique.

Lastly, it is important to not go internal link happy. You do not want to have 50 internal links on a blog post that is 1,500 words or less.

Many experts agree that 2 to 5 internal links is the correct amount for any given page or blog post.

That being said, if you have a 10,000 word or more document, it is probably appropriate to link to more internal pages.

The main thing to try and avoid is just blinking a ridiculous amount.

You want your links to be practical not only for your users will begin to wonder why every other word on the page is highlighted, but also for Google who will begin to think you are link stuffing.

6. Not Utilizing Search Console Indexing Or Sitemap Generators.

how to use google search console to track your content effectiveness

While most SEO experts would not consider this to exactly be on page SEO, I do.

Why? Well, put simply, Sitemaps and Indexing your pages is one of the easiest ways to get your website properly analyzed by search engines like Google.

What is a sitemap, how do I make one for my website, and why do I need one?

A site map is an XML document that outlines the structure of your website for the purpose of search engine indexing and crawling robots.

Essentially, Google and other search engines have thousands of robots and algorithmic programs that search through millions of web pages a day to identify what they are about, and how well they help users in their space.

A sitemap is exactly that, a map of your site and it’s internal and external link profile so that Google can better understand how users will bounce around when on your site.

Lucky for you, creating sitemap is easy, and requires no technical expertise at all.

There are two very simple ways to create a sitemap for your site.

If you are using WordPress as a CMS platform, and already have the Yoast SEO plugin, Yoast will automatically create a site map each time updates are saved to your website. So you have nothing to worry about.

If you do not have this plug-in on WordPress, or are not using WordPress as a CMS, don’t worry the process is still very easy.

Simply download the free Screaming Frog Spider Tool.

Once you have downloaded it, type in your site into the address bar seen below:

how to create a sitemap to improve your onpage seo

Once you have done this, click on the generate sitemap button seen here:

11 tips to improve your onpage seo

Give it a few seconds, and BAM your site map is created. Now all you have to do is upload it to either your FTP manager, or Google Search Console.

On Google search in console, this process is as easy as follows:

Log into your search console account, and on the left you should see this tab:

creating a sitemap for your website helps onpage seo

Click Sitemaps. You will be brought to this page:

how to improve your onpage seo in 10 steps

From here, click the ad / test site map button in the top right corner:

the easiest way to improve your google rankings

Submit your sitemap file that you have created from your Screaming Frog Tool, and let Google do the rest.

I recommend that each time you make a major change to the internal link structure of your page, such as creating a new post or editing an existing one, that you re-upload a new sitemap.

Indexing your pages in Google Search Console.

Indexing your pages is relatively just as simple. Within the Google search console, click on the crawl tab on the left hand side. From there click on fetch as Google:

10 tips for improving your website seo

Once within fetch as Google submit your URL to the bar above and hit fetch. Once you see it added to the list below, hit the button that says request indexing:

best ways to improve your website seo

If this doesn’t work and you get an error message, don’t worry that can happen sometimes. Google will automatically index it within a couple of days now that you have submitted it.

Each time A change is made to one of your major Pages or you add a new page, you should come back and redo this process.

There’s also a very important tool called disavow with Google, which allows you to get rid of old broken links, or pages that you no longer wish to send users to.

This is very important for minimizing the amount of 404 errors on your website. It is also important for maintaining a healthy internal and external link structure.

Using the disavow tool with Google.

Usually, disavowwing a link applies to links which are no longer being used. More often than not this is because you decide to change the URL of a given page.

I also use this tool for when I have accidentally made an improper link somewhere on my web page, which causes a 404 error because the URL does not exist.

You want to try to eliminate bad links like this from your site, because 404 errors send Google bad messages that your users may be taken to a broken link.

Using the disavow tool with Google is also very easy. To find it simply type in Google disavow tool and click on the first link.

Once on this page you must be signed into the same email account as use for your Google Search Console.

Then, simply select the website would you wish to disavow a link for. Once you have done this, you will be prompted by Google to submit a .txt file containing all of the relevant links that you want to be disavow out from that given domain.

You can create a .txt file in your common Notepad application on both Mac and Windows machines.

Follow the directions Google gives for creating this file, and simply upload it to Google. Once you have done this simply click the disavow button and let Google handle the rest.

Ideally, it is important to keep a copy of this .txt file within your FTP, or in your local machine. That way each time you need to add a link all you have to do is add 1 and resubmit the same .txt file to Google.

7. Slow Page Speed and Site Load Time

how to increase your site speed for seo

Google has recently announced that page load speed and site load speed is a large ranking factor.

To be more specific, Google aims to slightly lower the rankings of websites and pages that take more than 1.5 seconds to load.

A lot of small business owners, specifically ones using CMS sites like WordPress off and run into the problem of having low times that are much longer than 1.5 seconds.

How do I get my site load speed to be faster?

Luckily there were some pretty simple techniques that you can use to dramatically lower your site load speed.

The first major problem that most people have that is hampering their site load speed is image files that are far too large.

To help identify where problems with site load time are occurring, a great tool I like to use is GTmetrix. This is a free website load speed analyzing tool that helps to report on all of the errors causing your site to load slower and be viewed in a negative way by search engines.

Another similar to lie like to use is called Pingdom. Both are virtually the same in terms of reporting, but it is nice to have multiple options in order to compare results.

More often than not, image files are the leading contributor to slow page speed.

So how do I get my image files to be smaller, without sacrificing quality?

So now that we know that our image files are the problem with our low speed, how do we go about reducing our image file sizes without compromising the quality of our images?

Here are a few awesome free tools that I love to use in order to do just this.

Pixlr Photo Editor allows you to reduce the size of your image in pixels and then save it directly to your computer. This is a great tool because more often than not your image files may be too large in terms of the pixel area they take up, and can be reduced and then scaled to be larger when needed.

From here, I like to use what is called a compression tool in order to compress the actual data that is being read with an image files. This can often save upwards of 60% of file sizes, and you can usually expect a similar impact on load speed.

One of the best tools I have found for reducing image file size through compression is Kraken.io.

This free tool allows you to choose the type of compression you want for your images, between lossy, losslessy and expert.

Usually I go with expert, and just turned both my JPEG and PNG quality settings down to about 60 to 70, like this:

improve your site speed by optimizing image file sizes

Today naked eye, you cannot even notice the difference in quality, and it usually helps to reduce file size by at least 50%.

Once you have done this, reupload your new and improved images to your site, and then test them again on GTmetrix and Pingdom.

It may take a while at first, but with some honing of your newfound skills on these free tools, you should be able to improve load speed on your site dramatically.

8. A Subpar Mobile Experience

how to improve your website seo

I recently met with a potential client who really failed to understand the importance of providing a great mobile experience with their website.

Their argument was that because they themselves did not use their cell phone to look up most web pages, therefore the same must be able to be said about a larger audience.

I quickly informed them that they couldn’t be further from the truth. Studies done by SmartInsights and other major analytics companies have recently shown that 70% of global search traffic now comes from mobile phones.

Moreover, this figure is only expected to increase over the next five years. By 2021, estimates suggest that this figure will be far over 80%.

You can try to argue with the data if you want, but I promise it won’t help your case.

If you do not have an optimized mobile experience, your rankings will be directly affected by this.

Not only will users likely leave your site immediately because they cannot navigate to properly, but Google themselves, has recently announced is now considering mobile optimization as a major ranking factor.

Put simply, if you are not focusing on your users mobile experience, you will continue to see less than adequate results from your web traffic in the years to come.

9. Not Utilizing External Linking Opportunities

the easiest way to improve your website seo

Much like internal linking, external linking is an equally important way to help build your link profile in the eyes of Google.

What external linking helps to do is connect your website with high-ranking, high Domain Authority resources within your industry.

External links actually play a larger role in ranking factors than internal links.

Creating an external linking strategy for your content can help improve your search engine rankings over time.

When external linking, you want to be mindful to not go overboard, and to link two relevant keyword phrases, just as we did with internal links.

For instance, in the section above, I made a link to both Google and SmartInsights. However, I did not just do this by attaching a link to their name, rather I attached my external link to long tail key phrases which relate both to my page and theirs.

It is very important to make an effort to do this with long tail keywords in all of your linking opportunities.

Lastly, you also want to be sure to not go off the deep end when it comes to externally linking.

You do not want to have an overabundance of external links on any one of your pages. And you also want to be sure that the external sites you are linking to are relevant to your industry and user-friendly.

Sending users to malicious sites can damage your rankings in Google.

10. Creating URLs for Your Pages that are Relevant and Explain Your Content

how to optimize your url slugs for seo

Another important factor when it comes to ranking on Google is your URLs.

When naming your URLs you want to follow a few basic principles.

Avoid using stop words in your URLs

These stop words include words like and, to, the, a, an, etc…. These are mostly the short little words you would never capitalize in say the title of a book or article.

You want to avoid using these because it is ideal to keep your URLs as short as possible, while maintaining a very good description of what the article contains.

For example if we were to go back to our guide for Runner shoes that we have used throughout this post, a good URL would be:


Usually when creating a URL that is optimized for search engines, you do not want to go longer than four or five words, but if it is something that you can simply cannot avoid that is alright.

Avoid using exact title matches in your URLs

Why should you avoid using exact title matches in your URLs?

Put simply, it can come off to Google as an attempt at keyword stuffing.

Instead of using exact keyword matches to your title, try using a few keywords that are contained in your title but subtracting the ones that don’t matter.

Another great technique you can use is utilizing synonyms within your URL in order to avoid exact keyword matches with your title.

Make sure your URL contains your target keyword

If you are trying to rank for a target keyword, whether long tail or short tail, it is essential that you put it within your URL.

This is pretty self-explanatory, as we now know that Google uses multiple ranking factors in order to identify keywords and concepts within a webpage to help best satisfy user intent.

Again, we do not want to go for an entire URL that is a keyword match with the title, however it is not harmful or considered bad practice to include a majority of the target keyword your aiming to rank for in your URL.

11. Not Utilizing Subheadings Within Your Content to Improve Onpage SEO

how to optimize heading tags to improve onpage seo

The last principal I want to touch on is the use of subheadings. If you remember going back to our first tip, I mentioned title tags.

Also, I mentioned the use of H1 tags for the titles once you are inside of the page itself.

Much like H1 tags, there are also H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 title tags that can be used within HTML to identify pieces of your content that hold greater wait to search engines than those contained within paragraph tags.

Usually, we never really get past the use of H4s.

It is important to subsection off your content in a way that not only helps users visually understand what is going on, but also in a way that helps search engines index your content.

Once uterus take IC with a lot of small business owners, it’s not that they don’t try to visually organize their content by Bolding and using larger font sizes for headings, but they do not use the technical aspect of turning these headers into the proper header tags in HTML.

As a result, search engines are far less likely to pick up on the concepts and long tail keywords that they are trying to rank for and the user intent they are trying to satisfy with their content.

How many H1 and H2 tags should I be using on my website pages?

Ideally, you never want more than one H1 tag on a page. After that, you want between 2 to 5 H2s on the page. However if you are creating longer content, it is okay to have more.

How should I go about using H3s and H4s on my website?

H3s and H4s are used far less often than H2s, but carry roughly the same importance in the eyes of a search engine.

When using them, you want to be practical and try to place them as needed on your pages to break up content and inform the user of what is going on.

Is important to remember again, that these header tags are all indexed on a higher level by search engines than paragraphs.

So, you want to try and utilize these had her tags to hit on some of the main long tail keywords that are you are trying to rank for.

A great way to do this is to go back to the Google search page as we did earlier and try to identify long tail keywords in your industry that you can write for with your content.

Once you have done this, is a great idea to try and create some headers that might have the exact user questions you are answering contained within them. Just as I have done on this page.

11 steps to improve your website rankings

How to Improve Your Onpage SEO in 11 Easy Steps – Takeaways

There are multitude of techniques that you can utilize for your website when it comes to on page SEO to help boost your rankings in search engines.

Each of the 11 on page SEO techniques outlined in this article will help your website improve in SEO so that Google and other search engines will be more likely to rank them higher for the keywords you are trying to target.

It is important to remember in this journey that SEO is a long game. You cannot expect to just reach the top of Google and a day, regardless of how good your on-site SEO is.

The linchpin to any good SEO strategy should be high quality content that provides your user with the answers to their questions better than your competitors.

If you focus on a Content marketing strategy that helps build your website traffic organically, and remember to utilize these 11 on-site SEO tactics when producing your content, over time you will begin to see The snowball effect in traffic growth you are looking for.

For more great expert level SEO and content marketing tips and strategies, check out our blog. We produce content on a bi-weekly basis that can help any business owner in any industry vastly improve their online presence.

For help improving your on-site SEO and content marketing strategy, please contact us for a free consultation. Our Manchester, New Hampshire content marketing consultants will be more than happy to speak with you about how to improve your online marketing strategy today.

7 thoughts on “11 Most Common On-page SEO Mistakes (& How to Fix Them)

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