21 Common SEO Mistakes Businesses Make

Search Engine Optimisation is key to making your business stand out. 

But SEO can be tricky, and it’s easy to make mistakes that stop your business from being noticed online. 

In this guide, we’ll cover 21 common SEO mistakes and show you how to avoid them. With our straightforward tips and strategies, you’ll learn how to make your business more visible online and stay ahead in the competitive digital market.

Getting Started with Keyword and Content Strategy Gaps

Missing out on the right keywords and content can be a setback for your business. This is about finding and using the words your customers are searching for and the topics they’re interested in, which your competitors might already be using. For businesses, spotting and using these opportunities can really help you stand out online.

When doing Keyword Research, the first step is using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to see what words your competitors are using. This helps you find what you might be missing. For example, if you run a boutique hotel, you might learn that competitors use phrases like “boutique hotels in Melbourne”. This information is very useful.

Then, the next important step is to find your own unique opportunities. Look for popular keywords that aren’t used much by others. If you have a clothing store, for example, you might focus on a keyword like “affordable designer fashion”. This helps you attract customers who are looking for something specific, but it’s not something every other store is also using. It’s about being visible to your customers without getting lost in common, highly competitive keywords.

After figuring out the keywords your competitors use, move on to creating an effective content strategy. Start by creating different types of content, like blog posts or videos, focusing on these keywords. This means if there’s a topic that your competitors aren’t covering, you can create content on that topic to attract more attention.

Variety in your content is important. Mix it up with different formats like articles, infographics, and videos. For example, a tech company could make how-to videos or write about the newest tech trends. This not only keeps your audience interested but also helps you reach people who prefer different types of content.

Lastly, it’s important to keep updating your content. The online world is always changing, and your content should too. If you’re in retail, for example, you might create content for specific events like holiday sales. Regular updates keep your content relevant and engaging for your audience.

Misunderstanding Traffic as the Only SEO Goal

Understanding SEO means recognising that it’s not just about getting lots of people to visit your website. It’s also about making sure they have a good experience when they get there, and that they find what they need – which can turn them into customers. 

For example, if you run an online store, it’s great to have lots of visitors, but what’s even more important is making sure they find shopping with you easy and enjoyable. This way, they’re more likely to buy something.

When we talk about a well-rounded SEO strategy, it’s about more than just attracting people to your site. You also want to keep them interested and engaged. This means having content that they find useful and relevant. For a business, this could mean creating detailed articles or useful insights about your industry that your customers would find helpful. 

A good SEO strategy is about understanding who your customers are and making your website not just easy to find, but also easy to use and informative. This approach helps make sure that your visitors don’t just come to your site, but also stay, explore, and eventually make a purchase.

Inconsistent URL Formatting

In SEO, the way you format your website’s URLs, or web addresses, is really important, especially for businesses that want to improve their online presence. It’s all about making sure your web addresses are consistent across your website. 

Choose one style, like http://www.yoursite.com or https://yoursite.com, and use it for all your pages. 

For example, if you run an online store, all your product pages should have URLs in the same format. This consistency not only makes your website look well-organised but also helps search engines understand and rank your site effectively.

Having consistent URLs is important because if they vary, search engines might get confused. They could see two slightly different URLs as duplicate content, which can negatively affect your site’s visibility. To keep things clear, regularly check your URLs. If some don’t match, you can use a 301 redirect, a method to point users and search engines to the correct URL. This step helps maintain a clean and orderly website, seeing to it that search engines correctly index your pages.

The Issue of Thin Content

Having good content on your website is key, especially for businesses that are growing. ‘Thin content’ means content that isn’t very detailed or useful. It’s better to have content that gives your audience a lot of helpful information. 

For instance, if you have a health and wellness business, you should provide detailed guides and articles on health topics, not just basic overviews. Your goal is to create content that really informs and benefits your readers.

Also, it’s important to make sure your content is engaging and relevant to what your audience is looking for. This could mean updating your content regularly to keep up with new trends, especially if you’re in a fast-moving industry like technology. 

Keeping your content up-to-date and interesting helps attract and keep your audience’s attention. This kind of approach not only makes your website more useful and interesting but also helps your business establish a strong online presence.

The Problem with Duplicate Content

Dealing with duplicate content is a big challenge in the online world, especially for businesses trying to make their mark. Duplicate content happens when large parts of text appear in more than one place on the internet, either on the same website or on different ones. This can be a problem because search engines, like Google, might think you’re trying to trick them into ranking your site higher, and they could penalise you for it. 

To avoid this, it’s decisive to make sure that every page on your website has content that is not only unique but also engaging. For example, if you run an e-commerce site, each product should have its own distinct description, even if the products are similar.

When you have topics that are alike, it’s important to approach each one differently. This means writing about each topic from a new angle or perspective. If you have a financial services business, instead of having multiple pages that all give general advice about investments, create individual pages focusing on specific areas like retirement planning or the stock market. 

This approach not only prevents duplicate content but also makes your site more interesting and informative for your audience. Each page should offer something new and valuable, which could include unique insights, case studies, or personal experiences. By establishing content variation and offering fresh perspectives, you can enhance your website’s appeal to both search engines and visitors.

Keyword Cannibalisation

Keyword cannibalisation is an SEO issue that can affect businesses, especially those growing their online presence. It happens when several pages on your website are trying to rank for the same keywords. 

Imagine several stores of the same brand on one street competing for the same customers – that’s what happens with your web pages. To prevent this, each page on your site should focus on different, specific keywords. For example, a clothing store might use ‘summer dresses’ for one page and ‘winter jackets’ for another, rather than just ‘clothing’ for both.

Using different words and phrases that mean the same thing (synonyms and variations) can also help reach more people without causing this issue. This way, you cover more types of searches that people might use and appeal to a wider audience.

 For instance, a tech company with various smart home products might use ‘energy-saving home gadgets’ for one product page and ‘automated home security’ for another. This approach ensures your pages aren’t competing against each other and also makes each page more targeted to what specific customers are looking for.

Prioritising User Experience Over Search Engines

When building a website, it’s important to balance search engine optimisation with a great user experience (UX). While SEO helps your site get found, UX keeps visitors engaged. An effective strategy involves designing your website with the user in mind. 

This means creating a layout that is easy to navigate, with clear menus and straightforward information, like a retail site with a well-organised product catalogue. Content should be engaging and relevant to your audience; for example, a service provider might include case studies and industry insights to capture client interest.

Equally important is responsive design, securing that your website performs well on both desktops and mobile devices. With more people accessing the internet on smartphones, a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional. 

It should load quickly and be easy to use on smaller screens. For example, an e-commerce site must ensure that its product pages are accessible and efficient for mobile users. This focus on UX not only enhances the visitor’s experience but also contributes to better search engine rankings, fostering a loyal customer base and driving sustainable growth. By prioritising UX alongside SEO, businesses can create a website that not only attracts visitors but also keeps them engaged.

Proper Use of Redirects

In managing a website, understanding how to use redirects properly is key to maintaining a good user experience and search engine ranking. Redirects are a way to send users and search engines to a different webpage than the one they originally clicked on. 

They are needed when you move or delete pages, as they help avoid confusion and keep your site running smoothly. The most common type is the 301 redirect, used for permanently moved pages. It ensures that any value (like search rankings) associated with the original page is passed on to the new page. For instance, if a business restructures its website and changes the URL of a key product page, a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one will preserve the page’s search ranking and ensure customers can still find the product easily.

On the other hand, temporary redirects, such as the 302 redirect, should be used with caution. Unlike 301 redirects, they do not pass on the original page’s value to the new page. They are best for short-term situations, like when a page is under maintenance. For example, an e-commerce site might use a 302 redirect to temporarily direct customers from a usual product page to a special sales page during a promotional event. Once the promotion is over, the redirect can be removed, and things go back to normal without affecting the long-term search engine ranking of the original product page. 

This strategic approach to using redirects ensures that website changes, whether permanent or temporary, do not disrupt the user experience or adversely impact the site’s performance in search rankings.

Misconfigured robots.txt Files

For any growing business, it’s important to understand and correctly set up a file on your website called robots.txt. This file tells search engines like Google which parts of your website they should look at and which parts they should ignore. 

For example, you might not want search engines to pay attention to duplicate pages or private areas of your site. When set up correctly, this helps make sure that the important parts of your website, like your main products or services, are easily found and shown in search results.

However, it’s easy to make mistakes with the robots.txt file, which can accidentally hide important parts of your site from search engines. Imagine if an online store accidentally told search engines to ignore all its product pages – those products would then not appear in search results, leading to a loss in potential customers and sales. 

That’s why it’s necessary crucial to regularly check and update this file, especially when you make changes to your website. Keeping this file accurate ensures that search engines are looking at the right parts of your site, which helps your business stay visible online. Managing your robots.txt file effectively is a key part of making sure your website and search engines are working together properly, supporting your business’s online growth.

Expecting Immediate SEO Results

For businesses looking to grow their presence online, it’s important to understand that SEO is a slow and steady process. Unlike paid advertising that can show quick results, SEO takes time to build up and make a noticeable impact. 

For instance, if a business launches a new blog, it shouldn’t expect to see a huge jump in traffic right away. It often takes several months for these changes to start showing significant results. This gradual improvement is necessary for creating a lasting and strong online presence.

Consistently updating and improving your website is also key in SEO. Regularly adding new content, like blog posts or product updates, keeps your website fresh and interesting. For example, a retail business could keep adding new articles about the latest trends in their industry, keeping their site engaging and up-to-date. SEO isn’t just a one-time effort; it requires continuous attention and tweaking.

This means staying informed about new trends and adapting your strategies accordingly. For example, a technology company needs to keep updating its website to reflect the latest in tech developments and customer interests. By continually working on your SEO strategies, you can gradually improve your ranking in search results, leading to long-term online success.

SEO is an Ongoing Process

Neglecting Ongoing SEO Efforts

For businesses, especially those growing in the online market, it’s critical to understand that SEO isn’t just a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that requires regular attention. The online world changes frequently, with new trends and search engine updates. To stay visible and relevant online, businesses need to keep up with these changes. 

For example, a company selling eco-friendly products should regularly update its SEO strategies to match the latest trends in sustainability. This includes updating website content and establishing that the site is fast and easy to use.

Adapting to the ever-changing SEO landscape is also key. As search engines change how they rank websites, your strategies need to change too. This flexibility is necessary. 

For instance, a technology company might need to focus more on optimising for voice searches and making sure its website works well on mobile devices, as these factors are becoming more important in search rankings. 

Continuously refining your SEO approach helps your business stay competitive and meet your customers’ needs effectively. Staying committed to ongoing SEO efforts is vital for long-term success and growth in the digital market.

Mobile Optimisation

Most people use their smartphones or tablets to browse the internet, and if your website isn’t designed to work well on these devices, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers. Mobile optimisation means making sure your website looks good and runs smoothly on both big computer screens and smaller mobile screens. 

This is especially important for businesses like online stores, where customers expect to shop easily on their phones just as they would on a computer.

It’s also key that your website loads quickly and is easy to use on a mobile device. People on their phones often don’t have the patience for a website that takes a long time to load or is hard to navigate. 

The menus should be simple, the buttons big enough to tap easily, and the text clear enough to read without zooming in. 

For instance, if you run a consultancy business, your mobile site should let potential clients easily find information about your services. By making sure that your website is optimised for mobile users, you’re not just making it easier for people to visit your site; you’re also improving your chances of keeping them engaged and interested in what you offer, no matter what device they’re using.

Lack of Comprehensive Keyword Research

For businesses aiming to boost their online visibility, comprehensive keyword research is significant. This involves more than just picking popular keywords; it’s about finding the specific terms that are most relevant to your business and have a high likelihood of being searched by potential customers. 

For instance, a company specialising in organic skincare products should focus on specific keywords like “organic anti-aging cream” or “natural skincare solutions” rather than broad, generic terms. Understanding the search intent behind these keywords is also key. This means figuring out whether people are searching for information, looking to buy, or comparing products, and then tailoring your website’s content to meet these needs.

In addition to focusing on relevant keywords, analysing what’s working for your competitors is a key part of keyword research. Using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, you can see which keywords are driving traffic to competitors’ sites. This helps in understanding their strategies and identifying gaps in your own. 

For example, a furniture store might analyse competitors to find out which keywords related to specific furniture styles or home décor trends are most effective. They can then incorporate these insights into their own strategy, potentially uncovering untapped niches or trends. 

By combining a focus on relevant keywords with a thorough analysis of competitors’ keyword strategies, businesses can create a more targeted and effective approach to SEO. This not only improves search rankings but also drives traffic that’s more likely to engage with the business and convert into customers.

Overlooking Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions are key for making a good first impression in search results, especially for businesses looking to stand out. Title tags are the clickable headlines that appear in search results, while meta descriptions provide a brief overview of what each page is about. Including targeted keywords in these elements is needed for SEO; it helps align your page with what people are searching for, increasing the likelihood of them clicking on your link. 

For instance, a home decor business might use keywords like “handcrafted wooden furniture” in their title tags and meta descriptions to attract customers looking for that specific type of product.

In addition to using the right keywords, the way you write your title tags and meta descriptions is just as important. They should be engaging and informative, giving potential visitors a compelling reason to click through to your site. 

This could involve highlighting special features, offers, or the unique value of your products or services. 

For example, a fashion retailer could use a title tag like “Summer Fashion Sale – Up to 50% Off” with a meta description that teases the range of products on sale. This approach grabs attention and encourages clicks, driving more traffic to your website. Crafting effective title tags and meta descriptions is a key part of SEO that helps businesses improve their visibility in search results and attract the right audience to their site.

Image Optimisation

Image Optimisation

Making sure your images are set up right is really important for your business’s website to do well in search results, and it’s something that’s often missed. Image optimisation is more than just having nice-looking pictures; it’s about making these images help your website’s search engine rankings.

This includes using the right words in your image file names and descriptions (alt tags). This helps search engines understand what the picture is about and how it connects to your website’s content. For example, a furniture store should name an image something like “oak-coffee-table.jpg” and use a description like “solid oak coffee table.” This makes it more likely for the image to show up in related search results. These descriptions are also important for people who can’t see the images, as they tell them what’s in the picture.

Another important thing is to make sure your images aren’t too big in file size, as this can make your website slow to load, which is not good for visitors or search engine rankings. Compressing your images reduces their file size but keeps their quality.

Choosing the right image format is also key. JPEG is usually best for photos, and PNG is good for graphics, especially if they have text or need a transparent background. There’s also the WEBP format, which is getting more popular for websites because it keeps images looking good but with a smaller file size, helping your website load faster. For example, a travel website could use JPEGs for beautiful landscape photos and WEBP or PNGs for promotional graphics.

By optimising your images this way, not only does your website perform better in search rankings, but it also provides a better experience for your users, making your site more appealing and easier to use for everyone.

Ignoring Backlinks and Internal Linking

For businesses working to enhance their online visibility, focusing on backlinks and internal linking is deciding for SEO success. Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. They are important because they act like recommendations, telling search engines that your site has valuable content. It’s more beneficial to have links from well-known and relevant websites than many from less reputable sources. For example, a technology company would gain more SEO value from a link on a popular tech news site than from several unknown blogs.

Internal linking, which involves linking pages of your own website together, is also vital. It helps users easily find more information on your site and allows search engines to better understand and index your content. 

For instance, an online clothing store might link a blog post about summer fashion trends to the pages where customers can buy the featured items. This not only helps people navigate your website but also keeps them engaged for longer. By strategically placing these links within your content, you can enhance the user experience while improving your website’s search engine ranking. 

A strong strategy that combines quality backlinks with effective internal linking can significantly boost your website’s SEO, making it more visible in search results and more engaging for visitors.

Not Utilising Google Analytics

For any growing business, Google Analytics is a required tool for understanding and improving your website’s performance. This tool gives you a lot of useful information about your website, like how many people visit, how long they stay, and what they do while they’re there. 

This is especially helpful for businesses like online stores, which can see which products are popular or if there are any pages where visitors tend to leave the site. Google Analytics also shows where your website visitors come from – like search engines, social media, or directly typing your website address. Knowing this helps you figure out which parts of your marketing are working well.

Using this information from Google Analytics can really help you make smart decisions about how to improve your website for better search engine rankings. It lets you see what’s working well, like which keywords bring people to your site and which pages keep them interested. 

For example, a business that provides professional services could look at which of their blog posts are most popular and use this to decide what to write about in the future. Regularly reviewing this data means you’re constantly improving your website based on what real visitors like and do, not just guesses. By effectively using Google Analytics, you can fine-tune your website to better meet the needs of your audience, helping your business grow and succeed online.

Failure to Track Search Rankings

For businesses working to improve their online presence, it’s really important to keep track of where your website ranks in search results for specific keywords. This is known as monitoring search rankings.

By using tools like Google Search Console, you can see how your website is performing with the keywords you’re focusing on, such as “sustainable kitchen products” for a company selling eco-friendly goods. This helps you understand if your SEO efforts are working or if you need to make changes to improve your rankings.

It’s also useful to watch how your competitors are ranking for the same keywords. This gives you an idea of how you’re doing compared to them and can highlight areas where you might need to improve. 

For instance, if a business selling tech products notices a competitor is ranking higher for “advanced tech gadgets,” they can look into what that competitor is doing, like the kind of content they have or who is linking to their site. Understanding both your own search rankings and those of your competitors is pivotal. It helps you figure out where you stand in the market and what steps you can take to enhance your website’s performance in search results, making your business more visible and competitive online.

Infographic on Common SEO Mistakes

Skipping Regular SEO Audits

Conducting regular SEO audits is vitally important for any business looking to maintain and improve its online presence. An SEO audit is like a health check for your website. It looks at technical aspects to ensure everything is working as it should. 

This includes checking for broken links, making sure pages load quickly, and confirming that the site is mobile-friendly. For example, a online store might find during an audit that some of its product pages take too long to load, which could turn customers away and hurt its ranking in search results. Identifying these issues allows for timely fixes, like optimising images to speed up loading times.

In addition to technical aspects, regular SEO audits are important for reviewing the content and overall strategy of your website. This part of the audit examines whether your content is still relevant and engaging, and if it’s optimised for the right keywords. 

A business specialising in tech products, for instance, might use an audit to check if its blog posts about the latest gadgets are attracting visitors and engaging them. It’s also a chance to reassess your overall SEO strategy, looking at things like backlinks and social media integration, to ensure they align with the latest SEO best practices. 

This ongoing review process allows you to make necessary adjustments to your content and strategy, keeping your website up-to-date and effective in the ever-changing digital landscape. Regular SEO audits help you stay on top of these changes, securing that your website continues to perform well in search engine rankings and attract the right audience.

Not Keeping Up with Google’s Algorithm Updates

For businesses, staying updated with Google’s algorithm changes is key for maintaining a strong online presence. Google frequently updates its algorithms to refine how it ranks websites in search results. These updates can significantly impact your website’s visibility online. To stay on top of these changes, it’s important to regularly follow SEO news, engage with digital marketing communities, and attend relevant webinars. 

For example, a company specialising in home goods needs to be aware of changes that might affect how e-commerce sites are ranked. By understanding these updates, you can adjust your SEO strategies as needed, whether it’s by changing your content approach or updating your website’s technical aspects.

Adapting to these algorithm updates is key to avoid penalties that could lead to a drop in your website’s search rankings. Google’s updates often aim to penalise poor practices such as overusing keywords or having low-quality content. 

By understanding the purpose behind each update, you can ensure that your website aligns with Google’s standards, focusing on creating a positive user experience and high-quality content. For instance, a tech company might need to reevaluate its content strategy following an update that rewards in-depth, informative articles over shorter, superficial posts. 

Staying proactive and making these adjustments not only helps avoid penalties but also enhances your website’s relevance and appeal in search results. Keeping up with Google’s algorithm updates and adapting accordingly is key for any business looking to sustain and improve its online visibility and user engagement.

Neglecting Google Business Profile

For businesses looking to enhance their local online presence, optimising the Google Business Profile is a key strategy. This tool is required for managing how your business appears on Google Search and Maps, and it’s particularly important for local SEO. A complete and accurate profile includes details like your business name, address, phone number, operating hours, and even photos and menus for businesses like restaurants. 

For example, a local café can attract more customers by having updated information about their latest offerings and operating hours. Regularly updating your profile is important. This includes changing your hours for special events or holidays, responding to customer reviews, and posting about new products or services. A retail store, for instance, could update their profile with information about new arrivals or upcoming sales, making it easier for local customers to find and choose their store.

Having an up-to-date and active Google Business Profile not only improves your ranking in local search results but also helps you connect with your local community. It makes your business more visible and accessible to potential customers in your area, increasing the chances they’ll choose you over competitors. 

For businesses like home service providers, showcasing positive customer reviews and quickly responding to inquiries can build a strong local reputation. By effectively managing your Google Business Profile, you can significantly boost your local visibility, attracting more customers and establishing a trusted presence in your community. This approach is vital for any business aiming to grow its local customer base and enhance its online presence.


SEO can be complicated, but it’s really important for doing well in the online business world. By avoiding common mistakes and making smart, informed decisions, your business can become more visible online and connect better with your audience. 

Remember, good SEO takes time – it’s more like a long-distance race than a quick sprint. Being patient and ready to make changes as needed is important for lasting success. Keep learning about SEO as it keeps changing, or think about getting help from SEO experts. This approach of continuous learning and adapting will help your business grow steadily and succeed in the online world.

We invite you to share your experiences and challenges with SEO. If you need further guidance or professional SEO services, do not hesitate to reach out for a personalised consultation. Let’s start on this journey to SEO excellence together!

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