Website Mistakes that Harm SEO

Written by Nick Stamoulis

We might not know everything about Google’s search algorithm that determines where websites should rank for keyword searches, but Google has given us enough hints over the years about what’s important. At the top of the list: quality. Google wants to rank sites that fulfill the needs of searchers; sites that provide a positive experience. After all, that’s how Google maintains its spot as the most used search engine. If a site wants to rank prominently, it needs to be providing a good experience. Seems straightforward but there are still numerous websites that aren’t quite hitting the mark. Here are 3 website mistakes that harm SEO efforts:

Ads

First things first. Not all website advertising is bad. Google understands that website owners want to make a profit off of their website. However, ads should be background noise, not the first thing people notice on the website. Website ads fall into two camps: obvious and hidden. Obvious ads are bad for obvious reasons. They pop up in front of website content or take up prominent space on the page, forcing users to scroll down to find the content they’re looking for. In addition to being plain annoying, they can slow down the site. Hidden ads are ads that are deceptive in nature, like affiliate links placed in the middle of content that aren’t designated as sponsored links.

Usability issues


It should be easy for website visitors to navigate the website, no matter what device or browser they are using. All websites today should be responsive and developers should be doing usability testing across browsers. The greatest content and SEO work in the world is wasted if it lives on a website that isn’t fully accessible or easy to see/use. The navigation should be built in a way that makes it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for, within a few clicks. Slow page load time is another SEO-killer. Google isn’t going to rank websites prominently that take forever to load since those websites have a bad user experience.

Bad content

At its foundation, SEO is really all about content. Great content generates inbound links which tell the search engines that the page offers something of value and the page is rewarded with a better search rank for relevant keywords. When a website’s content isn’t great, it won’t get links, and it won’t rank well for competitive keywords. A website is one of the most important company/brand touchpoints today and a website with bad content will reflect poorly on the brand overall.

These aren’t the only website mistakes people are making, but they’re certainly some of the most common ones that we continue to see. SEO requires time, effort, and resources. If you’re going to invest in it, the first step is to ensure that you have a website that is worthy of the time, effort, and resources.

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