As SEO & Content experts, we’ve seen some common optimisation mistakes, which businesses are making on their site on a daily basis. So, we have come up with the top 5 optimisation mistakes, which businesses need to address and change if they wish to rank highly within Google’s search results.

1. Using duplicate Meta Titles, Descriptions & Headings

One of the most common optimisation mistakes we’ve seen by companies is the usage of duplicate meta titles, descriptions and H1’s/H2’s throughout the site. It can be difficult for large organisations and e-commerce sites, with hundreds & thousands of pages, as optimising each page can be very time-consuming – but is crucial to search rankings.

Google will not penalise you for using the duplicate pages, but it makes a huge dent to your ranking campaigns. When a business does use these duplicates, it essentially creates a competing page for your business, which hinders your chance at ranking for the specific keywords on the duplicate page. So, it is crucial that every meta description, title and heading on each page is unique.

2. Ignoring Local Searches

We’ve seen cases on a regular basis where businesses are trying to target a fairly unrealistic target market when optimising their website. Businesses tend to go for a wider geographical market with “UK & Worldwide” key terms used throughout their site. They want to target as many people as possible in Google’s search results & It’s great to see ambition by these sites – but these aspirations are very unrealistic.

Web sites tend to neglect the local searchers, as they believe focusing on local terms isn’t going to lead to as many conversions, sales & site hits – but this isn’t the case. According to a study conducted by Google into local search behaviour, they found that 50% of consumers who performed a local search through their smartphone, in fact visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet also did the same.

So, if your business is neglecting & not ranking for these local search terms, then you may miss out on local customers visiting your store/site – that 50% is something your business can’t afford to miss out on.
We highly recommend that you use local keywords in your URLs, heading tags, title tags and content, where appropriate. Before you start using local keywords, it’s important to carry out some detailed keyword research, for more information about this you can read our post on “How Keyword Research Can Help Your Business”.

3. Poor use of interlinking

Websites commonly rely on creating high-quality content and often believe the inclusion of key terms will bring the right traffic to the site – this isn’t the case.

Another mistake by businesses, who are optimising the content themselves is the over usage of internal linking throughout the site. Businesses need to understand the importance of visitor satisfaction on your site and one way to please your site visitors is by relevant interlinking.

Visitors to the particular page of their choice should be able to access all of the relevant information within 3-4 clicks. If there is a poor choice of anchor text/interlinks throughout your site, you will lose users and even increase your site’s bounce rate, create dead links and abandoned pages. Also, If your website is inadequately interconnected with links, the search engine crawler will waste time crawling unnecessary pages, when checking your website. This could also be the cause of a poor evaluation of your websites by search engines.

4. Ignoring Character Counts

When you are making optimisation changes to your site, it’s important to stick to guidelines which Google has provided, ignoring these guidelines can have a negative impact on your business. One of these guidelines is the character count for Meta Titles & Meta Descriptions.

Businesses make the common mistake of including long descriptive meta descriptions, with too many key terms included in the Meta Title – this won’t actually help your business rank for the terms you are targeting. In fact, once you have gone over 160 or the 60 character limit for the titles and descriptions – it becomes essentially “invisible” to Google’s Crawl Bots. So, it’s important to focus on the key terms which are relevant to the page you are optimising, rather than focusing on every term you possibly can.

In case you have forgotten here are the character limits, which Google have put in place:

Meta descriptions:
Between 150 -160 Characters. We strongly advise that you include the relevant keyword you wish to target, near the beginning of the description.

Meta Title / Page Titles:
Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag or as many characters which will fit into a 512-pixel display. So, if you keep your titles under 55 characters, you can expect at least 95% of your titles to display properly.

H1’s & H2’s: There is no limit – but make sure they are clear, concise and contain the relevant keywords for that particular page.

5. Not optimising your site for Mobile

With more and more website visitors opting for mobile use in recent years, business owners and the website developers/designers can no longer ignore the importance of mobile optimisation.

In April 2015, Google rolled out its mobile ranking signal, which analyses whether or not websites are mobile friendly from a technical and user point of view. This signal is currently affecting mobile searches in all languages worldwide and has a significant impact on Google Search results & rankings.

So, if your website isn’t optimised for mobile usage, then you may start to notice rankings, traffic and referrals to your site are dropping, which can severely negative impact to your site over time.

Those were the 5 common optimisations mistakes, which we have encountered. If your business has made one of these mistakes and you are interested in how Ricemedia can optimise your business’ blog & onsite content, to help rank for key terms – then please feel free to get in touch today!