search engine optimisationFor business owners that are new to the online landscape, SEO can be overwhelming. Whilst it is true the technical side of SEO is confusing, the fundamentals to ensuring your website is set up to optimise SEO is fairly basic.

Yet webmasters (and uninformed web designers) still make basic errors that hinder the progress of their SEO. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes.

1. Poor Content

Google has openly stated and continues to steer webmasters towards producing good quality content. Content is anything on your website from blog posts, images, infographics, sales copy and product photos.

End-users return to sites with good quality content, and regardless of the push from search engines to encourage webmasters to upload content that offers value to readers, if you want your online business to be successful, top quality content projects a good image of your business and brand.

2. Use of Keywords

It’s hard to be believe that people are still using archaic keyword techniques such as keyword stuffing and proportioned ratios. Since the introduction of Hummingbird, search engines robots read content semantically, in other words they understand the context intuitively rather than relying solely on keywords.

That is not to say you should not be using keywords as they still have a vital role to play for search engines to index your page and match it to search terms, you just don’t need to be so focused on placing specific keywords a certain number of times. Keywords should blend naturally into a sentence.

3. Titles and title tags

Title tags enable search engines to identify your page and register when it has been liked or shared on social media. This helps your SEO campaign and you will rank better.

The trick with title tags is not to make them too long, no more than 60 characters, and they should reflect what the page is about.

4. Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are similar to title tags, but go into more detail. A meta tag should explain in a sentence or two what readers can expect to find on any given page. It is often the meta description you see appear in search results explaining what a particular page is about.

5. Duplicate content

It is written in Google guidelines that duplicate content is forbidden. This rule was originally introduced to prevent website owners copy pasting text from other sites to use on their own. This was a legal step to prevent copyright infringement.

However, the search engine giant extended this idea to help improve the quality of content on websites. Far too many online businesses were using the same copy for multiple pages and thus not giving visitors fresh information that was of value.

The duplicate content rule therefore forbids you to use the same text on more than one page. Every url has to have unique content.
SEO is an ever changing landscape which is why many newcomers make common mistakes. However, if you get the basics right, you can create solid foundations on which to build a healthy page rank.