11 Deadly SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020

SEO is extremely important for growing your brand in 2020. This is especially after social media’s importance in driving traffic reduced and Google became the major source of referral traffic in 2017 by driving 35% of site visits

By using SEO, you can improve your website’s ranking in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and reach the top rankings. You must do this because the first search result gets more clicks than other results.

While doing SEO of your website, there are a few things to be kept in mind and these are the SEO mistakes. If you commit any of these errors, you might end up harming your reputation. Here are some of the most deadly SEO mistakes that you must avoid in 2020. 

1. Unsatisfied search intent

While you may write helpful content, if it isn’t well-targeted, the people finding your website may not find it useful after all. You may have figured out your target audience as well but if you don’t take search intent into account, all your efforts may go into vain. 

Search intent is essentially the intent behind the search. Your website and content need to satisfy this intent by providing a solution. This is why it’s crucial to understand what the searcher is thinking when they search for something. Your website needs to provide the answer to this thought. 

For example, if a user searches “SEO” on Google, it means that the user wants to know what is SEO? But, if a user searches “SEO services” then that person is looking to hire an SEO expert or company. Both keywords (SEO & SEO Services) have a different intent. So, if you’re targeting the keyword “SEO Services” but asking “what is SEO?” you can’t succeed with that content because you are unable to satisfy the intent behind that search phrase. 

2. Traditional SEO techniques

Just the way the internet is changing, SEO is developing and changing too. To stay at the very top of the search results, you need to keep up with these changes and apply modern SEO techniques. 

If you keep applying the traditional SEO techniques, then you may end up getting penalized. Those days are gone when you can rank by using keyword stuffing, PBNs, and other traditional methods. 

Today, Google is smarter than before. Now, it can rank for those keywords that you have not mentioned in your content too. Recently, Google made an algorithmic update called Google BERT that helps Google to better understand the content and user-queries.

If you want to succeed with SEO, then you should adopt modern SEO techniques. Traditional SEO techniques can penalize your site but can’t outrank your competitors.

3. Not updating yourself

As mentioned above, SEO is a dynamically changing field and you need to keep yourself up-to-date with all the latest happenings. This is necessary because Google keeps bringing out new updates every now and then. If you miss out on a major update, your website might get affected and you may lose out on valuable traffic.  

You should keep yourself updated with the latest SEO changes and updates. Google released various updates this year including broad core updates like 3rd June Core Update, Google BERT, and many others. You must keep yourself updated about them. 

4. Ignoring structured data and search features

Structured data is essential to stand apart from the crowd, especially when you reach the first page of the search results. Through structured data, your search result may end up featuring even above the first search result. Additionally, the result would look bigger than all the other listings and may become the go-to choice for your searchers.

 

Similarly, you must concentrate on improving your website’s internal search functions as well. People who come to your website must find it easy to look for relevant information and the search feature can help with this. Try to incorporate search into your website and also try to optimize your listings such that your searchers find exactly what they were looking for. 

There are different types of structured data for different types of content that you can use on your site. Like as,

  • Product Review (for product review)
  • How to (for “how-to” content)
  • FAQ (for FAQ content)
  • Address (for company address)
  • Books (for books)
  • Events (for events)

5. Ignoring conversion optimization

The end goal of all businesses is to get customers and for that, you need to first generate leads and then convert them. However, many businesses end up ignoring conversion optimization and only concentrate on the top of the funnel. 

Instead, it’s necessary to provide everything that your leads need to become paying customers. Load them up with reviews, case studies, and show them why they must purchase from you. Make it easy for them to make the purchase as well. By ignoring conversion optimization, you may end up losing loads of customers and hence, revenue. 

It is the most important and no-cost strategy to increase your revenue that you shouldn’t ignore in 2020.

6. Not focusing on branded anchor text

Anchor texts are important for your SEO and make up a huge part of your link building strategy. While you may get loads of backlinks from reputed sources, the anchor texts of these links are extremely important.

You might use anchor texts that relate to your pages or blogs. However, by ignoring the branded anchor texts, you might not be able to improve your brand’s authority. Branded anchor texts can help in improving your brand recognition and through that, your brand may start ranking higher on search results too. 

Also, branded anchors look more natural than keyword-optimized anchor texts. I found that most of the sites that saw a boost in their rankings during the Google 3 June update had more branded anchor texts than others. That’s why you should focus on branded anchor texts. 

7. Only text is the content to focus

Probably you have heard that videos are the future.

It is true! Because videos are the easiest way to learn and people prefer to watch videos over any other content format. This is the biggest reason for the popularity of YouTube. 

But you must have noticed that videos appear on Google’s SERPs too. Google knows that videos are the future and people like to watch videos. That’s why Google shows them on the SERPs.

Videos also take less time to rank on Google than text content and are more engaging content format. 

Google has also started adding podcasts on Google SERPs. These two content formats are still growing and less competitive than text content. That’s why you should also focus on these rather than only writing blog posts.

8. Not focusing on branding and brand searches

“Brands are the solutions” and Google loves brands.

SEO is becoming more brand-centric day by day. Now, SEO is not just about getting traffic. You need to do it to build a brand too. If you want to win the SEO game and make your business a trustable and profitable brand then you need to focus on branding. 

You should increase brand searches for your business. When more people start searching for your business on Google, then it will automatically start to rank you on top. This is an evergreen strategy to grow your business and establish yourself as an authority.

9. Not ready for mobile

Nearly 50% of all traffic comes from mobiles. If your website isn’t ready for mobiles, Google will automatically consider it unfriendly for its searchers. Ensure that your website is responsive and build it for mobiles in the first place. By tapping into the mobile traffic, you’ll also be able to increase your website’s visibility. 

Mobile-friendliness and page speed are considered as ranking factors of Google search. So if you want to grow your business and get SEO success then you shouldn’t ignore the mobile.

10. Unclear SEO goals

It’s essential to have clear SEO goals before you set out doing SEO for your website. If you don’t know what you wish to achieve from doing your website’s SEO, you’ll probably never be able to grow it. The key is to identify what you want from your website and SEO and then plan out your SEO strategy. A haphazard strategy will get you nowhere. 

11. Prefer people over search engines

Last but not least, write your content and plan your SEO strategy for the real user not for the search engines. Because ultimately, you need real customers to generate sales and revenue to run your business. Search engines are nothing. Your business depends on customers and not on the search engines. 

Search engines like Google are just a medium to get new customers. No one knows when Google will penalize a site and drop its rankings. But if you prefer your customers more, then there are enough chances that your customers will promote you as well as Google will also love you and rank you higher. That’s why you need to keep your customers satisfied with your services and products. 

Conclusion

Now that you know all the deadly SEO mistakes, try to put conscious effort into avoiding them in 2020. If you don’t design your website for mobiles, have clear goals, focus on different forms of content, you may end up suffering. Try using modern SEO techniques and keep yourself updated with the latest ones to stay ahead of the competition

What are the other deadly SEO mistakes that you must avoid in 2020? Let us know in the comments.

Harpreet Munjal is an entrepreneur who is helping businesses to outrank their toughest competitors and grow their revenue online. He can be reached out on Twitter @munjalharpreet.

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How to fix the top most painful website UX mistakes [examples]

In today’s market of evolving website functionality, UX design has become more important than ever to businesses, globally. Here’s a roundup of top UX mistakes and how to fix them.

We want users to navigate our site freely, without obstacles and without friction. If your site makes finding information a challenge, you can bet your bottom dollar your competition already knows that, and is capitalizing on it.

Both UX and SEO are user-centric, which makes them a formidable pair when you get them right.

But get it wrong and you could see high bounce rates, low conversions and even a slight hit on your rankings as Google’s John Mu considers UX a ‘soft ranking factor’.

If you’re finding that users aren’t spending time on your site (or converting) there could be issues. We’re going to help you find out what they could be.

Cluttered navigation

Your site’s navigation is the gateway to your content and service pages. It’s where you (really) focus on building a funnel that is both frictionless and easy to understand.

Your navigation should be an architecture of well-structured, groups of pages; either commercial or informational (depending on your business).

example of cluttered navigation, bad for UX and SEO

Some of the most common mistakes we see are:

  • Links without value in the main menu
  • Excessive anchor text
  • Non-responsive (yep, it still happens in 2019)
  • Too many sub-menus
  • Relies on Javascript (with no fallback)

How to fix your site’s navigation

The golden rule here is to make your navigation accessible, responsive and clutter-free.

Think about your categories, your most valuable pages, where users spend most of their time and, more importantly, who your users are.

Forever 21 does a great job of linking through to the main areas of its site in a structured and visually pleasing way.

example of forever 21 good site navigation to main pages

 

Let’s say you run an ecommerce store for pets (because everybody loves animals).

You sell products for dogs, cats and rabbits. Here’s how you can structure your navigation…

example of good site navigation

Aesthetics are everything

People are visual creatures. We like websites to be aesthetically pleasing.

One of the biggest cardinal sins of UX is poor imagery, color choices and font selection. In fact, I’ll extend that into most areas of any online marketing; social media and display ads.

Here’s an example of all three on a single site:

example of bad site nav, has bad colors, fonts, and images

I don’t think I need to go much further into why this could be improved. But, I will go into the how.

Even the big brands get it wrong…

boohoo example of bad site navigation, how one poorly sized image affects UX of whole page

Notice how a single, poorly sized image has affected the feel of the whole page?

Fixing poor page structure

Things to consider when it comes to site layout are: margins, padding and alignment.

As you can see in the example above, alignment is a big issue and even a small amount of misaligned content/imagery can look unprofessional. Web pages work in columns which provide a structure for designers to create landing pages which can influence users’ focus and attention.

Combining text and images together is normally where layouts can become difficult to manage as we’ve already seen.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together a number of page layout examples below which make structuring your content and images simple.

  • Image aligned to the right of text:

example of image aligned to right of text

  • Text on top of image:

example of text on top of image

  • Text box overlaid on carousel image:

example of text overlaid on carousel image

Working with fonts

When you consider fonts, you need to think about how your content will appear at all sizes. From your header hierarchy to your bullet points.

We recommend limiting the amount of different fonts you use on your site. It’s easy to get carried away to give different sections of your site its own ‘feel’.

Once you’ve chosen a single font family or families, consider how you can create contrast between header and body content.

Single font selections with varying font weights can create a very visually pleasing contrast between sections of your page.

A poor font selection can even make a retail giant, such as Amazon, look untrustworthy and unprofessional.

example of poor font selection on Amazon product page

If you’re struggling for ideas on font pairing, you can find use Font Pair to put together different font types. It’s important to remember that font readability will play a huge part in how users consume content.

Consider:

  • Size
  • Width
  • Paragraph spacing
  • Weight

If you’re content currently looks like this:

example of how typography can go very wrong

I’m sorry, but you’re doing it wrong.

Even a minor change to fonts can cause the greatest of upsets to users. Just ask Amazon how it went for it.

Most CMS platforms will come with pre-installed fonts, but if you need more of a selection you can always use Google Fonts.

Finally, consider how your font appears on desktop and mobile.

If your font size is too big, it would take up too much of a mobile screen. If it’s too small, users will struggle to read it. It’s worth testing different sizes to cater for overall legibility.

This is an example of how Zazzle’s homepage appears on an iPhone X – using a font size of 18px.

example of site nav on mobile

Page load times

This shouldn’t be news to you by now.

There are multiple case studies available about how load times can impact conversions. So, I won’t go into that here.

The most common reason for page load times being high, is images. Images are something most site owners can change with little dev input. It ultimately comes down to saving the right file type, using the right dimensions and compressing high-resolution to preserve quality, whilst reducing size.

Savings in KB can often make a huge difference.

Take a look at what happens when image optimization is ignored.

example of slow page load times

For the sake of anonymity, we’ve hidden the brand’s identity.

However, this is the page we were greeted with for over five seconds. It’s a medium-sized ecommerce website that caters to children’s clothing.

By optimizing the images, we found that there were savings of up to 900kb – a significant weight lifted off of a browser.

Consider how this feels for users? First impressions are everything. What’s to stop traffic bouncing due to content/images not loading?

Think about that for a second!

How to fix image bloat

Firstly, you need to find if this is an issue.

You can run speed tests using Google’s Lighthouse or GTMetrix to get an understanding of which files are too heavy. It’s simple to find poorly optimized images for individual pages.

For batch analysis, we recommend using a tool like Sitebulb which has an incredibly in-depth section attributed to page speeds.

If your images are already on your site and you don’t really fancy opening Photoshop and resizing them all, you need to run batch compressions to reduce the file size.

There are a range of image compression tools available online, we recommend Compressor.io or TinyPNG.

It’s often thought that compressing images means poor quality. However, take a look at the image below and assess the quality difference  for yourselves.

example of image size reduced, image compressor
Image size reduced by 37%, over a 1.3MB saving

For those of you using WordPress, you can use the Smush.it plugin to compress and resize the images on your site.

New image formats

Google Developers introduced a new file format which is considered to be superior to its PNG and JPG equivalent.

It offers fantastic lossless and lossy compression for images.

Shaving milliseconds off your load time, especially on poor mobile connections, can stop a user from leaving your site. Google has said it actively rewards sites that are seen to make incremental improvements to site speed.

The great news?

More than 70% of browsers support this media format!

You can read more about WebP with Google Developers.

Pop-ups

No UX mistake roundup would be complete without mentioning pop-ups.

They seem to get more aggressive and more disruptive each year. You’ll find it hard to come across a website without them.

Sorry Sumo, but this is one of the worst.

example of a bad scroll-triggered popup on a website

This is considered a scroll-triggered pop-up. Whereby, the page waits for me to interact before the pop-up is shown.

There is one major rule that you must abide by: do not disrupt a user’s experience with pop-ups. We know this is a bold statement but… who likes pushy sales?

If you want to help users, do it natively.

Remember, we’re creating a frictionless journey.

How to use pop-ups — the right way

First things, don’t ever use interstitial pop-ups. It will annoy users and could defer the rendering of your page in search engines.

Both are bad for business.

We recommend using pop-ups in a more subtle manner.

Top banners

example of a brand CTA at the top of a screen

A perfect example of a branded CTA at the top of the screen. It’s non-invasive on both desktop and mobile.

Chatbots

good example of a website chatbot

Chatbots are a great way to help users find what they’re looking for, without disrupting their experience.

You can incorporate lead generation, discount codes or just offer general customer advice. It can help improve operational efficiency (reducing calls into the business) and improving conversion rates.

If a customer is finding it hard to find a particular area of the site, chatbots can remove this friction quickly to help retain users.

Native CTA banners

good example of native CTA banners

Another smart way to offer discounts to users is to integrate CTAs within product selections or even at category level as a header banner.

We find this to be a great way to preserve UX and still help drive incentivized clicks to sale or discount pages.

It’s always important to remember to design banners to match size and resolutions of your products.

Summary

UX is as important to your website as your content. Data shows that UX is still a bit of a mystery to many marketers, but it should be the most important factor on any site design.

Website innovation is encouraged but not at the cost of your users. When you’re considering how to improve your user’s experience, you need to remember how you feel navigating a poorly put together site.

Consider the easy fixes; fonts, images, colors and navigation first, before you think about CRO (conversion rate optimization).

Remember, we’re in a market driven by user behavior so, try your best to cater to that as much as you can and you’ll win!

Ryan Roberts is an SEO Lead at Zazzle Media.

The post How to fix the top most painful website UX mistakes [examples] appeared first on Search Engine Watch.