Identify Common SEO Pitfalls To Supercharge Your Rankings

Identify Common SEO Pitfalls To Boost Your SEO Game

by Evelyn Addison — 5 days ago in Review 5 min. read

SEO pitfalls are mistakes that can harm your search engine rankings. They are pitfalls because they are typically “hidden dangers” that can catch digital marketers and small businesses off guard.

Though effective, basic SEO practices are not enough these days, which is why you may not be ranking high for your targeted keywords in Google.

The thing is that there can be many different issues keeping your site from achieving its true SEO potential.

Let’s delve deeper into these issues now.

Keyword Research

Talk about SEO, and it always comes down to keywords. But, so many people fail to handle it correctly for the following reasons:

Not Doing Enough Keyword Research

Not finding and using the keywords people search for means nobody will see your content, no matter how impressive.

A quick way to run your keyword research is to use well-rounded SEO software.

Which one should you trust? Simple! Just check out SEO tools comparison, compare different recommendations, and then match those features with what your business truly requires at that stage.

Targeting Keywords that are Too Competitive

As a small business, you just can’t rank for “rental car” immediately, as you’d be competing with car rental companies worldwide.

Instead, going for a long-tail keyword or focusing on “car rental” in your particular area would help eliminate most of the competition.

Again, SEO tools on comparison sites can help you find low-hanging fruits.

Not all those tools are created equal, but almost all of them would give you an idea about “KD” or “Keyword Difficulty” or some sort of “Difficulty Score” to help you decide whether it deserves your attention or not.

Not Using Keywords Effectively in Content

It’s one of many critical SEO mistakes because most people don’t even realize they’re guilty of it.

Ideally, you should use your primary keyword in the meta title and description. Not using it in your first 100 words is another issue to address. Keeping your keyword close to the beginning of your article is a good idea.

You should also remember that overoptimization can kill. Ideally, you should use your primary keyword no more than 7-10 times in a 1000-word article.

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Content Optimization

Gone are the days when stuffing your content with keywords was enough to optimize it. You have to go beyond that. Here are some common mistakes related to content optimization.

Writing Thin or Irrelevant Content

Thin content lacks any structure, depth, or quality and is often created only to hit certain keywords to keep up with competitors.

Similarly, irrelevant content won’t help either.

If the content doesn’t answer the question in the title or misses the “search intent” of the keyword, Google is less likely to serve it to its users.

Not Optimizing Your Titles, Meta Descriptions, and Images

Search engines consider your meta tags to get a handle on what your pages are about and then connect them with the keywords used by searchers.

Title tags and meta descriptions must include your target keyword, be the correct length, and always be unique to avoid duplication.

Some of the biggest issues related to title tags and meta descriptions include:

  • Duplication of tags and descriptions
  • Missing H1 tags
  • Missing descriptions
  • Duplicate title and H1 tags

Fact: Your meta title should be 50-60 characters long, whereas your meta description should be about 50-160 characters.

Not Using Internal and External Links Properly

Both internal and external links matter for the success of your online business.

Using internal links helps Google find other articles on your site, whereas external links tell Google you are a legitimate business.

After all, getting a backlink from a high authority site like “” is like having a vote of confidence from a top player in the industry. And Google can’t ignore that.

Fact: Not using internal links is bad, but overdoing it without making sure they match the topic and focus of the page is an even bigger mistake.

Technical SEO

Ignoring the technical side of things would also hurt your rankings in the long run, and here are some common technical SEO pitfalls:

Having a Slow-loading Website

The latest statistics show that over 80% of users change their buying decisions based on the page speed of any site they visit.

Keep in mind that many factors can go into increasing the load time of your website. For instance:

  • Images on your site are too large.
  • Multiple URLs on your site are causing redirects.
  • JavaScript and CSS on your site are not optimized.

Fact: It’s possible to get an idea about how fast your webpage loads by using SEO software or a testing tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Not Having a Mobile-Friendly Website

Worldwide, more than 68.1% of visitors used their mobile devices to access the internet in 2020. And the trend is only going to get stronger.

According to Google:

Some of the most common mobile SEO mistakes are usually associated with:

  • Block files
  • Slow load speeds
  • Interstitials ads
  • Large images
  • Poor local info
  • Non-responsive design

Whether or not your site is mobile-friendly is easy to find by using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google.

Having Duplicate Content

It’s quite self-explanatory, isn’t it?

While it won’t trigger Google penalties, it can certainly confuse search spiders, making it harder to rank for certain keywords.

It’s quite likely to happen when you’re trying to build topical authority by covering similar topics. Thankfully, it’s usually as simple as running your content through tools like “Copyscape”.

Not Having a Robots.txt file or XML Sitemap

Not having a sitemap.xml file in a robots.txt file is a common SEO mistake.

And it can cause Google crawlers to have a hard time interpreting your site architecture.

Here are some of the issues leading to crawl ability problems:

  • Incorrect pages in sitemap.xml
  • Sitemap.xml not found
  • No sitemap in robots.txt
  • Nofollow in internal links
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Link Building

Not focusing on building links is another reason so many sites fail. Here are the common mistakes they make.

Not Building Enough Backlinks

If you check top-rated SEO software and tools, you will discover that they assign authority and ratings to sites based on how many backlinks they have.

So, if you think you’re doing everything by the book and still won’t rank, it’s time to build more backlinks!

Building Low-Quality Backlinks

If you think all backlinks are the same, you are wrong.

If you get tons of backlinks and they all point back to spammy sites with low authority scores, you may actually end up hurting your rankings.

Buying Backlinks

No doubt, links are vital for your SEO success. But you should never break Google’s terms of service while trying to build links. Buying backlinks means rubbing Google the wrong way.

Paid backlinks often lead to unnatural link profiles, which Google can spot a mile away. This only raises suspicions and your chances of being penalized.

Fact: Just like buying backlinks, reciprocal backlinks are not considered legitimate by Google, so avoid them as well.


Learning about and understanding how to avoid SEO pitfalls is important for your online success. It’s, therefore, a good idea to invest in a good SEO software solution to pick crawlability, duplication, image sizing, and load speed issues early. A good site audit tool can make it easier for you, but be sure to research and know which one serves you the best.

Evelyn Addison

Evelyn is an assistant editor for The Next Tech and Just finished her master’s in modern East Asian Studies and plans to continue with her old hobby that is computer science.

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