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Still to this day, far too many people wrongly believe that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consists of making a few one-off adjustments whenever Google updates. In reality, SEO is a complex and time-consuming process.
There are many problems that can affect a website’s SEO performance and they require a variety of editorial and technical skills. Yes, keyword optimization and content writing are important, but the work doesn’t stop there.
In this article, our SEO experts discuss some very common, yet all too often overlooked problems. The obstacle preventing your site from ranking well on Google could be one of them!
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Before we get to the heart of the matter, let’s recall the basics. Basically, SEO is a set of techniques that helps search engines like Google determine the quality of your site and make it appear in search results based on user requests. SEO helps you rank first in search results on certain requests, as shown in the image below!
Search engines use a variety of factors to judge the relevance of your site: are the keywords found in the tags and content of your page? Does your site have a respectable domain authority? In other words, do you have a quality site that answers the question asked by the user?
For search engines to rank your website and display it on the first page of results, it has to be optimized from an SEO point of view. As you will see, this is a job that requires experience, discipline and patience, which is why most companies leave it to a digital marketing agency.
Duplicate content is a major SEO problem
Just like teachers, search engines hate plagiarism and can detect it very easily. This is why you should avoid having duplicate content on your site at all costs: if one of your pages contains a block of text that the search engine also finds on another website, the search engine will not display your page in the search results or will be inclined to rank you second.
Note that duplicate content can also be unique to a particular site: this happens when the same text is found on more than one page of the same site. It may be tempting to copy and paste content from a service page to add it to a blog article, for example, but remember that the consequences of doing so will have an impact on your SEO.
Title and meta description tags: SEO elements that shouldn’t be overlooked
Simply put, the title tag corresponds to the title of the page as it will be displayed in the search engine results (see example below). Naturally, it serves to inform the user of the specific topic of the page, but we often forget that it plays the same role for Google, which makes it one of the most important elements to consider from an SEO point of view.
The meta description tag, as its name implies, is the descriptive text that appears with the page name in search results (see example below). A good meta description makes the user want to learn more: you need to convince them that the answer to their question can be found on your page. However, you also need to optimize the description from an SEO perspective. The targeted keywords must be absolutely clear to help Google determine the relevance of your page to the user’s search query.
All too often, we see websites that have neglected to optimize their title and meta description tags. This is a serious SEO problem: if your tags don’t contain the information Google needs to determine the relevance of your pages, the chances of them making it to the first page are very slim.
Missing ALT tags: one of the most common SEO problems
The editorial content of your website isn’t the only thing that needs to be optimized: images also need the SEO treatment! ALT tags are almost as important for your SEO as title and meta description tags. Their purpose is to identify the content of the images on your site, so that Google can index and classify them, especially for search on Google Images.
In a study conducted by SEMrush, 45% of the websites analyzed contained images without ALT tags. There is therefore no doubt that the lack of optimized ALT tags is a widespread SEO problem. Please note that filling in the tags is not enough: you also need to optimize them with keywords that fit your SEO strategy!
Images and broken links: bad user experience hinders SEO
The quality of your site’s user experience is extremely important for Google. If the search engine finds that some of your images aren’t displayed correctly, or that some hyperlinks don’t work, your SEO will suffer. No one wants to find a 404 error page while browsing your site!
This is why it’s important to regularly check the pages of your website and make sure that all images are displayed correctly. You should also test your hyperlinks to make sure that all of them work and they all redirect to the right page. Otherwise, search engines will find that your site has some flaws in the user experience and you will probably lose a few positions.
No H1 tag, too many H1 tags: all too common SEO problems
To help Google determine which data is most important, all your web pages should contain headings and subheadings, which are arranged hierarchically according to the following scheme: H1, H2, H3… and so on: these are called heading tags.
The H1 tag is essential because it acts as the main title of the page. In other words, the words contained in it tell the search engine what the page is about. Without an H1 tag, Google has no way of knowing which search queries to position your page on.
However, be careful not to overuse H1 tags: your pages should only contain one. You can include several subtitles (H2, H3…), but you should only give your page one main title to avoid confusing the search engines.
The richness of vocabulary also has an influence on SEO
The SEO problems demonstrated so far have been more about technical knowledge than content writing, but you shouldn’t forget that the quality of the latter is just as important for your SEO as tag optimization or linking to relevant pages.
There are several factors to consider when writing quality web content, all of which are equally important. The richness of vocabulary is crucial: use a diverse vocabulary that reflects the subject matter you’re dealing with to show Google that your content is relevant, interesting and well-written.
Contact My Little Big Web to avoid the most common SEO problems
In light of this article, you probably have a better overview of the most common mistakes made in SEO. You’ve also seen how much work goes into the complete SEO optimization of a website. Good SEO requires not only advanced knowledge of the technical tasks to be performed, but also a natural talent for writing, so that you can create quality content.
At My Little Big Web, SEO is our expertise. Our team is trained to quickly recognize SEO problems and has the skills to solve them. Whether you’re working with us for SEO or web design, we always take your SEO to heart.
For more information about our services, or to receive a free quote, we invite you to contact us. It will be our pleasure to answer your questions and offer you the support you need to outperform your competition on the search engines.