10 SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020 | Varn


1 February 2020

10 SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020

Whilst many businesses will have been focusing on the fails of 2019, we are looking forward to 2020 and ensuring it starts off in the right way. So, we’ve highlighted some SEO mistakes that you should steer clear of if you want to make this year a good one when it comes to your SEO efforts.

So here we go, here are the top 10 SEO mistakes you should avoid…

1. Only focusing on Technical SEO

Technical SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to the process of reviewing and updating a website, with the goal of improving its rankings throughout organic search by making sure different aspects of a website are correctly built, that they follow Google’s guidelines and that site content targets the correct keywords.

Technical SEO is hugely important for ensuring your website is fully optimised and performing at its best, but this shouldn’t be the only focus for you in 2020.

The thing with digital marketing is that all of the elements complement each other and work as a team to help improve website rankings, website performance, and ultimately ROI.

As well as focusing on technical SEO, you should ensure that you are investing in other digital marketing efforts such as social media, email newsletters, and offsite SEO which can all help to drive traffic to your site and help to give your site more authority.


2. Not running regular website audits

Audits are a key tool in many situations for assessing current performance and highlighting areas that need improvements or need to be changed completely.

This is true with websites and completing an audit on your website is essential for understanding why it isn’t performing as well in search engines, or why you may be getting less purchases through your e-commerce site, for example.

Whilst we like to start with a website audit when we meet new clients, as this helps us to understand areas where they are strong and areas which are letting the side down both in terms of the website itself and other offsite factors.

However, you should ensure you regularly audit your site, and ask whether it is meeting the current needs of both the business and its customers. Search is always changing as are the needs of customers, and so you must be prepared to regularly assess your site to keep it performing at its best.


3. Leaving old URL structures in place when redesigning a site

When redesigning or rebuilding a site, many people will leave the site URLs exactly as they were previously… without even considering updating them for a fear of losing organic search traffic. However, site architecture and click-depth are as important as ever when it comes to SEO.

Having URL structures with many different levels indicates to search engines that the subpages on your site are less important than they are. This also sends search engines a confusing site hierarchy, making it difficult for them to accurately rank and organise your pages in the rankings. Having URLs which suggest all site pages sit at the root of the site is also detrimental from an organic search perspective, as it suggests to Google that all pages with a site are of the same importance, which would rarely ever be the case.

If you ensure you add 301 redirects when updating page URLs and have your site changes inspected properly from an SEO perspective, changing URL structures throughout your website is unlikely to have a detrimental impact on your optimisation or site performance. If anything, if done correctly, it should actually help improve your site rankings.


4. Not adding regular good quality content

One thing that Google really likes is good quality and regular content, as this shows that your site is a source of helpful content and is kept up to date for users.

Having a blog on your website can help you to ensure you’re keeping your website fresh, especially if your products and services are unlikely to change. By having a blog, you can begin to answer questions that your customers may be asking, and searching, and can show your expertise which will help your rankings.

As well as pages being able to rank, individual blog posts can rank too – so there’s even more opportunity for being found!


5. Creating content just for the search engines

Pleasing Google is all well and good, but if your content isn’t user-friendly then visitors to your website are just never going to convert.

When creating content for your website, you do need to consider how this will be viewed by search engines but most crucially you need to make sure it is going to send a clear message to your customers and that it is giving them the information they need in a way that is easy to read and understand.


6. Getting left behind on SEO Trends

The world of SEO and digital marketing is constantly evolving, so make sure you are constantly on the lookout for new trends or any important changes in the SEO world.

If you aren’t keeping up with trends, it’s likely you’ll be left behind your competition or find your digital marketing efforts achieving less traction.


7. Undervaluing your website

Your website is like an online shop front for your business. Just as you wouldn’t neglect a physical storefront, you shouldn’t undervalue or neglect your website. Even if your site simply works as an online brochure rather than being a complex or e-commerce site driving multiple conversions, it’s important to maintain brand awareness and to ensure that your website reflects the quality of your business.

With 4.54 billion internet users across the world, the chances are that your website is going to be found online by potential clients, whether or not it’s properly optimised. Having an outdated website can reflect poorly on your business – not only that, but it’s also a lost opportunity for SEO.


8. Treating SEO as a one-off job

When investing in SEO, one common misconception is that as soon as you achieve the rankings and website traffic you’ve aimed for, your SEO can take a back seat. However, that’s just not the case. When it comes to ranking throughout organic search, it doesn’t matter how optimised your site is – if your competition is performing better than you. If you put your SEO on pause as soon as you reach your desired rankings, chances are that your competition will soon catch up.

In the ever-evolving world of SEO, it’s important to stay on top of the most recent Google algorithms and SEO techniques. It’s also just as important to keep a close eye on your competition. If you need help with online competitor analysis or an ongoing SEO strategy to help outperform your competition and maintain your website’s performance, contact the experts at Varn today.


9. Not understanding what your customer actually needs from your site

We recently wrote a blog about understanding the purpose of your website before you invest in a new website.

We’ve had clients come to us previously who want more, and bigger, and better when in reality they had no idea what the purpose of their website actually was or what it was they wanted from it.

A crucial section of this is to understand what your customer needs from your site. To be able to build or redesign a site that is going to thrive, it’s important to forget what it is that you like or want and to ask yourself whether it is going to be fulfilling the needs of website visitors.

If you fail to understand the needs and business challenges of your customers, then you could be at risk of losing them before they’ve even managed to get past the first page of your site.


10. Lack of unique keyword targeting

When it comes to keyword targeting and organic search rankings, many people try and target keywords that are popular, those which get the largest volume of monthly searches. Commonly used, generic keywords tend to be those with the highest volume of traffic. As such, you might think it’s best to focus on those keywords when optimising your website. However, that’s not always the case.

Whilst ranking well for generic search terms can help drive large volumes of traffic, commonly used keywords are incredibly competitive and difficult to rank for. Even if you invest in ongoing SEO and manage to rank well for these keywords, there are downsides to not targeting more unique, long-tail keywords.

When people carry out an online search for organic keywords, it’s important to try and match the intent of that search with the most appropriate and relevant content within your website. When searching for generic keywords, it’s regularly more difficult to understand exactly what the potential customer is searching for. Whilst unique, long-tail keywords might carry less organic search traffic, it’s easier to match the search intent with to the most relevant landing page within your site.

Improved content mapping regarding search intent can help increase click-throughs from organic search, time on site, visitor interactions with the website and overall conversion rates. So, whilst generic keywords might drive more traffic, increased traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more sales. Targeting unique keywords with a smaller volume of associated search traffic can actually be much more valuable for your business.


If you are struggling with the SEO on your website, get in touch with the team at Varn today to see how we can help you.

Article by: Aimee, Head of Innovation More articles by Aimee

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