Three SEO Mistakes That Can Impact Your Search Rankings

Don't let these three common SEO mistakes sabotage your website's search engine rankings. By avoiding these easy errors, you can make sure your site ranks higher in the SERPS.
common seo mistakes
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Don’t let these three common SEO mistakes sabotage your website’s search engine rankings. By avoiding these easy errors, you can make sure your site ranks higher in the SERPS.


  • Despite recent Google updates downplaying the importance of keywords, they are still essential in your SEO strategy. It’s not enough to create content and stuff it with your target keywords (keyword stuffing = bad)  to reach and engage your target audience.
  • Don’t just pick the most popular keyword for a search term and include it in your content.
  • By not adding meta tags, you reduce your chances of getting your content ranked and discovered through specific keywords.
  • A website with too many 404 errors signals Google that the owner is not frequently reviewing or has abandoned the site. 404 errors do not help you achieve a good ranking in search engine results pages (SERPS).

Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can boost your brand and increase your website’s traffic. Quality content relevant to your intended (target) audience can boost your authority and help you achieve future SEO success.

SEO is important!

However, it’s vital to get the foundation right to avoid sabotaging your tactics.  Here are some common SEO mistakes.

SEO Mistake #1 – Not Performing Keyword Research

three word keyword phrases chart

Every business owner wants their website to rank high in Google and other search results. Using the right keywords can be the difference between SEO success and SEO failure.

Keyword research should be a vital part of your SEO strategy. Taking the time to research search terms used by your target audience can help you discover the best keywords to rank for and increase your website’s traffic.

By properly researching and optimizing your page’s content for these keywords, you can bring new leads to your website and help your sales skyrocket.

Despite recent Google updates downplaying the importance of keywords, they are still essential in your SEO strategy. It’s not enough to create content and stuff it with keywords to reach and engage your target audience.

Your keyword research strategy is essential and can help you discover great opportunities for your business to stand out amongst competitors. 

Don’t just pick the most popular keyword for a search term and include it in your content.

There are different types of keywords, each serving a different purpose.  

Some examples of keyword types are:

Generic keywords describe your business, product, or services. These are important for brand awareness.

Niche keywords are specific keywords that focus on a particular area or industry (niche). These keywords are long-tail keywords, typically containing three or more words. These keywords tend to have a lower search volume because they are specific, but they drive better-qualified traffic to your website.

Long-tail keywords may not necessarily drive the same traffic as general keywords, but they tend to lead to better prospective customers because their search intent is more specific.

Make a list of keywords and think like a searcher to find the ones most applicable to your business.

SEO Mistake #2 – Not adding a title tag or meta description

In the grand scheme of SEO, it’s easy to focus solely on content and overlook the smaller yet crucial elements like title tags and meta descriptions. But remember, SEO’s ultimate goal is to increase organic traffic to your business website, boosting its success. To rank high in the SERPs and attract both new and returning customers, you can’t afford to ignore these vital components.

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Often overlooked, these on-page SEO elements are pivotal in making your SEO campaigns triumphant. They provide bots and users with a snapshot of your page’s content, playing a significant role in your site’s discoverability and appeal.

Meta Descriptions: While it’s a common belief among SEO professionals that meta descriptions don’t directly impact SEO, their importance can’t be understated. A compelling meta description can significantly enhance click-through rates, drawing more visitors to your site. The art is in being clear and concise, using the 160-character limit to effectively summarize your page’s content and allure potential customers.

Title Tags: These HTML elements are crucial for specifying a web page’s title, guiding both search engines and visitors on what to expect. With Google displaying only the first 50–60 characters, your title tag must be concise and impactful. Research by SEO industry experts like Moz reveals that keeping your titles under 60 characters ensures that about 90% of them display correctly.

The essence here is clear – don’t overlook title tags and meta descriptions. Their absence not only diminishes your content’s chances of ranking but also leaves a void that search engines will fill on their behalf, potentially misrepresenting your page’s content.

For a comprehensive guide on crafting these critical elements, explore our in-depth discussion, “Is Your Website Stuck in the Past? ‘Home’ in SERPs is No Laughing Matter.” Discover the nuances of creating title tags and meta descriptions that not only meet SEO standards but also captivate your audience.

Experiment, refine, and think like your customer. What would make you click? That’s the essence of an irresistible title tag and meta description. Embrace the power of these SEO staples, and watch your site rise in the ranks.

Remember, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is intended to increase organic traffic to your business website to help increase its’ success.

You need to rank as high as possible in the SERPs (search engine results pages) to appeal to both new and returning customers.

As you work on producing high-quality content for your website, don’t ignore this vital step.

Title tags and meta descriptions are some of the most overlooked on-page SEO elements, yet they can make your SEO campaigns highly successful.

These meta tags tell the bots and the users an overview of what your page is about.

As you try to better your search engine rankings, you should ensure that all pages are optimized for what the search crawlers want to find.

Meta Description

google search result with green box around the meta description seo tutorial

Although most SEO professionals believe that your page’s meta description has no bearing on SEO, they are still important.

A well-written meta description can increase click-through rates and brings more visitors to your site. It should appeal to potential customers and convince them to click on your link.

It’s essential that you be as clear and concise as possible when writing your meta description, as you only have around 160 characters to describe the page’s content and your business.

Title Tags

A title tag is an HTML element used to specify the title of a webpage that tells search engines and visitors what to expect on a webpage. 

Much like the meta description, your title tag has to be short and sweet because Google typically shows the first 50–60 characters.  

The SEO industry experts at Moz have performed research on this topic and have found that if you keep your titles under 60 characters, you can expect about 90% of your titles to display correctly.

The takeaway here is to use title tags.  Make sure you don’t forget them!  For more information on crafting the perfect title tags, visit Ahref’s recent article on crafting the perfect title tag for SEO.

By failing to add title tags and meta descriptions, you are reducing the chances of getting your content ranked and discovered through your intended keywords.

Plus, Google and other search engines will fill in the blanks in your meta description, selecting what their crawlers believe your page to be about.

Experiment with different ways to sum up your page’s content in 160 characters (meta description) and 50-60 characters (title tag). Think about what would entice you into visiting a website.

SEO Mistake #3 – Having too many 404 errors

404 error page broken link update website
404 error page broken link update website

Imagine that you’re surfing the web looking for “affordable tires” as a search term.

You hit search and end up looking at a well-written meta description that resonates with you and matches what you’re looking for, so you decide to click through to visit the site.

Then you see “Error 404” and no content on the page at all.

This happens all of the time and leaves users disappointed or frustrated by this user experience.

All websites are subject to “404-Page Not Found” errors.

Google realizes that and has begun to normalize 404 errors and give your website’s SEO a little bit of grace.

Google realizes that things on a site can change and that almost all websites end up with these errors at one time or another.

But, you have to be mindful of them and work towards correcting them as soon as possible.

As a business and website owner, you may not even know that one of your pages is not working.

screaming frog seo tutorial 404 response codes

You can regularly run 404 checks using Google Search Console or an app like Screaming Frog to find these errors. If you find any 404 errors, make sure to 301 redirect them to the correct page, or create a new page to replace the missing one.

Even though Google may give you a little grace, it can still negatively impact your website’s ranking.

The more 404 errors that your site has, the worse it becomes for your SEO strategy.

Learn how to use Screaming Frog in our Simple SEO for small businesses online course or take the first step in troubleshooting and understanding 404 errors by reading this in-depth blog post. Learn all you need to know, including common causes, how to fix them, and how to prevent them from happening again


If your website has excessive 404 errors, it signals to Google that you are not frequently reviewing the site or have abandoned it.

Plus, it makes for a horrible user experience. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

Picture of Clint Sanchez

Clint Sanchez

Clint Sanchez excels as the Chief of Information and Technology at the Baton Rouge Fire Department and as a digital marketer at BlakSheep Creative. With over two decades in public service, he expertly manages technological infrastructures while also applying his creative skills in web, graphic design, and video at BlakSheep. His dual role demonstrates a unique blend of technical acumen and creative innovation.
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