5 SEO mistakes made by Webmasters

Matt Cutts is back, this time answering a question about the top 5 SEO problems webmasters make that ultimately derails their ability to acquire search engine traffic from Google. As he says, these are not in-depth, unique issues. Instead they are the mistakes that are found in the highest volume, making this a useful piece of knowledge for those new to the SEO world.


  • 1. – Not having a website at all, or not having a website that is crawlable.


It is amazing in this day and age to see these problems when getting online is easier than ever. But that Cutts mentions this right off the bat shows that they are still seeing these problems. As for the site being crawlable, this shows that people still aren’t focusing enough on effectively inter-linking within a site.


  • 2. – Not using the right keywords on any given page.


This is vital and many sites struggle with this so I’m not surprised to see it listed. Obviously you want the right keyphrases on your page to garner that relevant traffic, but like in many cases you are best served to think like a user. How are they going to word a search phrase when looking for something on your page? Chances are it will be more of a long-tail keyphrase which would be easier to rank for anyway.


  • 3. – Reform how you think about link-building.


Another rule that is common knowledge among marketers but many ignore this. High-quality links are great but the content on your site that your are gathering links for needs to be high-quality and useful for the user as well. At the same time, consider links that are relevant to the content you have, so that they may bring viewers that actually want to see your content in addition to the obvious link juice benefits.


  • 4. – Meta Description and Page Title issues.


This is one I see ALL the time, even on the prominent pages of a site. You absolutely have to do unique Meta Descriptions and Page Titles on your top pages, and the more pages you can do them on the better (otherwise you’re just wasting that precious real estate that the spiders would otherwise eat up). But you’ll still come across sites (even some bigger, successful brands) that have a page title of “Home” for their home page. Again, that is wasted SEO real estate but as Cutts says, if someone bookmarks the page how are they going to differentiate that page when it just says Home? As for Meta Descriptions, that is ~150 characters worth of advertising space and it is a snippet that is shown in search results (meaning it is your chance to convince the searcher to click on your page, and the more people that click on your page during a search the better that page will perform in the long-term).


  • 5. – Not using Webmaster Tools and other Search Engine Analysis tools.


As Matt says, there are many free search engine analysis tools at your disposal, the most obvious being Google Webmaster Tools. Of course, setting up these tools is one thing, while being able to glean useful, actionable insight from them is another. In turn it makes sense that this is a black hole of sorts for many new webmasters, but the data that can be used from these tools is too valuable to disregard, so stick with it.

And there you have it, the five most common SEO problems that Google sees from websites. If you have any questions about these topics or would like an SEO audit of your own site(s), send us a line (marketing at hub.org).