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Common SEO Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Website’s Rankings

Achieving the coveted top ranking on search engines like Google is critical to any marketing success. However, even the most well-designed website can fall victim to inadvertent search engine optimization (SEO), derailing online strategies entirely and hindering a brand from improving visibility and producing constant organic traffic.

But your business doesn’t have to succumb to the same fate. So, scrap the guesswork and shift gears to dominate the rankings by learning these 9 common SEO mistakes (with bonus solutions to fix them!) 

Not Conducting Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of identifying search terms or phrases your target audiences actively use to search for products, services, or information related to your business. 

Common mistake: Skipping this step would only throw your SEO strategy off course and cause you to focus on irrelevant keywords and miss out on qualified leads and engagement opportunities. 


  • Use reliable keyword research tools (e.g., Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs) to uncover popular search terms.
  • Choose keywords that align with your content’s purpose and business goals. 
  • Look for long-tail keywords with lower search volumes. These will attract users with specific needs (e.g., solutions, product features, or options) and are more likely to convert into potential customers. 

Ignoring On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is the optimization of web pages – title tags, descriptions, and content – to ensure higher rankings and traffic. 

Common mistakes:

  • Poor use of Title Tags & Meta Descriptions – This can lead to lower click-through rates. 
  • Neglecting Header Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) – This won’t help structure your content nor make it easier for search engines to understand the hierarchy and relevance of website information. 
  • Overlooking Image Optimization – This slows down your website and reduces accessibility for search engines.


  • Craft compelling title tags and meta description with target keywords. 
  • Structure your content logically with clear header tags (H1, H2, H3). 
  • Optimize images by compressing them and using descriptive file names and alt tags.

Related: Top SEO Trends to Watch Out for in 2024 and Beyond 

Neglecting Content Quality

Website visitors flock to one thing above all else: original, high-quality, engaging content. By possessing this type of material, you’ll be able to build trust, establish authority, and boost your search rankings. 

Common mistake: Repetitive and outdated content can confuse search engines and dilute your site’s relevance, resulting in lower rankings.


  • Create content that addresses your audience’s needs and questions.
  • Use a mix of keyword-rich text, images, and videos to enhance engagement.
  • Update your content regularly to keep it fresh and relevant.

Overlooking Mobile Optimization

The surge of mobile browsing has solidified mobile-friendly websites as a business imperative, with Google prioritizing those who were able to swiftly adapt through mobile-first indexing. This not only ensures a better browsing experience for users but also places your website higher on the ranking.

Common mistake: Overlooking mobile optimization excludes a massive number of mobile-using customers.


  • Ensure your website is responsive, and adaptable to any device.
  • Improve mobile loading times by optimizing images and leveraging browser caching.
  • Make navigation easy and intuitive for mobile users.

Ignoring Site Speed and Performance

Website speed and performance are the first impressions visitors get, which serves as the deciding factor that helps them determine whether to stay and browse further or to head to competitors instead. 

Common mistake: Lagging websites riddled with large images, excessive HTTP requests, and unminified CSS and JavaScript files are the common causes of terrible user experience.


  • Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify and fix speed issues.
  • Compress images to boost loading speed.
  • Minify CSS and JavaScript files to reduce their size.

Failing to Build Quality Backlinks

Backlinks, or inbound links, are critical to ranking; they signal to search engines that other websites consider your content valuable and authoritative.

Common mistake: Engaging in unethical SEO practices, like buying links, can lead to search engine penalties and damage your website’s credibility and ranking. 


  • Craft high-quality, shareable content that naturally garners backlinks.
  • Guest blog on reputable sites within your industry.
  • Engage with your online community to encourage organic link-building.

Overusing Keywords (Keyword Stuffing)

Keyword stuffing is an outdated tactic that entails saturating content with excessive keywords to influence search engine rankings, which is not only proven to be ineffective but has the potential to confuse users and harm your website’s credibility. 

Common mistake: Websites employing this practice risk penalties from search engines and may find themselves significantly dropping in rankings with diminished visibility.  


  • Use keywords naturally and sparingly throughout your content.
  • Focus on creating valuable content that addresses the needs of your audience.
  • Use synonyms and related terms to avoid repetition.

Not Utilizing Analytics and SEO Tools

Analytics provide insights into your website’s performance, empowering you to make data-driven decisions to improve your SEO. These tools popularly include: 

  • Google Analytics – Tracks  website traffic and user behavior, revealing how visitors interact with your site. 
  • Google Search Console – Monitors your website’s presence in Google search results, highlight areas for improvement. 
  • SEO Platforms (SEMrush and Ahrefs) – Offers comprehensive SEO analysis into your website’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Common mistake: Not utilizing analytics and SEO keeps you in the dark from valuable data that can be used to refine your SEO strategy.


  • Regularly review your analytics to identify trends and areas for improvement.
  • Use SEO tools to conduct keyword research, track website ranking performance, and analyze backlink profile.
  • Implement data-driven change to continuously optimize your SEO strategy.

Ignoring Local SEO

Businesses catering to specific geographic areas require an established and strong SEO presence. This approach ensures your brand appears prominently in local search results, attracting potential leads actively seeking the type of products, services, and expertise you offer. 

Common mistakes: 

  • Failing to claim and optimize your Google My Business listing hides your brand from local searches 
  • Neglecting to include local keywords in your content makes it difficult for nearby customers to find your business and its offerings.
  • Ignoring local backlink opportunities, such as getting listed on local directories and community websites, diminishes your local SEO presence. 


  • Ensure your Google My Business listing is complete and accurate.
  • Include local keywords in your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and content.
  • Build local backlinks by participating in community events and collaborating with other local businesses.

Search engine algorithms are in constant flux due to trends and consumer demands. By addressing the common mistakes and applying the proper corrections in areas that include keyword research, on-page optimization, and mobile responsiveness, you’ll establish a strong foundation that optimizes your website for maximum visibility. 

But remember, SEO isn’t a one-time fix. It’s an iterative journey that requires continuous learning and adapting – making it imperative to stay informed of changes to refine your approach in cultivating a sustainable SEO strategy that propels your website and company toward long-term success. Let public relations and digital marketing agencies like NGP-IMC help make this happen for you.

Harmony Adiao-Carrillo
Harmony Adiao-Carrillo is the editorial lead of NGP-IMC.