Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.

Like the time I agreed to be the designated driver for a friend of a friend’s bachelorette party or when I volunteered to manage our community fair’s Facebook page during its 100th anniversary year.

Self-inflicted harm can happen with your company’s SEO, too. Despite the best intentions, mistakes happen. Fortunately, you can avoid or resolve many of them with some awareness and attention.

5 Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your SEO Success

1. You’re competing against yourself in online searches.

If multiple pages and articles on your website focus on the same recurring keywords, you’re likely falling into the trap of “keyword cannibalism.” Using even similar keywords and phrases across multiple articles can “eat” away at your ranking potential.

Some suggestions for avoiding and remedying the issue include:

  • Varying your keyword focus through research (with tools such as those offered by SEMrush and Moz) to determine viable long-tail keywords
  • Implementing an internal linking strategy that helps Google determine which pages and articles of your site have the most authority

 2. You’ve been slow to notice your website’s sluggish page-loading speed.

If the page speed on your site is slow, you’re fast on your way to losing the SEO race. Page load speed has been a ranking factor in desktop searches for some time, and 47 percent of users expect pages to load within 2 seconds. If your pages take 3 or more seconds to load, it’s likely users will abandon them.

Need more of a reason to hit the gas on fixing slow pages? On July 9, 2018, Google rolled out its “Speed Update” and is now using page speed as a ranking factor in mobile searches, too.

You can test your website’s loading speed with Google’s free Test My Site tool, and consider enlisting the help of a reputable SEO firm for assistance if you discover your page speed needs improvement.

3. You’re not onboard with online reviews.

Reviews are digital word of mouth, and they can influence how well your site ranks in search results. According to the Moz 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey,  online reviews are among the top 10 search factors.

Moreover, a survey by BrightLocal in 2017 found that 97 percent of consumers read online reviews and almost 85 percent of consumers trust those reviews as much as recommendations they get from people they know.

Have you downplayed the importance of having positive reviews of your business on sites such as Facebook, Citysearch, Yelp, Google My Business and others? Then it’s time to consider putting an online review management strategy in place.

Part of that might include reminding satisfied customers to leave honest reviews of their experience with your company and staff. However, before encouraging customers to leave reviews, carefully read the terms of service for the review platforms on which you have a presence. Not all of them allow businesses to solicit reviews from customers.

4. You’re not giving your meta descriptions the attention they deserve.

Meta descriptions that deliver compelling snippets of what your web pages are about can mean the difference between users clicking to visit your site or passing it by.

According to Rand Fishkin, “The snippet is your opportunity to say, ‘Come click me instead of those other guys.’ If you can optimize this, both from a keyword perspective using the words and phrases that people want, as well as from a relevancy and a pure drawing the click perspective, you can really win.”

It’s worth your while to devote some additional time to optimizing your meta descriptions so they effectively drive traffic to your website.

5. You haven’t done an audit of your website lately (or ever).

website seo audit
You can’t fix what’s wrong if you don’t take a deep breath and dive in to assess what might be diminishing your SEO results. Regularly review your site for mistakes that you have overlooked in the past, such as:

  • Meta tags that haven’t been optimized
  • Broken links
  • Duplicate content
  • Oversized images that are slowing down page speed

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” — Walt Kelly

If you’re afraid of losing the SEO battle, fear not. By avoiding some common mistakes and keeping in the know about basic SEO best practices, you can feel more confident about your ability to contribute to your website’s SEO success.