Many SEO (search engine optimization) techniques have become obsolete in recent years, as changes to search algorithms have forced businesses and marketers to alter their marketing strategies. However, some SEO techniques are becoming increasingly important for those wanting to achieve higher search engine rankings. Failure to use these important techniques can have a serious impact on your website and reduce the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Here are four SEO mistakes that can hurt your search rankings.

Slow-Loading Pages

Search algorithms are starting to take into account page loading speeds when analyzing websites, which means that slow-loading pages can have a negative effect on your search rankings. High-resolution images, large graphics, videos, audio files, hefty PDF files and other large files types can all slow down your page loading times. Poor-quality HTML or CSS coding can also affect loading times, as can some plugins and widgets. Removing unnecessary page elements and cleaning up your site code can make a huge difference in page loading speeds.

Poorly-Targeted Keywords

Choosing the right keywords is essential for all websites and businesses wanting a steady flow of search traffic, as keywords enable search engines to categorize and index your site and pages correctly. Many businesses make the mistake of using single keywords and popular phrases, as these provide the highest search volumes. However, competition for these single keywords and popular phrases is fierce, and most businesses cannot compete with larger companies and organizations. To achieve the best results, you need to choose well-targeted keywords and phrases with less competition. Also, remember to use your chosen keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, and page URLs.

Duplicate or Unoriginal Content

Search engines value websites with unique content that can’t be found anywhere else. Never use the same article across multiple websites, blogs or other online locations. If you own several different websites, always write separate content for each site. Some businesses reuse the same articles across multiple sites, changing just a few words or sentences to make it appear unique. However, search engines are becoming increasingly clever at spotting duplicate content, even when changes are made to the wording or structure of the article.

Unnatural Flow

Content should have a conversational feel and natural flow. When placing keywords and phrases in your content, it’s important to make sure they sound natural and fit in with the rest of the text. Keywords should also be relevant to the topic of the content, as well as the website. Read your content aloud or ask someone else to check the flow of your writing, as this will help to identify any problems. Also, check the grammar and spelling of your articles or blog posts carefully.

Good SEO practices can make a huge difference to your search rankings, helping to improve your marketing efforts and increase traffic to your website. However, several SEO mistakes can have a negative impact on your search rankings. Slow-loading pages, poorly-targeted keywords, duplicate content and articles that sound unnatural can all be detrimental to your site.

About Author

Jason Healey is a nationally-recognized search engine optimization (SEO) expert and author of From Ranking to Revenue: A Business Owner’s Guide to Successful Search Engine Optimization with a focus on helping businesses generate measurable revenue from the Internet. Jason Healey is Founder and President of J2H Digital Marketing Agency. Since 2013, Jason has advised over 100 small businesses throughout the US on their search engine optimization strategy and execution. Jason is an Online Certified Marketing Professional (OCMP), Certified SEO Expert from MarketMotive and has a professional certification in Digital Media & Marketing from Duke University.