• Scott Herring

Common SEO Issues I Always Have to Fix

You probably missed my SEO posts, huh? Well, I'm baaaaaaaack... Michael and I both write based on our experience, and today I'm going to write about something I have to fix all the time. All. The. Time. You see, as much as I think I get the SEO stuff right, my tools teach me I forget some to-do items or don't do them correctly. Hey, that's why we have tools -- to make sure we minimize mistakes and get more done. Whether you're using Moz, Yoast, or something else to analyze your pages & posts, you'll probably bump into ways you can improve your search engine readiness. And that leads me to today's topic: the pesky, common SEO issues I always have to fix...

1. My URL is too long.

Many of the tools will tell you to keep your URL length reasonable. Although Google can crawl and process long URLs, there's a usability and "appeal factor" to having short URLs. In many content management systems like WordPress or Wix, the title of the post is used to generate the URL. So if you have "The 100 Ways You Can Reduce Your Supercalifragilistic Podcast Audio File Size", you may get a URL slug like "the-100-ways-you-can-reduce-your-supercalifragilistic-podcast-audio-file-size". I guarantee the tools will tell you that's too long. Note, Google says URL length's NOT a ranking factor, but they'll also tell you it makes sense to keep them shorter. Strip out extra words (the, a, of), and shorten it to something that won't get "truncated" in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). It looks better, so theoretically, it's more likely to get a click. That is, if your result shows up, looks good, includes the search term (e.g., reduce podcast audio file size), users are more likely to click. Short links that include easy to understand keywords look more attractive. Research by Backlinko found that "short URLs tend to have a slight ranking advantage over longer URLs". For the official record, browsers can handle URLs up to 2,000 characters, and Google's limit is 1,000 characters.

2. My Post Title is too long.

Similarly, your browser displays the post title, and if it's really long, it gets clipped. I love to make meaningful keyword-rich page titles for SEO. Maybe it's old skool, but the tools say to keep them at a reasonable length, and it keeps them from getting clipped (in Google ads too).

3. I re-use keywords & keyphrases.

In general, I try to use my keywords in the title (most title tags on page one of Google contain the keyword that the user searched), make the title meaningful, and keep the title brief. This post exemplifies my method: Common SEO Issues I Always Have to Fix. I'm targeting "common SEO issues". But I also have to be careful not to use the same keywords more than once. If I'm writing about "cloud computing" often, I need to pick different topics within that topic (else I'm splitting my own traffic). I could use "cloud security", "public cloud", and "cloud partners" in other posts. If we're living in our niche, we should be performing keyword research before writing. Then we need to "mark off" the completed words (better yet, track their success).

4. Use the keyphrase early and often (but not too often).

If I told you the keyword or keyphrase for every post I've written here at Renegade, you'd find the keyphrase in the first paragraph of each one. It's a ranking factor -- showing the topic in the first paragraph matters. So if you're writing your food blog about "gluten free blueberry pancakes", that should appear in your title, headline, and somewhere in the first paragraph.

5. I forget to enter the Meta Description.

Even though it's not a true ranking factor in search engines, the meta description impacts the user experience. What is it? You know when you're looking at SERPs and see the titles and the text beneath? The little paragraph is pulled from your HTML - it's the meta description. USE IT. If your description is good, user eyes catch it. Use your keyword/keyphrase in it. Make it a sales pitch for your awesome article.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do, to Avoid Common SEO Mistakes!

If you add these ideas to your pre-launch checklist, you'll maximize your SEO when the post goes live. And if you forget, like I do, you can always go back and fix it...ANY TIME. We'll tell you until we're blue in the face that you shouldn't set it and forget it. Your blog should be regularly reviewed for ways to improve. SEO is a long game, not a quick hit. Don't make these common SEO mistakes so you'll be ranked higher from the start...


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