SEO is an ongoing project and a very important aspect to your marketing strategy; it’s not something you can set and forget. Looking at numbers in Google Analytics (GA) and any other tool you use daily, is extremely critical. But what if you see that your Google rankings are dropping and aren’t sure why? In this post I’ll explain the most common mistakes that can lead to a ranking drop in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Your Website’s Loading Speed is Slow.
This is one of the most important things Google looks at when considering what websites to serve up in the SERP. If your website takes too long to load, this will also cause a high bounce rate on whatever page is being clicked on, and as a general rule of thumb, users don’t want to wait more than five seconds for a web page to load.
Common issues for slow website loading speed times can be due to images being too large and need to be compressed, not using browser caching, and poorly designed HTML or CSS code.
A tool I like to use and test my website for speed regularly is Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI) because it shows how fast your website is loading for both mobile and desktop. It also provides detailed solutions on how you can fix any issues, plus it also gives you a grade from 1-100, with 100 being the best. The tool that I think does a great job on showing what images are too large and are causing slow loading times is Screaming Frog.
Your Website is “Mobile Friendly.”
Making your website mobile friendly is often overlooked because people assume if your desktop site is optimized then your mobile site is optimized as well, and this is not the case. Google has a great tool to check out your mobile site for errors. Mobile traffic versus desktop traffic has been increasing year-over-year, so having a mobile SEO strategy in place will set you apart from the competition, or at least be a competitor in your industry. Here is some data from TechJury that shows just how important mobile was in 2021, and how the upward trend in mobile search is only growing more.
Christo Petrov from TechJury says, “In the course of one year, desktop internet usage dropped from 54.86% to 48.88% while mobile users’ share marked an increase from 37.38% to 47.59% in 2021. Mobile usage vs desktop usage comparison shows that 58% of all multi-device purchases use mobile to close the sale.” Be sure to review your mobile optimization strategy because this is where consumer buying is heading, and you don’t want competitors to take your customers.
You Could Be Telling Google to Ignore Your Site
This is an often-overlooked error on websites that you could be telling Google not to index your site. To make sure Google is indexing your site, I like to use the Google Inspection Tool which you can view here. If Google isn’t indexing your site, then you aren’t ranking in the SERP.
The adage “Content Is King” is still the core of any SEO strategy. The most common problem is when content isn’t unique enough or you have duplicate content. Google ranks pages that offer value to readers, which is of course what you want as well so you can get them into your marketing/sales funnel. Just as your product is unique from your competitors, Google wants to see this by writing insightful, useful and shareable content. Ensure each page has unique content and a relevant keyword. Do not keyword stuff by adding the keyword multiple times all over the page – Google will flag this. Also, be sure each page has its own unique keyword. If you use an SEO plugin such as Yoast, it will warn you if you’ve used this keyword on another page.
This is the most important part of SEO. Again, using a plugin like Yoast will help guide you to fully optimize each page of your website. Each page should have a unique: title tag, meta descriptions, alt tag(s) and header tags. None of these should exceed Google character limit, but Yoast will let you know if they do.
Another very important on-page SEO task is to check for broken links. You want the user to have the best experience possible and being taken to a broken link is not a good experience.
Being on top of your website’s data is one of the most crucial things to look at, and while it might sound simple enough, not checking data everyday can cause things to easily be overlooked. Make sure you have the right tooling and reporting in place so you can track SEO performance. If you follow these SEO tips and tricks, you should have your website up to Google’s standards and reclaim or start ranking for your top keywords.