Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important activity that you must undertake if you want your website to rank high in search engine rankings. Unfortunately, embarking on an SEO campaign without any guidance or prior knowledge may lead to disaster instead of gains.

Your excitement may get the better part of you that you start tweaking things at random. Little do you know that such actions may eventually hurt rather than improve your search ranking. Here are 5 SEO mistakes that you need to get away from:

1. Not choosing the right keywords

In your eagerness to get huge traffic as soon as possible, you may opt for generic keywords. Although it will greatly help in getting traffic to your website, it could be the wrong traffic. You would want to choose keywords directed towards your target market.

Strictly speaking, there is no problem with generic keywords, but they may become too broad and competitive. The better option is to choose specific keywords, which are often composed of phrases or queries. They have less search volumes but the seeming exclusivity of these unique keywords will likely bring you better site rankings.

Here’s an example: Instead of “best cakes,” go for a more specific keyword such as “best no-bake chocolate cake recipes”.

2. Stuffing a lot of keywords

You may have chosen the right keywords, but you should prevent flooding your posts with them. This absolute no-no is called keyword stuffing and should be avoided like the plague. This practice of putting repeated, search-friendly keywords and phrases on your website for the purpose of boosting website rankings in Google’s results may not really do any good. This is a black hat SEO technique that could hurt your search engine rankings.

This may work in the short term but in the long run it could bring your Google ranking down. Keyword stuffing is also not good from a copy writing perspective, because the content will look unnaturally made. It’s like a very obvious advertising strategy without any regard for content quality.

3.  Not using keywords in post / page URLs

Your URL gives customers an overview of what your page is all about. For this reason, you would want keywords visible in your URL.

Again, you need to remember the first rule and avoid generic keywords. If you have an e-commerce website, code your URL in such a way that the product name itself is incorporated into the URL of the product page.


4. Using duplicate or copied content

Creating original content can be a daunting task for any website owner. However, your website will greatly benefit from it in the long run, in terms of enhancing your Google search engine rankings.

Having said that, copying and pasting content is a form of plagiarism and is an illegal practice that will definitely hurt your website a lot. Rather than increase your rankings, your website may be flagged by Google.

If you have no other choice but to insert a Wikipedia quote or an online dictionary definition in your article, make sure to cite your sources. Otherwise – and as a general rule – always write original content.

5. Not optimizing title tags and meta descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions provide a glimpse of what your page is all about. You would want your title tags and meta descriptions properly optimized for search engines, by making them unique for every page.

While the title tags can help boost your search engine rankings, the meta description can help make your pages stand out from the competition. Just make sure that the keywords appear at the beginning of the description as there is a character limit.


Improvements in your search engine rankings will take some time. It will not improve by making tweaks in your HTML codes and expecting instant results. Just keep your content fresh and ensure that they link back to your site.

With Google regularly updating their algorithms, it is best to stick to SEO best practices than have your website penalized and your search engine rankings brought down. Patience is a virtue in this matter, so let your optimized website bring in the traffic and just wait for the improved rankings to come.

Michael Transon

Michael Transon is the CEO of Victorious. He's a big fan of ASU football, his cat Tux, and dinner parties. He lives at Ocean Beach in the Outer Sunset Neighborhood.

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