SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation) is adapting websites in order to influence visibility in search engine results pages. Basically, higher spots on results pages attract more traffic.

Standing out to reach the top spot is certainly not easy. In attempting this, we examined these common optimisation mistakes:

Slow sites

Above all, faster sites are favoured in SEO. Google PageSpeed Insights ( provides advice for optimising submitted URLs. Fixes suggested include:

  • Resizing images – smaller image, smaller loading time. Fast-loading gain Google’s favour.
  • Enabling browser caching and gzip compression speeds sites up. Caching loads pages quickly for returning visitors.
  • With WordPress installs, check if every plugin is useful. One plugin may do the jobs of multiple.

Not using keywords

  • Using the right keywords improves SEO in Google. Optimising for generic keywords? Big mistake. A small business can’t compete against industry giants! Your business’ local area is a good start for keywords.
  • Making your keywords ‘long-tail’ (containing many specific descriptors) will help you find your niche. Instead of simply ‘cars’, tell Google you’re selling ‘used, new, Brands A to Z’. Specificity improves your User Experience (UX), which improves user retention.

Providing a poor experience

Unengaged readers get bored, and consequently leave. Provide a site that is an enjoyable, engaging and informative experience to readers. A balance must be struck between length and information. 300 words of content per page all across your site is advisable in order to improve SEO.

  • Write for your users in a clear and concise fashion. Avoid jargon where possible, but if you must use it, provide a plain language translation.
  • Don’t write solely to pander to Google’s algorithms. You could boost yourself by repeating keywords, however, that makes for a bad UX.
  • Quality content is more important than regurgitating buzzwords. Google’s mission is the organisation of information, so yours should be to provide users quality information.
  • Look to improve your ‘readability index’. The commonly-used Flesch Readability test is a good indicator. Keep your sentences short and the words low on syllables, because these score highly on readability.

Ideally, you want users staying on your site, with the intention of giving them something else to do. The first page they arrive on should be the beginning of a longer journey.

  • Offering something to read, buy or subscribe to is necessary in order to . Present an article from your site. Provide a newsletter to subscribe to for more information from your business. Sell a product or service from your site. These ‘call-to-action’ features should be present in at least one form.
  • A simple button can still make an effective call-to-action. Make it noticeable, but don’t saturate a page with them, users will lose focus and leave.

Get mobile

  • Don’t neglect the mobile platform. Over half the hits for a site we studied were from mobile viewers, so adapting is going to be key.
  • Check your site to ensure it operates well on mobile. Does it all work as intended? Can you successfully make transactions? Does every page display correctly? Do elements overlap unintentionally? These elements will all improve your site’s SEO.

So remember, run as fast as you can, don’t waffle on, look pretty, perform well and go mobile. Rocket.

Words: Alex Penfold