We all know that the best traffic for a website is organic traffic, and that regardless of whether you have 1 subscriber or 1000 subscribers, in the long run it’s search engine traffic that matters the most.
Getting search engine traffic is not all that difficult, but there are important things we need to learn in order to achieve decent search engine traffic. It all comes down to how great your content is, and how well it’s optimized for search engines. And yes, your social media sharing is also important toward the improved search engine visibility of your articles.
Over the past year, I regularly edit my old blog posts to improve them for readers and for search engines. This includes improving the information provided, adding updated information, analyzing current keywords using SEMRUSH and Google Analytics, and optimizing the articles for target keywords.
This is an ongoing process that every blogger should undertake in an effort to make the most out of their existing content.
In today’s post, I will be discussing a few blog post SEO mistakes which many of us unknowingly make, thus hampering the organic traffic to our sites.
Whenever I do a site SEO audit, there are a few common factors I find that decrease the visibility of my articles in search engines. Today I will share them with you so that you can avoid these common mistakes, and thus improve the SEO of your blog’s articles.
Why Your Blog Gets No Traffic
1. Too many repeated heading tags:
Whenever I analyze ShoutMeLoud blog posts with no traffic, this is one big reason for almost no search engine traffic.
Back in 2010-2011, I used too many H2 or H3 heading tags in my articles. I was trying to make my sub-headings stand out (size, typography, etc.). This may have made my articles look great to my readers, but it adversely affected the SEO score of the articles. This may not be true of 100% of such cases, but for me, almost 80% of my posts with repeated H2 and H3 tags are getting no traffic. Editing and correcting them clearly improved the visibility of the articles in organic searches.
2. Changing Permalinks Without 301 redirection
Permalink is one important element of SEO. At ShoutMeLoud, we can read about best WordPress permalink for SEO and if you are starting a new blog, it’s always a wise idea to go for a clean permalink structure. The problem comes when you are changing permalink for an existing blog.
No matter if you have few posts or many blog posts published on your blog, but if you directly change your permalink, you will end up doing an SEO suicide of your blog, Of course, there are solutions to this problem. We can migrate one permalink structure to another using the permalink migration plugin. Choose the best permalink for your blog and don’t change after that.
Make sure to use any 301 redirection checker to check if Permalink is 301 redirected or you need to work on your .htaccess file. Make sure to regenerate your sitemap and resubmit it to search engines after permalink migration.
3. Missing Sitemap
We know sitemaps are important for blogs as it helps search engines to index your blog posts. Always ensure that you have a sitemap for your blog and it contains all post links.
Also, make sure to add your sitemap link in Blog footer, as it will help search engine bots to find your sitemap file effectively.
4. Image name and alt tags:
Using images in your blog posts not only makes your articles look great, but also helps in improving the SEO of your blog posts.
There are plugins like SEO friendly images, which automatically add ALT tags into images by using the image name. I have noticed that articles with images containing no ALT tags or the wrong ALT tags adversely affect the SEO of the articles.
One of the most common blog post SEO mistakes I have seen on many blogs is the failure to change the name of the images to match the topics of the posts.
For example, you might be writing about SEO, but you use an image of a fish, and you keep the name of the image as “fish-catching.jpeg”. This is a very big mistake. The correct approach is to use meaningful image names. Prior to uploading the image, change the image name to something like “SEO mistakes.jpeg”, or whatever is appropriate to the topic of your post.
If you have made similar mistakes in the past, it’s time to go back and correct them. Add a meaningful image with a keyword as your image name, and use your target keywords in ALT tags. As mentioned earlier, you can use the help of the SEO Friendly Images plugin if you wish.
5. Long meta descriptions:
Meta descriptions help in improving the CTR of your article in SERP’s, and are also helpful to the general SEO optimization of your content.
With that said, your meta description should not exceed the 160 character limit.
A couple of years ago I would simply copy the first 2-3 lines of my article, and use that as a meta description. This was a big mistake which many of us make.
Think of your meta description as a call to action. It is best to write a unique meta description in less than 150-160 characters.
You can also use a plugin like Yoast SEO Plugin to add meta descriptions in your blog posts.
It would also be a good idea to find all of your old posts exceeding the meta description character limit, and rewrite the meta description in 150-160 characters. You can use Ahrefs, SEO spider or SEMRUSH to find all such blog posts. You can also refer to the official Google help page on using meta descriptions here.
6. No keywords in the content:
As I mentioned in one of my older articles, SEO is not dead – it’s now more competitive and detailed. Search engines rely on bots to understand and rank content. One of the most important factors is using keywords in your content, title, images and in a few other places.
If you have written an amazing article on SEO checklists, but you did not mention the target keyword in the article, you are not helping bots to understand your content.
If you are completely new to this, you can read my previously published guides on this particular topic:
7. Not linking out:
We all want our visitors to stay longer on our websites, but many new bloggers make the mistake of not linking out. For example, I have noticed that many people simply write Google.com, instead of adding the proper hyperlink which will take them to Google.com. Linking out helps in many ways, including the following:
- It gives a better user experience.
- It improves the SEO score, as long as you link out to credible sources.
If you are worried about the bounce rate, you can make your external links open in new tabs. If you need more information on this, you could read this post on outbound link SEO.
My suggestion for you is to keep improving your old content. Writing new content takes time, but improving existing blog posts is easy, and it greatly improves your results from those posts. Whenever I publish a new post, I go to my older posts that are related to the content, and I link to my new posts. This not only helps in improving the overall SEO of the old articles, but updated information always attracts more reactions from users in the form of comments and social media shares.
You can read my guide on how to use SEMRUSH to improve the SEO of your blog, which will give you detailed insight on how to improve the SEO of your old posts.
If you have any questions regarding above topic, feel free to ask me in the comments section below.
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