8 Common SEO Mistakes Made By Noobs: (A List Of Time Wasters From Experience)

Seo mistakes

Long gone are the days where keyword stuffing (and even keyword density) work in SEO. Google has gotten smarter and there’s over 200 ranking factors but with that being said, getting the fundamentals down isn’t hard. I have made plenty of SEO mistakes and spent months “figuring it out” when learning a few principals was all I needed to know. 4 years later and being the top WordPress SEO Expert in Google, I’ve learned a lot since I started.

Here are some of the top SEO mistakes I see…


#1. Not Selecting The Right Keywords

Guessing keywords doesn’t work. Doing a little keyword research tells you which phrases people are searching. I like to use Google Autocomplete for this to select long-tail keywords (ones that are very specific) since they have better conversion rates and lower competition.

Google autocomplete fill in the blank

Use Google Keyword Planner to learn the actual # of searches a keyword is getting per month. Before you start optimizing your website, creating a keyword list is a good idea since this will help you align your content/site structure with well-research keywords.


#2. Not Separating Product/Service Pages

Once you know your keywords, instead of having 1 page outlining all your different products/services, creating a designated page for each product/service will help you better target each keyword. When people search “Chicago Engagement Photographer” they want to see a page about engagement photography (which should be optimized for that keyword). They don’t want a page outlining ALL your photography services. Google wants relevancy!


#3. Not Targeting Keywords In Content (Correctly)

Use your keyword in these places:

  • Page title
  • Content body (2-3 times)
  • URL
  • SEO title
  • Meta description
  • Image alt tag

If you’re on WordPress, install Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin and use the page analysis tab to optimize your content for green lights. However, the SAME content optimization strategies can be applied to any website, so just follow the items in this SEO checklist:

Yoast page analysis tab


#4. Spending Time On Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are obsolete in SEO, so don’t spend time using these in your website.


#5. Ignoring Sitewide Optimizations

Sitewide optimizations are things that affect your entire website’s SEO. This can also be issues related to your domain name, sitemap, redirects, indexing, structural and usability issues, and other factors that affects your entire website. Here are the common ones:


#6. Not Knowing How To Get Links

If your website is optimized and you’re still not ranking high, you probably don’t have enough links to your website. You can see how many links you have using Open Site Explorer. I’m sure you’ve heard this and might ask, well, how do I get these damn links?

90% of my links come from my blog tutorials. People find there useful, so they’re more likely to reference them on their own website/blog/social media. Researching a long-tail keyword for each blog article (#1 in this list) will help you drive additional traffic. Then it’s just a matter of optimizing the content and making article “better” than whoever’s in the top results for that keyword. Longer, more thorough articles usually outrank shorter articles.

Going out and “building links” isn’t as effective anymore. Most links should be earned through good content as well as content marketing (eg. participating in groups, discussions, and forums and linking to your article when it’s appropriate and relevant to the discussion.

Link building

5 easy ways to get links:

  • List your website in your social profiles and online directories
  • Use links in your pages/posts to link to your other pages/posts (internal linking)
  • Write blog articles about FAQs or topics your customers frequently talk about
  • Share that article with customers and on social media, email, etc
  • Mention people in your article through status embeds, interviews, etc


#7. Not Reading The Right SEO Guides


#8. Hiring Someone Who Doesn’t Know What They’re Doing

Seo joke

Your SEO person should know what works and what doesn’t. More importantly, they’ll be honest and not try to take your money for services that won’t yield results. They will help you get your keywords and strategy down, not run your website through an automated SEO tool and send you a laundry list of 100 things to do. This is all too common in the industry.

That’s the difference between an SEO pro and an SEO shmo. I offer a variety of WordPress SEO services but I will NEVER suggest a client pay for something they don’t need.


Well those are the top SEO mistakes I see! If you enjoyed my article and found it helpful, please share it with a friend who might like it too. I would really appreciate that.




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1 thought on “8 Common SEO Mistakes Made By Noobs: (A List Of Time Wasters From Experience)”

  1. Great share Tom,

    But I don’t agree with #6, although meta tags are not used to increase your rankings it can help a user decide whether to click on your link or not. And meta description tag is still used a little by Google to help decide if a page is relevent to the search term.

    Keep the good stuff coming!


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