10 of the most common SEO mistakes that are hurting your rankings.

Do you want to rank higher for your main keywords? These 10 SEO mistakes I see in almost every audit have the biggest impact on negatively affecting your rankings. Fix these, and you will see a noticeable jump in your rankings. 

One: Duplicate H1 headings.

Each page should have only one main H1 Header. Your keyword should be near the front and the title length needs to be 55 characters or less. Too many times I see multiple H1 headers and most of the time it was not intentional. Usually, it was a way to get the font a different size or color. Multiple H2-H6 headers are good and this is the typical format that Google likes to see.

Two: Keywords are not in optimal locations on the page.

There are four spots on your page that need to have your keywords in them. Put your keywords in these locations and 50% of your SEO optimization is done.

Top four spots for keywords. There should be an exact keyword match in each of these locations. 

  1. Title Tag: Your title tag is the clickable link on the search results page. 
  2. Meta Description: The Meta description is the text that gives readers a preview of what the page is about. It is found under the title tag in the search results. 
  3. H1 Header: Your H1 header is the main heading on your page. There should only be one H1 Header per page.
  4. URL: Your URL needs to have your website address followed by the keyword you are targeting. Ex. https://www.rockdellseo.com/ “keyword” 

Three: Keyword Density is too low or high. 

For every keyword, there is an optimal number of times it should be on your page. I am not talking about keyword stuffing here. Everyone has seen examples of this and it makes the page almost impossible to read and Google has started to penalize these pages. I am talking about “optimal”. The only way to find what is optimal in Google’s opinion is to look at the top 10 pages in the search results for your keyword and analyze what Google is ranking. Read more here on identifying your keywords

Analyze the page where the keywords are located. Is it in the H2, H3, and H4 headers or is it in the main body of the paragraphs?

You can use the search function *CTRL+F* to get a count of how many times the keyword is used and what variations of the keyword are they using.

Four: Not meeting search intent.

It’s hard to stress how important search intent is to rankings. 

Google says this in its mission statement:

“Our Mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” 


What is search intent? 

Search intent is the why behind a search inquiry. Is the searcher looking to learn something? Do they want to make a purchase? Are they looking for a particular website? 

The four types of search intent:

  1. Informational. The searcher is looking for information. It could be a simple question like “what is SEO?”. Here the searcher is trying to learn more about a specific topic.
  2. Navigational. The searcher is looking for a specific website. They know where they want to go but they may not know the correct web address or the spelling. This one can be the hardest to figure out and the one I feel Google gets wrong the most. If someone were to search for“Rock Dell SEO”. What are they looking for? Is it the website itself or more information on the company? 
  3. Transactional. The searcher is looking to make a purchase. They already know what product or service they want and are ready to make a purchase. You will see a lot of price comparison shopping at this point vs product comparison. 

Ex: iPhone prices, where to buy iPhone, iPhone in stock, etc. Here the searcher has already decided to buy an iPhone, it’s just a matter of who they are going to buy the phone from.

  1. Commercial investigation. The searcher needs a specific product or service but hasn’t made a final decision. Here you will see lots of review searches. Like “who is the best SEO agency”, “SEO agency vs SEO agency” SEO agency reviews, etc. “best SEO agency in MN” 

This last one is particularly important if you have a physical location you are trying to drive traffic to. “Near me” searches are growing in popularity and are one of the biggest drivers of traffic for local businesses. 

Your Content and keywords should target these four different types of search intent. You need to be relevant to the searcher at every stage of the buying journey. 

Five: Content

Content has two separate but very important parts.

Word count.

The trend for Google for 2022 is that Google is still rewarding a specific word count and ranking long-form content higher. There is an optimal word count for each keyword you are trying to rank for. 

How to find the optimal content length?

  1. Search for your keyword.
  2. Analyze the top three results.
  3. Determine the word count average for each of the pages. I like to use the chrome extension “detailed SEO extension” but there are a lot of other word count programs out there that will work.

Format your content in such a way that you are answering the search inquiry in the first paragraph or two. This way Google will know your page is relevant and searchers are getting the information that they are looking for.

Read more here on Content marketing for B2B

Topical authority.

What is topical authority AKA topic clusters?

A topic cluster consists of three main components.

  • One page focused on a specific keyword
  • Multiple pages covering all areas of the topic with subtopic articles in more depth. 
  • Link all the articles together. 

This creates topical authority and Google will reward this with higher rankings. 

Read more here on writing the perfect blog post for more leads.

Six: Title tag and H1 are different. 

Your title tag and H1 should be identical. There have been a lot of different studies done on this and the results are always the same. 

Here is what Google says


Answered in a typical Google fashion they do not give a specific answer, but they also give some clues. I have personally experimented with both and every time I have ranked higher when my title tag and H1 are identical. 

Seven: Missing ALT text. (AKA “alt tags” “alt descriptions” “alt attributes”)

What is alt text?

Alt is used on a webpage to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. 

This is part of Google’s web accessibility standard and Google is penalizing pages that have not met this standard. 

Alt-text is used to add text to an image when it is unable to be displayed in the search results or a visually impaired user is using a screen reader. It also provides SEO value by giving search engine crawlers context/descriptions to help them index an image properly.  

Eight: No anchor text (pages not interlinked).

Why is interlinking important? 

When Google crawls or indexes a page, it is looking for clues for what that page is about. When you provide interlinks it naturally assumes that it must be related to a topic on a separate page. The more relevant you can make these links the more topical authority Google will credit to your site. 

Google says this about anchor text.

Nine: Missing Structured Data.

What is structured data?

Structured data is a schema that Google uses to understand what the webpage is about. Google says this about structured data.

The more structured data you can provide Google the better job Google can do to understand what your webpage is about. 

Ten: No Backlinks

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links from external sites to yours. Google looks at these links as votes of confidence. If another high-quality site is linking to yours Google assumes your site is trustworthy and the content is valuable. 

Low-quality backlinks are worthless and hurt your SEO rankings. Google wants to see links from high-quality sites that they have already deemed as trustworthy. 

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Troy Watson

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About Me

I have been involved with digital marketing for over 10 years. In that time I have took small websites and grew them to massive sales and lead machines producing well over a million dollars a year in revenue. 

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