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Diagnosing Common SEO Mistakes – Illustrated with terrible stock photos

SEO Mistakes

Just about every website we’ve looked at has at least one or two common SEO mistakes. While diagnosing SEO mistakes isn’t always straighforward, here are the warning signs that you’ve made a common error. The reasons may be more complex, so these are the horses rather than the zebras of website diagnostics (can you tell I’m totally addicted to House MD?)

Note, you may need to be able to access Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics to diagnose these on page optimisation issues.  Don’t feel overwhelmed like this young doctor.

SEO Mistakes

SEO Alarm Bell 1:

You’re not appearing in Google Search Results

Common SEO mistakes you may have made:

  • Wrong/no keywords
  • No links
  • Bad links
  • Too much anchor text
  • Thin content
  • Poor on page optimisation
  • Poor web design

These things may make you feel angry – especially if you paid a lot for your website!

Angry about bad SEO

SEO Alarm Bell 2:

All your traffic is coming from your brand name.

Common SEO errors you may have made:

  • No anchor text at all
  • Poor on page optimisation
  • Wrong keywords

Don’t feel confused or disillusioned, you are doing your best like this girl.

Confused by SEO

Free On Page SEO planner - simple planner for optimising websites

SEO Alarm Bell 3:

Your SEOMoz MozTrust score is lower than your MozRank score (see our DIY SEO ebook for more info). You’ll be delighted you got our ebook for help on this one! 


Common SEO mistakes you may have made:

  • Too many spammy links (directories, forum and blog comments)
  • Links to or from bad neighbourhoods (porn, gambling etc)
  • Black hat SEO techniques
  • Malicious code built into your web template
  • Low quality web hosting
  • Lack of no-follow links and authoritative outbound links


SEO Alarm Bell 4:

You have lots of backlinks pointing at your site but you’re still failing in search results.

Common SEO mishaps you may have made:

  • Too many spammy links
  • Too many no follow links
  • No anchor text/too much anchor text
  • Black hat SEO
  • All links are pointing to one single page
  • All links have the same anchor text
  • Poor web design or on page SEO
  • You have had a penalty (check Webmaster Tools)
  • You’ve been impacted by an algorithmic change (check Moz’s Algorithm Change History)

give up on SEO

Confused? Don’t worry, we can help!

SEO Alarm Bell 5:

Your site suddenly plummets in Google ranking or in page rank.

Common SEO mistakes you may have made:

  • Black hat techniques have been detected by Google and you’ve been given a penalty
  • Your strongest backlinks have dropped out of the Google index
  • Your strongest backlinks have been changed to “no follow”
  • An algorithm change has targeted an element of your site or SEO
  • Your website topic became newsworthy and suddenly there’s a lot of competition for your slot

If you’ve made a common SEO mistake, hopefully you’re able to undo it on your own, if not, talk to us for help.  We’ll make you as happy as a stock image model high on caffeine.

Excited woman

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