9 SEO Mistakes That Harm Your Google Rankings

Business owners hear SEO all the time, but they rarely understand what it means. Search engine optimization is the practice of making sure your website or blog is picked up by search engines. SEO practices are constantly changing because Google and other search engines change their algorithms.

You want to be optimized, but you should be aware that what you do today might not work in two months. Therefore, you should keep changing your website and SEO. Many business owners believe they can do SEO themselves. However, these are common mistakes those owners make.

  1. Too General — Business owners who don’t have a specific audience in mind will make their website too general, which will lower their rankings in search engines. If you own a hair salon, market to professional women. If you are an accountant, market to business owners. If you have a niche, market to that niche. Knowing who you are targeting will help you write content that Google will love.
  2. Wrong Keywords — You can find out what keywords people use when they are searching for your business. If you use the wrong ones, Google will deem the content irrelevant and drop you off the radar. Even if you use the right keywords but use them too often, you will be dropped. Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing or keywords that sound forced. You should be writing about your industry and putting in the keywords naturally.
  3. Poor On-Site Optimization — Your website has coding that is hidden from the public. However, this coding is visible to Google and computers. You have to optimize your site with the right meta tags, titles and more. These tags allow Google to find you easily. Without them, you will not be ranked.
  4. Mobile-Friendly — You must have your website designed for mobile responsiveness. That means that no matter what device you use to access the website — desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet — you will see the website as its intended. It will look normal for that device. A few years ago, Google announced it would de-rank (not indexed) websites that were not mobile-friendly. You should make sure your site is mobile-friendly and correct the problem immediately if not. Check your site here.
  5. Content — Google insists that content on your site be relevant to what you do, high-quality, interesting and without errors. All of these could cause your ranking to drop if you fail. Search engines will punish you if the content is not relevant or if it is missing. Grammar errors also matter both for search engines and for people who visit your site for the first time. Content doesn’t have to be written. Pictures and video content are important to Google too. In fact, videos rank higher than written content.
  6. Social Media — You should have a social media presence on the Internet to complement your website and brand. Social media are good for branding yourself and helping find your website. In addition, you need your website to complement your social media. Google searches for your social media presence. If you don’t have one, you will not show up in results. If you only have social media, you also are hurting yourself.
  7. No Backlinks — Google ranks businesses by using backlinks. These are those links from somewhere else to your site. For example, your Facebook profile has a place for your website address. That is a link back to your website. The more you have links from somewhere else back to your website, the chance of  Increasing your SEO rank will be higher. These links are found in guest posting, profiles, social media and in advertising campaigns. Without these links, your ranking will be lower.
  8. Site Errors — Those nasty 404 errors will tell Google that the site isn’t meant to be ranked. You should periodically check for those 404 errors and clear them. Otherwise, you will lose your ranking. You also don’t want to have other site errors or a page under construction.
  9. Slowness — Sites that are slow to load is dropped from Google’s radar. If you want to be shown in results, make sure it doesn’t take time at all to load. A few seconds to load is too long. Ironically, the more videos and pictures on your site could cause the site to load slowly, but they also rank you higher. Make sure those high-ranking content doesn’t slow your website from responding. It also might be the device that slows down the loading. Check that too.

Avoid these mistakes and you are more likely to show up in search engine results. However, make sure that you continually update your website and check these issues regularly. You might show up in search engine results today, but two months from now, you might not because the companies changed their algorithms.


Usman Raza
Usman Raza
Usman Raza is a CEO and co-founder of Christian Marketing Experts. He has been writing for magazines and newspapers since 2001, and editing and managing websites since 2006. Usman has a BA in Business Development, Philosophy, and English. A generalist, his most covered topics are business, technology, gadgets, and headsets. When not working, he’s probably spending time with his family.

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  1. Error 404 – These do not mean a website should not rank, they never meant that. Non-existent pages are referred to as 404 pages. That’s the server error code websites SHOULD give when a requested web page is missing. John Mueller of Google discussed why Google crawls non-existent pages. Advising, 404 pages do not need to be blocked from crawling. You will not lose crawl capacity from 404 crawls. Also Matt Cutts of Google indicated: Although Google may not keep a web page in its index, if the page used to exist, Google will remember that a web page used to exist at that URL and will crawl that old URL to see if it returned. Google’s Matt Cutts stated in 2014 the reason Google remembered was to build in a safeguard in case a web publisher made a mistake in removing a web page and the web page returned. Source:
    The post goes on to say: “…We learn today from John Mueller that it’s actually a good sign if Google is crawling 404 pages…” – there is a difference between a broken link in a website causing an error 404 (we should not post broken links), and Google crawling removed content.

  2. Backlinks – Without question, backlinks are helpful, yes. However, they are no longer the major factor, instead “authority” is the more important, as it has somewhat replaced backlinks (as a major factor). Don’t misunderstand, yes, backlinks are good (without question), just not a major factor for Google ranking. An interesting read in this regard: And perhaps a good read here too:
    In 2014 Matt Cuts (of Google) also advised in a video ( that backlinks, over time, will become less important.
    For sure, backlinks are valuable to help build traffic, etc. (and yes we should obtain them), but not as much a Google ranking factor as they were in the past. Instead, we are often advised to also focus on building authority, as that, apparently, is a major factor.

  3. Slowness, Google never advised sites that are slow to load are dropped from Google’s radar – Matt Cutts (in 2013) instead said (video: that website speed is included in ranking factors, thus it has an effect (without doubt), but never advised that a website would drop off the radar. Indeed, Search Engine Watch also discussed this last year ( as well as suggesting “…recent studies suggest that 53% of all mobile visits are abandoned when a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and you lose 10% of your users with every additional second…” Thus, common sense (as this post nicely advises), make sure you website loads as fast as possible.