Common SEO Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Everyone makes mistakes. Including marketing and SEO teams.

At any given time, you could be dealing with giant websites, development teams, servers, complex content management systems, scripts and software, custom plugins, HTML, CSS and java script errors and more…

So, in the efforts of implementing simple or large-scale SEO and content strategies, it makes sense to understand that mistakes can sometimes happen.

However, mistakes are not always bad things. Mistakes can help you learn quickly. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the world of search engine marketing.

All of this world’s greatest innovators and tech gods are believers in ‘failing fast’. For example, I’d like to quote Elon Musk here:

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

So, we understand mistakes are important in the learning process and are – without a doubt – often part of any SEO process.

First, let’s tackle how you can find mistakes in SEO campaigns and websites…

SEO audits

SEO audits are an important stage of every SEO campaign and are usually performed first thing, and then frequently after beginning the campaign itself.

Depending on how you audit and what you are auditing, an audit can be completed differently, however, the core purpose of an SEO audit is to strip apart a website and online presence and uncover every single aspect – whilst highlighting positives, negatives, and anything to note.

At Embryo, we perform thorough SEO audits for all of our SEO accounts.

If you are interested in receiving an SEO audit for your business – get in touch with us on 0161 327 2635 or via our contact page.

Anyway, when it comes to SEO mistakes, these can be minor, major, a one-off spot, or an abundance of issues that are found. So, let’s get into the common ones.

Common SEO mistakes

Forgetting to remove a no-index tag, or accidentally disallowing the whole site in the robots.txt file

This can often happen due to miscommunication between developers, and not checking a site before it goes live. This is a mistake I’ve seen on multiple sites. And, I’ve often had people come to me asking for help, even people saying they’ve got no traffic, and a simple check of their robots.txt file or the page code shows me that they’ve accidentally told Google to not see it or index it. Which, I hopefully don’t have to remind you – is not a good thing to do for SEO!

Keyword cannibalisation 

Keyword cannibalisation: When more than one page on a website is designed to rank for one particular keyword, you end up competing with yourself.

This is a weird term, for what is a pretty simple concept. For example:

Imagine you own a website about garden gnomes. You are optimising the homepage for the term ‘red garden gnomes’. And, you’re posting a blog a day, about red garden gnomes.

It is likely that this website is putting itself under stress from keyword cannibalisation, and is competing with itself for its key phrase.

This is a relatively easy mistake to make, however, is one that is unfortunately all too common.

Optimising for the wrong keywords

This is, again, an easy mistake to make.

Unfortunately, there are too many websites out there that are being optimised for what they are thinking is the right keywords, however, they’re not. For example, if you sell phone cases for men, you may be optimised for ‘male phone cases’, which may have a monthly search volume of 20, whereas if you optimise for ‘phone cases for men’, that keyword may have 20,000 monthly searches.

Performing keyword research will be able to solve this mistake for you.

Keyword stuffing

Now, this is a relatively outdated SEO practice that is certainly now bad practice. In fact, keyword stuffing has been confirmed by Google to be spammy.

Again, let’s say you’re a garden gnome website… You may deem it clever to input the word ‘garden gnomes’ into your page as much as humanly possible.

Although, inputting keywords in a non-relevant fashion, will get you seen as spammy in the eyes of Google.

Not optimising your website for mobile users

This one comes right down to the development process of the website.

A business owner could consider that if the majority of its customers are using a desktop device, that the website only needs to be developed and optimised for desktop users.

This is fundamentally wrong and will cause you issues in the long run.

All websites need to be optimised for mobile users. Google can recognise if a website isn’t, and will certainly not reward you for it.


As with every line of work, mistakes can happen. This is even relevant for websites and historic SEO campaigns. There are a plethora of issues that your website may be home to, due to nobody’s real fault, but due to bad practice, outdated strategy, or simple mistakes.

These mistakes can be discovered in an SEO audit, and rectified by the right SEO team. And, if an SEO team is what you’re looking for – get in touch with us on 0161 327 2635 or via our contact page.


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