3 Biggest SEO Mistakes that happen everyday

By Darren Wagstaff, Nationally Recognised SEO expert

When it comes to SEO (search engine optimisation) there are so many conflicting opinions and misleading information online that take far too many business owners down the wrong road, sadly doing their businesses more harm than good.

And to be truthful it really isn’t their fault.


Even the wide array of SEO agencies, SEO companies and ‘so-called’ experts will tell you different and even conflicting stories as to what ‘works’ and what should be ‘done’.

Some SEO agencies are setup to just get as many clients as possible – the ‘turn and burn’ approach. Similar to the approach the large scale businesses such as the original Yellow Pages took back in the day. This approach is all about volume rather than quality.

The problem with this approach is that even with the best will in the world, they can’t give each client the level of service, care and attention to detail they truly need, deserve and have paid for. This approach of going large scale volume forces these companies and agencies to use off-the-shelf cookie cutter and software spamming techniques that eventually do more harm for their customers than good (without that being their intention in the first place). And that’s just how it seems to play out over the test of time, so far I have not seen an exception to this rule.

Now it is true that at some point in history these software spammy techniques did produce some level of results – but as search engines such as Google want to deliver the best experience and results for their users, they eventually uncover ‘footprints’ that these spamming techniques inherently leave behind. Google in an attempt to protect their reputation and to maintain a high level of user experience eventually penalise these branded websites and webpages that have all these footprints associated to them.

And sadly, if this is your business – guess what? You’ll lose all your search engine rankings and traffic!

And the penalties you end up suffering make it a mammoth job, even for the best in SEO, to get you back to where you need to be, so that you plug the leak these spammy techniques had created and stop losing customers to your competition.

But rather than giving you an in-depth back story let me just give you 3 of the biggest SEO mistakes business owners and sadly some service providers are still making today.

#1 SEO Mistake – Your web pages not being Optimised for Mobile devices

SEO Mistake - website not optimised for mobile devices

 Mistake #1 Not optimised for mobile devices

Now this is obvious for many people, but from doing some research over the past few days – even though this may be obvious nearly 50% of all localised businesses in the UK are not optimised for  mobile devices.

Now I’m sure this will change over the next 12 – 18 months as more and more people bang on about this – but it appears that currently this is not making sense for quite a large percentage of business owners.

So why is being optimised for mobile devices classed as an essential ingredient? Can you actually get good rankings without being mobile optimised?

The trend over the past few years with the growth of the use of smart phones, iPads and other mobile devices (that have internet access) is that more and more people are using their mobile devices to search online for businesses, services and products that they need. In fact the number of searches made on mobile devices exceeded that on desktop computers and laptops back in 2014.

And now the trend has now shifted to the level where 70% of all searches are now being done on mobile devices with a projection of 90% by 2017. Now that is some significant shift.

But what has that got to do with rankings of your web pages?

Well as Google are always reviewing the market place, market trends and are always aiming to deliver their users the best user experience the last thing they want is to deliver webpages that are just too difficult to read, navigate or use on a mobile device.

And from their tracking and research they are finding that non-optimised webpages are getting the highest levels of abandonment when being visited when compared to mobile optimised webpages. This gives them a clear signal that non-mobile optimised web pages are not liked by their users, i.e. a bad user experience.

Because of this at the end of 2014 Google released an update to notify everyone that they are giving preference to mobile optimised web-pages and from May 2016 they will be downgrading more and more webpages if they are not mobile optimised. And this is not just all about having a page or website that adapts and works well on mobile devices, it also needs to load quickly on mobile devices too (due to the abandonment rates from slow loading pages).

So How Do You Fix This?

A quick test to see if your webpages or website is mobile friendly takes literally seconds to find out and you can do so by using Googles own mobile test tool here:


If you find that you are not mobile optimised then there are a few options you can take to protect your business and keep you moving in the right direction:

  1. Get a new website redesign that is optimised for mobile devices. (If you are not skilled in this area many professional web developers and some professional SEO specialists can get this arranged for you, a simple google search can turn up a variety of options)
  2. Get a mobile version of your website built that only shows when your site is being visited via a mobile device. (Some professional web developers can do this and a select few professional SEO specialists can arrange this for you, again a google search can turn up a variety of options)
  3. Or just keep your head in the sand, like an ostrich, and lose more and more customers to your proactive competition

Getting mobile optimised is not a big issue some highly effective experts can actually fix this for you within 24hours. The benefits of a quick turnaround like this can help you plug the gap quickly so that you can move forward with confidence knowing that you now have everything under control. Here it is usually a better option to find someone by recommendation rather than a random search – this way you protect yourself from problems and set-backs.

#2 SEO Mistake – Ignoring long-tail keywords

Now this might or might not be a phrase that you are familiar with. A keyword is the word or phrase that someone types into the search engines looking for your services and you use these to optimise your website pages (called on-page SEO). This tells Google that this is what your webpage, business and service is all about (if you set it up in the right way that is). Examples of such keywords and phrases are things such as “roofing contractor”, “solicitor”, “funeral service”, etc…

Now these are quite general keywords with fairly broad open ended meanings. However these can be made geo-specific as a long-tail keyword such as “roofing contractor Birmingham“, “solicitor Telford“, “funeral service Walsall” – and I guess these keywords are fairly obvious, very appropriate and quite desirable for getting ranked highly on page one of the search engines as they would generate some traffic and potential revenue producing business.

Now in comparison an extended more targeted long-tail keyword will be a bit more specific, such as “best divorce solicitor in Telford“, “flat roof contractor in Birmingham” etc… Now these longer-tail keywords are far more specific and most of the time have a much higher level of commercial intent, meaning the searcher is actually at the stage of wanting to take action and pay for services or products instead of being stuck in the research phase only.

Now admittedly the search volume for these longer-tail keywords may be lower than the more generic search phrases but the ability to convert this more highly targeted traffic into paying customers can be much much higher.

So for instance if we take a hypothetical example here…


best divorce solicitor in Telford - seo longtail keyword expertIf you have 4 searches per day for “best divorce solicitor in Telford“… and if you are at the top of page one.. so you get around 50% of the traffic.

This means you will get 2 visitors to your site per day, 60 visitors per month.

And lets say each new client on the low side is worth £1,000 to you. And as this is a high commercial intent search term and that you are actually good at what you do – lets say you convert 18% of those visits.

60 x 0.18 x 1000 = £10,800

And if you are less effective at converting visitors, and you only convert 5% of those highly motivated visitors…

60 x 0.05 x 1000 = £3,000

Being optimised for just one long-tail keyword could generate you an extra £36,000 per year to an extra £129,600 per year. And that’s just one long-tail keyword – and if your average per client is higher than £1,000 then we could easily double these numbers.

So imagine if you were optimised for just 2 long-tail keywords to start with… bringing you in up to £260k extra per year and then you moved towards 4, 6 or even 8 long-tail keywords… what would that do for your business?

When you hear those phrases such as “How much money are you leaving on the table” – you can slowly come to see how search engine optimisation when done the right way can not only kick start a business to a whole new level but can even transform it into a highly desirable saleable asset.

So how can you fix this?

  1. A good option is to do some keyword research using tool such as the Google Keyword Planner or the LSIgraph tool to find out what long-tail keywords fit into your preferred services and products. Then start to search engine optimise your webpage for this as a first step, and then start your SEO promotion off-page campaigns.
  2. If this sounds a bit challenging to contemplate doing yourself you could always turn to a reputed SEO expert for a free analysis; and if you are both a good fit to work together you could take advantage of their services. NOTE: Just make sure they know what they are talking about and that they have numerous testimonials to back-up their services.

#3 SEO Mistake – trying to get as many backlinks from anywhere and everywhere as possible

Now if you have ever looked at SEO before, spoke to anyone about SEO or even spoken to someone who ‘appears’ to know about SEO – then you will undoubtedly of heard that getting backlinks to your website and webpages is a good thing.


It’s sort of like getting lots of websites to recommend your business, services or products. And nothing is better than a recommendation, right?

Well that’s sort of true. But imagine if you are a cosmetic surgeon, who would be the best person to recommend your services?… and who would not be a good person to recommend your services?

Best seo services Birmingham backlink checkingPerhaps a good recommendation could come from a recognised authority like a GP, a doctor, a medical consultant or even a public figure that has used your services and are happy with the results. And obviously these recommendations only arise in conversation with someone that is interested in cosmetic surgery.

But in contrast would a recommendation from a recognised criminal, an international fraudster, a terrorist or a mass murderer do you any good?

Being associated with such socially destructive individuals or organisations can do your reputation and business more harm than good.


Just like the example of a cosmetic surgeon, you are naturally associated with whoever recommends your services, in marketing and political circles they call it “The Power of Association”.

Associating yourself with good public figures lifts you up, but associating yourself with bad public figures can bring you down.

Backlinks to your website work in exactly the same way.

Several years ago there was a practice in the SEO world of generating as many backlinks as possible to get a webpage ranked highly in the search engines… softwares were built to do this and the practice is still prevalent in some circles to this day. However quantity does not equal quality.

And as Google track everything online it did not take long for them to notice the unnatural footprints these software generated backlinks left behind. The links were so indiscriminate that they were left on porn sites, gambling sites, fraud sites, irrelevant comments on blog posts and so many other sites, that many conscientious business owners just would not want to be associated with any of it.

The net effect of this was that sites that had all these irrelevant and lurid links coming back to them were downgraded for trying to play the system.

Even to this day I still come across business websites and have worked with business owners where this practice has been done to them previously by a ‘so-called’ SEO professional or just from the business owner being sold on the idea of ‘getting as many links as possible’ was a good thing. Sadly, in both of these scenarios the problem lies in the ignorance of how real SEO works and in believing the hype ‘back-linking software developers’ tell their audience so that they can sell more of their software products.

None of this is the business owners fault. It is just a simple lack of knowledge. Always think of it in the terms of who would you like to be recommending your business and who would be good for you to be associated with.

Go with quality over quantity every day of the week.

How do you check if you have these spammy links going to your site?

  1. Checking the links coming into your site is not an easy task. There are special services such as AHREFS and MAJESTIC that will show the links coming into your site (but not all of them). Essentially only Google sees all the links coming into your site and sadly they do not share that information publicly.
  2. If you do end up using any of the available ‘backlink-checking tools’ there is still some skill needed in spotting what are good and bad links, and understanding the reasons why – many of which are really common sense.
  3. But if you do not feel skilled in this area you could get a free website analysis by a reputed SEO professional that can uncover the links you have coming into your site; and if the SEO professional is skilled at what they do they will be able to tell you if the links you have are good reputation links or bad reputation links… And if the SEO professional is worth their salt they will be able to advise you on what to do to dis-associate yourself with the riff-raff (the bad reputation ones) that are holding you back.

A few tips from Google to finish off

And just for a few areas of consideration… here is a video from Google that admittedly is a few years old – but it has a few technical points that are still relevant today, even if some of the terminology is slightly different today.

If you have any comments or want some advise on resources that best suit your needs feel free to get in touch.

Darren Wagstaff - Nationally recognised SEO expert from Skyrocket Your Search

About Darren Wagstaff

Nationally recognised SEO and traffic expert

Darren Wagstaff is a nationally recognised SEO expert and founder of Skyrocket Your Search. He has been working in the online world generating revenue producing traffic for businesses of all sizes since 2006. He has a passion for helping, training and consulting with local, national and international businesses to show them how to dominate their market place for the long term through the power of effective internet marketing and search engine optimisation.

You can find out more about Darren on LinkedIn at: