7 SEO mistakes to avoid in 2021

One thing I love about working on website content, blogging and incorporating SEO is that there are no wrongs that can’t be fixed.  If we write a blog post that might not be amazing we can rewrite it and make it better.  We can change titles, URLs (with a redirect in place!), images – you name it, we can work on it and make it better.  It’s not a one stop and you have to get it right.

With that in mind though, there’s bound to be some SEO mistakes to avoid in the first place right?  Here are some of the top mistakes people make when doing SEO that I have found in 2021.  Spot yourself?  Don’t worry, we can fix most of them!


SEO mistakes you should avoid in 2021

  • Relying on Yoast or other plugins
  • Not writing for the search intent of the user
  • Not thinking about the usability of your site
  • Adding keywords too many times
  • Uploading images too large
  • Relying heavily on keyword tools
  • Ignoring backlinks


Let’s look at these in a little more detail:


Relying on Yoast plugin

This one might sound controversial and I definitely don’t mean it to be.  But time and time again I speak to people who insist that because they got the green light on their Yoast tool on their post that their post is ‘good for SEO’.  (I actually hate that phrase – means very little!)  This couldn’t be further from the truth unfortunately.

If you put your keywords in Yoast it will tell you whether they think you’ve done a good job.  They will advise on the density and where else to put the keyword.   Sounds good huh?

Now if your content is long they will advise to put it in a few more times because they calculate it on the density of it appearing.  This could end up meaning that you’ve stuffed your keyword in way too many times – that can then make your post read unnaturally and at worst Google could mark you down for it.  I like to stick with a less is more approach to how often to put keywords in, even if that means losing the green light.

Another point to make is that Yoast won’t know whether your keyword is a good one – so you may get a green light, but it doesn’t mean your content is relevant, whether people search the keyword or whether the competition is high.

I do use Yoast though, so don’t discount it totally – just be aware that it’s a guide and to not follow it too slavishly.


Not writing for the search intent of the user

This is a biggie for me and the one where I see people going wrong when writing blog posts for their site.  They decide on a topic and write about that, but don’t really think about how someone who is searching would find that and then what info they would want to know about.

You have to really put yourself in the shoes of the person on Google.  What do they really want to know if they search for my keyword?  Does the post answer that or does it ramble on?


Not thinking about the usability of your site

Google has been telling us for years now about making our sites more user friendly.  They think that it is so important that they will even mark us down if we aren’t up to scratch.

Even in 2021 many people aren’t really taking this to heart.  So what do you need to bear in mind?  Ok, the list is probably a lot longer than this but as a good start you should:

  • have a mobile optimised site
  • have a fast loading site
  • have a secure site
  • don’t have intrusive pop ups (so many people still do this – always check, especially on mobile, that people can actually click away from pop ups)
  • be easily readable with simple fonts


Adding keywords too many times

Your keywords should be in your blog posts, yup, for sure, but you really don’t need to be adding them so many times that it looks like a robot has written your post.

I’m sure you’ve also realised that Google is getting way more sophisticated as the years go by about realising what your post is about without you having to add it in too many times.  They are only going to get better at this.

Rather than just adding your keyword in over and over I advise my clients to figure out some different ways of phrasing your keyword which means the same or similar so you can use that as well.  It will read so much better and as Google gets better at figuring out what articles are about you’ll be safe knowing that your articles aren’t absolutely stuffed with the same keyword over and over!


Uploading images too large

This is a simple one but the consequences of doing it can be quite big for your website.

Put simply, if you add large sized images to your post and website you might find that it affects the loading time of your site.  The longer it takes for your page to load the worse the experience is for the reader – and Google really likes the reader to have the best experience.  Page speed is one of their big interests and they are always trying to get us to be better there.

I always have a set image size for my website – 900 x 600 pixels (you might want a different size depending on your website theme and style).  I resize my images using Canva – I have a base template of that size and I can upload my image there and re-download at a web friendly size.

That’s a really simple way of doing it – you can also compress images to make them an even smaller file size.  There are some plugins that will do this or websites.  Sometimes I find it makes the pictures fuzzy but your mileage may vary there – experiment!


Relying heavily on keyword tools

I used to use keywords tools exclusively when I was writing my blog posts.  I’d check competition, volume and who else was ranking.  Sometimes it would make me not write a post because my chosen term was at 0 volume. Frustrating!

But you know what I found?  If that term would come up in Google Suggest (so if I started writing it in the Google search bar and Google pre-filled the term and suggested it) then I realised that actually people were searching for it, despite what the keyword research tools said.  I would often then write posts for that term and get traffic – I’d never have done so if I’d just used the keyword tools.

The tools have a place, I do like being able to see if I might likely rank and I like to use them to keep track of my keyword search rankings.  SEO is just one of the ways your blog posts might be seen though so I definitely have benefited from taking a wider view and not just relying on what they say.


Ignoring backlinks

Backlinks are a way of generating a bit of authority in the eyes of Google.  It’s like a site has said ‘hey, I rate your site and I want others to know about you’ and Google still values that.  If your site has links to it, especially if they are from relevant sites in a similar niche, then it can really help you to rank in the search results.

Often people still don’t work on getting back links, often thinking it’s a bit of a hard thing to do.

A great way to get started is to see if you can get some guest posts in your niche or some podcast interviews.  Never pay for links and especially don’t pay for other people to get you some – you might end up with some less than optimal places of the internet linking to your website and that’s not so great!

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