On the internet, you can find many tips on how to improve your search engine rankings, but not on the crucial SEO mistakes that can kill your website ranking.


This guide will share the ten crucial SEO mistakes that can kill your website ranking. This includes common SEO mistakes, such as: 

  • Poor external links
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Using dead links
  • Duplicate content
  • Missed meta descriptions or title tags
  • Short content blogs
  • Poorly written articles, etc.


So, to give you the exclusive list of these web ranking-killing mistakes, here are the ten crucial SEO mistakes that kill your website rankings.


1. Not Doing Keyword Research On Your Niche is One of the SEO Mistakes that Can Kill Website Rankings

Keyword Research

This is one of the most common SEO mistakes that some, if not many, writers are making, and I’m also pretty guilty about this before. Not doing keyword research on your niche can either bring irrelevant visitors to your site and increase the bounce rate or result in a poor ranking of web pages on search engines.


So, how can you possibly avoid this mistake?


By doing in-depth research on your niche, you will find out the right things to do to optimise your content and not affect the ranking of your website. In other words, this will help you do a deeper analysis of which keywords to target and assess if the content is satisfying to the searcher’s intent.


After the keyword has been identified, make sure not to do keyword stuffing on your content or the web pages that you want to create. You can use the keywords on your content, which ultimately help make conversions.


After a rigorous understanding, you could search for keywords to bring them onto your website and finally make them convert. So, as long as you have chosen and optimised your words correctly, your keywords can bring value to your site’s search engine ranking.


 If you don’t know any tools for your keyword research, you can try Keyword Planner, Ahrefs Keyword Generator, Semrush Keyword Magic Tool, Keyword.io, etc.


2. Poorly Written Content is Detrimental to Your Search Engine Rankings and is One of the SEO Mistakes that Can Kill Website Rankings

Quality Content

Part of SEO efforts is writing highly relevant content to cater to the users’ needs. This can be challenging to achieve, as it requires real work and includes many things to complete, such as:


  • In-depth keyword research
  • Topic research 
  • Writing meta tags, meta keywords
  • Inbound links
  • Outbound links
  • Not using broken links, etc. 


But, patience and the right intention to serve your audience the things or information they need from your website will help you accomplish these things. As much as possible, spend time writing quality content because if not, a collection of poorly written content on your site will drag your website ranking down.


If you want to outsource content writing or your overall SEO efforts, hire someone with proven work results. This way, you can ensure that you won’t be wasting your hard-earned resources.


3. Optimising the Wrong Keywords is an SEO Mistake

You must understand that the keywords you deemed correct could be not the right ones for other people or could be too general for your users. In both cases, you will end up optimising your site using all the wrong keywords.


This is an easy trap to fall into. For instance, you are ONLY offering services to local customers, but you are using global keywords—this is one of the common SEO mistakes to avoid.


Another thing is using too generic keywords that attract the wrong visitors to your site, meaning they don’t have interest in what you are offering. This can increase your site’s bounce rate, ultimately killing your ranking.


It’s also best to avoid using broad keywords as they have lots of competition, so ranking for those keywords will be tough. But if you have an SEO expert with you, you can ensure that your spot will be in a better ranking position.


Always remember to be specific as much as possible. For example, instead of using just “SEO services” as your keywords, you can go for SEO services for SMEs in South Africa.”


These specific keywords are more likely to produce immediate results than the generic “SEO services”. You can also optimise for more competitive keywords as your site grows and gains authority.


Aside from your main keywords, it’s also best to incorporate long-tail keywords in your content to maximise your content optimisation.


4. Using the Black Hat SEO Technique

Black Hat SEO

Many companies use Black Hat SEO techniques to get much quicker results. These practices influence search results significantly by violating the search engine guidelines.


Although this is effective in the short term, it can negatively impact your business website. You can get penalised by Google or, worse—banned due to your guidelines violations. 


Common black hat practices include keyword stuffing, blog comment spamming, link exchanges, sneaky redirects, etc.


5. Not Using the Essential Anchor Text for Internal Links

One of the SEO mistakes to avoid is not using anchor text for internal links. Perhaps you have already seen links on a web page body for “click here” and other generic text?


If you look at it from an SEO perspective—although using a call to action increases clicks on your links, it can also cost you the opportunity to tailor your anchor text, one of the most critical SEO factors.


For instance, if you write a blog post about SEO and you want to link it to your SEO services page, you can make the anchor text “SEO services” or something similar. Also, IF you totally must have a call to action, try to at least incorporate it with relevant keywords in the link, such as “click here to learn more about our SEO services.


6. Focusing on Link Quantity Over Link Quality

Although there are many easy ways to get a high volume of links, you should emphasise quality. For instance, one link from a popular blog may do more for your search engine rankings than hundreds of low-quality links stuffed into your content.


They’re much harder to get, but that’s precisely why search engines put high trust in them. They are the more reliable measure of the quality of your website.


So, as much as possible, focus on getting links, which are:

  • Relevant to your industry and website.
  • Don’t have too many outgoing links.
  • Don’t contain links to adult or gambling sites.


For free tools to check the domain strength and incoming links to the page, you can use tools like SEOquake.


7. Not Creating Link Worthy Content

Link building isn’t an easy task to execute. In fact, sometimes, even the most well-written content still doesn’t acquire links. So, if you want people to link to it, you need to make it really valuable.


It would help to publish top lists, text tutorials, or infographics. For instance—Top 20 Best Website Design Companies in South Africa, How to Setup Widgets Correctly in WordPress or History of Web Design [Infographic].


8. Missing Alt Description for Image Optimisation is another SEO Mistakes that Can Kill Website Rankings

Not having alt descriptions for images is an SEO mistake you need to avoid because you will lose substantial traffic from image searches. When you use alt description, you help guide the search engines to understand what the picture is about and “help” it to appear in the Image search for the right keyword.


Images have an essential role on a page since they are visually more attractive. In addition, if they are correctly optimised, they can even have much higher visibility than the content.


The Takeaway

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comprises multiple elements, which are crucial to your site ranking since they make your website more visible. This means there are more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers.

So, if you ever need SEO services, you can contact top local SEO companies in South Africa like Xploited Media to ensure that your site performance is at its optimum level. We will run some tests on your website to see what’s the problem or what could we do to optimise your site for a much better ranking.