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Even the best SEO experts make mistakes. Any mistake in optimizing your site for SEO can really hamper its performance in search results. Unfortunately, some of the mistakes site owners still make these days are actually very easy to avoid. We are going to review some of the simplest SEO mistakes you should avoid this year in this article. Let’s get started, shall we?

Slow Page Loading Time

I know how tempting it is to add design elements, drizzle animations and even use a lot of images to make a page look interesting. Visual elements are by far the most effective tools to use when you want to keep users engaged. That said, adding too many of them can actually hurt your SEO performance.

Large design elements and pictures can slow your site’s loading time. Even worse, render-blocking scripts – which usually powers animations and other effects – will also hurt your site’s loading time. The bad news is: slow loading time means worse SEO performance.

Search engines now take user experience as a huge part of their algorithm, and low page speed will definitely reduce your users’ experience with your site by quite a long way. This is a mistake you definitely need to avoid.

It is also part of the reasons why web design trends now move towards simpler, more functional layouts. If you’re not sure about what to do, you can also choose to work with the best website design Toronto company to get the best layout or design that works well for content delivery and SEO.

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Focusing on Generic Keywords

We tend to search for generic keywords when determining which ones to target, thinking that the immense traffic these keywords can bring will make the efforts worth it. Unfortunately, targeting generic keywords also means you are competing with millions of other websites for search engine presence.

Search engines are also much smarter than they used to a few years ago. They handle search queries differently, crawl websites more efficiently and focus more on the content that users actually search for. Instead of insisting on generic keywords, 2016 is the year when you need to focus more on long-tail, highly targeted keywords.

Let’s take Google’s new Rich Answer Box as an example. The sites that get featured on this box are the ones that actually aim for questions as their keywords or key phrases of choice. Instead of “automobile insurance”, they aim for “how to get discount car insurance.”

It may be a subtle shift, but it is a shift that you should follow in order to have an SEO-friendly site. Using keywords that work well with local users will also help boost your local SEO results.

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Bad Backlinks & Penalties

If you still think you can buy thousands of backlinks and get positive boost in SEO performance as a result of that, you need to really snap out of it. Search engines are cracking down on bad backlinks and irrelevant references, hard! Instead of getting a positive boost, your site will get penalized for these backlinks coming from bad sites or sites that are not related to the topics you are discussing.

Worry not, because bad backlinks can be removed or disavowed. Various search consoles now allow you to monitor the backlinks you get from other sites and optimize them for better SEO performance. While sorting bad backlinks and removing them, you can also start building good, positive backlinks to get the desired off-site SEO results.

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