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Avoid Making These Thirteen SEO Mistakes on Your Blog

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Like many doe-eyed creative writing major graduates, I thought I would make money from my writing, but I’m no JK Rowling. Or a terrible poet yet wildly popular like Lang Leav. On top of it, I fell in love with a roughly expensive hobby — travel. So I tried travel blogging without doing much research. My SEO mistakes and more were so deep, I almost drowned in them. I’m sharing this, in case you want to explore blogging as a source of income.

Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

So, why not merge my love for writing and traveling? So many years ago, perhaps more than a decade ago, I started a poorly named blog, Backpacking with a Book. Not because I fancied calling myself a backpacker but because I literally stuffed a book in a day pack, hopped on the bus, and explored my beautiful home island Cebu. I mainly wrote for the local dailies back then in the Philippines. And then I exhaustively traveled my own country, then Asia and Oceania.

I got connected to the local blogging community, and they can’t stop talking about making money on their blogs. What the heck was that?

Money+ blog? Really?

I later on, bought a domain, read a little about Adsense, and stuffed myself with hopeful stories about bloggers making thousands from their blogs.

More than a decade after, I’m barely making enough money on the blog except for sponsored posts. For one single reason. SEO.

So these are the mistakes I should have learned early on. Hopefully, you can learn several points before wasting a lot of time writing content that nobody reads. 😛

Not having an SEO strategy in place

Damn, I really thought installing Yoast on the plug, making sure readability and SEO are both green leads to thousands of visits and eventually money.

But no. SEO is actually more work than that. There is keyword clustering, keyword research, and competitor analysis to think of. The “I want to write about . . .” mentality does not work.

You have to track everything in an excel file, check low-competitive keywords (more on this later), work on search-engine-optimized content by batch, and internally link all of them. Because backlinking is not solely focused on external links, linking relevant blogs within your website matters a lot (more on this later).

Not establishing a weekly site check and clean-up

A bulk of SEO tasks is actually content management. Checking content that is not ranking and diagnosing them and improving them. Checking and correcting broken links. Making sure all images have appropriate alt-text. Making sure the website loads up fast.

Make sure all content has headings. Because headings are SEO- and reader-friendly. All these small tasks quickly add up, and before you know it, you’re buried with all these small yet essential tasks.

Why are they important, you may ask.

Because Google said so. The bots can tell if your site is serving the audience’s needs, and if it doesn’t, say hello to page 50. Or 60.

Remember, the purpose of SEOing your site is to make it to the highly competitive top searches on Google’s first page.

Not knowing my audience well

I had no audience in mind except for a handful of friends who were curious enough to read my meandering thoughts. Later on, I decided I wanted to focus on solo travels. Because I did that a lot.

It took more than a decade really to realize that writing about solo travels around the Philippines would not really make an income since the demographic of female solo travelers is a minority, plus my content is mainly focused in the Philippines.

Big lesson on audience building: if you want to make decent money out of your blog, write high-quality content targeting demographics from developed countries.

Ask yourself, where do Americans, Germans, French, and Canadians travel? What kind of information are they looking for online?

Because you are doing this for money. Not for passion, remember?

A concrete example.

100 ad clicks from the Philippines — .50$
5 clicks from the USA: 1$

Gets? There is a huge disparity in ad payments, and Adsense is not the best ad platform.

My blogging goal for 2023: for my travel blog, BWAB, and to be admitted to the Mediavine program.

Not investing in tools

seo mistakes to avoid in 2023 and beyond

Heck, I should have taken tools seriously. For years, I wrote super-lengthy travel guides on places because I thought that’s what people search for online. Duh. Semantics, time and time again, I have to remind myself, matter. A LOT.

So yeah, I should have invested in, Ahrefs or Semrush early on.

Now, these following tools are indispensable: Keysearch, Ahrefs, Semrush, Jasper, Grammarly, and Canva Pro.

I use Keysearch, Ahrefs, Semrush to check and analyze keywords. I use Jasper, a writing ai, to draft an article (ai is a tool and nowhere near to actual human writers), but it helps when you don’t know where to start.

I use Grammarly (heard Hemingway is good too) to check on the readability, SVA issues, and misspellings. Writers write and don’t have a third eye. That’s where AI comes in if you can’t afford an actual human editor.

I use Canva to source photos and create simple graphics to accompany the text.

Not writing enough

In the long run, SEO is a combination of strategy and consistent writing. I used to write one article a month, hoping that Google gods like them enough and promote it to Google’s first page. Huh! The audicity to dream big without doing the work!

Well, it took almost ten years for me to realize that Google and SEO don’t work that way.

So now, like a content mill of one, I try to write at least 10–15 articles a month and follow a certain structure that Google finds likable.

Coming from a creative writing background, of course, there are many instances I want to puke because, in many ways, what makes Google gods happy makes the literary gods grumpy.

But the good thing about being your own boss is that you can always sprinkle humor in your content, like this one.

No patience and consistency

Not having patience and consistency is the death of monetizing-your-blog goal. It takes up to three months for the Google gods to see the keywords you are trying to rank. But I was the kind of human you can find in memes: the one who wrote an article and expected it to rank a minute after I hit the publish button.

SEO is a long-term commitment. So just keep on SEO-ing your content regularly. Publish them. And eventually, they will pay off.

Don’t expect to make any decent money from the first year.

Not making my blog mobile-friendly

More than 50% of content consumption is through mobile. Not laptop. Desktop. Or whatever. At first, I did not really care about the mobile-friendliness of my blog. Until I realized that Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly.

Thankfully, my blog is hosted on WordPress, which has a library of plug-ins for all kinds of needs.

Not using keywords in the title

SEO is one of the most important components for ensuring a successful website. SEO mistakes can be costly and prevent people from being able to find your website easily.

One mistake that should be considered is not using keywords in the title of web pages. Keywords are what search engines look for when someone does an internet search. Without them, your SEO will suffer as the content of your website won’t appear on searches related to what you’re offering.

Additionally, users will have an even harder time finding it if your keyword-less title isn’t interesting or informative in some way. For example, saying “Our Company” won’t tell visitors helpful anything, while something like “Check out our outdoor furniture products” will provide more insight into whether they should click links to learn more about what you have to offer.

Using keywords in titles also ensures that any bookmarks created on your site are SEO friendly and can help with higher ranking down the road. The importance of good SEO cannot be overstated, so use keywords strategically in titles and throughout other areas of your website!

Not including images in my posts

In the age of social media, images are an incredibly powerful tool for connecting with audiences. Visuals can draw attention, evoke emotion, and communicate information in a way that is immediately visceral and accessible. When it comes to online content, including images can often be the difference between lackluster engagements and responses full of enthusiasm.

Not including graphics in your posts may teach readers to pass over your content as quickly as possible, reducing engagement and leaving potential followers feeling uninspired by what you have to say.

seo mistakes bloggers should avoid

To maximize readers’ interest, consider incorporating images into each post-they just might make all the difference! After all, pictures say a thousand words — so imagine how much further your ideas could travel if you gave them a chance! Additionally, visuals help give life to what might otherwise be densely written content which can increase online traffic.

A great picture gives readers a glimpse into an experience or event they couldn’t get through words alone; creating a connection that helps capture their attention long enough for them to appreciate the work shared through your posts.

It’s clear why visuals are such a helpful tool-so make sure you leverage this resource when crafting your next post or article! Images can take your ideas beyond a superficial glance and turn them into something exceptional. So next time you post without an image, think again — You could be missing out on loads of potential engagement!

Plus, images can be SEOd too, which can contribute to the overall views of your blog.

Not creating internal links to other blog posts on my site

Creating internal links to other blog posts on your own site is one of the most overlooked yet beneficial aspects of publishing content online. Well, the newbie me did not know. Up to this day, I’m going through a lot of orphan pages, a term for pages that have no internal links at all.

Internal linking helps to provide a cohesive user experience by making it easier for readers to find related topics and building a visual connection between ideas.

Unfortunately, many bloggers think that internal links are just for SEO purposes and don’t bother creating them. But the truth is, internal links are far more important than simply building backlinks . They help to keep users engaged on your page and can actually increase page views over time and lower that bounce rate!

Beyond this, they also offer additional information or resources that can benefit readers and add extra value to your content. So if you want to maximize the success of your blog, create valuable internal links in every post you write! It may take some extra effort at first, but it’s certainly worth it in the end.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content is a common problem for webmasters and content creators, and it doesn’t always arise due to plagiarism or intentional copying. In a world of ever-expanding websites, it is often all too easy for similar versions of the same page to exist unintentionally. Search engines are forced to choose which version of the page to display in their results and may penalize both pages if more than one version is discovered.

It can be tricky to identify duplicate content on a website until a penalty has been applied. Content creators must be vigilant in understanding how search engine algorithms view duplicate content so they can successfully differentiate their online structure from previous sources.

For example, if the exact text or phrase appears many times throughout a website, it might be considered spammy by Google; however, if there is slight variation between phrases, it’s likely that no algorithm penalties will be triggered.

Good practice also involves researching third-party websites frequently as this will help determine whether any other site has published identical or highly similar material. Duplicate content can sometimes occur even when intentions are pure — but being aware of how search engine algorithms work and proactively checking for duplicates can save considerable headaches down the line!

Linking to low-quality backlinks

It’s true that backlinks are a major source of organic traffic for any website, but it is important to keep in mind that not all backlinks are created equal. Low-quality backlinks can do more harm than good, as they will be seen by search engine algorithms as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings.

This could result in your website being penalized or banned from appearing in search results. As such, it’s essential to ensure that any backlinks you create are high-quality and link to legitimate websites.

There are several steps you can take to help determine the quality of a link, including evaluating the trustworthiness of the linking domain and analyzing the usage patterns of its visitors.

Additionally, creating content with valuable information and insight can also attract reputable sites and boost your website’s rank in SERPs without resorting to shady tactics like buying or selling links.

Put simply, if you want your website to rise in the rankings organically, high-quality backlinks should be at the top of your priority list.

Improper use of tags and categories

Tags and categories are a convenient way to organize content on a website or blog. While they can make it easier for viewers to find relevant content, improper use of tags and categories can have a far-reaching negative impact on the user experience.

Firstly, when tags and categories are not accurately chosen, users will be unable to quickly find the information they need.

Secondly, too many tags or categories may make it difficult for users to scan their list of options.

Thirdly, an excessive amount of tagging may lead to search engine optimization (SEO) results that are off-target.

Finally, improper use of tags and categories can lead to broken links scattered throughout the website or blog, which can cause further frustration. For all these reasons, it is important to approach tagging with care in order to ensure that users receive an optimal user experience every time.

Utilizing appropriate tags and categories will enable viewers to easily find the exact information they are looking for without any hassle.

Are you guilty of any of these common SEO mistakes? If so, don’t worry — I can help. At JonaDesigns.Biz, we (damn, a pronoun switch) errr, I feed on that fulfilling feeling when my works convert. Into leads. Sales. Smiles. Nagging thoughts. Actions.

I can audit your website to find the areas where you need improvement and create a plan to get your site ranking higher in Google. Contact me today for more information on how I can help you improve your website’s SEO.

Looking for more tips on how to win your blogging game? Subscribe to my digital nomad guides!

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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