11 SEO Red Flags to Watch Out For [Free On-Page Audit]

seo red flags featured

Whether you already work with a website marketing team, are looking for one, or doing the website work in-house—there are some key items that should make it into your discussion about improving your technical and non-technical SEO. Here are 11 search engine optimization red flags to watch out for and discuss with your web developer or designer.

11 SEO Red Flags

    1. Page speed is not a part of the discussion. 

      If you want to arm yourself with some good information about the page speed on your site, we suggest using GTmetrix.com. This tool comes with paid and free options, with the free option being fairly easy to use. They also give you a variety of useful resources and actionable recommendations based on Google PageSpeed and Yahoo! YSlow speed analysis tools. In summation, you can use your report to determine actionable steps to make your website load faster. A few common improvements that we often see to increase page sped include image optimization, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and minifying code (JavaScript, CSS).

    2. Technical SEO is not incorporated into the code, content, or strategy. 

      There are several different ways to approach your search engine optimization strategy. One of those ways being technical SEO. This approach includes some fundamental steps for success, including old and new techniques. Two very important things to incorporate here (that we also touch on in this blog) are page speed and mobile-friendliness. Again, use tools like GTmetrix to track and improve page speed and track mobile rankings to ensure you’re on the right path to mobile success. Other technical updates should include:

      1. Sitemap review
      2. Internal link auditing
      3. Getting rid of duplicate pages
      4. Preventing the indexation of non-SEO value pages
      5. Checking on indexing of pages
      6. Ensuring important resources are able to be crawled

Check Your Website

With over 600 algorithm changes per year—it is more vital than ever to pay close attention to the technical health of your website.

Launch our Site Checker and conduct your free Technical SEO Audit to find out what you should be focusing on first.

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  1. Everything you discuss surrounds the topic of “keywords”.

    Google is super smart. Their AI is even creating their own AI. Using keywords is now much more of a challenge because you have to develop content that makes sense to your audience to backup the keyword(s) you’re talking about. If your audience doesn’t want to connect to the content, your keyword strategy goes right out the window. And, probably your rankings too. Making your content a priority is necessary these days. Invest in your business by creating engaging, and unique content that users want to interact with, and share.

  2. Marketing strategy or planning is rarely mentioned. 

    Developing a marketing strategy will help you define your goals and develop actionable steps to achieve those goals. Business and marketing website the balance suggests starting with your unique selling proposition. This is the single most important sentence to your strategy, as it describes the essence of your business.

  3. They cannot speak to the topic of on-site versus off-site search engine optimization.

    Though very different, both SEO techniques have the same goal—to bring traffic to your site. Because of this fact, on-site and off-site SEO directly influence each other, so implementing one without the other doesn’t make a lot of sense. You have the most control over on-site efforts, as you can decide how your copy, URLs, metadata, sitemaps, and keywords are laid out. On-site also encourages the performance of off-site. A relevant blog, for example, can increase social media engagement. Off-site is more out of your control. While you can post on social media all day, you may never get the traction. Setting up a social media marketing strategy is a great way to ensure that a piece of your business is also successful.

  4. You’re told that they can get you to the #1 organic position in x number of days. (If we’re being honest, these results will NEVER happen this way.

    If they do, you’ll soon find out why it’s not a good thing.) Generally speaking, you’d take about one month to develop a strategic plan and three to six months to begin seeing results. Beyond that, it’s an on-going relationship between your business and your marketing team to continually use data and results to make improvements. This could take a long time—and that’s TOTALLY normal. Results can also depend on your industry, how much you invest in your content, and even the usability of your website. For instance, you could create great content all-day but lose your audience once they get to the website (if usability or experience is a concern).

  5. The difference between organic SEO and paid search engine marketing (SEM) such as pay-per-click (PPC) cannot be articulated.

    AdWords is not SEO, it’s advertising. They are two very different things. However, there are ways to get these two techniques to benefit from each other.

  6. A paid strategic approach is preferred over organic, and the conversation is geared towards AdWords or another advertisement type of campaign.

    Many businesses spend a lot of time figuring out whether advertising is right for them. A lot of times a lot of money goes in, and little results come out. We suggest beginning your SEO journey holistically, starting with your own website. Building off of a solid website is the best guarantee that advertising efforts will pay off. Again, you can pay to get someone to your website—but what happens to them once they get there?

  7. Flash isn’t an issue. 

    Flash is sloppy and still remains a security risk. Google limits the impact within Chrome by pausing Flash-based content that isn’t part of the website’s core experience. All around it is not a good idea.

  8. The word “algorithm” is a type of expressive dance.

    Just. Run.

  9. They don’t incorporate SEO into their web development and design process at all. 

    We doubt that this will happen because most agencies know that this is a fundamental piece of any website. However, if you do happen to run into someone claiming that you don’t need SEO—definitely consider finding another website design partner.

It’s not easy developing content that follows the rules of SEO, while also making the content useful and holistic. We also know it takes a team, a strategic approach, and more than a few simple keyword phrases to increase rankings.


Check Your Website

With over 600 algorithm changes per year—it is more vital than ever to pay close attention to the technical health of your website.

Launch our Site Checker and conduct your free Technical SEO Audit to find out what you should be focusing on first.

Launch Site Checker


3 thoughts on this post:

  1. Thank you for this it is helpful! That GTMetrix I have never used I used tools.pingdom that’s quite good as well as the obvious Google Page Speed Insights.

    Also, it winds me up when people say they don’t want marketing because they were promised this that and something else. It really does my heading. My opinion a lot of sales people saw that there was a gap in the market for Digital Marketing and tried selling these services. They then outsource all their work to India and get crap marketing. It makes the genuine guys like us look bad!

  2. Hey, thank YOU, Cory!

    Digital marketing is that much more stressful for those of us out there who truly care about our clients and want them to be successful, as opposed to those trying to make a quick dollar.

    Yes, tools.pingdom is another great tool. I use GTMetrix not only for it’s usefulness, BUT also because it’s a personal preference. I like how you can create a free login, save your reports, and get suggestions from their site that make sense. It is good to compare to Google Page Speed Insights. I’ve found that they are always very similar, and GTMetrix even sometimes has more info.

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