skip to content

Pixel Insights: Online Marketing Blog

5 Critical SEO Mistakes that Corporate Websites Keep Making

An effective search engine strategy can take lots of planning and careful execution to get right, particularly in a competitive market. Sometimes though, you can make dramatic improvements just by not shooting yourself in the foot.

Here are 5 critical SEO mistakes that corporate and small business websites seem to keep running into. Check yours!

1. Setting "Home" as Your Title Tag (or other unfortunate title)

The page title is the text that appears at the top of your browser window or tab when a page loads. Each page on your website should have a different title, reflect what the page is about, and use keywords that you are trying to rank for.

Many websites miss a huge ranking opportunity by setting their home page title to something generic like "Home" (probably the most popular page title on the entire internet...) or "Welcome to ABC Company". Unless your trying to rank for homes or welcome mats, this is wrong. 

Example of a page title you don't want to use:

Bad page title.

This says "Welcome to the City of Brampton", which is what appears in my browser's tab and what the search engine views as the title of the page. Is your website making the same mistake?

Tip for Tilted Pixel customers: most page titles can be modified by using the "Browser Title" field under the "Search Engine Optimization" tab when editing a page.

2. Not Researching Your Keywords

Are the keywords that you are so carefully using in your website copy actually what your potential customers are searching for? If you have never actually compared the search counts of your potential keywords, there's a good chance that you aren't targeting the best ones!

Brainstorming is a good start, but once you have some keywords ideas you need to check how much search traffic they receive. You can also use tools to get ideas of other keywords you may wish to target. We recommend Google Adwords Keyword Planner or SEMRush as good tools for keyword research.

Examples of poor keyword choices: 

  • Technical industry terms that your customers aren't familiar with (it's OK if they are).
  • Picking the wrong synonym for your service (eg you say "development", but far more people search "design").
  • Inventing your own corporate jargon (eg. "integrated sales funnel prioritization solutions") instead of stating plainly what you do. Consulting firms and Fortune 500s are notoriously bad for this.

3. Never Updating Your Website

For better or worst, recency matters a lot in search engine results. Website content that doesn't get updated slowly loses ranking as it ages due to this recency bias.

But even if this bias didn't exist, keeping your content updated is a good idea. Old content inevitably doesn't use the latest search best practices, and as your services and marketing change, your website should really reflect those changes.

It's also a good idea to add new content to your website over time. Some website sections naturally lend themselves to this, such as a company blog or news releases. If you have these, use them!

4. Using Flash, Images Text, and Not Transcribing Key Videos

Search engines may be getting smarter, but they still rely heavily on the text within your website to determine what it's about. Certain media makes this difficult or impossible for the search engine:


An older technology that allows complex animations and video to be played on the web. You can tell that an element on your website is Flash-based by right-clicking on it. If you see a menu that mentions Adobe Flash, chances are that it is Flash. If the Flash element contains important text (such as a slideshow), consider replacing it with an HTML 5 based substitute. If your whole website was built in Flash, contact us. It's time for a redesign!

Text as Images

Sometimes web designers or people editing a website make the mistake of placing text inside an image instead of actually writing the text out. This is often done to make the text look a certain way (you can do anything in an image that your mind can think of), but it can backfire if that text is important (such as using images for website headlines, this is very bad!)

Bonus image tip: When using images (including without text), they should also contain a description (or "alt tag"). This is good not only for search engines, but for people with low vision who use screen reader software to have websites read out loud.

Videos and Audio

Videos and podcasts are hugely popular on the internet, but search engines can't necessarily understand their content. If your video contains important information that can help your rankings (such as interviews and tutorials), consider having it transcribed and posting the transcription (or in the case of tutorials, go one step further and make a non-video version of the tutorial). You will help search engines find your content, and you will help visitors who would rather have your information in written format.

Note: Google does love video, especially YouTube videos. If you are hosting your video on a 3rd party site such as YouTube, make sure that your video title and description is also carefully thought out. The video itself can appear in rankings!

5. Trying to Cheat the Search Engines (accidentally or on purpose)

Search engines, especially Google, don't like websites that attempt to trick them into rating your website higher than it truly deserves. This means any tactic that is intended to make your website appear as a greater authority on the keyword than it actually is. If a tactic feels shady, think twice.

For example:

  • Excessively using the same keywords over and over (for example repeating "kitchen renovations" 20 times on the same 500 word page). Especially when they are in placed in 6pt font at the very bottom of your website.
  • Buying or selling links for the purposes of increasing rankings. Note that paying for ads online is normally OK because reputable ad systems have code that specifically indicates that this link shouldn't be considered for ranking. Buying links off a site advertising higher search engine rankings for doing so, is a bad idea.
  •  Attempting to trick search engines into thinking that lots of websites are linking to you by creating tonnes of your own (low quality) websites that link to your site.

If you hire a search engine optimization firm (particularly one that has guaranteed you top rankings for $500/month...), make sure that they aren't using tactics like this either. A penalty from a search engine can be difficult to remove even if you didn't know better.

Further Ways to Improve Your SEO

Read our Local SEO Guide for step-by-step instructions on improving your local search rankings.