In the world of SEO, things are changing all the time. A decade ago, if you wanted to improve your rank, the only thing you needed to do was to target keywords. Today, however, things are very different. With each new algorithm, there’s a new thing you need to keep your eye on. So, it’s not uncommon for people to stay out of the circle or go with the wrong thing. To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, we’ll look at the most common SEO mistakes in 2021. And don’t worry if you recognize your work in any of these. You’re here to learn how to correct it. 

And as you’ll see, it’s vital that you know what you’re doing wrong with your SEO. Of course, you’ll be worried the most about hurting your ranks. However, these mistakes can also do long-term damage to your site. If you stick with the wrong things for too long, not even a new website investment will be able to bring your old rank back. And that’s a thing that almost always works.

So, to keep yourself out of trouble and improve your current standings, make sure to look at what we’ve got for you today. 

Not setting clear goals

If you want to have a successful SEO campaign, you need to set clear goals. That’s how things are, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. However, many business owners still do SEO without these in mind. They believe that it will improve their traffic and increase their sales, no matter what. But, as you can expect, this is not how it works.

For your efforts to pay off, you need to know what you’re aiming for. It doesn’t matter if you want better quality traffic, more organic leads, or more sales. What matters is that you know what you want. 

For instance, if you get 15,000 organic visitors each month, but only 1% of them buy something from you, you’ve got a problem. This means that you either drive the wrong kind of traffic to your site or that your site doesn’t convert visitors to customers. Of course, these are SEO problems. But you can solve them only if you know in which way you want to go.  

Woman and a man working at the same table
One of the most common SEO mistakes in 2021 is not setting your goals.

Getting backlinks from bad sources

Backlinks are an important ranking factor. By now, we all know that. However, since they’re so crucial, people are often more worried about getting them than where they get them from. And that’s a big mistake. If you get them from the wrong places, you might get penalized by Google. And if you take it too far, you might even lose a chance to rank at all. 

If you want to make sure your backlinks are always top-notch, there are two ways you can go. The first is writing all the content yourself and distributing it through guest posts. However, doing this while running a company at the same time is a tricky thing to achieve. So, your better bet would be pairing with a good link-building agency. You might have heard bad things about buying backlinks, but this is perfectly fine as long as it’s done properly.

Once you find the perfect partner, it might be tempting to get as many links to your site as possible. However, try to be moderate with backlinks. If you get too many of them too quickly, that will raise a red flag in Google. And that’s not something you want. 

Ignoring the search intent

Although there’s not much talk about it, search intent is a ranking factor. Some would even go as far as calling it hidden. But we’re talking about it, so it’s clearly a known thing. However, ignoring it is one of the most common SEO mistakes in 2021. 

The term refers to the motivation behind a user’s search. So, it’s about what user wants to see when they type a particular query on Google. Do they want to buy something, or are they looking to learn about it? 

For example, if someone types ”website design” into the search bar, all the chances are they want to find out what it is. On the other hand, if they search for a ”top website design company”, they probably want to find some services.

Naturally, Google favors the sites that satisfy the searchers’ intent. So, next time you’re choosing a keyword, be sure to think about this. 

A man looking through binoculars.
Behind every search – there’s intent, and you need to answer it.

Overlooking mobile traffic

You would think that this is something that couldn’t happen to anyone in 2021. But it does. For some reason, people have a hard time realizing that more than 50% of web searches come from mobile devices these days. So, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re essentially leaving money on the table. 

To get good results, you want your site to load in under 3 seconds on the phone. It also needs to be responsive, as this is something that matters a lot. Today, mobile friendliness and page speed are important ranking factors. Hence, if you want to increase your organic traffic, don’t ignore them. 

Not dealing with any content formats other than text

It’s hard to get good results with SEO for text-based content because every site out there does the same thing. However, besides the written word, plenty more things can be content now. Here are just some of the formats you can work with:

  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Images

Lots of people prefer watching videos or listening to a podcast about something rather than reading about it. And for some internet users, it’s the only choice. You can read about web accessibility and why it is crucial if you aren’t sure what we’re talking about. You’ll quickly learn why videos are the most demanded content format these days. So, experiment with different kinds of content, and you’ll rank quicker and better.

Woman talking about the most common SEO mistakes in 2021.
Videos are the most sought-after kind of content these days.


All of the most common SEO mistakes in 2021 could be holding you back from online success. So, if you want to grow and expand your business, make sure to avoid them all. If you already knew about all of these, good for you. But if you didn’t, make sure to memorize them. Don’t fall into the same traps again, and you’ll be just fine.