The 3 Most Common SEO Mistakes for European SMEs

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Good SEO requires good content and a well-constructed website. Following the Google Webmaster Guidelines and other sources are essential to have a website "read" correctly by the search engine "bots".

Fundamentally, a website should be built in such a way that Google and other search engines have no trouble categorising the content of a site.  Creating the right structure and highlighting the elements that reflect the content and keywords are vitally important to ranking well.

  1. 46% of European websites are missing Titles / Descriptions:

Title tags are one of the first things a user sees on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page), and it is the title used in the tab on a browser.  It is also one of the first things a search engine “reads” when crawling a site.

Title tags are meant to provide a clear idea about a page's content.  While keyword stuffing in title tags is a thing of the past, these tags are an essential element when building a site optimised for search engines.

As the chart above shows, across Europe, 46% of sites are missing this crucial element with Switzerland having the highest percentage at 53%.

It is, without a doubt, a missed opportunity. Well-written title tags that provide a clear explanation of what a user can expect from the webpage can provide a leg-up on competitors.

According to Moz, default titles can be worse than no titles at all.

  1. 63% of European websites with Titles Tags have Duplicate Tags

As previously discussed, title tags are essential, but it is also vital that each page has a unique tag. When presented with duplicate tags, search engines will typically only select and rank one of the duplicated title pages.

Across all websites in the study, 46% had duplicate title tags. When digging deeper and only looking at sites with title tags, the number jumps to 63% of the sites.

It is interesting to note that Czechia (36%) and Slovakia (41%) have a relatively low percentage of sites missing titles compared to other countries but has the highest number of duplicate titles at 55% and 56% respectively.  When looking only at sites with title tags, the per cent of duplicates jumps to 69% and 75%. It is possible that many of these titles tags are default tags like “Home” or “New Page” and would not positively effect rank.

Because of the way search engines handle duplicate titles and the lack of information provided to users means that businesses are missing an opportunity to attract and engage customers.  It is an easy fix and can help attract more visitors and provide a better user experience.

  1. 73% of SMEs are not using headings in the correct Hierarchical order (H1, then H2 and so on)

Headers (H1, H2…) are essential tools that organise content and make it easier for users to find and digest the information they are seeking. SearchMetrics found 80% of first-page search results on Google use an H1 header and that using at least one H2 also correlated to a higher rank.

While most SEO experts agree that there is less impact on ranking than in the past, H1 tags and H2 tags do help search engines understand what the page is about and what’s important.  

Moreover, businesses should not forget about the User Experience (UX), which also plays a part in ranking. In the past, Headers were stuffed with keywords, but now they are more about the user experience and the relevance of the content.


Correctly setting up a website using correct tags and headers are "table stakes" to improve ranking. 

Many SEO discussions are around keyword analysis and content development, but the reality for many SMEs is that there are simple structural issues that must be addressed before many of the content discussions can take place.  There is a big opportunity for agencies to focus on on-page improvements in conjunction with a content strategy to gain some "quick wins".

This post is based on key findings from the 2018 SIINDA Landscape study which looked at almost 40,000,000 data points across eight countries and 400,000 SMEs to provide insight into the quality of their online presence. The data was processed and analysed by Silktide, a web intelligence company headquartered in the UK. Silktide makes software to help people understand and improve their online presence. ( and The Digital Marketing & Local Search Association ( 



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