Look around you. There’s probably an SEO Specialist somewhere down the road, and with the advent of digital these days, everyone’s an expert — shadowy digital practices included.
The required skill set to effectively perform the role is diverse and wide-ranging, not to mention the fact that this is one discipline that encompasses both highly technical and creative elements.
From creating content to understanding server response codes, SEO is a broad, and often overwhelming occupation. Nevertheless, it’s an essential component of any digital strategy and one that you should incorporate into your overall marketing strategy, regardless of your company size or industry.
The latest figure is astounding — 89% of marketers worldwide had reported on the success of a good SEO strategy, having achieved improved search rankings, increased site traffic and lead generation. SEO can drive high quality, highly targeted traffic to your website as it’s the primary port of call for most internet users looking for something specific.
SEO, like every other digital marketing specialism, evolves at a rapid pace. This means, that for every innovation in the area, there’s an outdated technique that should be avoided at all costs. If you’re not an expert whose sole focus is SEO, these developments can often be hard to stay on top of, and your rankings can suffer as a result. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive list to help you identify and sidestep the most old hat techniques, and guarantee SEO success.
1. Don’t overuse keywords
Keyword research has long been considered a cornerstone of SEO. Creating content that features the keywords and terms your target audience are searching for seems like the most logical approach. However, using these keywords to excess will seriously harm your SEO strategy.
Keyword stuffing, in a way that’s deemed unnatural can be a deal breaker where legit SEO is concerned. It breaks the flow of the content you’re putting through, sounds spammy, and probably render the article confusing to the site visitors as well.
Google is an example of a search engine that is a proponent of semantic search – and priority is given to the intent or context of the search rather than the exact keywords used. This means that Google delivers results that it believes are most relevant to a search term, rather than an exact match. As a result, you should focus less on including specific keywords on your landing pages, and more on creating content that anticipates a searcher’s needs. In short – quality over quantity (keyword matching).
2. Don’t publish too much content
The advent of content marketing as an important ranking factor has brought an onslaught of blog articles and text. More content doesn’t necessarily equate to more traffic. Any piece of content that sits on your website needs to have a distinct purpose. If you can’t easily define what that purpose is, it shouldn’t be on your site.
3. Don’t use link acquisition techniques
Link exchange, anyone? Or trying to get quality backlinks to your website? You’ve probably come across those spammy emails before — promising a plethora of SEO benefits with the oft-mentioned term of increasing your PR (PageRank no more?!) via link acquisition.
In the past, backlinks are considered a hallmark of credibility by search engines, and you will rank higher accordingly. However, when SEO specialists reduce the concept of link building to this simple sentiment, they can forget about the key factors that make those links valuable.
Link exchanges are a method of reducing the effort required to build up authoritative quality backlinks, instead opting to offer a link back to a site in return for one from them. Quid pro quo, if you ask us. It may seem like an easy way to boost your ranking, but in an age when context and relevance rule, link exchanges can seem spammy and thoughtless.
Backlinks only count when they are high quality (i.e. relevant to your website and from a popular, authoritative domain). When you start using methods such as link exchanges or paying for backlinks, it sends a clear, unavoidable message to search engines that you’re trying to cut corners with your SEO strategy. Lazy link acquisition techniques are damaging, rather than helpful. Instead, take the time to focus on creating a long term strategy centred upon high-quality content that will inspire people to share, so you can build genuine links in a natural manner.
4. Don’t accept poor quality guest blogging
Guest blogging has long been a staple of an all-inclusive content strategy. The benefits can be manifold – it relieves the pressure that content creation can often place on a marketing department with limited resources. It can provide your audience with more varied content from different perspectives. It can build links.
However, if you accept a guest blog post from an unfamiliar author or a low-authority website, this could negatively impact your ranking. Similarly, guest blogging for another site whose credibility is questionable won’t enhance your SEO either, and this could eventually earn you a penalty from Google.
When done correctly, guest blogging, whether you’re accepting contributions or offering them to another site, can extend your brand’s reach, build its online following, and drive more traffic to your website.