How’s your SEO game going? Are you still using the same tricks that worked in 2016? If you are, there’s a good chance they aren’t working now.
SEO strategy isn’t easy; it’s hard enough to keep up with page rankings and stay informed of the many changes to SEO and Google. It’s a given there’s always something new to learn about SEO.
But what about the things you shouldn’t be doing? As new trends emerge, it’s inevitable that old school tricks won’t work anymore. In fact, they may even prove detrimental to your page rankings. You can take action today on your site to end practices that are no longer beneficial.
Here are 5 SEO tricks that you can kick to the curb. The new tricks? Stay tuned for a blog post about those goodies next week!
1. Meta Tag Key Word Stuffing
Meta tag keyword stuffing is still commonplace with newbies and inexperienced bloggers. You just wrote a killer blog post! Don’t ruin it with a lousy meta description.
Not following me? Here’s an example of keyword stuffing:
Not only is this devoid of any creativity, it tells us nothing about the actual post. A meta description should be a couple of original sentences with one or two keywords that describe the topic of the post.
Think about it – you write meta descriptions all the time when you’re on social media. You describe your life and your activities, your photos, etc. Apply this same idea to the meta descriptions of your blog posts. A creative, sassy meta description is eye catching in Google searches and can draw in readers.
2. Content Spinning
Every once in a while I read a post and think, “Wow, this looks exactly like something I just wrote!”
And then I realize it’s because IT IS.
Copycats are everywhere on the Interwebz (scraping is the term the kids are using these days), but there’s nothing as cheap and lousy as content spinning.
Here’s how it works: Just copy my blog post into the fancy content spinner and presto! The software spits out an altered version of my post that’s just original enough for you to skate by.
No fuss, no paying tortured writers to bang out content.
Here’s the problem. Not only is this unethical, it’s incredibly lame and black hat. If you don’t want to hire a writer, take a $20 Udemy class and learn how to easily write blog posts. Hire an intern. Or skip the blog altogether. But do not use content spinners. Besides, Google has Panda now so you’ll get busted anyway.
3. Directories & Link Farms
If these worked, don’t you think we’d all be doing it? The link farms that claim to skyrocket your page rankings are only going to blast you to Google prison, which is located (approximately) on page 4,992.
The only way to build links is to earn them. The tried and true way to achieve this is (get ready) by creating quality content.
Buying links is considered black hat (in almost all cases), so it’s a practice to be avoided, no matter how good it sounds.
The most common red flag with SEO? Too much, too easily, too soon. SEO is hard work and time intensive.
Ok, I’ve inundated you with some very harsh realities. Let’s take a glitter break with Brit Brit!
Brit feels your pain!
Directories still have value for SEO ranking, as long as they are used correctly. For optimal results with directories, research legitimate directories and submit your site based on the business type.
Here are some guidelines to legitimate directories:
Go with the Pros: DMOZ and Yahoo directory are gone, so here’s a list of business directories that you can use to amplify your web presence.
• Bing Local
• Yahoo Local
• Angie’s List
• Better Business Bureau
Think Local: Small, local directories that focus on your community don’t have the power of a Yelp or LinkedIn, but they are more likely to be legitimate. A red flag to look for? Anchored keywords or irrelevant links. If you live in Chicago and the links are from all over the world, it’s probably just another link farm.
Find Your Niche: Research directories that correspond to your business. The link farms are easy to spot with these directories. For example, if it’s supposed to be a vegan restaurant directory but features 24 loan approvals, skip it.
Directories are supposed to help customers find resources; they started as a good idea but have long been polluted by spammers. If you have any suspicions, just skip it. There’s no need to be penalized for spammy backlinks.
4. The 500-800 Word Count Rule
The rule for word count in the blogosphere has always been 500-800 words- but there have always been exceptions.
Neil Patel has written extensively about word count; he’s a big fan of long-form content. But here’s the thing – word count doesn’t really matter if you produce sub-par content. The goal should be well written, value-intensive content for your readers. If you can manage that in 200 or 1,000 words, more power to you.
Longer posts do have more sharing potential which leads to better rankings. Shorter, concise posts build an audience who may continue on to other posts and convert to customers. There are benefits in either case. The key here is to provide informative and engaging content instead of struggling to hit a word count. A solid, concise blog will always work better than endless rambling.
5. Duplicate Content
Much like the meta description box, search engines have gotten wise to websites with duplicate content. If you’re using individual pages for keywords or have multiple websites, make sure the content is unique.
The wrath of Google on duplicate content is mighty and swift, and you’ll see your first-page ranking vanish, pronto. This can happen unintentionally with multiple websites (websites for various countries) so be sure to check for redundant content. If you’re still using multiple websites, be aware that this allows more clicks across more sites – Google then busts you and tanks all the sites at once.
I know, it used to work. It doesn’t anymore. Time to write some new content!
Keeping up with the changes to SEO strategy is an integral part of managing your website and cultivating its success. The silver lining to SEO changes and smarter search engines is less garbage on the Internet, which makes a better user experience for all of us. When you follow the rules with SEO and produce quality content, you are not only improving your website ranking but adding valuable content to your business community.
Do you need assistance with your website’s SEO? Contact us for a hassle-free consultation. We’ll review your business needs and recommend a flexible, affordable package for you!