For a website to gain considerable amounts of traffic and engagement, search engine optimization is a wise marketing strategy to utilize. Though SEO tactics are known to be successful, it's not as widely known that they can become outdated. As the internet algorithms continue to evolve and change, your SEO marketing strategies need to evolve as well. Before digging your heels into your current practices, consider six SEO practices you should stop doing.
1. Inappropriate Keyword Use
When you're inserting the main keyword in every other sentence, search engines will recognize this tactic as keyword-stuffing. Most search engines frown on this. If you've purchased the domain name of the main keyword you plan to use, know that this is a great way to back your brand into a corner. It's also not an effective strategy anymore as it is considered one of the out-of-date SEO practices. If you're unsure of how to properly insert keywords into your website's content, use an SEO word plug-in tool like Yoast SEO.
2. Google Overemphasis
Even though Google is a dynamic platform as the most visited website in the world, many marketers make the mistake of making Google their only source of traffic. When it pertains to SEO efforts, remember that there are other platforms. Microsoft is a powerful company, and they host their own search engine called Bing. Though Bing might not be as widely favored as Google, it still receives millions of hits a day.
In order to evolve, learn how to curate your SEO efforts towards other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. Optimize your website in order to make sure these search engines can review your site, approve it and rank it accordingly. Bing’s Webmaster Tools is the equivalent of Google Analytics. Study Bing’s Webmaster Tools in order to properly curate SEO efforts to rank on the site.
DuckDuckGo continues to grow in popularity because it’s one of the few search engines that gives users a sense of privacy. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t want access to the information they’re looking for. SEO tactics like building quality backlinks and submitting your sitemap work beautifully on search engines like DuckDuckGo.
While it might feel unnatural to use any other search engine’s tools, it’s equivalent to going the extra mile. If people actually do any SEO strategies, they’re typically tailoring it to Google. There’s a significant number of people you’ll miss out on reaching if you simply pigeonhole your efforts to Google.
3. Article Spinning
Article spinning is the act of taking an original article and placing it through a program that repositions the wording and phrases in order to create a new article. In many cases, people took articles they previously published, placed them through an article-spinning system, and published the newly-produced article on their website. While it’s not considered plagiarism because you’re recreating your own work, it is still an effort to cheat the system because you’re simply regurgitating old content and promoting it as new.
When search engines opt to rank your content higher, they’re vouching for your website in order to say it’s a legitimate source of valuable information. Ranking by regurgitating old content will only go so far because eventually, the reader will figure it out. This also leads to a loss of credibility.
Unfortunately, there are some people who opted to use articles they didn’t write in order to continue the article-spinning process. This is plagiarism, and it’s strictly prohibited. Once major search engines find out what’s happening (and the algorithms are smart enough to catch it eventually), you’ll lose whatever ranking you initially achieved.
Instead of focusing on spinning your articles, focus on the quality instead. Dial back on the number of times you publish in order to make sure the quality is excellent. In order to be properly optimized for SEO, you typically need just over 300 words. Focus on creating excellent 300-word blog posts that are optimized perfectly instead of producing three 2,000-word blog posts that went through the article-spinning process.
4. Forgoing Mobile SEO Efforts
One of the most valuable SEO practices every website needs is a mobile SEO strategy. While it was possible to skip the mobile audience twenty years ago, it’s an outdated mindset to believe that mobile SEO optimization is merely optional. Countless studies point to most people using their mobile phones to scroll and engage with the internet. In order to be a formidable option in your specific niche, it’s time to stop forgoing mobile SEO efforts.
Start by paying attention to your site’s load time. In this fast-paced world where social media platforms crank out short-form content in droves, people expect their information to load quickly. Pay attention to how the user moves throughout the website. Is it easy for them to scroll without a ton of pop-up distractions? This will play a role in whether they scroll and how long they stay.
When people type specific requests in the search engine, consider whether your business is local. If you’re operating a local business, you’ll need to include local SEO in your mobile strategy. A good local SEO company will be able to help you reach potential customers in your area. From a mobile smartphone, it’s not uncommon for users to type in the phrase ‘near me’ when they’re looking for something. Whether it’s ‘dry cleaners near me’ or ‘coffee shops near me’, make sure your content is optimized to directly reflect your availability. It’s also wise to register your business with Google’s business directory to increase your chances of ranking.
5. Prioritizing Search Engines over People
When you’re writing for search engines, it’s easy to focus on making sure the main keywords show up a certain number of times. It’s very rare that the same word can appear multiple times within a sentence and still come across as coherent. When a reader can’t appreciate or easily comprehend the blog post because of the way it reads, this leads to a lack of engagement. A lack of engagement ultimately leads to a dip in the search engine ranking.
While keywords definitely matter in the grand scheme of content creation, they’re not the most important component. Value is the top priority because it’s what keeps a reader engaged. It’s also what keeps them returning and recommending your website to others.
Start by getting clear about what the specific keyword is. Create an outline that helps you get clear on how the content needs to flow. Then, write. Once you’ve created an information-packed blog post, refine it in order to make sure the keyword flows well within the content. The main keyword typically needs to be within the first paragraph and throughout the blog post. The main keyword shouldn’t show up multiple times within the first paragraph as this will look as though you’re stuffing keywords. Since keyword-stuffing tactics are frowned upon, clearly define the main keywords and use them wisely.
6. Inconsistency and Lack of Diversity
In an effort to live up to the “content is king” mantra of so many marketers, it was easy for a lot of website owners to feel the weight of burnout. As a result, sporadic content becomes king. Content gets published on a whim instead of on a consistent basis. In order for the search engines to recognize your content as valuable and authoritative in the space, you’ll need to produce it consistently. Prioritize quality over quantity. If you’re able to publish one great blog post on a weekly basis, that’s much better than posting a few great posts every few weeks.
In addition to inconsistency, it’s easy to run into the issue of a lack of diversity. When you’re consistent in producing keyword-optimized content, you’ll probably run into the diversity concern. While there’s nothing wrong with being the go-to website for a particular topic, you run the risk of becoming stale when you solely use the same keyword for all of your content.
Diversify your content by expanding your niche. Expand the ideas and concepts you discuss on your website. Create a content tree with various branches that allow you to expand the number of relevant micro-niches you can cover. As you expand your conversation, you’ll be able to dominate other keyword searches. This will give you more visibility and reach as you’re able to enter more relevant conversations.
Pivoting and Paying Attention
If you realize that you've implemented some of these practices for far too long, it's never too late to pivot. As you become consistent in your efforts to improve your SEO strategies, document the process. Pay attention to the blog posts that perform the best and why. Don't forget to keep an eye on ways that SEO practices evolve so that you won't make the same mistakes in the future.
Olivia Monroe, a freelance writer, specializes in writing about technology, business, and health. She offers freelance blogging and content writing for SEO. When she's not writing, Monroe likes to travel, cook, and write vacation plans.