Website and blog search engine optimization are a crucial part of digital marketing. Consequently, you’ll rarely hear marketers say they don’t really care about SEO.
Still, caring isn’t always being good at it. The SEO game changes constantly and so should your SEO tactics. This is why it’s immensely puzzling to me when I still see marketers speaking about buying backlinks and stuffing their very short blog posts with keywords.
It’s 2017, for God’s sake!
It’s the year when no one should doubt that content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand. No one should be talking about black hat techniques anymore, but people still do. And these are just a few of the mistakes that could turn SEO into the worst faux pas of your marketing strategy.
Let’s examine the matter closer.
8 SEO mistakes you should avoid at all costs
First off, let’s take a look at the purpose of SEO: you want people to find you organically because you want to gain their business, right? None of the techniques below will bring you relevant visitors. Sure, you may gain a lot of traffic, but very few conversions.
1. You write for search engines, not humans
And no, Google doesn’t feel flattered. Quite the opposite, actually. You see, each Google algorithm update proves over and over again that only the websites that offer relevant, valuable content can rank high today.
What does this mean for you?
Well, it means that before even touching the keyboard, you need to ask yourself this: “what do my clients want to read about?” Only when you have the answer can you start searching for keywords and thinking about optimizing your content.
If your customers don’t want to read it, Google won’t boost its rank. It’s that simple.
2. You stuff your articles with keywords
Whenever I hire SEO copywriters for my marketing agency, I ask them about the keyword density they use. I do this because I want to know if they keep in touch with the (not so) recent trends.
If the copywriter answers they use a keyword density higher than three percent, I never hire them. Three percent is too high as it is, but I was surprised to hear about densities that go above five percent.
Do you know what such a density makes? Two things:
- An unreadable article
- A spammy article that Google penalizes
“I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher” “I want to rank higher”
Such copy brings you literally nothing. You won’t rank higher and you won’t gain any interested readers that you could later turn into paying customers.
Instead of stuffing your copy with keywords, try to use synonyms. When you write about SEO, speak about rankings, copywriting, page indexing, Google crawlers and so on. And do it in a natural way. Search engines will pick up on it. They’re smart enough – you don’t need to keep repeating the same thing over and over again.
3. You use broken links
If you do a lot of internal linking and constant design and back-end changes to your website, you are bound to have some broken links. Plus, some of the websites you linked to years ago may no longer exist or they may have removed the pages you were linking to. Google can penalize you severely for something like this.
Do some good ol’ fashion housekeeping. Check older articles and the links they contain. If the pages no longer exist, remove the links. If they still exist, but now “live” in a different place, add their new address.
4. You don’t use internal linking
When you link to one of your own articles, you let Google know once again that the article is relevant. Plus, you generate more traffic to more of your articles.
When you link internally, make sure that the anchor text is relevant. Ideally, the text should be the exact keyword you want your article to link for.
5. You don’t use external linking
Why should you link to someone else’s website and help them improve their ranking for free, you may ask. Well, because this helps you first and foremost.
Google loves informative websites. And, in order to have valuable information, you need sources, don’t you?
So don’t be afraid to link to reliable websites and blogs of thought leaders in your industry. I’m not suggesting you link to your competitor’s online shop. Link to reports, surveys or opinion pieces signed by thought leaders.
6. Your website is not mobile-friendly
If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google will penalize you. Sure, you will still appear in desktop searches, but not in mobile ones. At all.
You think this isn’t important? Think again. There are now more mobile Internet users than desktop ones. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re not just losing your rankings. You’re also losing tons of potential users.
7. You don’t use the right keywords
Short keywords are not your golden tickets to SEO success. Not only is it very hard to optimize your website for them, but they aren’t even very useful.
I run a digital marketing agency. But I never wanted (or tried!) to rank for “digital marketing.” Wikipedia should rank first for this keyword, not my agency’s website.
Because the website such a keyword brings is not relevant. People who are simply searching for “digital marketing” want to learn more about the topic, not hire us.
On the other hand, ranking for “digital marketing specialists for hire” or “how to hire a digital marketing agency” is excellent. These are the keywords that my potential clients would use. Consequently, these are the keywords I want to rank for.
8. You forget about image tags
I’m sure you already know that blog posts without at least one image are a big no-no. But do you do your due diligence and add the image tags?
If not, you should! Google is very fond of them. They prove that the article in its entirety (text and images alike) is relevant for the keywords you want to rank for.
Avoid the most common SEO mistakes
It’s actually easier than you might think. I used to loathe the keyword-stuffed articles I stumbled upon years ago with a passion. Now, I see them more and more rarely. And it’s a good thing. Both for businesses and for copywriters.
It’s excruciating to write articles that are suffocated by keywords. Even more, no one really reads them or enjoys them.
As long as you write naturally and you think about your readers, you will avoid the most important SEO mistakes. And gain a few loyal readers and potential clients.
By Adriana Tica