Everyone loves getting a fresh start in the new year. While you’re making plans for a better you in 2017, you should also make resolutions to improve your website. While you may achieve your personal goals with new running shoes, your website may need some search engine-friendly content or a break from bad SEO practices to reach its potential.
Luckily, it’s not too difficult to give your website a little TLC this year. Start off your January by tossing out bad SEO tactics and bringing in healthy new practices that will help your website attract more visitors and deliver more conversions. Here are three common but bad SEO techniques that you should say goodbye to in 2017.
#1. Keyword Stuffing
You may know a little about keywords and SEO. Keywords are the words and phrases that connect your site with the things for which people are searching. For example, if you sell reusable water bottles, a couple of keywords you may use could be “plastic sport water bottle” or “best reusable water bottle.”
However, one common SEO mistake lies in the assumption that all Google and Bing are looking for is keywords, so the more keywords you stuff into your content, the better you’ll rank. This belief results in content with phrases like “best reusable water bottle” stuffed awkwardly into every sentence on the page. Not only can the search engines detect that you are trying to manipulate them, but users reading your content will find your information difficult to digest and spammy in nature.
Quality and user experience beat pure quantity. Today’s search engines are looking for user-friendly, informative content. Keywords are still important to integrate into your content, but the search engines can tell if you’re trying to trick them into giving your page a higher ranking. Prioritize readability and incorporate key phrases in places where they naturally belong to make pages that both search engines and readers love.
#2. Duplicate Content
Remember in school when your teachers and professors lectured on about the dangers of plagiarism? Guess what? That wisdom applies to SEO, too. Copying content from other places on the web or even replicating original content on several pages of your own site is always an SEO mistake. Google and Bing don’t see duplicate content as worth indexing if they’ve already found it somewhere else, and your web pages will be in danger of getting buried.
It may seem easier to just copy and paste relevant info on different pages of your site, and you may not see the harm if it is, in fact, original content that you wrote. However, in the end, the search engines will still see it as duplicate. It’s a bad SEO technique that can only hurt you.
Take the time to give each page unique, original content. If you have many pages that reuse the same material, ask yourself why your current site is structured in this way, and consider using this SEO mistake as an opportunity to tighten the structure of your site for a better user experience.
#3. Buying Links
You may have heard about the power of links for building your search engine credibility. It’s not all bunk– relevant links to your site do help search engines recognize your site as legitimate and helpful for users. However, not every link leading to your site is going to help your search rankings. In fact, bad SEO practices in this area are becoming increasingly risky for websites. If your site has a large number of links that seem suspect to the search engines, it could receive a penalty and never see the light of a good ranking again.
If you’re investing funds in a service that is purchasing links leading to your site, stop immediately. Even if you have used purchased links as a successful strategy in the past, keep in mind that Google, Bing, and the other major algorithms are constantly on the prowl for suspect link-building schemes, and these search engines are only getting better and better and detecting human misconduct. In short, this is not a scenario in which you should attempt to outsmart the machine – it will ultimately be devastating to your site rankings when things go south.
If you’ve pursued some potentially-unhealthy link-building activities in the recent or distant past or suspect that similar bad SEO tactics have occurred in the past, it may be time to reach out to the professionals to clean up your link portfolio.
Keeping your new year’s resolutions can be hard, but SEO doesn’t have to be. Bring in our seasoned team of SEO experts to help your site recover from the bad SEO practices in its past. We’ll help you get back on track.