Most SEO strategies have been buried.
Would you like to know them…?
Search engine optimization is a fluid, ever-changing set of best practices.
Since Google gets the lion’s share of search queries in the US, it only makes sense that SEO gurus appease Google’s algorithms while putting others (like Bing and Yahoo!) on the back burner.
Of course, Google isn’t totally transparent with how their algorithms work so there’s no cheat sheet to really make the most of your SEO.
However, the company (and Matt Cutts, Google’s spam master) has been very vocal about what not to do.
Call them black hat tricks or just outdated practices; it’s pretty easy to mess up your SEO strategy. It’s why you should always depend on a reputable SEO firm to take care of business, and only do the basic tasks yourself.
Not confident that you know the latest SEO tips? Start by looking at what not to do—here are a dozen outdated, wrong or flat out illegal means of SEO that don’t work any longer
1. Duplicate content
There’s a big difference between duplicate content and well-translated multilingual pages.
If your website won’t pass Copyscape (well worth the subscription), then Google will catch you. Copying and pasting chunks of content isn’t just lazy and lead to poor quality, you’ll also get slapped with a Google penalty.
2. Keyword stuffing
Google wants you to naturally and organically include keywords and phrases into your content.
This can be pretty challenging to do, especially if one of your keywords is long-tail, incredibly niche and just doesn’t seem to work.
Awkward content leads to awkward experiences for your user, and will hurt your search rankings.
3. Short-tail keywords
It’s the era of long-tail keywords, or keyword “themes” as Google calls them, so forget about short and sweet.
Not only does it help you stay more competitive to use something like “tips for house flipping Tampa” compared to “house flipping,” it also better matches searches to websites like yours.
4. Putting in links then forgetting about them
Both inbound and outbound links can be a great way to maximize your SEO, but not if you don’t stay on top of them.
Just because you at one time linked an authority landing page to your website doesn’t mean that authority site still passes muster. Check your links to make sure they’re working and quality on a regular basis.
5. Review bombing
What’s an easy way to get positive mentions of your website all over the internet? “Bomb” review sites and try to make it look like they’re all genuine reviews.
This can work in the very short term, but there are many red flags algorithms (not to mention actual users) can spot. Instead, focus on garnering real positive reviews which is the slow and steady way to win.
6. Buying multiple domains
There are times when this strategy works, such as when you’re a multinational business that needs to have different domains in different languages for different countries.
However, if this is a means of pursuing duplicate content, don’t bother. More isn’t always more with SEO.
7. Forgetting about images and videos
There was a time when SEO was all about written content, and for the most part that’s still true.
However, algorithms today can “read” things like infographics and video/image descriptions are avenues for SEO gold.
Just make sure you use quality written content whenever possible to marry images and written text.
8. Ignoring Meta descriptions
Perhaps the most overlooked of all SEO opportunities, meta descriptions are those brief lines of text that pop up with your search queries.
It’s like the teaser or trailer to your website, but it can do so much more than let a searcher know your site is the best match for them.
It’s also an opportunity to include long-tail keywords, which (should be) exactly what your viewers are looking for.
9. Invisible text tricks
“Invisible text” is just what it sounds like: It’s invisible to the average website visitor, but still exists on a website in order to illegally boost rankings.
However, just because your viewers can’t see it doesn’t mean Google can’t. Those algorithms can read ghost text just fine.
10. Swapping speed for images
Of course you want any images on a web site to be relevant and high quality—but not at the cost of slowing down your website.
Google considers website speed when ranking websites and you should, too. The slower the website, the lower your rankings so strike a balance.
11. Thinking mobile readiness doesn’t matter
It’s 2014 and there are more Americans on mobile devices than desktop. Your site needs responsive design and mobile readiness in order to stay competitive.
Otherwise, it might be slow or display incorrectly which doesn’t just annoy users, but also lowers your SEO rankings.
12. Focusing less on quality and more on quantity
If you have to choose between the two, quality trumps quantity.
Yes, it would be nice to add a few more pages to your site (that’s opportunities for long-tail keywords), but not if the quality isn’t there.
Content is king with SEO, and the royal won’t be knocked off the throne anytime soon.
Focus on white hat tactics and understand that SEO is an evolution. Like yoga, it’s a practice that will never be perfected.