5 bad SEO practices you should abandon now
Last modified: 2019/04/23 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
If you’re working in content marketing, you’re likely aware of how vital SEO is to the visibility and success of your website and in turn, your business. Of course, staying on top of SEO’s evolving trends is difficult at best. Although there are some tried and tested strategies which have remained, there are certain SEO practices that marketers should throw away as soon as possible. Outdated, as well as bad SEO practices, can have a major negative impact on your website performance and your overall brand.
It’s important to stay on top of changing SEO strategies so that you’re performing to the best of your ability. We can’t deny it’s hard to know which tactics work and which don’t. So, we’re here to offer a helping hand and lay out the SEO practices you should abandon right now.
5 bad SEO practices you should abandon now
1- Improper keyword use
Keywords almost always seem to be at the crux of many SEO marketing strategies. However, there are plenty of online marketers who still don’t understand the role of keywords in relation to SEO initiatives. Keywords should still be used in your day-to-day SEO strategy. However, how they should be implemented has drastically changed and keywords are often abused, overused and mismanaged.
Keyword stuffing is a common strategy of a new or inexperienced content marketer. Essentially what this means is repeating the same keyword over and over again in an attempt to optimize your web copy. This makes it very difficult to parse through your content and will definitely deter visitors from interacting with or remaining on your website.
Not only this, but Google has developed the ability to detect when content marketers are keyword stuffing. Google can check how often a word or series of words appears in a text. If a word is overused, it can heavily impact your search engine rankings. Obviously, when implementing SEO strategies, you’re hoping for the exact opposite outcome.
Instead of keyword overuse and stuffing, have you considered using medium-form keywords or semantically related words? Since Google uses a multitude of signals to determine phrases that match the original meaning of your keyword, you don't systematically have to use the same keyword over and over again. With semantically-related keywords, Google’s algorithms will still recognize your main keyword and won't apply a penalty.
2- Unnatural, boring or awkwardly-written content
It’s likely you’ve come across an article that reads as if it were written for a robot: weird sentences that don’t flow, odd word choices, plenty of repetition and poor syntax. Bad content writers rush through articles, blog posts, newsletters and so forth in the hopes that simply putting something online will improve their website ranking. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Search engines like Google are able to detect filler content. This is especially true when content marketers try to write for the search engines themselves. As mentioned, keyword stuffing or overuse of the same word can be detected by Google crawlers. As Google’s AI continues to improve, they’re able to detect when content is below average. Focus on creating content that’s useful, engaging and interesting, while relevant to your target market. If your readers are able to find what they’re looking for, then you’re much more likely to rank higher.
Not only should content be interesting, but it also needs to be unique. You should avoid publishing duplicate copy and articles. Search engines can detect duplicate content, and will not index these web pages. If it’s absolutely necessary for you to host identical blog posts and articles, it’s crucial that these pages are marked no index and no follow.
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3- Too much advertising
Advertising is important to certain SEO practices, but having too many ads on one page will not only create a poor user experience but will penalize your website. If the pages of your website have more advertisements than useful information or you can’t tell the difference between ad and text, you’ve gone too far.
Google will punish a website with too many advertisements, especially those who place the ads above the fold, or the part of the page that’s visible before scrolling. Pop-ups are another serious offence, so pay attention to those on your page and even more so, those which direct away from your website.
4- Anchor text
Now, we need to drive the point home that a good website will focus on content that offers an intuitive and user-friendly experience and is natural. A seasoned content marketer will be familiar with how to use internal links to enhance the user experience. Anchor text is what accompanies an internal link, and this is an HTML element that allows you to inform the visitor what they can expect when they click on your embedded link.
A common SEO practice of the past was to use keyword loaded or exact-match anchor text. Now, Google may view this as over-optimized content. Again, if you’re including anchor text, it should fit into the content cleanly and read naturally rather than awkwardly.
5- Bad links
There are plenty of different types of bad links that SEO practitioners continue to use to this day. The first of those is paid links, as this shortcut is a poor marketing tactic. A successful website takes time to gain traction, it’s important to be patient and honour natural backlinks rather than rush through the process of gaining a following. Paid links may bring in traffic and temporary success but this will quickly fizzle out. If Google detects a paid link, it’s very likely you’ll lose your site ranking.
Too many outgoing links can also affect your site ranking. If you have an overwhelming amount of outgoing links and don’t use the no follow tag. To Google and other search engines, this will come across as though you’re running a link farm and thus, will greatly impact your ranking.
Link trading is the last bad link on the list. Trading links means working with another website to share one another’s content. This could be an extension of buying links. Regardless, it’s a bad practice. Any link building activity that happens in an inorganic way should be completely wiped from your marketing strategy. If you’re taking away anything major from this article, it should be that at the foundation of your content marketing and SEO strategies should be organic, interesting and useful content!