Table of Contents
- What is SEO?
- Importance of SEO
- Basics of SEO
- 4 Bad SEO Tactics You Need to Stop Now
- Key Takeaways
Content creators and marketers no longer indulge in keyword stuffing, which is considered bad SEO where you load content stuffed with keywords onto web pages only for attaining a better ranking. Instead, it is better to use trending keywords moderately because Google’s freshness algorithm will interpret that as people looking for updated information not available in the older pages. Today, writers and marketers are aware that engaging in unfair practices will result in stiff penalties. However, some marketers still engage in such bad SEO tactics.
Google’s latest algorithm acknowledges a web page with relevant terms; it doesn’t concur that such pages need not necessarily be of any value to readers. As search engines are getting smarter, and have several other ways to detect bad SEO tactics, marketers and content creators need to be doubly careful and avoid such tactics.
People are looking for answers, but they are not interested in browsing several pages to find them. Why would anyone want to wade through a mountain of content to find the proverbial needle in a haystack? Writers need to be smarter and create relevant content adhering to SEO practices.
What is SEO?
SEO or search engine optimization is a process that helps your website gain better visibility. In the vast Internet jungle, people searching for your product or service will never find it unless you are visible online. Any searches on search engines like Google or Bing will show results only if your website is optimized. When there’s good visibility in search results, your brand gets noticed, and prospective buyers proceed to your website to purchase your product or service.
How Does it Work?
Google, Bing, and other search engines deploy bots to crawl your website’s pages, collect vital information about your website’s pages in the process, and start indexing the pages. Google’s index is more like a mammoth library, and just as indexing helps locate a physical book, indexing in the web world helps find a particular page (your webpage).
As mentioned earlier, its algorithms work on the indexed pages and consider several hundred ranking and signal factors before determining the order in which the pages should appear for any search result. And just as the librarian knows which book contains what information, it is easy for a searcher when Google bring up the page based on its algorithm and page indexing.
Unlike bad SEO, good SEO can ensure a great user experience because the search bots can gauge exactly what the searcher is looking for and find the correct webpage containing the information.
SEO plays a crucial role in marketing because with the millions and millions of searches people conduct while online, finding the correct information within seconds helps digital marketers find their buyers. It is favorable for the bottom line if a marketer can figure in a search result faster than the competitor. Hence, SEO is the basis of an organic marketing system, and the trick lies in finding out what online users want.
Importance of SEO
In a highly competitive world, SEO marketing plays a crucial role. Search engines keep churning up millions of search results in an endeavor to answer searchers’ questions. The marketers take the cue from the search results and try to understand the searchers’ pain points and offer relevant solutions.
Researches indicate that over 70% of search engine users will probably click on any one of the top 5 search results (SERPS). If your website figures in the top five, you’ve made it. CTR or click-through rate is arrived at by dividing the total number of clicks by the number of times your ad appeared. It allows you to appear in the top five search results and attract visitors to your website to convert them into prospects.
In contrast to bad SEO tactics, good SEO improves user experience and website performance. Users start trusting search engines as they come up with reliable search results most of the time; this helps build trust on your website as well. If the search results don’t match a searcher’s query, it could mean the searcher used the wrong keyword.
SEO helps prepare your website for its foray into social media as people finding you on Google are likely to share your link on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Also, if your website has a dedicated page for blogs, SEO helps run that page smoothly. Blogs help increase organic traffic to your website.
With SEO on your side, you can take on the toughest competition. Comparing two websites from the same business, the one with an optimized site will have more visitors than the one without, and revenues will increase accordingly.
The Basics of SEO
Every website owner must optimize their website to make it search engine-friendly. At a basic level, SEO helps your website gain better visibility and appear prominently in the search results of online shoppers. The world of blogs is a challenging place for bloggers. Search engines should index their content to reach their target audience. This art or technique of optimizing your content and making them search engine-ready is what search engine optimization or SEO is all about. It is a legitimate practice as long as you follow good SEO, but when you adopt bad SEO tactics and use bad SEO examples, it is bad SEO practice.
The trick lies in creating clean, easy-to-read content for your target audiences and the search engines. Further, you should consider both on-page and off-page SEO practices, both of which are crucial for driving traffic to your website.
On-page SEO practices
A writer must focus on what they are writing about and ensure that the headline and subheadings are relevant to the topic. Your endeavor must be to create and communicate with content relating to what your target audience may be searching for online. That’s why it is crucial to use the appropriate words and phrases (keywords) in the headline and body of the content. It pays to be specific instead of being generic. For example, when writing about video games, you should use specific long-tail keywords such as “our leading reviews of Minecraft” rather than more generic phrases such as “popular video games like Minecraft” or “popular video games.” The logic is simple; using specific keywords is closer to what your target audience may be searching for.
Off-page SEO practices
The important point to consider is that you have to write shareable content. It is easier for your readers to share if you include a share button, which you can do by using any plugins like Social Snap or Novashare that help share your content on social networks. You must share your content on various networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach more people.
When you write high-quality content, it naturally attracts other bloggers who would want to link with you. To encourage such people from your fraternity, please ask them to use the right HTML tags to link back. For instance, if a popular blogger focusing on online games finds your Minecraft review worthwhile, you may want to ask them to link to your review with an ALT tag “Minecraft review” on the link on their blog. The blogging fraternity thrives by seeking and returning favors and increasing readership and traffic in the process. Search engine optimization is not all that technical to scare off an ordinary writer.
You just need to understand the basics and apply them to your content to boost search ranking and make your content more visible.
Monitor your website
Monitoring your site regularly is the only way to determine whether your SEO efforts are up to your satisfaction. You may want to use the Google Toolbar and Alexa to check your site’s page rank, visitors’ demographics, the bounce rate, and other factors. It is easy to track the origin of your visitors by checking your referrer log, which also tells you the search terms they used to find you.
Use appropriate keywords
Use the appropriate keywords on all the pages of your website, in the content, URLs, image descriptions, titles, etc., because they are the search terms your target audience uses. Your headline must feature the primary keyword, and so should your page header. Remember that keyword stuffing (using keywords in every sentence) is bad SEO and will only work negatively. Your website is likely to be flagged as a spammer because Google’s spiders are programmed to detect keyword stuffing.
Interlink your pages
The most basic strategy of good SEO is integrating your internal links into your site. It is probably one of the best organic ways to drive traffic to specific pages on your website. Each time you write a new blog, make sure you include links to your older blogs in your archives. Another trick to remember is making your anchor text search engine compatible. Using relevant keywords can help your web pages appear on search results more often (each time a user puts a query)
The importance of a site map
A sitemap is essential for your website, which should be built with a clear-cut goal as it is the driving force to the success of your website. It is a literal map of your website, which makes navigating from one page to the next a lot easier. Updating your sitemap is good for you and the search engines as they are the bridge between your website and the search engines. Your site is more visible to search engines, and you can avoid bad SEO with a good sitemap. When you launch a new website or add pages to an existing one, you need a sitemap.
Create search-friendly URLs
Use the primary keywords in your URLs to make them search-friendly. Even a dynamic URL with easily recognizable words may not do the trick. Using keywords in your URLs improves your ranking factor and helps the user quickly understand what the page is all about. Also, although servers recognize mixed case (upper and lower) URLs, it is better to follow one standard as it helps prevent linking errors within and outside the website.
Be sure you use dashes rather than underscores because the latter is not visible when your URL is published as a bare link. Also, avoid using redundant words in your URL, and if you must use a date in your URL, keep in mind that the same date has to be used year after year.
Never use flash
Flash may look jazzy on your page, but its contribution to SEO is negligible. Please be aware that Flash, Frames, and AJAX cannot link to the same page. It is better not to use Frames, and Flash and AJAX can be used to the minimum for better SEO results. However, if you must have a Flash page, use it for your main page only with the navigation links and text right below.
Use descriptive words for your images
Did you know that Google’s spiders cannot search the text in your images? Since they can only search plain text, it is best to use highly descriptive terms to describe your pictures. You may want to add an ALT tag as it lets you use descriptions with keywords for all the images on your site. The text accompanying your pictures is vital for SEO, so make sure you add captions to all your graphics.
Keep updating your content
Unless you keep updating your content regularly, you cannot expect any increase in the traffic to your website. When your site contains updated information about any product or service, or any topic, it not only attracts new users but becomes search engine-friendly at the same time. Keep writing new blogs and uploading them on your website; if you can’t find a good blogger, you must turn into one and contribute to your site yourself. A blog from the CEO kindles a lot of curiosity, prompting users to read it immediately. A blog from the top person adds a personal touch.
The significance of social media
How can social media be significant for SEO? Social media is crucial for SEO as it indirectly influences the factors that affect your search rankings. Social media has great potential to increase quality online traffic to your content. When people read high-quality content, they start advocating it and sharing it with their peers. They recognize value when they see it, and want their friends to appreciate such value.
It is a chain reaction because each recipient is keen to share, often causing the content to go viral. You can create not just blogs but videos, infographics, and podcasts, all of which will be lapped up by your audience if it resonates. Your content gets automatically amplified on social media as it keeps getting shared.
Hence it is essential to follow certain basics because:
- Posting informative pieces on social media helps grow traffic.
- Informative and valuable content gains momentum and increases the reach, leading to more backlinks.
- Quality content consistently ranks better in search results and helps increase followers and drive more traffic.
- Quality also helps establish brand value and enhances the brand reputation by adding credibility.
- Social media links help search engines like Google index your content better.
- Page indexing leads to increased search traffic and better ranking.
Although social media is not an SEO ranking element, it only correlates with the factors influencing your SEO rankings. Social media can positively influence your SEO and help drive better rankings. Your SEO strategy must include creating fresh content regularly and distributing it on several social media channels as part of your SEO strategy. You can first post on your company page and share it with your target audiences, who will reshare and retweet your posts. Using such a strategy helps your post reach multiple viewers and drives traffic to your website.
4 Bad SEO Tactics You Need to Stop Following
1. Focusing on the same topic
If you want visitors returning to your site repeatedly, you need to keep producing fresh content and uploading it regularly. One of the bad SEO tactics you must avoid at any cost is using the same topic repeatedly and using old content multiple times without repurposing it. Your visitors are more likely to stop visiting your website if you continue to post content on the same subject because it becomes stale. New developments and updates are bound to happen, and you must update the latest information to keep your users engrossed.
Every topic and subject you write about and on should have some new information to expand your reach. When you write on various issues, you can select keywords related to each of those topics. Targeting different keywords with each new post helps increase the search volume. Using one keyword can get you 500 new users; using three unrelated keywords should attract at least 1,500 users because that’s basic math.
Of course, that does not mean that you should not focus on your primary keyword, which is your bread and butter. Especially if you are a new company, you must focus on your content strategy to increase traffic. You may not have a content repository yet and may have to focus on your core areas before presenting content on topics not directly related to your product or service.
2. Keyword stuffing as part of your content strategy
Keyword stuffing is bad SEO and can lead to penalties or even banishment from Google. For search engine optimization and to get noticed by the search engines, relevant keywords are essential. Of course, you need to use a keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to identify the relevant keywords that resonate with your target audience. Using keywords solely for the sake of gaining ranking is a foolhardy approach that can put you in deep trouble. Most customers read content hoping to find a solution to their problems. It is impossible to write relevant content offering solutions unless you know your customers’ pain points. Mere keyword stuffing is a practice you must avoid at any cost.
3. Using the same old content again and again
Starting with enthusiasm, you create content, post it on your website, and share it with your target audience. People’s most common mistake is repeating the same content, not realizing it is too old. Providing evergreen content to your target audience, which adds value to the posts you make, is also considered a bad SEO practice, as users expect fresh content.
Moreover, you must keep optimizing your content to make it SEO-friendly.
When you use the same content repeatedly, readers consider it outdated, don’t find it relevant, and tend to skip it. Although the topics remain the same, they should be presented in a new way each time to stay fresh in users’ minds.
4. Allowing technical errors to pile up
While you focus your efforts on creating content, you may fail to notice the technical errors piling up. For instance, you may inadvertently create title tags or Meta descriptions incorrectly. As you optimize your content, remove old blogs and replace them with new ones, redirect your blogs, etc., beware of technical snags that may affect your SEO.
If the errors are not detected and fixed immediately, they accumulate, and getting the backlog fixed becomes a daunting task. Did you know that Google can penalize you if your website is not compliant with its webmaster quality guidelines? As the errors keep accumulating, your search rankings also start slipping down, affecting your visibility.
It is easy to fall into the trap and indulge in using bad SEO tactics. Some people may know why duplicate content is harmful for SEO but still use plagiarized content, which is detrimental only to their website.
However, taking that extra effort to follow good SEO practices pays over a period. When you use good SEO techniques, you make a lasting impression in the minds of your customers, who respect good content as it helps them resolve their issues. Focus on interlinking your content which will help you create a content repository you can fall back on from time to time.
The important thing is not being scared of SEO, imagining it is too technical. To make your content more visible and quickly found, you should follow some valuable tips on good SEO practices and avoid bad SEO tactics. The best way to learn as you go and apply what you discover.
There are a few bad SEO tactics that you must avoid at any cost. Stuffing keywords just for the search engines’ sake is bad SEO and is frowned upon by search engines. Even exact keyword matching is considered a bad SEO practice. Instead of spinning content or buying backlinks, try to follow organic practices. Although the organic path is time-consuming, it is the best approach and pays off over time.
Although bad SEO is a general term, any unethical practices are considered bad SEO tactics. Similarly, hanging on to anything outdated or something that doesn’t come in the purview of Google webmaster specifications is also bad SEO. Remember that SEO is all about optimizing your website to be search engine-friendly. However, bad SEO can produce the opposite results, putting you in a mess.
You must avoid the first SEO mistake of allowing your web pages to open slowly because of poor speed. Although it is not considered bad SEO, sluggish web pages are detrimental to the health of your website. Similarly, while good reviews on Google help, bad reviews work in the opposite direction, hence avoiding bad Google reviews at any cost.
Plagiarised content is a website owner’s nightmare, which is why duplicate content is bad for SEO. Such content can lead you to be penalized by Google. Another thing you must avoid is bad backlinks, as also broken images and alt texts, as these are all very bad SEO examples.
Also known as “black hat,” bad SEO is the practice of violating Google’s terms of service. Google does not allow hidden text or keyword stuffing because it would be considered spamming. These are shortcuts you may be inclined to take to achieve better ranking but must avoid as they will only affect your website’s ranking on Google, Bing, and other search engines.
When you adopt any unethical methods to attain a better ranking for your website, it is considered bad SEO tactics or SEO abuse. Otherwise known as spamdexing, it could be content spam or link spam, and all such techniques are frowned upon by Google. Whenever search engines detect signs of spamming, they remove such pages from the indexing system.