As online marketers, we get the pleasure of working in an ever-changing and ever-growing industry. Just think of the new algorithms, updates, and features we now work with every day that didn’t exist ten years ago! While this is certainly an exciting time to be a part of the inbound marketing revolution, it can be a challenge to keep your practices and strategies in line with current techniques. If you’re still working the same way you did even a few years ago, you may be missing out on a lot of potential customers. You could even be doing something that can bring a penalization from Google.
Optimizing your online content (SEO) has come a long way in a short amount of time. As certain trends emerge, others fade away. And then there are those that Google finds out about and crushes, also referred to as “Black Hat SEO”. If you are still implementing any of the following, retire them immediately:
Poor Content Quality. Content is king! Web sites that are continuously publishing quality content, meaning that it is both well written and helpful to searchers, will be more likely to find themselves on the front page of search results. It wasn’t always like that though. When Google rolled out the Penguin update, it made having great content an absolute must for anyone wanting to rank well. Now, having poor content is more detrimental to your website’s ranking than any other SEO practice.
Keyword Stuffing. While quality content is written for user engagement in mind, poorly written content is usually written with the idea of trying to trick search engines. This has become known as “keyword stuffing”. Let’s take a quick quiz. Which website are you more likely to keep reading?
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Did you say B? That’s because the first example is blatantly keyword stuffing to rank for as many keywords as possible without thinking about the actual reader looking at their website. This practice worked years ago, but it is a huge deterrent to both Google rankings and your potential customers’ view on your brand now.
Duplicate Content. Continually writing quality content can be time and labor exhaustive. So why not find a blog you like, copy and paste it to your site, and be done with it? Not even considering the legal ramifications of it, Google gets confused by duplicate content and penalizes it. You can certainly quote and reword other writer’s ideas, plus linking back and forth can boost both of your authorities. Never post exactly the same thing that already exists somewhere else on the internet, even if that “somewhere else” is another page on your website. Taking a few minutes to phrase something in a new way will be worth it in the long run.
Meta Description Stuffing. When you search for something in a search engine, the search engine results page (SERP) provides a brief description of the site below the link to give readers a better idea of where the link goes. This is called the meta description. All the way back in 2009, Google announced that the meta description held no bearing in your rankings. They are now only for user engagement, and a way to convince a reader to go to your website from the (SERP). Previous to the 2009 update, marketers would keyword stuff the meta description with positive results but this practice has no effect on your organic rankings now and will only serve to discourage people from clicking to your page.
What is important to remember when creating your content is that it’s all about providing an authentic user experience. These four practices might have once gotten you to the front page of search results years ago, but if you’re still doing these shady practices today, you’re likely to be several pages deep. According to many published reports like Search Engine Journal, 75% of users do not search past the first page. If you aren’t implementing the most up-to-date SEO practices and filling your website with quality content, you won’t be getting seen. If you need more help with SEO and other inbound marketing strategies, download our free eBook today: