SEO gurus may have recommended outdated search engine optimization methods to you or someone in your company. We found five common mistakes that could be hurting your online marketing strategy. Don’t receive a Google penalty. Stay on top of Google search by avoiding the items on our list.
As website developers, DotComWeavers has written about the the SEO community for years. We would like to share information from our experience with our readers. Continue if you want to drive more traffic to your websites, have a lower bounce rate, and avoid penalization from Google.
This article will be periodically updated with more avoidable outdated content tactics. There’s a catch. We need your help. If you see any outdated practices that really grinds your gears that aren’t listed here, let us know in the comments below.
“Search intent is more important than search terms.”
For the last few years, keywords have played a shrinking role in search visibility. Google is focusing on user intent more than ever. For instance, when a user is trying to find something unfamiliar, it will likely not know the correct keywords for the best Google results page. The algorithm in Google, and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, is trying to predict the page you are looking for before you even click “search”.
Create content that reflects what a user expects from your website. If you own a garden supply website, your blog articles should discuss garden supply topics that your website visitors will consider important, indispensable, and relevant to their experience.
Take Away: Google only slightly considers the keywords a user types when searching through the keywords on your webpage. It’s anticipating user intent. Ask yourself, does your content match your users’ intent? What kind of traffic does your current content attract? Is it the right type of user?
“Create amazing content for readers, not search engines.”
Keyword stuffing your content and meta description is a sure way for search engines to ignore your content. SEO novices tend to repeat keywords verbatim many times throughout a blog post, but this can actually hurt your content’s chances of ranking highly for a keyword. If you are writing an article about “couches”, writing “couches” repeatedly will not help you appear on search engines results pages. The goal to avoid only using exact matches. Google wants variations on your keywords such as “sofas, lounges, chaise, loveseats…etc.”
The tough part is estimating the appropriate keyword density for your page. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the amount of times a keyword or phrase appears in your content compared to the total number of words. However, as Matt Cutts notes in this video, it’s best not to think of keywords in these terms.
Take Away: Don’t always go for an exact match on a keyword. Use Google Keyword Planner to find many keywords that will help you rank for types of users, not just types of keywords.
“People like buzzfeed style list articles because they are packed with chunks of valuable information on a topic they know they are interested in before reading the first sentence.”
It is disappointing when content does not live up to the title of the article. Readers can tell when something is written for value or for getting keywords on the page. It does not feel authentic and it ruins credibility. When writing blog posts, emails, or web pages, make sure your content attracts search engines with one or two powerful keywords in the title and that it attracts readers by offering a list of valuable information on topics your readers will love.
There are many reasons why we love lists. They are easy to read and we can evaluate if we care about the topic before getting invested. Writers and website owners love lists too. It allows them to naturally use valuable keywords when creating content. Try writing a list article on a topic your website visitors will appreciate. Here’s a guide to get you started writing your first Buzzfeed style list article.
Take Away: Headlines for list articles should have odd numbers and have no more than 15 words.
“Meta descriptions stands between searchers and your website.”
Many Search Engine Marketers supported Google Authorship as a way to help users decide which content they would like to click. However, Google no longer supports Google authorship. There is another way to stand out in search results like the one you see below.
Use Rich Snippets, or “structured data” to increase your click through rate. Give your content a makeover by providing reviews, ratings, and votes displayed under your link and above your meta description. This is increasingly important for e-commerce websites that sell items online. It’s been proven that posts with rich snippets are 30 times more likely to be clicked than a search result without.
Take Away: Use Google’s Rich Snippets recommendations to help increase click-through-rate and search visibility. Use this tool to test your structured data.
When link building, it can be tempting to create thin content and use low quality links to get your authority up so search engines promote your website. This is a manipulation of search engines which is why Google penalized websites that used link schemes to fake PageRank.
Instead, we recommend avoiding thin content. Matt Cutts begs us to make content with value in the video below. Watch it to find out types of content styles that Google considers “thin” and would like you to avoid.
High quality websites want to “link to” content that their readers will like. Pursuing this path of link building is more in line with Googles Webmaster Guidelines and produces healthy long term web traffic.
Take Away: Focus on developing content that has value for other websites and the types of visitors you want on your website. If you build good content, links will come.
“Your meta description stands between users and your website.”
Meta descriptions are a concise explanation of what to expect when visiting a webpage or website.
We now know a custom meta descriptions is only beneficial to increasing click-through-rates. That is, having a description written by a human rather than a program that’s clipping random text from your webpage can make the difference when users are deciding to visit your link. Matt Cutts explains it in this video.
Take Away: When writing a meta description, think of it as the attention grabbing subject line for an important email marketing campaign. People scroll through and scan email subject lines the same as Titles and descriptions in search results.
Create content for the type of user you want to attract to your website. Review the ‘take away’ under each section and do your best to write for human beings rather than search engines.
Articles, blogs, videos, and podcasts should be interesting to YOUR AUDIENCE. Develop content for actual human people, not an algorithm that lives within Google’s servers.
Keep reading our posts to stay up to date and to only use an online marketing strategy that will improve click-through-rate when users search for information about your services, products, or news.
Let us know in the comments below if we missed any practices that grind your gears. Submit something that gets used in the next updated version of this post and get a mention.