Search engine optimization is an ever-changing landscape. Just when you thought you got the gist of it and you start seeing some significant results, Google updates its algorithm, and now you have to tweak or rethink your strategy entirely.
It can be a frustrating process that forces you to keep your eyes on your SERPs and identify potential mistakes before they snowball into problems that can get your site penalized. But, if you are diligent, put in the work and creativity, and comply with Google’s rules, your business will only benefit from your continuous efforts.
How can you ensure that you’re not using any outdated SEO strategies that can affect your search ranking? Here are the techniques that you need to drop in 2018.
- You’re Using Outdated Strategies for Link Building
There was a time when search engine optimization meant three things: build a page, add keywords, and build links. Yes, these still are the basic rules of SEO, but the tactics you can employ have changed dramatically. For example, Google frowns upon pages that stuff their content with keywords without providing any real value to users. The same goes for link building. Unless you are using only the top link building strategies that the experts have tested and proved, then your efforts can do more harm than good to your website.
So, what link building strategies should you drop right away?
- Stop forcing unnatural anchor texts. The search engines have become extremely smart and sophisticated and can detect natural language better than ever before. Place your anchor text naturally in your content and in a way that makes sense to the article and your audience.
- Stop spamming forum discussion and blog comments. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t connect with potential customers and link to your website. But, try to add value to your message and offer useful advice that can help your audience. Simply linking back to your page without giving any additional information will just drive people away from your business.
- Don’t buy or sell links. Opinions are divided on this issue. While some marketers claim that this technique is a big no-no, others say that, if you do it correctly and purchase links from websites that are relevant to your industry, then this is an excellent way to get the ball rolling.
- You Post New Content Every Day
You’ve heard that Google loves fresh, new content and tends to rank the pages that are regularly updated high. However, you’ve taken this advice to the extreme.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with posting daily content, as well as you have something valuable to say and don’t compromise on the quality. But, posting content just for the sake of it, can damage your reputation and, consequently, your rankings. Try to identify your audience’s pain points and focus on creating content that helps them solve a problem, motivates them or makes them think about new ideas and perspectives.
On Opportunities Planet, for example, I know that my audience wants to learn how to establish a successful online business. So, I focus on creating in-depth pieces and providing the best tips that can help them achieve this goal. Sure, sometimes it takes days to brainstorm, create, and publish a new article, but your audience will appreciate a well-written, high-quality article more than ten blog posts that add no value to their lives.
- You’re Trying to Rank for Multiple Keywords on a Single Page
One serious mistake that a lot of small business owners continue to make is trying to rank for multiple keywords on a single page. Here’s the thing: optimizing your content is still as relevant as ever. After all, users are still using keywords to search for the things that interest them. But, cramming your page with ten different keywords won’t do your SEO efforts any good. As I’ve mentioned before, search engines today have become extremely good at recognizing and understanding natural language and don’t need 20 keywords anymore to determine the content of a page.
So, choose a primary keyword, and focus just on it. Don’t overdo it though. Mentioning it in your headlines, subheads, and a few times throughout the body should be more than enough. Focus on the quality of the content rather than the number of keywords.
If you have more than one keyword that you want to focus on, then break your articles into multiple posts. For example, create one article about “the best organic shampoo,” another one about “how to choose an organic shampoo for dry hair,” and so on.
- You’re Annoying Visitors with Intrusive Interstitials
Picture this: you’re in a new city, and you’re trying to find a nice place where you can try the local cuisine. You open an article on your mobile phone about the best restaurant in the area. But, instead of helpful content, you are greeted by a huge interstitial that occupies the entire page and has a tiny close button that you can barely hit. From zero to “Ugh!” how annoying is this experience? Recognizing that this type of advertising can affect user experience, Google has introduced a penalty that will tax intrusive mobile interstitial.
Make sure that your mobile page doesn’t show a popup that covers the main content when users are browsing through the page. Don’t display an interstitial that readers have to dismiss before they can access the content. In other words, focus more on making your content accessible and less on annoying users with popups or intrusive ads.
- You’re Ignoring Mobile Optimization
Talking about smartphones, have you optimized your website for mobile use? If not, then it’s high time to do it. More searches come from mobile devices than desktop computers, and Google has taken note of the trend. As a result, the search engine is now favoring websites that are optimized for mobile search and features them high in SERPs.
So, what can you do to comply with the new rules?
- Use a mobile responsive theme
- Make sure that the content is visible and easy to read regardless of the screen size
- Place links far enough apart so that users can click them easily
- Avoid using software that is not compatible with mobile devices
There you have it, folks: a list of the SEO techniques that you should stop using right away. However, make sure to keep your eyes open for new changes and adapt your strategy accordingly.