Getting and keeping a steady stream of targeted traffic to your blog is easier said than done. Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to getting your website to stand above the noise and get noticed, but the bar is constantly being raised and the rules are always changing. Some of the SEO methods that worked in the past are no longer effective today, or worse – they can actually harm your traffic levels instead of help them.
Below are five SEO mistakes that are being made today. These methods have actually worked well in years past, but any professional SEO company worth their money knows that if you’re implementing these techniques today, then you’re actually doing your website or your client’s website more harm than good.
1. Guest Posting on Random Blogs
Guest post has always been one of the best ways to get backlinks and referral traffic to your blog. But you can’t just do it the way it was done a few years ago. Landing guest posts on any random website that would accept them used to offer SEO value, but today that kind of thing could get you penalized.
Here are three crucial things you need to keep in mind for your guest blogging strategy.
- Only submit high-quality content
- Only guest post on relevant blogs
- Focus on blogs who cater to your target audience
The content you submit for guest posts should be just as good as the content that you publish on your own blog, if not better. Your guest posts should be well-written and properly formatted, and they should offer real value to the target blog’s readers. Those readers should also be the exact kinds of people who you are trying to attract to your website. So that means that the blog you’re guest posting on should have a similar focus to your own website, with readers who are interested in the types of products and services that your company offers. There’s no point guest posting on random blogs whose content is nothing like your own and whose readers aren’t interested in your brand. Not only will you get little referral traffic, but you’re not likely to get much SEO value from those links either.
2. Stuffing Keywords into Text
I can’t believe we’re still talking about keyword stuffing in 2017. People, please stop. Google started penalizing overly-optimized, keyword-stuffed content years ago. Any traffic boost you or your clients receive from that content will be short-lived and will probably lead to penalties and massive traffic drops within a matter of months when the next algorithm refresh comes along, or when Google’s ongoing real-time refresh finally works out all the kinks.
You can get away with higher keyword densities on common one- and two-word keywords, but the longer the keyword phrase, the less frequently you can include it in your text without running into problems. Include your keywords in a natural way without forcing it, and you’ll experience much better results in the long-term.
3. Using Irrelevant Keywords or Links
This relates back to the guest posting issue mentioned above. Google is all about rewarding high-quality content and bringing its search customers to that content. Everyone hates it when they click a link in the search results or on a website, only to find that the content linked to didn’t really address their problem at all. That is what humans want to avoid, so that is also what search engines want to avoid.
When you have a post about one topic but then link out to unrelated content on another site or use anchored text that is unrelated to the target site, that looks unnatural, and nothing good comes from website content and links that look unnatural. It’s then obvious that you’re linking out to some other site because you’re being paid to link to it, and that is a big no-no, at least when do-follow links are involved. So stop being spammy. Keep those links and keywords relevant. Focus on creating and promoting content that is relevant to your audience and that the readers want to read.
4. Publishing Low-Quality Content
Outsourcing is a big deal, and it’s not going away anytime soon. That’s fine. But this isn’t 2008, and you can’t keep putting up unintelligible articles that were written by non-native writers and article-spinning software programs. Of course you have a content marketing budget, and you have to squeeze out as much value as possible from those dollars, but you also get what you pay for.
Poorly-written content no longer has a place on the Internet, and if you’re going down that path then you’re going to figure that out very soon. If you want to have a website that is built to last, then you have to resist the temptation to publish cheap, garbage articles. Find quality writers and pay them what they’re worth, and they’ll give you high-quality content that will stand the test of time without getting your websites obliterated in the next Google update.
5. Publishing Short, Low-Value Posts
From this point going forward, long-form content seems to be the way to go for blogs and similar text-based content platforms. Shorter content will still work well on platforms that are designed for those kinds of posts – such as Facebook, Twitter and the like – but blogs today are flourishing on longer, in-depth content. And we’re not talking about 500-word articles here, you can’t get much depth with just 500 words.
So how long should your blog posts be to maximize their SEO value? While there’s no definitive, one-size-fits-all answer to the word count question, the content that is performing best today is going to be measured in thousands of words rather than hundreds. So go long, go deep and give your readers – and the search engines – something to chew on with each and every post.
The best SEO strategies are always in flux. Any strategy designed to game the system for short-term results is going to get you penalized eventually, so if you want to get long-term results for your company or your clients, then you need to focus on SEO methods that bring value to the reader. Creating high-quality, long-form content that is relative to the audience is always the way to go, and using promotional tactics that are relevant and beneficial for the reader will never go out of style.