Yes, SEO is a necessary part of any business’s strategy if you want to rank in the search engine results page (SERPs). But there are certain SEO tactics that can actually harm your website and lower your ranking.
When it comes to search engine rankings, the main concern is the quality of content. Your content needs to reach your audience in a meaningful way.
With that in mind, here are 5 SEO tactics that can do more harm than good when it comes to boosting your website’s ranking.
1. Keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the act of putting highly targeted keywords into content just for the sake of adding keywords. You should target certain keywords that your searchers are looking for, but not to the point that your content is unnecessarily flooded with keywords.
A long, long time ago, Google crawlers would reward websites that had a high keyword density, without regard for the content.
Google is much smarter now and won’t accept this type of outdated SEO tactic. It recognises that a website stuffed with keywords but little substance isn’t a website that benefits users.
2. Optimising for unrelated keywords instead of targeting a specific keyword
Long-form content has its place, and it was, for awhile, rewarded by Google for its depth. In some cases, long-form is the way to go. But you may have noticed websites moving back to shorter content that is targeted to one specific query. This makes sense for a lot of reasons.
First, it delivers the exact information searchers are seeking. If they’re looking for “how to buy a car,” they don’t necessarily also want information on “cheap car insurance.” Those are related queries, but they should be on separate pages so they don’t confuse the reader (or Google).
So, keep it simple. Build multiple urls with targeted queries, and then interlink them to guide readers from one article to another as they move through the funnel.
3. A slow website
It doesn’t matter how amazing your content is if people have to sit around waiting for it to load. It can be worth sacrificing “nice to haves” like images and charts if it means speeding up your page load time. Moving mobile pages to AMP pages is your best move, especially if you’re an eCommerce site or another type of website that gets most of its traffic from mobile users.
If you aren’t sure how fast your page is loading, test it for free. If the report comes back with a green light, then you’re good to go. If it comes back with anything else, spend some time figuring out what you can do to reduce your load time and speed up your users’ experience.
4. Duplicate content
In school, your teachers probably called it plagiarism, but in the world of SEO, duplicate content can be the kiss of death. It often happens unintentionally, when you repeat content on your own site.
Duplicate content that shows up on one page of your website from another page of your website also counts against you when your site’s crawled by Google. Use a site like Grammarly to make sure you aren’t accidentally copying content from somewhere else on the web.
5. Link buying
You want to link-build by forging relationships with other, reputable websites and having links going to and from your website. Google recognises link-building behaviour and rewards it. Link buying, on the other hand, is just bad SEO.
For starters, you can never really trust the places you buy links from to be reputable (after all, they’re selling something you should be able to get for free as long as you have great content). Google is smart enough to recognise links that are bought and will use that information to lower your SERPs.
Avoid these 5 SEO tactics at all costs. Focus on creating quality content that will be useful for your end-user. Most of all, write for people, not for an algorithm. After all, that’s the whole point of content creation. To learn more about how to optimise your website for SEO, contact us.