Search engine optimization – it was supposed to inspire quality, but it ended up causing people to work around the clock in order to find how to exploit it. However, Google does not give up on a good idea and a good cause, thus its search engine is tweaked every now and then for the sake of filtering out low quality content. Updates like penguin and panda surely did wonders in the area of adequate SEO marketing.
However, it is abundantly clear that there are people who did not get the memo, people who are still trying to expose the same weaknesses of SEO, despite the fact that these flaws no longer exist. Furthermore, they end up with bad ranking and still wonder what went wrong, since supposedly, they did everything by the book.
Well, brace yourselves because if you have been using some of the following tactics, it is safe to assume your efforts were to no avail. Continuous use of these approaches will, most likely, cause more harm than good to your website’s ranking.
1) Focusing only on short content
First of all, you should not abandon short content, the only thing you need to do is focus primarily on generating longer written content (1500 words and above), of higher quality. This kind of content will ensure that your ranking does not drop, it will be regarded as a more relevant read, and better linking material.
Short content should still be present, no reason to argue about it. After all, websites are vastly optimized for mobile platforms nowadays, and short content is more mobile friendly. This only confirms that short content will bloom now more than ever, but focusing only on that type of content will be in a way contra productive. Longer texts are commonly ranked higher during Google search, and this why you should focus your efforts to create them. Although some of the sites with very little text are still among the first ranks, rest assured this will not remain, they are simply reaping the benefits of older glory.
2) Creating shallow content
Just because text is a bit longer it does not imply that the same piece of text is filled with information. Even these texts can be shallow, or written only for the sake of being long. Never settle down for such arrangement. The truth is that many business owners outsource their writing department, and try to keep those expenses at bare minimum. This means you will have to find ideal writers, people who are passionate about your topic, who can write without wasting any time on research, and have great mastery of the required language.
Reality is a bit different. It is hard to find quality writers and you will most likely encounter freelancers who will try to beat around the bush just to say they have done everything requested. So, you end up paying a low price for something you can’t even use. In other words, money went down the sink. Give specific instructions, tell them that the articles need to be insightful, tell them what writing style you desire, and find some examples online to serve as their guidelines.
To recap – never create content for the sake of creating content – create valuable insightful texts that can be linked, and that will address the concerns and questions of your intended audience. Furthermore, do not outsource your writing tasks to armatures who know very little about your niche – find someone competent and pay a bit extra if needed.
3) Targeting a single keyword
There was a time when optimizing for a single keyword was a rather simple task – all it took was finding a low competition keyword, and include it inside your content. The flaw in design was that low-quality sites could actually be ranked higher simply by using keyword stuffing, whereas better sites were pushed down the ladder.
Luckily, Google’s Panda update rectified this mistake, thus the previously mentioned bad writing is no longer ranked positively. Additionally, creating content that revolves around a single keyword is also a terrible idea. Your content should tackle a particular topic, and links inside the text should be relevant reads, and good resources.
However, this does not imply that keywords have lost their importance, not by a long shot. It simply means you need a bit altered approach, and have more keywords at your disposal that are related to the topic, and it would be a good idea to do some more keyword research as well.
4) Internal link over-optimization
When it comes to anchor texts, an old saying “the more, the merrier” no longer applies. This tactic is closely related to the one mentioned before, since it implements using the same anchor text as a link in order rank a particular phrase. For example, if you are selling dog food on your site, then you would want to focus on a phrase “dog food”, thus you would always use it as an anchor text, and take advantage of the ranking procedure via internal linking.
Google decided to penalize this strategy using the new Penguin update, so whenever you start to rely on one phrase as your anchor text, your rankings start to drop. Once again, just like with keywords, a good anchor text is not a bad SEO tactic by itself, only use a particular anchor text in moderation, and use anchor texts that will make sense, not those that are keyword phrases, otherwise you will only be penalized and left with poorly created content.
5) Reciprocal Linking
This claim warrants further clarification. You might have heard the legends that by constantly using the same website as your resource and if the same site uses you as their resources that it will hurt your rankings. Unfortunately, it is both true and false at the same time, since it is a bit complicated.
Feel free to use pages from the same site as much as you want, as long as those pages are relevant to your topic, offer valuable information, and serve as good guidelines. Do not use them as page manipulation, do not spam keywords and anchor texts, do not sell the links, and of course if the same website also leads back to you, it will be quite obvious what is going on.
Google uses following signals to assess whether you farming links or actually sharing something relevant. Link based signals, which pay attention between your site and other sites on the web, content based signals, which goes through site content, and lastly user based signals that reveals how people look at your site, whether they read the content directly or simply see it once it appears on Google search results. The feedback is used to assess whether you are trying to scam the public or are doing everything by the books.
6) Link juice
One of the casualties of the previous SEO tactics was definitely guest blogging, they have eventually became filled spam links, simply forced to earn higher rank for someone. The only form of guest blogging left is one on high quality websites, with good reputation. Low-quality blogs are perceived as irrelevant, since they allowed all sorts of posts to go public.
When choosing sites for your guest blogging, be wise, make sure they got good reputation, and make sure their topics are relevant to your niche. All it takes is finding a thread of synergy and grabbing it, don’t insist on linking your website’s content anywhere at all costs. Old ways of SEO damaged the art of blogging a lot, hopefully with the new regime, this will change and guest blogging will recover, by becoming what it was supposed to be from the very beginning.
7) Castigating social media
Although it is correct that links found on Facebook and Twitter are not included in Google’s algorithm, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be used as part of SEO strategy. After all, a viral post can never do harm, unless it speaks about you in a negative way. Moreover, Google’s algorithm is ever changing, there is no guarantee that at some point in time links from social network accounts won’t have any sort of contribution. If you have an opportunity to build a wide online audience using social networks, you should most definitely explore the possibility – all the major companies are doing so. The problem is finances and time consumption, but once you have your posts on high quality blogs, and have rich content on your website, social networks should be on your list definitely.
To sum up, it seems pretty clear what Google is trying to promote, and that is quality content. This should be your focus. Even when you find a way to exploit the weakness you, do not stay under the radar for too long and eventually end up with unusable content. Why not listen, and take a step in a more positive direction, sooner or later, quality SEO will reward your efforts.