When you’re thinking about how to optimize your site for search engines, you or your team probably have a whole host of ideas. SEO can be performed in diverse ways, but browsers have caught on to many of these tactics and are more careful of what they’ll let work. “Optimization” should always be a good thing, but sadly, bad SEO is still out there.
Many strategies you choose may mean well, but it’s the way they’re carried out that makes the difference. SEO is a field where it’s easy to go overboard, leading to a site that no longer looks authentic. This can result in lower rankings and even being taken off a search engine.
Here are some examples of bad SEO that might have come out of good intentions, so watch out for these:
A significant component of SEO is to place quality, relevant keywords throughout your copy. Quality copywriting will definitely include this. However, this can go too far and lead to keyword stuffing: an excessive, redundant use of selected keywords. This is considered a black hat SEO technique and a turn-off for search engines when they detect it.
It’s not just a turn-off for search engines, but for the humans reading your content too. Don’t forget that the goal of SEO isn’t just to make your page visible, it’s for humans to actually stick around and engage. Repeating the same word or phrase a hundred times on your page will undoubtedly bring down the quality of its copywriting (and looks a bit desperate). If you’re reading this after seeing our homepage, would you have stuck around if we had repeated “mobile development firm in Los Angeles” twenty times on the homepage?
If you feel like you need more keyword density, find some synonyms or use long-tail variations of those keywords instead.
Here’s an example of keyword stuffing, and it’s not even the worst offender we’ve come across. How many “firepits” could you replace with another word and remain grammatically correct?
2. Too many links to your site
Sure, search engines will think your site is much more legit if it seems like people are talking about it. Having your content mentioned in an article’s comment usually means you’ve got some info worth spreading. Unfortunately, this means many people have taken advantage of this, writing bad advertisements in spaces meant for honest discussion. Ever gone to the comments section of an article and found not only comments from people who clearly didn’t read the article, but comments only there to promote something? No contribution to the discussion, just promoting whatever they’ve got.
If you’d like for your business to be shared on other websites, work on your content marketing strategy. Learn how to make it educational and informational. Create shareable content others will organically want to share with others. If you make stuffed toys, write an article or make some infographics on the positive effects of owning a stuffed toy. If you sell organic vegetables, write some recipes for healthy, low-calorie dishes using these vegetables. Someone on a weight loss forum will probably link to you.
3. Low quality content
Even if you tell a bunch of your friends (or strangers you paid) to write legitimate-sounding comments that actually don’t look spammy, that’s not enough. Even if you somehow manage to get links out there, your pages still need to be of high-quality. Search engines have learned to pick up on quality, meaning quality pieces will generally rank higher. Plus, it’s easier on the eyes for whoever opens the links. Remember that you want visitors to actually stick around, not just click and bail.
Some indicators of quality search engines usually look for concern readability, grammar, image optimization, structure, copywriting, and page loading time. This means it’s probably a better idea to not hire that copywriter with a third grade reading level or that UI designer who has a thing for barely readable fonts! Make sure your content is factually correct, insightful, proofread, and comprehensive. Of course, it should be engaging in whatever way fits your brand voice.
The above strategies may temporarily shoot your rankings up a little temporarily, but long-term damage will follow. Whoever’s doing your SEO may accidentally stumble into one of these pitfalls, so watch out for more than just your content ranking. Remember that you’re really producing content for people, not search engines. Don’t forget about bounce rates and keep your copy and content marketing on point!
You’ve probably guessed that here at SM Innovations, we’re aware of these pitfalls. We know better. Drop us a line today!