The search engines have laid bare their golden rules on how businesses can go about achieving a higher rank for their website in their listings. However, while the search engine optimization (SEO) rules might be there for all to see, sometimes businesses slip up and get them wrong.
What are the five cardinal sins that must be avoided when it comes to SEO?
Gone are the days when search engines would only crawl websites looking for keywords and META tags. The algorithms that help Google, Bing and other search engines decide how highly your page is ranked are clever enough to work out if your content isn’t up to scratch. The search engines, not to mention the awful impression you’ll be giving the human visitors to your site, will look on poorly written content unfavorably, thereby hurting your rankings.
Just adding in the same word or phrase repeatedly in the hope that search engines will rank your website higher for those words just doesn’t work. Not only will it harm the quality of your content by trying to shoehorn phrases into sentences where they don’t belong (see point number one on this list), but the search engines will penalize you for trying this. Search engines know when content creators are trying to game the system through keyword stuffing.
The world of SEO has moved on since purchasing lots of backlinks would be enough to help your content rise up the search engine rankings. You’re going to be much better off if you focus on the quality of outgoing and incoming links rather than the volume. For example, one link from a reputable source like the BBC or other trustworthy news organizations is worth infinitely more than 1,000 backlinks from WordPress blogs full of spam. Search engines put a hefty weighting on the ‘trust’ they can place in your website on the other sites that link to yours.
Sharing Is Difficult
Search engines use social sharing statistics as another way to gauge how trustworthy and relevant your website content is on a certain topic. If a page has many shares on social media, then search engines assume the page has something to say about a topic that’s worth reading. If you’ve not made it easy for website visitors to share your content, then you could be missing out on a higher search engine ranking. Even one share is better than no shares.
Who Is Your Customer?
Yes, rankings are important, but that importance has to be weighed up against the importance of your customers. If you’ve spent all your time focusing on ticking the boxes for the search engines, have you made sure you’re actually giving your customers what they want? If the content on your website is written for search engines and not your customers, then even if you achieve a top ranking, it is likely that you’ll have a high bounce rate. Build your site for humans, and focus on those humans, but keep search engines in mind. Remember who pays you.
There you have it: the five SEO cardinal sins that every business should avoid.
Are you falling foul of any of those golden rules? What are you going to change about your SEO strategy to make sure you’re doing the right thing?