Search engine optimization is a prominent concern for marketers across all industries and for any business with an online presence. Having good SEO habits is likely to get your website ranked on search engines above your competitors, but if you are just focusing on the basics and looking to get quick results, it might end up backfiring and make your content creation and marketing efforts hurt your search results, rather than improve them.
A perfect example of this would be if you were looking to publish lots of a 500-word content on your site and filling it with fluff material, versus putting in the time to create a valuable 2,000+ word article that provides real value. By understanding what SEO methods work and are acceptable, versus those that are considered poor SEO habits is the different between progress and remaining stagnant.
At the end of the day, Google only has a few organic listings on the first page of the search results, and there are millions of site owners and blogs fighting for them. If you aren’t willing to put in the time, work and effort to produce quality content and SEO efforts that are proven to work, then what’s the point? And even worse, if you continue to use any of these poor and outdated methods, it could even lead to your site getting penalized!
To help you cultivate acceptable SEO practices, 13 professionals from YEC discuss several examples of poor SEO habits they’ve run into and explain why these habits could have a severely negative impact on your marketing.
1. Choosing Quantity Over Quality
One poor SEO habit all marketers should stay away from is choosing quantity over quality. When it comes to anything related to backlinks or content, it is always best to use this strategy. It is better to have a few backlinks from highly authoritative sites than 100 backlinks from low-quality sites. It is better to have an amazing content guide than numerous thin pages on various topics.
2. Being Inconsistent
The biggest thing I’ve learned about SEO these last few years is it has to be a consistent practice. Just focusing on SEO for a month or two and neglecting it after that is going to put you in a bad position. You need to bake your SEO strategy in when you create content, promote and work on all your other marketing tactics. Otherwise, you’re just playing catch-up.
3. Not Doing Enough Research
One habit that many businesses don’t think about is creating content without doing enough research. It isn’t enough to come up with topics you think are good. You need to look at what people are looking for. Use Google Trends, SEO tools, AnswerThePublic and other tools to help you create relevant topics and content that people actually want to read about.
4. Ignoring Search Intent
Stay away from picking high-volume keywords while ignoring search intent. Think carefully about what your users are searching for and align with those intentions. Help solve user problems and you’ll ultimately be rewarded.
5. Not Keeping Up With the Latest Practices
One of the worst SEO habits is to not keep up with the latest best practices. SEO practices keep changing and not knowing the current trend might be detrimental to the success of your business.
6. Neglecting the Technical Aspect
I see a lot of marketers neglect the technical aspect of their SEO strategy. Things like the speed of your website play a pivotal role in how well you rank for specific keywords. Make sure you optimize your loading times and redirects and you’ll have a better shot at making it to the first page of Google.
7. Using Black Hat SEO Tactics
Any black hat SEO tactics are ones you want to stay away from. Not only does it look bad if you get caught, but Google doesn’t appreciate using sneaky techniques to guide traffic to your site. One bad habit is paying for links to your site. People pay money to achieve higher search engine rankings, which is dishonest and will only catch up to you in the long run.
8. Providing Poor SEO Reports
One common bad habit is marketers providing terrible SEO reports to their clients. The specialist cannot explain the numbers or the explanation for the strategy. This creates issues when trying to convince clients that your methods work. Marketers should know which KPIs to implement into the report and translate during meetings. They need to show their expertise and logic behind decisions.
9. Not Optimizing Your Images
Unfortunately, many marketers forget to optimize the images on their website and social media. Adding information such as captions and tags is important for search engines to track those images. It’s also useful to resize images so they don’t cause lag issues for users on your website. This could cause them to bounce and never return.
10. Overusing Guest Posts
Some people think they can use guest posts to beef up their blog and boost their SEO score. The reality is these people end up with lackluster articles that actually hurt their site instead of helping. If you’re going to publish guest posts for the sake of SEO, make sure you only accept high-quality work.
11. Not Beefing Up Successful Content
Too many people focus on producing new content all the time rather than beefing up content that’s already successful. Having some of your content rank for important keywords in your niche is like holding real estate, but the only problem is, you have to keep doing repairs to keep it looking pretty. Some businesses can get by with just a few pieces of great cornerstone content.
12. Stuffing Keywords
Focusing too much on emphasizing certain keywords in your content can become so distracting that you lose sight of your buyer personas and their pain points. You might end up losing all relevance with your personas simply because you want to seize a term with high search volume. That includes using keywords with grammatical mistakes just because they have high search volume.
13. Stuffing Links
Stay away from stuffing links as part of your SEO strategy. Any inbound links to your website should be from reputable and relevant websites. If you try securing links from websites that are not relevant to your own website, Google can penalize or even remove your website from its search engine. It’s very difficult to get your website re-indexed by Google after its removal.
How to Continually Rank Higher Day After Day
If you want to rank higher in the search results day after day, it’s going to take a lot of time and work to make it happen. Through the proper mix of content creation, marketing and SERP analysis, this can all become a reality — however, it’s one you need to work on daily.
To learn more about how to improve your site rankings, be sure to check out this SERP checker tool reference guide.