SEO is powerful whether you believe in it or not. Throughout the years we have seen magic happen for our clients, and gigantic returns on their investments. We were able to achieve this because we were good at it and were able to be different from the rest of the industry. We were a success because we didn’t take short cuts, and we used the combination of content, optimization, outreach, etc. However, we have seen a lot of clients, or potential clients, come to us with “scars” from performing SEO without understanding SEO best practices.
The reasons for them having “scars” and having a negative outlook about SEO are usually the same. They tried it, and it didn’t work. There are numerous reasons for this to happen, but here are the reasons it generally did not work, and why their budgets were wasted.
Discover SEO Best Practices by Turning These Mistakes Around
No Content Promotion
If you do not promote your content, it does not exist. Creating the best content does nothing for you unless people see it. Google figures if your content is the best, people will share it and link to it, but if they don’t see it, how are they supposed to know it is good? Incorporating content in social media posts, social media advertising, email newsletters, etc. can go a long way toward promoting it.
The reason most businesses do not promote it is because promotion is difficult, it is hard to see returns for the first couple months, and it is time consuming. Generally, what happens, and what has happened, is they take the shorter road by either buying links, sponsoring posts, or just doing nothing, which generally results in no results and the mindset that SEO does not work.
Wrong Keyword Strategy
This one is the most egregious error the majority of businesses make when it comes to SEO. It is easy to get “big eyes” and try to achieve high rankings for short-tailed phrases like “Dog Food,” “Unhealthiest Foods,” or “Running Tips,” but you have to remember that each one of those phrases has over 10 million pages indexed. That means you have to beat out 10 million pages to be in the top 10.
It is important to choose keywords which are most relevant to your products, or the services you are offering, and the keywords that will be achievable. Trying to target keywords that do not have much to do with your products or services, or which are too hard to rank for, are both a recipe for disaster.
Ineffective Tactics or Accidental Black Hat Tactics
A tremendous number of businesses make the same mistakes Google corrected for years ago. Here are some things even people new to SEO do not realize, despite these mistakes being common knowledge in the SEO community:
Keyword Stuffing: Putting a certain keyword into the title, description, URL, or content as many times as possible, even when it makes no sense.
Article Spinning: Taking an article found on the web, then rewriting it on a lower quality scale and publishing it. If you didn’t learn it in school: Plagiarism is bad.
301 Redirecting Bad Domains: Some businesses buy domains which were penalized by Google or that have terrible links to them, and then 301 redirect them to their main domain.
Buying Links: Link building is a huge part of SEO; however, you want to acquire them in legitimate ways, not through purchase, which doesn’t give you as much value anyways, and which, sometimes, if bought from bad sources, can negatively impact you.
Creating Poor Quality Links: Creating low-quality backlinks manually. One way that this is done is through spam comments, spam forum links, or web 2.0s, which create “free” backlinks. However, these have no SEO juice, so they are really pointless.
Adding Thin Content Pages: Adding landing pages only helps if they are good quality pages with useful unique content on them. If you do not have this, then you are doing no favors to yourself or the Google user who is searching. Google pushes down websites with too much overall thin content.
Ignoring the Three Focuses of SEO
There are generally three main focuses for SEO: on page optimization and off page optimization, which I have broken down to content creation and promotion.
Optimization: The technical aspect of SEO that works to optimize your website, from technical fixes or content creation, so that search engines have a better chance of understanding your content and, therefore, serving you higher in the rankings.
Content: Your content creation needs to be research-based so that you can give your target audience something that they will actually value and share.
Outreach: A main part of an SEO strategy is building relationships with others in the industry through outreach. This can be done through guest blogging, social media, and other tactics in order to help you not only get your content out to more people, but also to help you gain backlinks and social media signals.
It is easy to waste a lot of money on SEO. There are thousands of companies, and most of them are ineffective at SEO. With the right strategy, the right resources in place, and an understanding of the SEO best practices discussed above, you can make a huge impact.