Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques have long been at the forefront of digital content marketers’ thinking in their marketing strategies, and for good reason too. Getting up those all-important search engine page rankings remains one of the most influential steps in your overall brand and business marketing approach.
You may know the rules, and try to make your content SEO friendly, but you may still be missing a trick in terms of optimizing your website, and you may still be getting penalized by the strict SEO parameters that search engines set. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:
Don’t Copy Content
This is a simple rule that everyone knows at this stage, but it doesn’t stop website owners trying to rewrite content (not well enough) or use spinning software which claims to successfully avoid detection by search engine bots and algorithms by repacking great articles that you would like to make your own. Unique content means unique content, so don’t fall foul of this serious SEO crime. You could see your traffic numbers drop overnight with the wrong step here.
Instead, have your own original content that is very well written, using relevant keywords to match with the type of website yours is, that you have brainstormed and researched, either using a PPC tool or a free website like keywordtool.io. If you use great keywords in a natural, human-readable way that makes for easy reading in your writing, you will certainly get the right visitors coming across your website every day.
If you copy any content from another website, reference the website properly to avoid being penalized and decreasing the search rankings.
Related: 5 SEO Problems That Are Killing Your Lead Generation Efforts
Don’t Infringe Upon User Experience
The big guns like Google make no secret of the fact that they place much emphasis on user experience when it comes to ranking relevant websites. So, if you manage to rank high on the SERP through a clever use of keywords, don’t undo all your hard work by then plaguing your site with a relentless stream of ads before the users get a chance to access the relevant content that they were promised.
“Imagine clicking onto a site and having to scroll through, or navigate between, a barrage of advertising before you find what you need. Well, that’s the thing, you don’t do it, do you? You bounce! Search engines pay considerable attention to bounce rate, which can be heavily impacted by a deluge of in-your-face advertising. This approach will soon lead to SEO penalization,” warns Barry Collins, an SEO blogger at PhdKingdom and NextCoursework.
Instead, keep any ads to an unobtrusive area of your page, like in the header, above the main content, or at the sides, behind your main element, so a user can still read your written content uninterrupted by any less relevant images or pieces of information. But any video ads are certainly out of the question – a user greeted in this way will just immediately leave your site.
If you do use ads on your website – a blog for example – you should also make sure they are ads that are relevant to your website’s field, like fishing supplies on a blog about fishing.
Another method of advertising that does not infringe upon user experience are affiliate links within your copy, where you are paid to positively review and promote an item, but you declare at the beginning of the text that the text is a review and that you make a certain amount of money on the sale if the user buys the product by clicking on your affiliate link. The user will know upfront that they are going to see an ad, but will expect it, and so, they will read your full review to the end. In this way, the user is substantially less likely to bounce, boosting your SEO.
Don’t Hide Text
You may think you are being smart by hiding text and even links from human eyes, but this doesn’t wash for a second in terms of search engine crawler bots. That text and those links are as clear as day, so using a funky combination of background colors to ensure only what you want is seen to the naked eye is not going to influence your SEO approach at all, and will in fact lead to penalties.
“You may think you are being clever by using that old trick of keyword stuffing but combining it with a sneaky disappearing act, but the search engine tech teams are so far ahead of you that it’s embarrassing that you even considered this approach. Just don’t do it,” warns Becka Howard, a website administrator at BritStudent and Origin Writings.
Instead of this, have your links out in the open, with the ability for the user to easily notice them and click on them – good link building is actually very important for your website’s SEO visibility. However, the links you do use must be relevant, important links which search engines easily understand why are they affiliated with your site. If the people you want on your site are also visitors on these other sites, these are types of links you want.
Also, instead of obviously garbled keyword stuffing, try to make a coherent sentence or title out of your identified keywords. The title of your page could say something like “SEO Advice: available 24/7”, a human-readable sentence, plausible enough to have as a normal title. But never just write something like “SEO Advice | SEO Help| SEO Article Free| Advice for SEO| Help with SEO| Search Engine Optimisation Help| Search Engine Optimization Help”, making it too obvious that you want search engine crawlers to find it and yet greatly decreasing the page’s actual optimization.
If you can pull this off, you essentially have a free advertisement to your potential customers, which is guaranteed to be clicked on when it gets searched for.
Don’t Allow Users to Post Spam
Encouraging users to post their own content is a neat approach to content marketing, but be vigilant towards spam. This simply means auditing your blog site as vehemently as possible, and having clear posting rules that are enforced. The search engines frown upon blogs that are not moderated, so this will undoubtedly impinge upon your SEO rankings.
Many internet users, whether at home or on their work network, have Google Safe Search enabled, so any swear words could put you right down at the bottom of the search result’s pages, as could a sudden strange paragraph on a completely irrelevant topic to what the search engine categorizes your website as.
If spam does begin to become a problem on your site, consider instating CAPTCHAs and allowing your users more ability to report spam as well as other dubious forum behavior.
Using these measures, your site will surely soon be back up at the top of the search results again.
Related: 10 Tips for Improving SEO of your WordPress Website
Don’t Think Offsite is Unimportant
Offsite marketing approaches are also well and truly on the radar of the search engine bots, so make sure that you are straightforward and clean in your approach here too.
For example, don’t go on a link purchasing spree, which will never fail to attract the negative attention of the crawler bots. Keyword and link stuffing on other sites will come back to haunt you too, so don’t believe that just because these tricks are not being employed on your own site, they do not reflect badly upon you. Unfortunately, this means that you guard against others doing the same thing to detrimentally affect your site, by building bad backlinks for example.
Other relevant high-profile sites that link to yours, like a listing for your business on Yell.com or an entry in a page that categorizes and details many various local businesses or the businesses in your industry, will certainly get your page high up the search results, because having other reputable websites link to yours gives your website credibility – it verifies that your business actually exists.
If it is absolutely certain your potential customer is someone who visits these affiliate sites, your website will see great growth from this.
You can also write testimonials for the designer of your website, your suppliers or customers or anyone else you work with or other businesses who are physically nearby as another form of offsite content, so as to add links to your website on theirs and links to their website on yours. If you both do this in an honest way, both your pages remain stay up in the search result rankings.
The search engines want you to play the game by their rules, and you have no choice. But that is no bad thing, because these days the tech allows content strategies to be focused on great quality content that is relevant to user needs. And that, after all, is what it should be all about.