The big problem with SEO? It’s a moving target. Your perfect strategy for last year might well send end up tanking your efforts this year. That’s because Google and its competitors keep updating their policies (they’re even using machine learning now, which is tweaking its algorithm on the fly). And so, you constantly have to be reconsidering what strategies you’re using. That both means embracing new strategies and throwing out the old.
So what should you most certainly not be using in 2018? Which ones no longer only help your strategy but actively hurt it?
Backlinking like your life depends on it
Backlinks are important. The thing is, the better the site that’s backlinking to you, the more important that link will be. Quality has long since won out over quantity. So, instead of writing a thousand guest articles and linking back to your product, write a few really outstanding ones. That’s going to be far more effective in raising you up in the rankings.
Thinking about taking up one of those offers where they sell you lots of backlinks for a couple of bucks? That’s a great idea. At least, if you want to make sure that nobody ever finds your site. Google now works based on neighborhoods. If a lot of poor-quality sites are linking to your website, then Google assumes that your website is a poor-quality website. And guess what those sites with the hundred links are? Yep, poor quality websites. So don’t do it or you’ll rue the results.
Yeah, this one was also in any list of 2017 list and those before then as well. And yet, people keep doing it. They keep writing their text towards certain keywords and put it in there way too much. They’ll even throw in random keywords which have nothing to do with the article and hope they’ll pull in some random readers.
That doesn’t work anymore, people! The algorithms have long been tweaked to stop this kind of behavior. They’re after naturally flowing text at this point and having a word or a string of words occur far too often in a text is a good way to make sure that’s not something you’re doing.
So how much is too much? That’s a hard question. There isn’t an easy answer to it out there. Really, the rule should be – if you’re thinking about it and actively injecting it as often as possible, then you’re going overboard.
Better to put it in the headline and make sure you mention it every so often in the different sections. But don’t go replacing ‘it’ with the keyword at every opportunity. That’s probably going to backfire.
In this same category, by the way, is creating lots of different pages with slight variations of the same keywords. That is also something Google now frowns upon.
Having lots of content
Another common strategy is to just put up lots of text on your website and then hope that it draws in audiences. That’s another bad idea. Audiences want to find websites that give them the information they need. And if that’s what users care about, that’s what Google cares about (after all, otherwise they’re going to lose the users and that would destroy their business model).
So, it’s better to create a few pages with high-quality content then to create lots that are full of crap.
That means you should review your writer to make sure they can produce high quality text. Also, make sure that you create text that is actually relevant to what you’re doing.
It doesn’t end there, however. You should also make sure that when you do have a page that gets attention and that people seem to be liking, that you continue to improve it. It is far better to spend effort and time boosting pages that are drawing in traffic to draw in more, than to create new pages which will probably won’t draw in any.
To improve your pages, create more content, make sure that content you created before stays up to date and answer yet more questions that people may have (Remember, longer pages do better on average).
Using link directories
Not so long ago, building up a long list of links to useful content was considered incredibly valuable by the different search engines. And that made sense. After all, through these directories people could easily find the content they needed.
Then two things happened.
People started abusing these directories to steer traffic to their own websites or to other people’s websites for money.
Google got a lot better at answering your questions straight away and therefore didn’t need to send you to a link directory.
As a result, link directories no longer work. In fact, they hurt your website if you have them. So, get rid of them if you do have them and take them off your list of strategies to follow. Leave it up to Google to give people an idea of what websites they should be surfing to – the company thinks they can do that much better than you can (and they’re probably right).
The real clue
The real strategy that will make sure that your content will be considered valuable by Google and the other search engines is to give users what they want. Make sure that your headlines explain what you’re going to offer and then offer that (and more) so that the user goes away satisfied from your page.
If you do this and you do this effectively, Google will notice. And when that happens you page wills start getting noticed by the search engines. Even better, when you’ve got a few pages that Google deems people find very useful, it will give your other pages the benefit of the doubt. So that is most definitely a worthwhile strategy.
And besides, it means that you’re not just pleasing Google, but your users as well. And there is certainly something to be said for that!