Even today, outdated and inefficient SEO practices are as widespread as successful search engine optimization.
Long gone are the days when only keyword stuffing and meta tags could elevate your site to the top of search results. That hasn’t stopped online content creators from trying to worm and wiggle as many keywords and tags as possible into new content.
Here are a handful of common SEO mistakes marketers are still making.
Forgetting that Content is King
The phrase “content is king” will most likely receive an eye roll and cause an online SEO outlaw to give you a jaded look, but the old adage is just as important today as it was when Bill Gates popularized the term in 1996. Quality content can do more for search engine optimization than just about anything, and it’s important to fill your website with content that works for you.
What exactly is quality content? That varies, depending on your target audience and what you’re selling (be it goods or services), and its your job to find that sweet spot. Evergreen content that is timeless and always relevant often rises to the top as something readers and other sites can link back to for years to come, so start there. Lists, how-tos, and infographics “have legs,” and you’ll be surprised how much traffic a well researched and thoughtfully written piece of evergreen content can travel.
Failing to Find a Target Audience
Believe it or not, “We’re trying to reach everyone” is still an extremely common mantra in the marketing world, but it’s just plain wrong. It’s impossible to reach everyone. It just is. The best SEO companies and most successful online marketers know that narrowing down a target audience can increase site traffic and consumer interaction.
That doesn’t mean you can’t segment your target audience, testing and trying new content in different ways, but it’s important to understand who your audience is and market accordingly.
Likes vs. Links
With the advent and explosion of Facebook and other social media hubs, marketers have swarmed toward and drown in the lake of likes. SEO experts will tell you that likes and links are not equal, and choosing likes over backlinks and a solid link-building campaign is like jumping into the water without a life preserver. Leveraging social media for youth marketing has taken the place of strong inbound marketing efforts, and it’s important to balance both for the best SEO results.
Overvaluing likes and even paying for them is a terrible idea. Likes don’t always translate into sales or even a site visit. Sure, thousands of likes on a new Facebook post can make you feel pretty good as a marketer, but often less than a fraction of those likes lead to site interaction and conversions.
Keywords vs. Context
Keyword stuffing is (hopefully) no longer part of your SEO playbook. Search engines today are smart enough to know when you’re trying to manipulate the system by keyword stuffing, and you’ll absolutely get penalized for doing so. That said, most search engines rely on the context and big picture of your content over the keywords used. Granted, keywords can help search engines understand context, but if you’ve dropped “brand name shoes” ten times into an article about cooking flan, search engines will know something fishy is going on.
Mobile internet usage is now more popular than Desktop usage, as found by Smart Insights.
Disregarding Mobile Optimization
In today’s era of smart phones and tablets, disregarding mobile optimization can kill SEO efforts. It can’t be said enough, but if you aren’t optimizing for mobile you’re simply falling behind the curve. Global mobile users now outnumber desktop users. You may have a beautifully designed website with all kinds of evergreen content sprinkled throughout. If that site looks terrible and doesn’t function properly on a mobile device, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Fortunately, most publishing platforms offer automated mobile optimization, which makes it easier than ever. It’s up to you as an SEO expert to ensure your site works well on mobile.
Not Staying in the Google Loop
Google is pretty much judge, jury, and executioner in regards to SEO practices, and when Google releases an update to its search engine algorithms, you need to know what’s going on. Many online marketers today find themselves outside of the Google loop, so when a new Panda update makes waves or algorithms are altered, SEO is suddenly affected and it comes as a complete surprise.
Even though it would seem some marketers haven’t gotten the memo, search engine optimization practices have definitely evolved over time. SEO is an ever-changing thing and being aware of it’s changed will help retire any old practices long before they can cause problems.