Ever since it became one of marketing’s most highly discussed and endlessly debated subjects, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has witnessed countless changes. Over the years, there have been various techniques and tactics that managed to propel certain websites to results page prosperity, only to see their ranking drop like a stone after being condemned by the latest search engine algorithms!
In many respects, nothing has changed. Seeing as Google, Bing and Yahoo! are always trying to deliver better user experiences, the goalposts of SEO keep moving too. In response to this, marketers trying to stay one step ahead of the game are adopting new-fangled practices and procedures, but more often than not these get dispelled as well.
So what are some of today’s most sought-after SEO strategies that sound appealing but should actually be avoided like the plague?
Submitting lots of content to article directories
This particular practice has been around for a while and involves submitting content to article directories. By creating content about a subject closely related to the brand or even a certain product, potential customers will stumble across these articles when browsing the internet and with any luck, follow a link to the company website.
The intention is to build a strong link profile and boost SEO, but these objectives won’t come to fruition if content is lacking in quality. Some marketers are more interested in quantity rather than quality, but this won’t go down well with today’s search engine algorithms.
The key is to create content that your audience will find useful, valuable, informative or entertaining. It doesn’t matter where it gets published, as long as it answers a question or solves a problem.
Having lots of different websites
You would think that having just one website would be enough for most businesses wanting to promote their own goods or services online. However, there have been examples of some organisations having hundreds of different websites for just a handful of products, services or locations!
This is because they believe having a greater quantity of websites rather than just individual pages will generate more traffic and exposure. Unfortunately, this absurd tactic creates a lot of confusion, SEO management issues, extra hosting expenses and problems relating to duplicate content.
It makes much more sense to have just one website to focus all of your attention on. If you are worried people will want to visit dedicated websites for specific products, you can buy a suitable domain and then redirect traffic from here to your primary online portal.
Profiting from prominent bloggers and influencers
Despite your best intentions, content won’t always find its way to your target market directly. Sometimes, you will need a helping hand from prominent bloggers or influencers that are both held in high esteem by your audience and can also actively endorse your brand or product.
This is a win-win situation for everyone involved, as the influencer can receive monetary rewards, while the business benefits from greater exposure. However, doing this too much can lead to disenchantment from content consumers and possible punishment from search engines.
In fact, there have been examples of organisations reaching out to the same group of bloggers time and time again, only to be identified by Google as a link scheme or PBN (Personal Blogging Network) and banished to the penalty box. So, exercise caution and restraint when looking at this technique because it will likely end in tears for you!
Concentrating on content marketing and nothing else
The boons and benefits of content marketing are incredibly far reaching. What’s more, it can be capitalised on by almost any business, regardless of its size or sector.
However, just like any other marketing tactic or technique, it should be part of a comprehensive and coherent strategy, which includes common practices. By combining content marketing with social media, paid search and other forms of advertising, you will get seen in far more places by many more people.
On top of all that, we already know that SEO can change at a moment’s notice. If content marketing were to stop working tomorrow, a number of major businesses would become stagnant and fail to achieve their online objectives.
Having site-wide links in a page’s footer
If your organisation has various subsidiaries, each with their own website, then it might be tempting to include site-wide links in the footer of all pages. In that way, you may think that you can increase the chances that traffic will visit another one of your websites while enhancing SEO at the same time.
Well, the truth is, in many respects, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as it actually creates a link profile imbalance. Coupled with over optimised anchors and other violations, your website could soon be dicing with death!
So, think twice before implementing this particular SEO tactic. You might want to use ‘nofollow’ footer links and branded anchors instead, as this won’t put you in trouble or danger of penalties from Google.
Posting duplicate content on your website
For businesses with limited time and resources, creating large quantities of well-written and engaging content featuring relevant keywords can seem like a never-ending uphill struggle. To overcome this challenge, no doubt many will believe they can get away with duplicating their very best blogs or articles throughout the website.
But instead of being a clever solution, this is actually a form of keyword stuffing, which does nothing to improve the user’s experience and can reflect very badly on the business.
To boot, Google will waste no time in cracking down on this devious plan of attack and your website could feel the full force of Search punishment too!
Adding codes and plugins on your website’s homepage
By putting tracking codes, scripts or plugins on your homepage, you can send facts and figures about website traffic to a data centre, which will then get processed for the purposes of reporting.
This can increase intelligence in regards to search, analytics or another performance metrics, but may end up doing more harm than good. You’ll probably end up with a slow and sluggish site, which can affect your ability to retain existing traffic and gain favourable rankings. Google will punish slow and cumbersome website coding; keep your code clean and quick!
You don’t have to ignore tracking codes altogether, just select them carefully and be sure they do not impact on your user’s browsing experience.