Fewer things in life stress me out more than a prospective client obsessed with SEO. You might think that sounds strange since The Write Reflection specializes in SEO content. Let me explain why.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to include SEO in your content marketing strategy. Unfortunately, some folks are stuck in the past. They cling to SEO tactics that were designed to game the system, not create high-quality content.
Staying updated on SEO best practices is the only way to perform better in search results and drive organic traffic.
With that in mind, I’ve created a list of the 7 most outdated SEO strategies that can hurt your brand marketing efforts. If you’re still doing any of these things, step away from your electronic device and reach out to me ASAP. I’ll get your SEO strategy in tip-top condition in no time without any underhanded tricks.
1 – Writing for Search Engines, Not People
In case you missed it, The Write Reflection is not a fan of writing for search engines. I’ve made it my mission to write for people, not Google (or Bing, or Yahoo, or any other search engine). Heck, I so firmly believe in it that I’ve made it my business motto: People First. SEO Second. All other SEO strategies take a back seat.
Back in the day, when the locals still sported mullets and checked out their pagers for new messages every 3 minutes, some SEO practitioners were busy writing content that appeased the search engine gods.
As you can imagine, the content was hardly user-friendly or informative. Readers weren’t impressed. Google may have found your content, but it was doing nothing to build a loyal brand following.
Today, most SEO professionals worth their salt know how to create content that ranks well but also engages your target audience.
I rely on my journalism skills to craft stories that resonate with your ideal customer and focus on the user experience. Yes, I still use SEO keywords. However, they’re an afterthought, not a priority.
2 – Keyword Stuffing
When I first started providing SEO content for clients, I found myself stuck with a lot of people who subscribed to the theory that the more keywords you used in an article, the better. They bought into the recommendations of SEO plugins like Yoast and Frase that dictated how many keywords you had to use and the exact number of times you must use them to rank well.
If you followed that guidance, what you ended up with was unnatural-sounding text that quickly turned people off.
In their defense, some SEO providers followed these insane rules because they seemed to work with Google. They gamed the system because the search engine giant encouraged it.
Thankfully, Google has seen the error of its ways and no longer prioritizes content stuffed with keywords. With its Helpful Content Update, Google claims it now rewards relevant content focused on providing value to readers. Some days I have my doubts the search giant is following its new rules, as I occasionally see other SEO strategies – some of which are mentioned in this blog post – still performing well in search results on Google.
3 – Spinning Content
Have you ever plugged in a keyword and checked out the 5 top-ranked results? Chances are, you’ll feel like you’re reading the exact same article from 5 different organizations. That’s because back in the day, some SEO professionals (and I use that term loosely) took the best-performing content for a target keyword and basically rewrote it with their client’s name on it.
Called article spinning, the practice does very little to create content that adds value to your readers. Sure, it may get the attention of search engines. But it’s not going to engage your target audience or encourage them to become brand devotees.
Instead of falling for this cheap SEO trick, examine whatever piece of content Google or Bing currently favors. Find holes you can fill to breathe new life into the topic, then create a better version of it for your website.
4 – Over-Optimizing Anchor Text
Anchor text is important to SEO. It serves as a signal for search engines to understand the context and relevance of the linked content. Users who click on anchor text (ideally) are taken to another web page or piece of content associated with the text.
Here’s the problem: some SEO pros started over-optimizing anchor text, using the same keyword or keyword phrase repeatedly in anchor text.
Falling into this trap of manipulating search engines is detrimental to your SEO efforts. Do it often enough, and Google and Bing may penalize your web pages for keyword stuffing, loss of relevance, and negative user experience.
Instead, link an SEO keyword to a relevant internal document or page that adds value or offers further explanation of a topic. Never do it more than twice in the same piece of content for the best results.
5 – Focusing Only on Google
I realize this may come as a shock to some of you, but there are other search engines out there besides Google. Yes, Google gets roughly 90% of all web traffic each day. No one is arguing it’s not the dominant search engine.
However, focusing only on Google could leave you missing out on potential traffic from other search engines.
One of Google’s competitors – Bing – is ripe for the picking right now if you know how to create SEO content that it favors. Long before Google promised to reward helpful content, Bing was following that best practice. You rarely found keyword-stuffed drivel in the top search results generated by the search engine.
Bing even has a competitor to Google My Business called Bing Places for Business. I recommend to all my clients to create a Bing Places account. If you don’t want to maintain both GMB and Bing Places, Bing has made it easy for you with a feature that automatically imports anything you post to GMB to its platform.
You can use other SEO strategies with Bing to get your content noticed as well. Reach out to me today to learn how.
6 – Ignoring Mobile SEO
Nearly 93% of people access the internet from a mobile device. Failing to optimize your digital assets for mobile is a huge mistake. Gone are the days when you could assume everyone was sitting at a desktop or laptop using the internet.
Most web designers understand how to optimize for mobile. It’s crucial you work with a website pro who implements the key steps for mobile friendliness:
7 – Targeting Multiple Keywords and Their Variations
The only thing worse than stuffing the same keyword into a 500-word blog post is seeing 25 variations of the same keyword used repeatedly. Back in the day, some search engines (cough, cough, Google) rewarded content that used as many versions of the same keyword or keyword phrase as possible.
As with keyword stuffing, this practice made content unreadable for most humans. You’re better off choosing a high-value keyword and focusing on it throughout your content in a natural way. Mentioning your target keyword 3 to 4 times is sufficient.
SEO strategies that boost website performance
Relying on some of these outdated SEO strategies can spell disaster for your brand. Commit to abandoning these 7 tactics and embracing modern SEO best practices that focus on putting people first, not search engines.
Stop watching other websites outperform yours by following bad SEO advice. Give me a call today to schedule your hassle-free consultation to whip your SEO strategy into shape.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for 25 years.