Common Content Mistakes That Harm SEO
We all know how important content is for our marketing strategy. When it comes to SEO, content is king. Content is the driving force of your website. Not only is it important for people, it is vital for search engines to know what your site is about.
Most people know how important search engines are, and thus try to cater their content accordingly. While this may have been useful in the early days of internet marketing, today it is more likely to harm your SEO efforts. Even those with good intentions can fall into these content practices that do more harm than good. Check out these common content mistakes that harm SEO efforts and learn how you can avoid them, keeping you relevant online.
There have been many updates to the search engine’s algorithms over the years. When Google Penguin was introduced, it was clear that Google did not want to see paid, traded, or otherwise spammy links to sites.
That’s not to say that link building isn’t still an essential part of SEO. It’s more important than ever to make sure links coming to your site:
- Are earned by honest means – Google loves links that help searchers surf the web and find what they need. If people are linking to your site naturally and for the right reasons, it will have a positive impact on your rankings.
- Link to relevant pages – the pages that you link to and the pages that link back to your site should be relevant. If you are a mechanic shop, ideally you wouldn’t link your site to a bakery’s website.
- Are not from link farms – a link farm is a group of sites that link to all the other sites in the group. This is just one of the many ways to spam the search engines, and is now heavily penalized.
If your site has bad backlinks, clean these up to see better rankings.
Beating Keywords to Death
As they always have been, keywords are essential to your SEO plan. They should not be forgotten, but more than ever before they need to be used wisely. Keyword research should be conducted for every page of your site, focusing on what the page truly is about.
If you have more than one page focusing on the exact same keywords, the search engines won’t know which page to pull up in the rankings. This could be a problem in a number of different ways. For example, if you have a company that does both HVAC services and plumbing, despite needing keywords for both, you should not include all the keywords on every page. Specific keywords should be mapped to the pages they relate to. No two pages should have the same keyword research.
In addition to this, over optimizing for keywords on the page is bad. Keywords should look natural to readers of your website. Using them unnaturally and too much will not only cause visitors to bounce away, it’ll reflect poorly in search results.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Whenever performing a basic site audit, title tags and meta descriptions should be top priorities. In terms of SEO, these are two of the most important page elements for your site. Not only do they influence how searchers will see your site in the results, title tags have an impact on your SEO ranking.
To write a good title tag:
- Keep the right length. The title should be descriptive, telling searchers and search engines alike what the page is about. There’s a balance in title tags, write as much as you can but keep it under 60 characters.
- Don’t waste space. Once you start writing, you’ll realize just how little 60 characters actually gives you. Don’t waste space with words such as “homepage”, this will do nothing for your SEO and just limits you. Use relevant keywords, giving searchers and search engines the most valuable information.
While your meta descriptions won’t directly impact the search engines, they will have an impact on searchers. This is the first description people will see. To write a good meta description:
- It should include keywords, but should also read naturally.
- Give a good explanation. Tell readers what the content is about, be honest in the description.
- Above all, meta descriptions need to make sense. Don’t just stuff keywords into the text, it won’t do you any good.
By now you should know that duplicate content is bad for your site. Unfortunately, most duplicate content that is now on the web is unintentional. Even if you don’t mean to, these types of duplicate content are just as bad for your site.
There are a few ways to have unintentional duplicate content on your site:
- Secure HTTPS pages
- CMS templates
- URL parameters
There are tools you can use to check for duplicate content, including the Moz Crawl Test. Once identified, you must tell the search engines not to index the duplicate pages.
Poor writing is still one of the biggest problem with content on the web. What you put on your site should be answering questions or solving problems for viewers. The more people who find your content useful, the better it will be for your website. Writing successful content is done in part by keeping your audience in mind. In addition to this, your writing should be:
- Written with style and voice in mind. Depending on the point you’re trying to get across, the voice matters. Choose something that will resonate with your audience.
- Is easy to understand. Those you are writing to aren’t necessarily in the industry. Make sure you write in a way that is jargon-free and easy for them to understand.
- Prompts a response. The more people you can get interacting with your content, the better it will be. Find a way to connect, get your audience to care about the content, then share or comment.
- Structure the content. This includes copy, images, and anything else on the page. Structuring these elements right will make it easier for your audience to use.
Content is a big part of your SEO plan, make sure you treat it as such. Above all, create content that your intended audience will care about. Follow up with the content items crucial to the search engines to ensure your content will be relevant and useful.