I didn’t come into work at 7 am with a crippling fever for just any webinar, but when I heard SEO software specialists SEM Rush were running a masterclass on common SEO Bad Habits and mistakes I rolled out of bed, put on three jumpers and hobbled to work. Best SEO practices, off page SEO techniques and on page SEO techniques are highly sought after in the digital marketing world. With many marketers and business owners asking 'how do I get my business onto the first spot of Google'? In a bid to gain as much organic traffic as possible. SEO is arguably one of the most important aspects of any businesses digital marketing efforts which also rather conveniently happens to be as elusive as the Loch Ness monster herself.
With a vice-like grip on SEO best practices, Google, Bing and Yahoo are able to sell top positions for a premium. A big part of my job is understanding, analysing and updating paid ads, specifically ads utilising Google AdWords, naturally, SEO is at the core of what I do, so this webinar was incredibly useful, with Peter Mead, Sha Menz and Tim Capper speaking. Here’s what I learnt:
Common and Harmful SEO mistakes
1. Oi you, yes you, stop stuffing your bloody keywords. Keyword Stuffing; perhaps one of the most annoying SEO bad practices to exist has and always will ruin great content. There is nothing worse than reading a blog to suddenly find the author has completely unnecessarily stuffed – 17 SEO habits to avoid – a keyword. This form of bad practice extends past blog content and into homepage titles, meta descriptions and headings. Putting the obvious SEO issues with this to one side for a moment, an article with stuffed keywords is an article which lacks creativity and effort.
If you do not use your keywords properly, be aware that Google will rewrite your homage titles and meta descriptions to make them more relevant. If your click-through-rate is low, I would strongly suggest taking a look at these.
2. Stop being lazy when naming images – Name them properly; name-it-like-this.jpeg.
3. The slower the website, the lower the ranking, squire! – Websites which take too much time to load risk a higher bounce rate (users clicking off your site too soon). Use Google’s free tool to test your site. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/
4. Thou shall bear thy taxonemies with creativity – Taxonemies; a fancy tech word for categories, tags and metadata. Don’t use the same words in all titles, categories, URL and TAGS – you are effectively trying to win a one man arm wrestle.
5. Do yo keyword research – Peter suggests you avoid Google’s keyword planner as it is outdated, use the following tools instead; Keyword magic tool, Seobook's Free Keywords Tool and Mozz Keyword Tool instead.
6. Please, no more weak sauce content – Here's something every content writer, blogger, creative worker and content specialist have been waiting to hear. Great SEO is about really good quality writing, by being original and commanding the language you are writing in, you strengthen your claim to a spot on Google’s top spot.
7. Great links are your climbing ropes to a higher spot - Links are super important. Think about it this way, links from reputable sources are in essence a form of endorsement. The more links you have the better, often businesses will not have the patience to undergo the tedious job of building sustainable links and instead opt for the quicker option, bad links. They will be flagged and you will be penalised.
8. Have a content strategy that embellishes your incredible content. Having outrageously hilarious content or well-informed blogs is great, but not quite enough. You need to think of a realistic method of promotion, here are a few:
a. Email Lists
b. Social Media
c. Viral Content
d. Targeted Social Ads
e. Targeted Outreach
Final thought: create interesting, engaging and compelling reasons for people to link to your site.
Sha specialises in search engine optimisation, link removal, penalty recovery, link audits & remediation.
9. Device before desktop – Pull your phone out of your pocket for a second, open your browser and type in your website. How easy is it to navigate your site on mobile? Remember It’s a mobile world first! Read more on Google's mobile indexing here.
10. Cast out short tail keywords – no more, no more short tail keywords. It’s time to really engage with your optimisation, think about your customers, what are they going to type into their search engines?
11. Don't be basic, directory sites – When I say basic, I mean the everyday generic directories anyone can attach to, the issue with these is that spam websites link themselves to these directories by the droves, Google recognises this and may associate all sites linked to one directory of the same standard. Stick to industry specific directories.
12. Embrace the penguin - Penguin 4.0, not to be confused with a waddle of penguins, is a key piece of Google’s core algorithm, this algorithm is now constantly on the lookout for faulty, old or dangerous links and can give real-time penalties.
Final thought: Stop trying to beat google, work with it!
Bad habits in Local SEO
13. Location location location – These search engines are known to be incredibly granular – including key information like your business location, address, telephone etc. ect in the footer is crucial.
14. Neglect your Google business page at your peril – Think about it, if you are active on Google’s social platform, Google Plus, you are strengthening your businesses visibility to and on Google.
15. Structure your damn data. H1 is for the Title, H2 for town and country – you can use H3 but be wary of how you structure. http://schema.org/
16. Doth thy even event? Let’s say you’re holding a class to show people how to brew a real cuppa. Eventbrite is great, but don’t neglect your Google Business page, this is a great way to let users know of your events.
17. Questions are your friend – This is something that I have been actively pushing for a millennium, make a note of all questions customers are asking and if you can, create a blog addressing each issue!
Final thought – Use your Google business page - and use it wisely.
Lemsip is a godsend and search engines favour the noble content creator; don't try to sneak your way around Google or Bing. The real key to dominating your SEO is by being patient and subscibing to the Midas Digital newsletter, ok perhaps not necassarily that last one, but we will help you get your marketing up to scratch!