Following the rules and being smart while undertaking various techniques is key to a successful SEO plan. The rules and ranking factors have regularly changed over time, and many techniques which worked just a few years ago are now obsolete.
In today’s article, I’ll fill you in on some essential Do’s and Don’ts in the world of SEO today.
DO’s: The Best Practices for Improving Your SEO
There are countless SEO methods out there to increase search rankings and organic traffic to your website. Here are the 3 key DO’s you can start doing today.
DO: Use Unique, Fresh Content
Frequently updated website content offers search engines fresh content and sources of new information for their search requests. Simply put, if you update your website often with high quality content, search engines will love you for it.
All of the content on your website should be unique and provide high quality information that your audience is looking for. Webmasters shouldn’t be creating additional pages and content for the sake of getting more pages indexed – each page needs to offer something different, unique and relevant to your audience.
Major search engines including Google will devalue a page if the content is not relevant, or if it’s not unique and appears on other websites first. This ensures that unique content creators gain the credit they deserve.
One way of providing regular unique content is by using a blog. Focus on creating posts around a keyword topic that is relevant to your industry. These posts can help you increase your organic traffic (blog posts can rank really well) as well as provide Google with the high quality content to offer to searchers.
DO: Have A Great User Experience
By definition, User Experience (UX) is all about providing the best possible experience to the consumer. As the use of machine learning increases, user signals will factor more prominently into search engine rankings.
Currently a positive UX provides an indirect (but consistent) benefit on where a website will ultimately rank.
Problems with the User Experience could prevent businesses from reaching their potential in the organic search results and can also repress your conversion rate. Take a look at our article here on how a positive UX can help increase conversions on your website.
If users come to your website and browse through multiple pages, spend time engaging with your content and even come back again, all of these metrics will be taken into consideration within Google’s ranking algorithm. The websites that provide an excellent UX with quality & relevant content, innovative design with a clear, structured navigation, are the kind which visitors will be returning to time and time again.
DO: Focus on Local Search
Be a step ahead of your competitors by focusing on local search, especially if you are a business that provides a local service. If you adopt a more locally-focused SEO strategy, you’re much more likely to appear higher in mobile search results when users are searching in your service area.
You can check out our Local SEO tips from the Main Street ROI team in this blog post. By undertaking various optimization techniques, such as building citations, verifying your Google My Business page and optimizing your website for geo-focused keywords, you can ensure that your Local SEO will be at the top of its game.
Don’ts: Black Hat SEO That Can Lead To Ranking Penalties
In recent years, Google has cracked down on the strategies used to “cheat” algorithms. As they began focusing on quality content, UX and relevance, they were able to remove spammers out of the search results and rank informative, relevant content to searchers.
DON’T: Use Spammy Tricks
Spammy tricks never work in the long term… and most of the time, not even for the short term.
Whenever a black hat SEO technique becomes more mainstream, Google identifies the cause either manually or through an algorithm. They then update the algorithm to either disavow the technique or simply penalize websites that are trying to utilize it. If you are caught using it, this means you could hurt your rankings.
For example, you should never ‘stuff’ keywords into any piece of content on your website. These keywords need to fit naturally into headings and copy on your site. Make sure you are careful when optimizing your pages as you don’t want to receive a penalty from Google.
Instead of trying to cheat the system, being ethical from the start with your search engine marketing will ultimately pay dividends. Other spammy tricks include:
- Doorway pages – creating low quality websites solely for a link through to your own site
- Invisible text – using the same color font as the background color
- Duplicate content – copying content from another source or having pages on your website which use the exact same content
DON’T: Use Shady Link Building Schemes
Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links directing to your site or external links leaving your site.
These types of links include:
- Comment spam in Blogs
- Article directory links
- Hidden links (similar to invisible text, using the same color font as the background)
- Buying expiring domains
- Link farms
Today, following ethical SEO practices focused on Google’s standards, and staying up to speed with the latest developments in ranking algorithms is the best way to ensure you avoid any SEO penalties and have the best chance of ranking for your top keywords.
“Black hat” practices such as keyword stuffing and abusing link building are a thing of the past and should definitely be avoided.