Are You Doing SEO Right?
Have you ever asked yourself if you or your company is doing SEO right? Or, are you at least running your website good enough to be worthy of the page 1 natural search results? The answer is probably no if you are doing your own SEO and also probably no if you didn’t properly vet the Search Engine Optimization agency that you hired. There is a huge difference between saying that a company can do magical things, such as get you on page 1 for every keyword that you want, and actually doing a good job and getting your company found for a good number of good keywords that will bring you business and improve your ROI. So are you doing SEO right?
Of course, you know that one major part of SEO is on-page SEO. And if you are doing your own on-page SEO for your brand new website, then you probably don’t even know what the term means. If you have read up on search engine optimization, then you probably know enough to make yourself dangerous — and when we say dangerous, we really do mean dangerous. Of course you also have companies that are doing Search Engine Optimization the way it was done 10 years ago, some 5 years ago and even some just last year. The point is that Google is always changing and that means as an SEO agency, you have to always be changing with them. This is doing yourself a service rather than making your pages sink to the bottom of the pack.
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Doing SEO Right!
On-Page SEO Tactics To Stop Doing
Do not use low-quality, poor or duplicate content on your website, as this will just prove to your users that you don’t know what you are talking about and make them want to run away. (Not to mention that Google will catch onto you and give you a penalty for using that duplicate content.) You want to be an authority in whatever it is you’re doing, not some hack that just steals someone’s quality writing.
Stop stuffing your title full of keywords when you could be making it descriptive and using your brandname. If you are stuffing your title full of keywords, then it doesn’t look natural. Google is all about making things look natural these days. If you can fit your city or your brand name into the title, then that is an extra added bonus.
Keyword Stuffing in Meta
The same goes for your meta descriptions, which aren’t even used for your actual search rankings anyways. There is no point in jamming the meta description full of keywords when you could be using it for a call to action or good content to catch your user’s attention. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your keyword in the description at least once for good SEO value.
Stop making your web pages look bad just to make Google happy, because in reality you aren’t making them happy anyways. In today’s SEO world, you want the page to look nice for the user. So to go along with our theme so far, stop stuffing the page and adding media that isn’t necessary. You will actually lose value in the end instead of gaining the value of having a good look and feel. Having that good look and feel will mean that your users feel better about visiting your site and reading your material.
Did We Mention Keyword Stuffing?
Again with the stuffing. Never just stuff or try to force a keyword into an H1. If you can’t get the keyword into your H1 without the proper context, then you probably need to change the H1 or not even include it in the H1 at all. The same goes for your H2, H3 and so on. It’s actually better to use synonyms of your keyword if you cannot get the exact word into these headings. Remember, we are trying to look natural here.
Stop trying to make your Alt Image Tag fit if the image doesn’t make any sense. Be descriptive with your alt text and include your keyword in the short sentence or as a long-tail keyword, otherwise you probably shouldn’t use it at all.
Exact Match URLs
Don’t worry about having exact match URL’s that contain your keyword exactly the way you want it. This isn’t going to hurt you. But stop doing it if you have to go out of your way and it’s simply making your site hierarchy look weird and doesn’t fit into the rest of your website. Google says exact match urls really don’t matter anymore. That’s debatable, but I am going to believe them for the sake of giving them some credit here.
Keyword Stuffing … Again
You need to stop stuffing your copy with your keywords. If you cannot get your keyword to fit into your copy naturally, then again don’t use it. Write about your keyword, use synonyms or what we in the SEO world like to call LSIs, aka Latent Semantic Indexing. This is not a trick guys. This is simply so you can write about your topic and sound natural and sound like you actually know what you’re talking about. This is good on the Google side and the user side because you sound like you are actually speaking to a human and not writing for a robot.
You should stop using navigational links in your footer or header. They serve no purpose and will not add to any SEO value.
Building Your Site for Google, Not Users
One thing I see way too often is entire sites built for Google, or other search engines, rather than being built for the user. With everything that has been said above, you should realize that this is not OK. It doesn’t sound natural and you will be penalized by Google. Most users will see right through it and just move on.
Stop updating your website with content that provides no value to anyone. If you are uploading a bunch of pics of food or blog posts about how much fun you had this weekend when your site is about mechanical engineering, you are not helping yourself. Sure, you are adding content and everyone knows “content is king,” but it’s worthless content that provides zero value to anyone reading your site.
This is my short list of on-page SEO things that you should lay off of or simply stop doing because you are doing them the wrong way. If you are going to do something right, then it’s probably a good idea that you pay an agency to do it.
On-Page SEO Tactics To Do When Doing SEO Right
Write all of your content for your user. This should be a no-brainer at this point, because you want to sound natural and you want to answer the questions that your users are searching for. If you are writing to the people who you want to find your site, chances are you’re answering their questions and they are going to find your site.
Use SEO-friendly architecture tools that are available to you and are free. You have an amazing resource in schema.org that can and will make your site stand out. You should be using it when you get the chance.
Much like you shouldn’t be stuffing your titles with keywords, you should be making them descriptive and interesting for the user. Your users should be excited to click on your page based on your title, because it is descriptive and possibly answers their question, not because it has the same keywords that they searched for.
Use your meta description to make the user excited to click on your page. Of course, make your meta about your keyword and include your keyword, but make it captivating and get your user excited to click on your page. It’s great to use a call to action or something that is going to grab attention.
What Is Your Focus?
Focus it all on building your conversion rate. That means use calls to actions and make it very easy for your visitors to connect with you.
Always use social badges so your users can share your website and your content easily. No matter what you hear, social signals do help your SEO.
Work hard to lower your page loading time. This could mean, not using flash, making sure your CSS loads properly and doing simple things, like making sure your images are as small as possible.
Be sure to update your blog as much as possible with fresh content. Not only fresh content, but what you might consider exciting content or interesting content that users will want to share with their friends or colleagues.
Be sure to prove the legitimacy of your website by displaying your address, phone number and any badges you have. If you are certified, have awards or are featured in publications, be proud of that and show it off.
Include a ton of case studies, testimonials or customer experiences, even video testimonials. This will help convert more visitors into customers and decrease your bounce rate at the same time.
Off-Site SEO Or Link Building – Things To Stop Working On
Stop using free directories as they are no longer providing the value that they used to do. They get you listed and add a citation, but there is no relevancy to these backlinks.
Low-quality social bookmarking sites should never point to your money site. You can use them to point to your second- or third-tier backlinks, but not to your main website.
If you come across free article directories, avoid them as Google does not award you for these backlinks because anyone can go to them and simply write a blog pointing back to their own content.
Stop doing link exchanges as this is seen more as a grey-hat tactic. Trading links for links is not going to help either party.
Do not and I repeat do not purchase links or use sponsored links to point to your website. If you are paying for the link, everyone else can do the same thing and Google will quickly devalue it.
Don’t use a content spinner to try and make a bunch of content and pump it out hoping other sites will link back to you. If you spin content, you will get content that sounds the same and half of the time makes no sense to the users who are reading it.
Getting links that are unnatural and from non-relevant sites is a no-no. This is something that will not help and, in fact, might hurt you. What’s the point to have a link pointing to your insurance site from a blog talking about root beer floats. It just doesn’t make any sense. And if it doesn’t make sense, you probably shouldn’t do it.
Link Building Schemes Are A NO NO
For the love of God, do not participate in a link-building scheme. Google will catch on and you will most likely get a manual or some other type of penalty on your site.
You should never try to get website links from duplicate content. Sometimes scrapers will link to you and there is nothing you can really do about it, but do not use this as part of your SEO strategy.
Do not get links or try to get backlinks from sites that have been penalized by Google or banned by Google. If the site is in trouble and linking to you, chances are you will be in trouble not long after that.
Stay clear of trying manipulative link-building tactics. There are many examples of this which you can do a search for, as there is plenty of content on them out there.
Do not use excessive exact match anchor backlink text. Be sure to mix up your anchor text and use branded words. Use other words like “click here” or “read more” so your backlinks look more natural rather than 100% of your backlinks anchor text being “St. Louis Designer.”
Off-Site SEO Or Link Building To Do When Doing SEO Right
Do your best to get backlinks from your niche or at least a closely related niche. One good backlink is better than 20 irrelevant backlinks.
Be advanced in your link building scheme. If it’s easy to get these backlinks, then you probably aren’t doing it right. The harder a link is to get, chances are the better the link will be.
Focus on marketing alone and not just SEO or making backlinks to rank. If you are getting backlinks through natural marketing, it will most likely be seen as natural by Google and the user.
Again, focus on backlink anchor text that will increase your click-through rate and look natural. Don’t just make a bunch of links with the same anchor text trying to manipulate Google.
Everything you do should fit in with your brand and be consistent. Make sure you know your brand and focus on keeping your backlink efforts consistent to your brand.
Focus a lot of your time on content marketing. Write quality content that users want to share. This will get you not only natural backlinks, but a ton of social shares and likes. This is huge this year, but Google loves long, good content that helps make you an expert in your field.
Citations, Citations, Citations
Get citations, whether the citation has a link or not. Do your best to get conversations started about your brand so people are mentioning it and Google sees that it’s something out there and users are excited about it. If you get links out of it at the same time, then you’ve got yourself a bonus.
Hopefully this blog post will help you with some of your SEO efforts and give you an idea of what to focus on and what to stay away from when doing SEO right. We all know things change very fast at Google and 2016 has been no different. Keeping up with the latest SEO tactics and thinking outside of the box is the best strategy to get your site to rank and not get one of those nasty penalties from Google. Good luck out there and remember that Matchbox is your SEO firm and we are always here to take care of your SEO needs.