When strategy-forming conversations about your website happen, the topic of SEO always seems to be a lingering question…
A big part of that is because over the last 10 years, what constitutes best practices in SEO has changed drastically. The changes are primarily due to the evolution of the Google PageRank algorithm, which is responsible for determining where a site gets listed in organic (not paid) search results for a given keyword or phrase. These are the kinds of rankings everyone craves because they are unpaid, and many would say they carry a higher level of credibility.
Galileo Tech Media has these same SEO conversations and our blog is here to lay on you some of our rock-solid wisdom on search engine optimizations. It is one of our core competencies and it’s an area in which we’ve found many in-house agencies could use some guidance.
But in addition to talking about what you should be doing for SEO, we want to make sure you’re not doing anything to hurt your SEO cause…because if you haven’t revised your SEO strategy in a while, there is a really good chance you are doing things that at one time helped move you up the search rankings—but now, those very same things could be hurting you.
Here are 4 SEO practices that have really attracted the stinkeye from Google:
1. Irrelevant spammy guest blogging
The key here is to draw a firm, thick line between what constitutes “spammy” guest blogging and what is good, relevant guest blogging, which is still a good thing for your website’s rankings when done authentically.
At issue is a practice engaged in by many companies who started offering blog owners money and other compensation for the opportunity to post on their blog. These blog posts would be choc full of linkbacks to the company’s website(s), which were often irrelevant to the content of the actual blog.
Nevertheless, they benefited because of the high traffic the blog received. Matt Cutts, who runs WebSpam at Google, talks about the issue in much greater depth.
But the moral of the story is…unless you can vouch for a guest blogger personally or know them well, don’t do guest blogging.
2. Outgoing and incoming link quality.
For a long time, links to or from your website boosted organic search rankings, and it didn’t matter so much where the linkbacks were from or where they were going, if they were outbound links from your website.
To build linkbacks, site owners would pay an SEO agency to build an online infrastructure that would create incoming links for their sites.
This used to work just fine, but not anymore. Now, such practices can destroy your website’s organic ranking if…
The linkback comes from a site that has been penalized by Google.
You rack up a large number of such linkbacks in a short period of time.
But don’t throw out the idea of link-building completely as an SEO tool. You just need to know how to do it without cheating!
So, there’s a little something for you to get started. We’ll chime in again shortly with some more thoughts on keyword-driven content and the practice of keyword stuffing, so stay tuned…
3. Nonsensical anchor tagging
Anchor Tagging used to be a good thing. It still can be a good thing, when done in a judicious way. It gives your readers an idea of where they could be headed if they click your link, and adds depth to your content. And like your readers, Search Engines also use this tool to determine the subject matter on the linked-to page.
As Moz.com points out, after the Penguin update, Google began to look more closely at keywords in anchor text. If too many outbound links were the same – same text, same destination – it was a bad sign. Here’s more of what Google had to say about anchor tagging.
Two specific anchor tagging practices to steer clear of:
Using the same phrase, same link repeatedly throughout your site. Take some time to research your site’s keywords and use those terms as your anchor text. Diversify where you’re sending your readers when they click.
Simultaneously, don’t limit your anchor tagging to your site’s keywords. That could send up a red flag. Mix it up with a variety of anchored keywords, longer phrases, and naked or branded URLs.
It’s also important to know that Moz.com experiments show that when there are multiple anchor tags on the same page pointing users to the same link, Google only counts the first one
[with a few exceptions, of course]. So make the first one count – no “Click Here”s or “Learn More”s. Instead tell Google where you’re taking the reader.
4. Playing the SEO short game
There are many quick fixes you can apply to your website, and see instant results. Google Webmaster is a great place to start, to diagnose your site and make sure you’re not ignoring any potential issues.
SEO is not a quick fix. It’s a long game. Things get confusing with the plentitude of seemingly good ideas and automated tools to make your site’s SEO hum. There are no effective tricks in SEO. In the spirit of telling you what NOT to do… we emphatically put these no-brainers in that category:
Keyword stuffing. We know you know not to do that, but we have to say it, right?
Don’t hide keywords.
Don’t ignore broken links.
Don’t ignore slow load times.
Don’t ignore your analytics.
Use your SEO Monitoring Dashboard to see which keywords are bringing new readers to your site, how long these folks are staying around based on keywords, and how many pages they’re seeing.
Here at Galileo Tech Media.com, our advice to you is to ask yourself before implementing any SEO tactic: “Does this feel like cheating?” and “Will this improve my readers’ experience?” Make sure you feel good about your answers, which IS a SEO Best Practice.