It’s a fact: even if your business doesn’t necessarily require you to churn a lot of content like certain industries do, you would still need to produce some measure of content in order to execute your digital marketing. And that means while you may not intentionally be stuffing your articles with keywords or cramming your pages with overly salesy links, you may still be doing bad SEO.
This, of course, is a double whammy. You’re the one defeating the purpose of aiming to promote and market your business in the first place – and you’re not even aware of it.
Unfortunately, yours is not an isolated scenario. On the contrary, it’s actually a common occurrence, given that Google changes its algorithms practically all the time. With terms like Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon, it can certainly sound like an eccentric zoo if you’re not anywhere near being an enthusiastic tech geek. And if you’re not, it doesn’t have to mean you’ll have to compel yourself to be artificially inclined; having a working familiarity of it should be fine.
Here are some notable things to avoid so that you utilize SEO to your advantage and not unconsciously have it against you.
- You have poor User Experience (UX).
There’s no need to make things complicated. If you want to check whether you’re doing bad SEO, then just ask yourself if you’re creating a poor experience for the visitors of your site. If the answer is yes, then you just might be in the bad zone. Nowadays, Google is very intentional in making sure that users are at the core of any digital environment, and that totally makes sense. After all, the search engine gets over 2 trillion searches in a year, and more than half of them come from mobile gadgets. The staggering number is a clear reflection of the way people today search for things and how they lead their lifestyle: it’s focused on researching products and services they need; it tends to be local; and it’s always on the go.
Now, what are you doing about it?
Bearing in mind that a mobile screen is only a fraction of the size of a PC or laptop, you as the site owner will have to find ways to guarantee that your visitors still have a good experience navigating your site. They can easily find the tabs that they need and the design is simple and uncluttered.
- You have intrusive ads.
Don’t you just hate it when you’re scrolling through a page – and then suddenly an ad pops up totally uninvited? Well, so does just about everybody. That’s why intrusive ads definitely make the cut in things that make bad SEO. Google unofficially named it “Intrusive Interstitial Update.” To make things straight to the point, the update clearly states that it targets pop-up ads because they affect mobile user experience.
This is how Google explains the penalty: “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”
So how do you deal with this? Before placing pop-up ads in your site, determine first if they’re really necessary. For example, you may need a pop-up if it’s required by law, like when you need to verify information or confirm a personal detail prior to having a guest proceed to the next page. You may also opt for a pop-up if it helps you promote something, say, a new product or a launch. Just make sure it’s not in any way going to be distracting. A small banner at the top or bottom of the page should do it.
- You buy links.
If you’re even thinking of buying links to help your site rank better, just don’t. While your purpose is to hasten things up a bit, this kind of strategy is bound to backfire sooner or later. This is because search engines are very smart today – definitely way smarter than they were some years back. Now, they’re more concerned on quality rather than quantity. And if your site has questionable internal and external links, it just means that you’re not putting in the work necessary to earn high-quality links from respectable sites. Definitely not a good sign.
Put another way, it’s like buying Instagram followers. You’ll come off as a fake, and you’ll just look silly for doing it to boost your popularity.
- You spam other sites with link-heavy comments.
Leaving insightful and valuable comments to other blogs is a good thing. Copying and pasting general comments that have a link to your site definitely isn’t. Again, the point here is to always aim for genuine quality – anything less than that just won’t nail it down.
And another thing about this, when you spam other bloggers, it creates a bad experience – both for the owner of the blog and his readers who merely want to share their comments on the platform. You can bet Google doesn’t take this lightly, so better that you don’t get started with it at all. Rather than hasty and ethically questionable tactics, you can take the time to actually read the post, comment, and then add a link to your site if it will help in the discussion.
- You duplicate content.
This is definitely a no-no in SEO – and in digital marketing in general – for a very good reason. It’s not a secret that creating high-quality content takes a lot of time and effort. Search engines know that, and they’re not willing to let someone take the credit for another person’s hard work. That being said, duplicating any content from an author, a particular site, or a given source will have its due consequences in terms of heavy Google penalty.
If you’re not deliberately copying from other sources, you may think it’s fine. But duplicating content doesn’t necessarily mean from external plagiarism. If you keep recycling your own content – for example, in meta descriptions or product pages – that’s also considered as plagiarism and you’ll be flagged for it. Your best bet is to have good, original content every time.
As an entrepreneur, you of course want to promote your business, and SEO certainly helps with that. But if you use it incorrectly, it will backfire and sabotage your efforts.
How do you make sure you have good SEO on your site? Share with us in the comments.