Sometimes it’s easier to remember what not to do. There are seemingly a million tips online to remember when you want to be better at SEO. But if you can grab a firm hold of a few “never do this” tips, it can carry you a long way--like these three SEO party fouls:
What Not To Do #1: Tolerate a Slow Site
Google has transformed its algorithm into something that examines the user's experience. For this reason, we would do better to call it search experience optimization, not search engine optimization. And one of the most frustrating pain points in a Google user’s experience is a slow-loading site. Google knows this, and it has therefore adjusted its algorithm accordingly. If your site is slow, you will not rank as well. You can test your site’s speed at Pingdom and this tool by Google. These tools also provide some hints as to what is slowing things down. Sometimes it's as simple as reducing the file size of those massive images you enjoy using in posts. Of course, it might be a deeper problem with your web design (which requires professional help.) Whatever it is, it helps to at least know if site speed is a problem.
What Not To Do #2: Write Only for Customers (and Ignore Influencers)
First a quick explanation of jargon: when someone else creates a link on their website that sends a visitor to a page on your site, that is a “backlink.” Google used to blindly favor backlinks to your site no matter who created the backlinks or how. People began taking advantage of this. They found blackhat ways to farm backlinks to their site and fraudulently raise their Google ranking. Google adjusted their settings to combat this. For that reason, plenty of articles over the years have been published that downplay the need for backlinks. Some go too far, and they say that Google no longer cares about any backlinking at all.
This is simply not true.
Google still values good backlinks to your site, if they’re gotten fair and square--i.e. someone other than yourself actually reads your content, really loves it, and chooses to link to your content on their site. Google is smarter about recognizing a good, legitimate backlink.
For this reason, you need to be writing content that will also appeal to influencers--to powerful voices of peers and thought leaders in your industry. If just one big influencer chooses to backlink to your site, that can have a nice effect with Google.
So don’t just write for customers. Write for influencers too. This, of course, means getting to know influencers by reading their stuff and getting a sense of what they like and need.
As SearchEngineLand points out:
From an SEO perspective, your most important audience isn’t your customers, it’s the linkerati, i.e., the online influencers who have the most authority in the eyes of Google. Yes, you are going to get the most out of your campaign by targeting those who can link back to you from trusted, authoritative, important sites. If you are only writing content pieces for your customers, you are missing the boat.
What Not To Do #3: Ignore Long-form Articles and Confine Your Content to Short, Skimming-the-Topic Posts
A team of SEO experts at Backlinko.com, led by Brian Dean, recently conducted a fascinating study: they analyzed 1 million search results on Google trying to find a correlation between SEO practices and the sites that ranked on the first page.
They found several correlating factors, but one of them was interesting to discover: the length of content. Longer articles had higher rankings. Of course, that was not the only factor that mattered, but it was a consistent one. While that doesn’t mean that every post has to be 1800+ words, it’s a good idea--occasionally, when time permits--to publish a lengthier, more in-depth piece that does shoot for 1,800-2,000 words. Save these longer pieces for the topics you know the best--the ones that fall right into your sweet spot of expertise. And choose topics that help influencers and customers understand their problems better. Don't write a 2000-word sales post that just pitches your service ad infinitum, in other words. Be helpful.
These three blunders are easy to remember, and most of them are not overly difficult to avoid or fix. You can tackle it in stages as well. Pick one blunder out of the list above and make it your goal to work on it. Even that small goal could make a meaningful impact.
To learn more great SEO tips, give us a call or send us a note today at Small Dog Creative 661-702-1310!