Google makes small changes to its algorithms several hundred times per year. Occasionally, Google rolls out a “major” update (think Google Panda or Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.
As a business owner, you have a million things on your mind as you move through your days. Employees, customers, prospects, production, marketing; it all can be overwhelming at times. You have your expertise. And while the nuances of marketing are an important part of the process, understanding every Google update is probably the furthest thing from your mind.
It’s confusing. Why should you care about the latest SEO change? Why should you care about the details?
Because it’s the details that can get you into trouble.
The Internet is a perfect breeding ground for misinformation to spread. And while you may read one “expert” opinion to help you get ahead in rankings, if you follow the wrong advice you may get penalized instead.
Ever have your results completely disappear from Google? It may be from listening to the wrong advice and not following Google’s latest set of rules.
There are many SEO trends that we see businesses using that are really nothing more than a complete waste of time.
Once upon a time, Google ranked based on the simple concept of using keywords. So a marketer went overboard and gave Google what it wanted. And they created content that used the keyword over and over and over and over and over … You get the picture. In fact, you’ve probably landed on those pages a time or two yourself.
The results were bad at best. Have you ever tried reading content where the keyword is used in every sentence? It has no real value to the reader. It’s difficult to read. And in most cases, it lacks real content. With no true advice, people backed away and went on a search for something of real value.
Google Panda put an end to that practice way back in 2011. That’s right – years ago. Keyword stuffing is bad.
But keywords still matter. Obviously, Google ranks content. And that means their algorithms still search throughout every page determining what the content means and ranking it accordingly.
That means their algorithms are created to bring the perfect balance together of content and keywords and rank the results accordingly.
Keyword density is a ranking factor. But it isn’t as important as it once was. It’s quality content around a subject matter that matters most now. And Google knows how to look for it.
Exact Keyword Matching
Continuing with the idea of keywording your content, there’s another belief that says your keywords have to match exactly to count in ranking. That’s why you’ll see a lot of content using not just keywords but key phrases too.
If you thought content was bad when you repeated one word multiple times, just try muddling your way through content written with the same key phrase written in dozens of places. Because if you’re talking about high quality premium chocolate and you sell high quality premium chocolate, telling people about your high quality premium chocolate and all the benefits of buying your high quality premium chocolate will do the trick.
It’s annoying. It’s unnatural.
It’s also click and move on.
Content is all about the user experience.
You want your user to stay, read, gain value while perusing what you have to say, click because they want more, and connect with you because they like what you have to say.
The bottom line is you should write your content as a reader, not as a marketer. Say what you need to say. Do so as if you’re having a conversation. And let your keywords fall into place.
Bring In Those Inbound Links
If you’ve done any research into SEO tactics before, you’ve probably read about the importance of inbound links.
The original idea was if you could get other sites to link over to yours, it would “prove” you had a site of value. If people thought highly of your content, enough so that they would use you as a resource, your site should receive more value.
Of course, marketers figured this out and found ways of bringing in those links efficiently.
Links are important. But it’s not just inbound links; it’s outbound links too.
Think of your site as an island. If it’s just you on the island, nobody knows it exists. But if you start connecting up with other islands around you, talking about the benefits of each, you add value. And as the other islands begin to see that value, they “link” back to your island, telling their visitors about the benefits of visiting you. It’s a win/win for all involved.
And that’s what the online world is really all about. It’s about collaboration. It’s about providing the end user with the best experience possible.
Of course, you should acknowledge other sites. It makes you a valuable resource.
Google’s top priority is user experience. They want to reward sites with great content; sites that people love to visit.
If you provide valuable outbound links, you’ll eventually receive valuable inbound links too.
Note: As you create outbound links, just be sure they open up in a separate tab. This gives your readers a chance to come back to your site, and it creates a better user experience.
So, did you see some of your mistakes in online marketing written in this post? Have you been using some of these tactics today in ways that could get you penalized rather than ranked high?
Your takeaway should be to understand that Google is constantly refining its ranking process. And as a marketer, you have to be constantly refining too.
Some of Google’s tweaks may be small; some will be major. But with every tweak comes change. And if you’re trying to play the marketing game rather than concentrating on the user experience, you may just believe things that simply aren’t true.
That’s why we’re here, to help clear up some SEO tactics that we’ve found many people believe.
Invest your time, energy, and money in things that matter.
High quality content wins every time.
What SEO tactics have you fallen for over the years? How have they impacted your online marketing process?