Digital marketing is a must for virtually every business. Although traditional marketing tactics can still be effective, your organization can’t afford to miss out on online promotion.
Of course, there are many facets of digital marketing. Paid advertising is popular, especially for brands that need a significant amount of traffic in a short period. But in the SEO vs PPC debate, search engine optimization wins out for being more cost-effective and allowing for naturally increased visibility over time.
That said, SEO still has its downfalls — particularly when you don’t know which techniques you should be using. Because the digital world changes so rapidly, tactics that were once effective have now fallen out of favor. In some cases, continuing to use these tactics could actually hurt your ability to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Whether you’re new to digital marketing or you simply want to make sure your knowledge is up-to-date, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few SEO don’ts you’ll want to avoid.
DON’T… Engage in Black Hat Practices
This is probably the most obvious piece of advice on the list, but you might be surprised by how many people still try to game the system.
“Black hat” SEO refers to the underhanded techniques that are sometimes used to improve rankings in a way that doesn’t align with Google’s best practices. Some common examples of black hat SEO include keyword stuffing, stolen or spun content, purchased links, website cloaking, doorway pages, hidden text, and more.
At first, these techniques might seem like a way to outsmart your competition and reap the rankings rewards. And in the past, that might have actually been true.
But now, Google has gotten much better at recognizing black hat tactics. If you’re caught engaging in these practices, you could risk everything you’ve worked for. Your rankings might tank — or your site might disappear from results pages altogether!
You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the techniques that Google frowns upon and learn how to identify any risky practices. If you’re ever in doubt, err on the side of caution — and work only with reputable SEO professionals.
DON’T… Forget About User Experience
You might be inclined to believe that optimization refers only to keyword usage or content creation. But SEO involves many other factors, including website performance.
After all, search engines and human users want to interact with easy-to-use websites. The experience your website provides can have a big impact on your ability to rank well in search engine results.
It won’t matter how much you optimize your site if it’s confusing or difficult to navigate. Make sure that your site loads quickly, that it’s fully accessible on mobile devices, and that its most crucial information is easy to locate. Take care to remove any intrusive interstitials (especially full-page pop-ups), prioritize site security, and fix any navigation errors, as well.
Since Google’s Page Experience algorithm update will soon take effect, making these changes now can help you improve your site rankings and ensure your customers have a positive impression of your brand.
DON’T… Target Overly Broad Keywords
Some business owners assume that they should target the most competitive keywords within their niche. It’s easy to think that ranking on those terms would indicate you’re the best of the best. But there are a few problems with this ideology.
First of all, you may not really have the ability to rank on those terms at all. If you own a small business and you’re trying to compete with a huge corporation in your same industry, you may not have the budget or resources to make much headway. While it’s fine to include some of those broad keywords for context, you’ll be much more likely to see rankings improvement on terms that are more specific.
Secondly, even if you were to rank on those generic terms, that might not translate into success for your business! Failing to address search intent during your keyword research process can be a fatal error. Just because you could rank on a keyword doesn’t mean you should — especially if it won’t actually help you reach your target customers.
You’ll typically want to be as specific as possible with your keyword selection while still factoring in search volume. Then, you can use these keywords throughout your site in headings, title tags, meta descriptions, landing pages, and blog post content. You’ll want to be careful about maintaining a good keyword density while still providing context for both search engines and actual readers.
As a business owner, it can be tough to keep up with optimization best practices. But these three SEO don’ts can help you avoid some of the most common marketing mistakes. With these tips in mind, you can more effectively optimize your site while minimizing risk.