Bad SEO habits can sink your business. Are you guilty of any of these worst practices?
Every once in a while, it's a good idea to step back and take a fresh, sober look at your habits. After all, the world around you is ever-changing, so why should your habits remain the same? This applies to pretty much everything: life, health, eating, relaxation, relationships, communication ... and work. For digital marketers and SEO specialists, this holds especially true.
Seven years have passed since Google rolled out its Panda update, and it has consistently sought to improve the search experience by introducing more algorithm changes. Sticking to the same SEO routines when the nature of search is changing makes no sense. If you have noticed a drop in your rankings lately, it may be time to re-evaluate your SEO habits. Are you guilty of the following five bad habits?
1. Acting like the SEO landscape never changes
Search engine optimization is an ever-evolving sphere. An approach that worked perfectly well several years ago may not only negatively affect your website's rankings today, but also put the resource in danger of Google penalties. And this is clearly not the result you are after.
Being an SEO specialist means staying up to date and in tune with impending changes. This may seems pretty straightforward, yet there is always someone who needs to be reminded. By failing to stay on top of things and update your approach, you are getting nowhere with your current SEO strategy and are possibly falling behind. Hopefully, it's not too late to turn things around.
2. Overlooking a website's technical issues
People develop habits by doing things in a routine way, and habits form without our awareness. As an SEO practitioner, if you never stress about technical issues that crop up or exist permanently on a website, you may be unaware of what exactly is hurting the rankings.
You may be throwing all your efforts into building a strong linking profile or creating the best content possible, but this may not be enough. All your attempts to reach the top will be in vain unless you address technical shortcomings, which are precisely what affects your website's performance in search in the first place.
Pay attention to your website's loading time, redirects, broken links, duplicate content, mobile errors, sitemaps and robots.txt. That is by no means a comprehensive list, but the most common technical issues have a proven association with those factors.
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3. Creating content for its own sake
You cannot do SEO without content. However, that does not mean you can do SEO with just any sort of content. So-so content will take your website nowhere and amount to a waste of time. If your website includes a blog, you should make the most of it by providing value to your potential readers. Your goal here is to position yourself as an authority whose thoughts and insights provoke engagement among your website's visitors.
Once you stop underestimating the intelligence of search engines, break the habit of producing subpar content and strive for reader satisfaction, your website will be rewarded with the rankings it deserves.
4. Putting search engines before users
It may seem like a no-brainer that SEO is all about winning the highest SERPs by satisfying search engines and their algorithms, but this often leads to a misguided approach to SEO. Some SEO specialists forget why search engines were designed in the first place – to cater to the needs and interests of searchers in the best possible manner.
Today, search engines no longer strive just to provide the most relevant results, but also to match user intent more accurately. The endgame of SEO has always been about pleasing users, not search engines. To think and act otherwise is bad SEO.
5. Trying to manipulate rankings
Sure, search engines have detected and taken care of most of the black hat SEO techniques, but some specialists still use tricky SEO tactics they think are effective. This is what walking on a razor's edge looks like, because it is only a matter of time before search engines find out they are being tricked and penalize those violators.
Reader-oriented content, keyword intent and genuine backlinks continue to increase in importance. Websites that focus on these elements over manipulative practices are recognized by search engines as respected and trusted resources that have earned their reputations by playing fair.
To sum it up
All in all, search algorithms are growing smarter and the SEO landscape is evolving daily. As an SEO practitioner, you should develop the habit of following what is new in SEO, leaving behind old habits that are no longer effective. Never forget that search engines and algorithms are becoming far more intelligent than we ever imagined.