If traffic to your website has been falling, your search engine rankings may be the cause.
Updates rolled out by Google over the past few years have caught many website owners off guard and SEO activities that once helped websites to rank better can now earn you a penalty. Here are seven of the SEO practices you should stop instantly.
SEO Practices You Should Stop Now
1. Using Meta Keyword Tags
Although meta keyword tags have been ignored by virtually all search engines for several years many website owners still stuff this tag with every keyword they can think of. Not only does this do you no good in the search engines, it tips off your competitors to exactly which keywords you’re targeting. If you’re using keyword meta tags on your website you should delete them immediately.
2. Stuffing Keywords
If you want to rank well for a certain keyword, placing it on your webpage 50 times is not the way to do it. Google has thousands of PhDs working to refine the search engine so that it delivers the results people want. Instead of stuffing your content full of keywords, focus on creating the kind of content people who are interested in your products and services will want to read. The keywords will work their way into your content naturally, and you’ll get better results.
3. Exchanging Links
Part of how Google determines how to rank your website is based on the links pointing to your website from other websites. Several years ago website owners started trading links in order to build up their inbound link counts. Today this will earn you a penalty. If you link to a business partner and they link to you, and this occurs naturally, that’s fine. But don’t exchange links for the sake of exchanging links.
4. Buying Links
Don’t buy links for SEO purposes. If someone tries to sell you a link on their website, claiming that it will boost your SEO results, run away. Google looks at purchased links much the way you look at spam emails and tends to penalize websites that buy them.
5. Over-Optimizing Anchor Text
Once upon a time it was effective to make sure that links pointing to your website included the keywords you were targeting. No more. Today, links pointing to your website should mostly include the name of your company.
6. Hiring Low Cost SEO Providers
Decent SEO starts at around $1,000 per month for a limited level of service. Any SEO service that costs less is likely to employ a cookie cutter, template approach that won’t produce the results you’re after. Higher quality, customized SEO services generally cost somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000 per month. Any company promising to provide amazing results for $500 per month, with rare exceptions for companies that specialize in local SEO or a particular industry, isn’t to be trusted.
7. Low-Quality Guest Post Blogging
Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts declared guest blog posting to be “dead” in 2014. But a closer look shows Google is really targeting low-quality guest blog posting.
Just as low quality links won’t help your website and can actually hurt it, getting low quality blogs to talk about your website and link to it will bring low quality results in the search engines.
Bonus Tip: Quitting Your SEO Firm Too Soon
If you hire an SEO firm and quit two months later because you’re not seeing results, then you’ve quit too soon. It takes at least six months to accurately judge the work an SEO firm is doing, and in many cases it can take 12 months or more to generate substantial results.
SEO provides a great ROI compared to virtually all other marketing activities, but it is a long-term proposition. As long as you can see that work is being done, give your SEO firm time to deliver on the results they’ve promised.