5 Simple SEO Do's and Don'ts
- 8 minutes
I've been through the ringer a few times with Google, and I gotta say I'm yet to have a Rocky Balboa moment.
In fact, I’d go as far to say I haven’t even taken a single round off my opponent. However, I've learnt a few ways to dodge some of the blows, and this comes from experience – spoiler alert…they hurt!
The one thing that has left me in good stead throughout my career when dealing with SEO is not trying to "fool Google". In the end - you can't. There are so many SEO fads that people rabbit on about ‘the great new way’ to rocket your rankings. Don’t believe the hype. At the end of the day, ask yourself – am I trying to fool Google? If you are, then you have a long road ahead of you.
You hear all these SEO ‘gurus’ preaching “don’t take short cuts” - white hat, white hat, white hat! While I do agree with this, there are however effective strategies that aren't necessarily short cuts, but rather, good practices when looking to improve your site's SEO.
Here are five tips to get you started in SEO.
DON'T: Optimize, Optimize, Optimize.
“Organic” in this context does not mean to eat yoghurt, grow a beard and sip lattes. When we are talking about Organic or Natural in SEO, it's referring to the authenticity of your content. Is it genuine, natural and not over-optimized? Keyword-stuffing, or leveraging the perfect keyword density, is looking at it the wrong way in my opinion.
If the keyword is there….Google will find it.
Don’t get me wrong - please ensure your keyword is there, but don’t bold it, underline it, italic and place it 76 times in your content pages – Google will punch you.
Ensure your site's code is semantic, validated, has effective titles and metas, and a solid overall page structure.
Over optimising will hurt you – don’t spend too much time chasing this golden goose.
DON'T: Limit yourself to one keyword per page.
If one of the pages you are working on has tonnes of high PR and authority backlinks for the one search team, no matter the quality – you’re in trouble. Diversify, quick.
Google dislikes high percentage spikes on a single search term. To them, it will appear unnatural or inorganic - without a beard, yoghurt OR Latte. Diversify your backlink anchor text. Suggestions might be to simply promote your brand, your site name or even a targeted keyword variation.
DO: Build good links.
Link building is not dead, and if you think it is - wake up to yourself.
Google has done an effective job in making black hat SEO’s crawl back into their little holes in recent years and these days you simply cannot buy into link building schemes any more to gain rank. I mean, you can, but if you want the TKO blow from Google’s right uppercut, go for it pal.
The Panda and Penguin algorithm really sent a lot of sites down the ranks with this update. They told us that the percentage rates for affected search would be low, but a lot of people didn't consider this would actually include them.
Google simply needs links, it’s one of the primary components that drives the algorithm - content simply cannot be found without it - and Google has just gotten smarter about how they reward linked content.
It’s now all about Authority Sites and yes, still PR. However, if the site is a grade-A student in eyes of Google, which isn’t necessarily determined purely page rank but authority also, then that’s the site that is going to help you.
DO: Get social.
I've seen some great results with Social Media.
I'm of the opinion that if Google makes it – get it, use it & push it and you can’t really go wrong. Youtube, Google+, Maps, anything – get around it, and where it will let you. Add your site’s link to the profile pages even if it is a no-follow. In the ‘social world’ nofollow links are calculated differently in Google. It still really is one of the key ways Google measures the “virality” of particular content.
As well as being a part of all of the Google social networks, definitely get around the others - as many as you can. In fact, 90% of the time these sites have a greater than 5-6 page rank, with high authority.
Syndicate all your site's content through these channels every time you have something on your site worth sharing. It works.
DO: Create and share GOOD content.
Ok I admit it: Content really is the only way to succeed in SEO at the moment, and it always has been when you look at it.
Create good content that has effective Calls to Action (CTA's) linking to relevant targeted pages and you will be rewarded. Partake in some of the Don'ts listed above and it will work against you.
Ensure your content is lengthy. Get it up over 500 words and slap in some H1 & 2 tags for good measure along with an image with alt tags. Use authority content sites to post good offsite articles with RELEVANT content and link to your RELEVANT site articles – creating a clear link path that Google can see, use, and reward.
In conclusion, remember – Google isn’t stupid, it will roundhouse kick your site if you don’t play by the rules. Continue to question your strategy. Webmaster Tools has come a long way over the years, and these days the guys at Google pretty much spell out pretty clearly what they’ll nail you for. Know what to avoid, and consider it in your strategy.
The tips listed above aren't short cuts, they are tips to building an effective SEO strategy. Provided this strategy eats yoghurt, has a beard and drinks lattes; you’re on the right track to bettering your sites rank & traffic. Keep punching, Rocky.
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