SEO is an effective strategy for reaching clients and gaining rapport with search engines like DuckDuckGo and Google. However, there are certain things you may be doing that might actually be hurting your chances of effectively optimizing your content and webpages to appeal to both your audience and Google.
Here’s a list we’ve compiled on what can kill your chances for ranking well with search engines and what to do instead to kill the SEO game (in a good way!).
What’s Killing Your SEO Strategy?
The main mission of your content should be to answer your prospect clients questions and give them an unforgettable UX experience.
Yes you want conversions, yes you want to close, but none of that will happen if your content isn’t engaging and your user experience is lacking.
While it’s important to aim for good keyword density and to check the boxes for on-page SEO, always keep in mind that if your language is awkward or jumbled you’re actually doing yourself a disservice.
Keyword stuffing is when you take your target keyword and stuff it into unnatural places in the text in order to increase that keyword’s density on-page. While this looks good in terms of your density percentage, it can make the copy on your page look clunky, unprofessional, and straight-up awkward.
Here’s an example.
Say you’re selling beauty supplies and are optimizing a page for the term “quality nail polish”. This is the text you include on your product page:
“Our quality nail polish is formulated with only the best ingredients, delivering quality nail polish color AND taking care of your cuticles. When you purchase quality nail polish with [insert brand name], you’re also giving back to your community. 5% of every purchase goes towards raising money for [insert local humanitarian organization]. If you have any questions about our quality nail polish, contact us at [insert company number] or email us at [insert company email]!“
While maybe a little overkill, this paragraph is obviously awkward and clunky to read. The copy feels forced and it’s obvious that the person doing on-page SEO here was looking for a quick and easy way to increase their keyword density. This sort of keyword stuffing can actually gain you the ire of Google and may be killing your SEO strategy in the long-run.
This isn’t to say that keyword density isn’t important or that having your keyword prominently displayed in several spaces is bad. It’s not, and it’s definitely important for SEO. BUT, keep in mind that keyword stuffing can both take away from your prospect clients experience with your content and can bump down your rankings in Google.
Instead, try to find natural places to include your keyword. Keep your tone conversational, with lots of you’s to keep readers feeling like they’re part of the narrative. If your content reads well and answers the question, you’re more likely to have those users return later.
When thinking of UX, also take into account the general layout of your page and content. Are users greeted by big, impenetrable walls of texts with no H1, images, or line breaks to help them catch a breathe?
If so, you may have a problem.
Pages and text that look and feel uninviting can lead users to click away, looking for something that appears more digestible and skimable.
Skimable content is broken up into smaller paragraphs, with informative headings and subheadings that make it easier to jump around.
When investing in UX, make content bite-sized and understandable. Employ informative headings and subheadings that make it easier to navigate your post. Also make sure to compliment and break up content with relevant graphics and photos that enhance your topic.
Neglecting long-tail keywords and keyword research
Another thing that may be killing your SEO strategy is neglecting long-tail keywords. When you’re first getting into the SEO game it can be tempting to go for those short, easy keywords. And while short-tail keywords are definitely important for SEO, going for them right off the bat when you are cultivated a library of content may not be the most helpful strategy.
It’s most helpful to think of short and long-tail keywords more so in terms of where they rank in frequency versus how long the keyword actually is. Think of keywords as a flag. The chunkier end closest to the pole represents short tail keywords that have a higher search volume and thus, more competition. As you go down the tail of the flag, the keywords found there are less common and have less monthly searchers. However, this also means that there is less competition.
Typically, those shorter keywords will already be dominated by industry giants who have years of rapport with search engines. If you are just starting your online journey and have little content, your likelihood of being able to rank on the first (or even second) page of Google using that short keyword will be extremely low.
This is where long-tail keywords and keyword research comes in. Keyword research preformed with engines like SEMRush or Ahrefs allows you to see what keywords are ranking AND the difficulty (how hard it is to rank) for those keywords.
While there may be less people searching for a less common, more specific keyword or phrase, it may be worth it to target that phrase, especially when you’re first starting out. Since there are less competitors aiming for that key phrase, it is naturally easier to rank higher in Google.
Duplicate Copy (content cannibalization)
It’s not a bad thing to have multiple pieces of a content on a site that delve into different aspects of the same topic. What IS bad is having duplicate content. Having the exact same copy word for word in several places on your site is one sure-fire way to lose any credibility you have with Google. This is especially true if this content is optimized for the same keyword or phrase. When there are two competing pieces of content on your site, Google won’t know which one to rank, leading to one or both losing ranking. This is what we call content cannibalization, when two pieces of content devour each other and lower overall rankings for your site.
If you (heaven forbid) have content on your site that is duplicated from another website, your credibility will sink even lower. This gets into issues of originality and copyright, and can tip Google off that you may not be a credible or reliable source.
Even if you are writing about a similar topic, you NEED to make sure that you wording it different and avoid using the same phrasing.
The more original each piece of content is, the less likely it will accidentally match other websites or compete with your own content.
Not updating content
Old content on your website is a goldmine for SEO. If you’re not updating this content for current readers, you may be wasting some serious potential to gain for clicks.
Say, for example, your company sells car part to modify vehicles. A few years ago, you posted an article along the lines of “10 Best Car Parts to Trick Out Your Ride in 2020: Buyers Guide”. There is absolutely no reason this content needs to sit in the past collecting dust and becoming irrelevant.
Listicles like this are a great piece of content to update and reuse year after year. This helps you keep your content fresh, which, in turn, helps YOU seem like you’re in the know for the latest trends.
If some of the items you’ve listed in past posts are out of style or no longer relevant, simply update them with the latest trends and make sure to change the date for 2020 to 2022.
We talk about content updating in our blog post: “Top SEO Trends to Help Content Rank Higher in 2022”
Even with lists like this it can be hard as a business owner to keep up with SEO. Luckily, that’s where Greenhaven comes in. We know you’re amazing, and we want to the world to know it. We employ writers, coders, UX designs and more to ensure that your website reflects who you are, what you’re about, and why clients should choose you.
Get started today with Greenhaven Interactive! Check out our Portfolio for case studies on what we’ve done for others!