SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not as complex as advertised by SEO experts and online marketers. SEO is the process of optimizing a website, in order to rank high in search engine results.
As you can imagine there is a huge competition, as more and more businesses realize how important is for them to rank high on search engines for specific keywords.
This is the main reason that forced many to try and deceive search engines, by using malicious tactics, such as buying hyperlinks, link farming, hidden links etc. As a result, Google published a new algorithm in February 2011, in order to remove websites with poor content that used malicious techniques to get high rankings. Overnight, most of those websites disappeared from search results and lost a big percentage of their traffic.
Which websites have scored high in search engine results?
The websites who invested in quality content and positive user experience of their visitors.
Search engines were created to provide users with worthy and useful information. Quality and relevance of search engine results are of outmost importance, so better quality websites will rank higher, based on the users’ keyword search.
The first step of a successful SEO strategy is to understand what you must not do. The above mentioned malicious tactics are best described with one phrase: Black Hat SEO.
Search engines don’t like to be deceived and you might be penalized for doing that.
What happens when you get penalized?
- Immediate drop of website traffic.
- Reduction of product or services sales.
- A need is created to clean up any malicious tactics used.
- SEO strategy must be redesigned from scratch.
Things to avoid
- Promises to rank on first page of search engine results, in a short time.
- Promises for guaranteed traffic and guaranteed number of backlinks to your website.
- Anything that sounds too good to be true!
If you are using the following tactics, in the best case scenario you are just wasting your time or worse, you could endanger your website’s page ranking:
1. Keyword stuffing
If you are a beginner in SEO optimization, you would think that the more a keyword appears on your website, the higher your website will rank on search results for that specific keyword. This used to be true when search engines were at their early stages and used less complex algorithms. Since then many algorithm updates have been created and keyword stuffing could penalize your website.
2. Low quality Backlinks
Links which exist on other websites and lead to your website (backlinks), are considered to be a major factor for ranking high on search results. In the past, search engines didn’t have any way to decrypt and compare values of different backlinks. For that reason, people used to create as many backlinks as possible on different websites and websites were created solely for this purpose.
This practice has been futile since long ago, as search engines are interested in the quality of the backlinks and not their quantity. Listing your website on online directories will only give you positive results if those directories are of high quality. Backlinks from low quality websites have no value, but those from quality websites with content relevant to your website are considered very important for better SEO ranking.
3. Meaningless comments
You may have noticed that in several websites or blogs, some of the comments include a single link or are completely irrelevant with the article’s content. Commenting on websites or blogs with meaningless comments is an outdated tactic which may bring some low quality traffic to your website, but it can also be marked as spamming and hurt your website;s ranking.
Do more pages mean more traffic too?
If the content of your pages is not of high quality, then this tactic is bound to fail. In fact, it can hurt your SEO instead of helping it.
After Google’s new algorithm was created, websites with low quality content were immediately penalized overnight. So, you should always focus on the creation of high quality content for your website.
Ways to improve your SEO strategy and promote your business
1. SEO Basics
Firstly, you should start working on the on page optimization of your website. This can be achieved through proper setup of page titles, meta description, alt texts, url structure etc.
In order to proceed with further steps, you need to make sure there are no fundamental problems with your website. You can scan your website using an SEO tool such as Screaming Frog. This tool can help you detect any issues, such as 404 errors, title or meta description issues, missing alt texts etc.
2. Always use original and quality content
There is no doubt that quality and original content is one of the most main contributing factors for a successful SEO strategy. Search engines can detect quality content and reward your website, which in turn will lead to more traffic for your website
3. Aim for Long tail keywords
Long tail keywords provide more relevant content to the users, based on their search. Users’ searches have become more targeted, as users tend to search for something specific online.
Reasons to use long tail keywords instead of standard keywords:
- 70%-90% of Google’s organic traffic is generated from long tail keywords.
- Long tail keywords may have fewer searches by the users, but they have up to 3 times better conversion rate of plain visitors to potential customers.
- The cost and competition for long tail keywords is less.
You can use Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool to find long tail keywords that match your business best. Google Analytics can also be used to analyse your website’s visitors’ data.
4. Optimize your website for searches done by mobile devices
Based on recent research, people who own a smartphone will use it 2 hours daily on average. Also, 50% of Google’s traffic comes from mobile devices and keeps increasing. In other words, your mobile website must be as good and user friendly as your desktop website.
SEO optimization for a website requires a lot of practice and persistence. What we know about SEO is that it keeps changing and will continue to do so. The basic factors of it do remain constant, but the techniques and best practices will keep being renewed and enriched. All tactics mentioned above will hardly stop to play a major role on the strength of your website’s SEO.
If you’re looking forward to improving your website’s SEO and receive better page ranking, get in touch with our marketing experts.