The expanded version of the article that was recently published on LinkedIn Pulse
Top 7 SEO Tactics You Should Avoid
While there are plenty of SEO tips and tricks out there to help you improve your site’s rankings and stay above the digital fold, there are also things that you should NOT do. I’ve put together a list of SEO no no’s to help you get started, and what you should try instead.. These are my top 7 SEO tactics you should avoid, in no particular order :
Keyword stuffing your page title only makes you look desperate
When you pile on the keywords in your page title, it becomes very wordy and turns off the human visitors you are trying to attract. Often, it won’t actually help your SEO rankings because search engines can tell the difference between legit details and stuffing, and can actually blacklist you. INSTEAD your page title should be accurate, informative, and concise. Include the article topic/title, and your business name if you have space (Google recommends 40-70 characters).
Loading up your text with keywords
Similar to the page title, you should not load up your article with keywords. Include them? YES. Litter every sentence or paragraph? NO. Nobody wants to read an extremely repetitive article due to the sheer fact that the post’s keywords are literally in every sentence. It’s a dick move, and should be avoided at all costs! Not only because you will lose readership, but search engines will blacklist you for abusing the system. INSTEAD pick one main keyword/keyphrase for the article, and then another more specific key topic per each paragraph. Writing relevant and good content, your keywords AND their variations will appear naturally and cohesively throughout your copy. Especially since Google altered their algorithms to pick up synonyms of keywords, you can get a little more creative and diversify!
It’s one thing to see a bunch of different articles in your Facebook newsfeed about the same topic when something is trending, but it is a complete other beast when you see the same person or business sharing the same damn article day after day. I can guarantee that you will lose followers and maybe a few friends if you keep that up. INSTEAD share it once on your business page on each platform, and encourage others to share your content for you. If the content is relevant and well written, it will happen. Try posting the link with a different image on each platform for variety. You can also opt for a paid campaign which will share your content to others (you can choose who!) without you oversharing or posting duplicate content.
Not using your real name to comment on other businesses’ sites
Most blog and article commenting sections, you are able to include your website, which means that the name portion is going to be hyperlinked to your site, so people feel the need to use their business name to get SEO points. Even worse when they use unidentifiable usernames. While it might add a little SEO power to your site, commenting on another company’s article using your business name is in bad taste. INSTEAD use your real name and you can include your business name in the comment signature if you insist on promoting yourself, but skip the URL. It is highly encouraged to go to other’s sites and interact with their content, BUT it is important to use your real name and not your company’s name when leaving a comment.
Link Share Requests
Sending private link share requests or publically commenting (even worse!) on someone’s blog post or business page. This is a BIG pet peeve of mine, especially like/follow requests on social media, because it truly makes you look like a douche, even if you had good intentions. INSTEAD try simply sharing their work and website, and include in the caption about how much you like their work, who referred you to them, and why your followers/readers should buy from them. Make it about them, not you. The more effort you put into hepling out someone else, the more likely they will be to help you.. without you even having to ask! It’s the theory of social reciprocity. Likewise, if someone is going out of their way to share your stuff, return the favour.
Directories by the dozen
Being published in a directory is great, unless it’s just a link farm. This means that the site simply lists your business name and website, without too much thought into the organization, its human readers, and its sole purpose is to provide backlinks for websites. Bad backlinks are actually worse than not having any! INSTEAD try finding directories that cater to your target client, and allow you to post a description and logo, and maybe even a few photos and testimonials. The good directories will often require a fee to participate with all of the available features, with the primary focus being on those who actually USE the directory rather than those who are in it. for example, a local directory here in Ottawa offers the opportunity for their listing members to publish articles and blog posts that will enrich the USER’S experience and help them.
Taking friendly competition to the next level
Friendly competition is supposed to be just that; friendly. When you take to the next level of competitiveness it can get nasty and will only make your potential clients see you with a negative view. Don’t comment on their website/social posts/etc. offering your services, or a discount for switching to you. INSTEAD find out the top SEO tactics your competition is using, and copy them in your own way. You can use certain SEO membership programs to find out where their GOOD backlinks and traffic are coming from and then you can ask those websites if you can include your link there too (write an article, sponsorship/ads, etc.). You can also take a look at their website and blog to see what type of content they are posting, so that you can investigate which content gets more shares, and do something similar (do NOT plagiarize!). Try using sites like Alexa and Backlinks Monitor to keep up with your stats and your competition. Stay away from sites like Semalt and other spam-bots.
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Stephanie de Montigny, The SEO Squirrel
WordPress Website Management & Local SEO | Headshots & Business Photography Ottawa, Ontario & Gatineau, Quebec