SEO has always needed you to tweak your site’s code. Back in the day when it was all about making spammy pages rank with ‘black hat’ tactics, SEO actually felt a bit like hacking.
Nowadays these tactics have been long eliminated by all of Google’s updates. SEO has also become more approachable for site owners. Now there is good SEO content as well as bad.
So in today’s article. I’ll focus on up-to-date tactics that can improve your online marketing strategy. Because even if you aren’t creating poor content and trying to trick Search Engines your site might still be applying some bad SEO.
No one knows what the Google algorithm really is, so mistakes are bound to happen. We just have to make sure they don’t negatively affect our site(s). The good SEO content you’ll create with the guidelines provided in this articles will help straighten everything out.
So let’s start seeing what are the current top SEO sins people are guilty of.
1. Horrible User Experience
If your SEO efforts negatively impact the experience the visitor is having on the site, then you are not on the right path to good SEO content. Google’s focusing on giving the user the best experience – not just the average experience.
You can see that in all the personalization they implement in SERP pages. Your search results will be different than mine based on:
- The device we are performing the search from (mobile, desktop)
- The last 180 days history
- And potentially more information.
As Google’s team is working so much on presenting the best results for a particular user’s situation, you can be sure that they want to continue the user interactions, on your site, the same way.
And they have several ways of telling if your site is not offering the experience the visitor expects. They take into account Navigation, Time-on Page, and Bounce rates.
So if your SEO strategy is sacrificing these metrics, you should stop.
2. Overstuffing Content with Keywords
Everyone knows that having keywords in all main areas of your page is important. Google used to take into account all pages that constantly repeated the keyword. Back then it was ‘the more, the better’.
But now, we need to focus on the user. That means getting tunnel vision and throwing the keyword at the audience from every element is not acceptable. Down below in the Good SEO content guidelines, we’re showing a quick and easy way to never be confronted with overly optimized pages.
Even so, keywords are still important – but in a different way. Google crawlers can more easily realize what is the topic of the page and categorize it accordingly.
That’s why it’s important to focus on the best keywords for your particular piece rather than repeating the same phrasing over and over again. The content needs to offer value, so the keywords should seem natural in the context, not forced.
3. Pop-ups and Ads That Block Access to Content
Have you ever accessed a site and had 3 seconds before a pop-up of some kind blocked the view of the content you were looking at? Nobody enjoys those elements when they encounter them, regardless whether they are on a desktop or a smartphone.
But it’s true that on mobile devices they can be harder to close by the user. So in January 2017, Google took action, with an update.
Because the actual content was available for indexing for crawlers, those pages could rank high on mobile search results. But once the user would click on the result and get to the page, an intrusive ad would block them from having a good experience.
With the new update, the pages that keep this type of elements in for mobile user have ranked lower. Your site might also be affected if you have elements that:
- Come on top of the main content of the page.
- Ask the user to dismiss them before being able to access the real content.
- Pop-ups with no interactions.
- Showcase an intrusive ad that the user need to scroll over to get to the main content.
- Is presented on the page but is not needed (something like an age-verification for mature content).
So make sure you give up on these marketing tactics, at least for your mobile audience.
4. Duplicate Content
What does Google want? Original High-Quality Content. That means you can’t just take someone else’s piece of content and post it on your sites and expect it to rank.
This is an aspect that search engines have been penalizing for years. But plagiarism is not the only type of duplicate content. You might be having the same content on several pages on your site.
There are 3 very common cases for this to happen without you even knowing:
- Mobile versions of pages. If you have pages that are optimized for both desktop and mobile, they can sometimes be considered as two different pages that actually have the same content. The solution is all in the link structure.
- Product pages for similar products. When you have multiple similar products, your product description can vary very little between pages and so it might be considered duplicate content.
- Meta Data. This is the most common element that gets tangled in duplicate problems. Meta titles and descriptions should be unique to each page. One way to not worry about it is to use a plugin like Squirrly SEO. It will create metadata based on a preset pattern for all your pages.
Make sure you don’t fall into any of them.
5. Spammy Comment Sections
There are two sides to this aspect.
The first is focused on your own site. There are several automated technologies that navigate sites in order to post irrelevant comments with promotional links to a certain site. Most of the times, these comments are irrelevant to the topic of the page.
And there is no way these types of comments could be useful and contribute to a conversation when nobody read the content in the first place. Your options to keep them away is to:
- Change your site settings so that all comments are moderated. This might take more time for comments to actually be posted on site but you have full control over your comment section.
- Use plugin and other software for your comment section. Platforms like Disqus requires your audience to have an account, which makes it a step harder for bots to post spam comments.
- Add spam comment blocker plugins to your site. This way, automated spammy comments will be moved directly in the spam folder for comments.
But the technology-automated comments aren’t the only spammy comments. Here comes the second side of this aspect.
It’s great to read other blogs, leave high-quality comments and be part of the discussion. Adding a link to your comment’s author info is a usual practice on most sites. If the field is there, the site-owner won’t mind if you add it.
But it’s never a good idea to just post general comments, just so you can add a link to your site in the actual message. Make sure your idea is part of the discussion. Another “Great article! Here’s my site.” comment will just get marked as spam.
It also destroys the experience for the reader, who’ll have to scroll through several spammy comments in order to get to the real discussion. I believe you should only add a link to your comments if you have relevant content on your site that contributes to the discussion and presents your idea in greater detail.
Now that you know all the mistakes you should avoid when designing a proper up-to-date on marketing strategy, let’s focus on the action you need to take to improve it.
These are tasks that can be taken care of by any site owner with the right tools. That’s why we’ll mention not just the steps but also the software that will help you accomplish it.
So let’s find out what these steps are.
1. Keyword Research Often
Knowing the keywords you should focus on is vital for good SEO content. That’s why it’s essential to have a clear list of core and secondary keywords you are targeting when starting your strategy.
But keyword information changes over time. That’s why it’s important to do your research often so that you stay on top of your SEO strategy.
The easiest way to do this is to have a Plugin that offers this type of information directly in your Dashboard. The Squirrly PRO plugin offers just that.
You just have to input:
- The key phrase you want to start your research from.
- The country you are targeting.
- And choose what type of research you want (Fast, Normal or Complex).
The results can even be downloaded from the plugin. That way, you can update your whole strategy, fast and simple.
It can also help on deciding on the right long-tail keyword for your specific article.
2. Craft Content for Your Audience
Creating personalized content specific to your audience will help strike up a conversation. Creating conversational content makes it easier for you to rank on mobile, as a big chunk of searches on smartphones are done vocally.
Keep in mind the question your audience has in order to make the content fit for this type of searches. It can also help your pages end up in the ‘rich answer’ section of Google searches.
But the real problem here is :
How do I find these questions my audience is asking ?
Gladly, we have just the tool for you. Try using AnswerthePublic and you’ll get a list of questions for any topic you’d have in mind.
These questions come from suggestions on Search Engines, so they are the ones most people searched for. Creating content answering specifically these topics will help you rank higher as well.
Try finding the ones that don’t have clear specific answers on Google.
3. Optimize your Content Properly
We’ve already touched on this subject when discussing keywords overstuffing. When creating good SEO content, there are a few on-page elements that you need to make sure contain your keyword.
Granted, it’s simple to know these elements and look over them before you publish. As well as keyword density. But nobody is checking them manually. That’s because it takes too much time.
That’s why you should try the Live Assistant. It will tell you whether you are properly optimizing or not, all while you’re typing your article. All you have to do is make all task green in the checklist and your content is ready to be published.
4. Get Real Links from Good Domains
Too many site owners are searching for shortcuts. Backlinks are one of the main fields where these don’t work.
If you want to earn real links, you’ll have to put in a lot of work. One way is to create amazing content that people enjoy and share. That way, the content gets to the right people who’ll include it in their own articles as a relevant resource.
A more proactive approach is for you to reach out to a site. There are several options you have:
- Write Guest Posts. They have to still be great content and relevant to their audience.
- Use HARO. There you can become a quotable source for other sites.
- Check for broken links on other sites. You can use Dead link checker; when you find broken links, you can contact them to switch the link to a relevant piece of content from your site.
These are your top options but you can also come with your own strategy. It is very important to put your content out there.
5. Set up your JSON-LD
Have you ever wondered how big brands manage to look so good when you’re searching for them on Google? Just like the image below:
Well, these elements aren’t reserved just for big brands. It’s a technical part of your site called schema, and this particular element is the JSON-LD.
Schema helps you create rich snippets for your site as a whole, or for particular pieces whether they are recipes, music, books, product, or videos.
If you want to have a proper JSON-LD, you can set it up with the Squirrly plugin. You just have to put in the content you want to display and the links to your social media profiles.
6. AMP your Site
Google AMP is an open-source code to make your content load fast on mobile devices. Anything that can cut your pages’ loading time is something you should consider.
Applying it to your own site isn’t even hard. In WordPress, you just have to add a free plugin.
As mobile is growing in search and loading speed, this element is bound to become an important fact in 2018 and times to come.
We might even face a new Google update related to it.
7. Personalize Your Meta Data
The last element for good SEO content is in no way less important.
Personalizing your meta information is important not just for getting rid of duplicates in your pages but also for your brand to become the most convincing option for the user on the search results page.
When you have a list of links in the results page on Google, the only information that can help you decide is the title and description of the page. That’s why it is a great idea to make sure each piece of content you published has a great description and a clickable title.
The Squirrly SEO Snippet can help you determine how the article looks on Search Engines as well as Facebook and Twitter.
The path to good SEO content has lots of ups and downs. The secret is to know the bad as well so that you can stay away from mistakes while working on your strategy. Keep in mind:
- You might be a victim of bad SEO content even if you’ve never implemented ‘black hat’ SEO techniques.
- The user’s experience is the top priority for Google. So never sacrifice it for any other gain if you want to reach a high position in SERPs.
- Not all good SEO elements are connected to the techy side of sites. You can also use software to make the whole process faster and easier.
- The main element of any online marketing strategy should be amazing content that is conversational, shareable and provides an awesome reading experience.
We’re always open to new ideas. What you’d add to these list of Bad vs Good SEO? The comment section below is waiting for you to let us know.