Google has been changing its search strategy quite rapidly and those still living in the shadows of the past might be wondering why their site rankings continue to drop. If you are still using outdated SEO methods, what once was beneficial can now cause harm to your current digital content marketing strategy.
Almost 89% of customers make a purchase decision through a search engine, which means that smart and up-to-date SEO will increase your chances of getting more business. In order to ensure that your small business website presence is on the right track, below we’ve outlined a few SEO methods you need to update in 2016.
1. No Mobile-Friendly Website
It’s 2016 folks, if you don’t have a mobile-friendly, responsive website then your handing over your lunch to your competitors. Developing a new website today that is desktop-only is a bad SEO technique and will get you less Google-love. If your current provider hasn’t informed you, Google is boosting site rankings for those that are mobile-friendly and lowering rankings for those that are desktop-only. So, now is the time to update your website to be mobile-friendly and start reaping the benefits of increased traffic from mobile users.
2. Heavy Anchor Text for Internal Links
Did you know that Google accounted for 40% of all online sales made in the U.S.? The internet is packed with data about Google’s popularity and how it’s the number one search engine that most users opt for to make searches. This also means that when Google makes changes to its SEO strategies, it becomes quite essential for businesses to follow them.
A strategy that once did wonders for businesses that now can cause you to be penalized is the use of keyword heavy anchor text on internal links. You want to include relevant keywords phrases in your content that will prompt your users and Google about where your linking them. Avoid using keyword heavy anchor text as this will be deemed manipulative and spammy.
If you are linking to external sources, always be mindful about the quality and context of the site you link to. A site that contains relevant and highly useful information about something that you have as content on your site will be considered positive linking, and will get you rewarded.
3. Multiple Keywords Targeting on One Page
Targeting multiple keywords means that you get a chance to make your page available on search engines for different keyword searches. However, if you are targeting similar keywords on a single page to make your page available on search engines, then this is not a very good idea.
Let’s say you’re targeting the following keywords:
Now, if you are targeting all these keywords that are quite similar to one another, then users might associate your page with an unsolicited call. This means that users are not going to visit your site and due to the poor click signals, your site will drop in rankings. The biggest problem occurs when you target multiple similar keywords on posts that are identical. In this case, Google will disregard your page by placing your post on a poor rank list, making it really difficult for you to attract users.
Hence, it’s important that if you’re targeting multiple keywords, make sure you’re being mindful of the user’s intent and use long-tail keywords (3-5 word phrases) with adjectives to grab their attention and guide them through your content. Furthermore, give them an added benefit like “hand-woven leather jackets at discounted prices” or related products such as “leather winter gloves”. Add unique words into the keyword phrase and highlight a benefit to get maximum clicks.
4. Targeting Similar Keywords on Different Pages
Another big problem that prevails is targeting almost identical keywords on different pages. Let’s say you are targeting “leather jackets” and “winter leather jackets”. You make use of each keyword to create a separate landing page specific to those focus keywords. However, due to the similarity between the keywords and page content, you may fear that one will outrank the other. Furthermore, those searching for these keywords will also be looking for similar things. When they visit both pages targeting each of the keywords, they will quickly identify that each page contains similar content which can cause confusion. It’s your job to make sure you tell your visitors through your content that “winter leather jackets” is related to the more general page “leather jackets” and linking to it.
If you don’t relate the content, this can result in poor user experience. Before creating separate pages for all keywords you wish to rank, look at your content marketing strategy to identify your lead generation goals and prioritize the products or services you want to increase traffic.
5. Exact Keyword Match Domain Names
Back in the days, every business would bid for the most generic keyword for their domain name. They did so to make their websites appear on the first page of search engines. However, in the past few years, exact keyword match domain names have become more like generic websites that people don’t prefer visiting. And with yet another recent Google update, exact match domains are getting lower rankings. The reason is that these keyword focused domain names sound less like real reputable brands and more like hacks.
Users no longer want to visit websites that don’t look like professional, trustworthy brands. So, when buying a domain for your small business it’s important to go for a name that is brandable — competitive, unique, and believable.
6. Random Link Bait
This is one of the problems that many small businesses make with their SEO. Adding links to your page to capture users’ attention and to increase page traffic works well. However, most of the time companies are adding links to their sites that are not within context. First, they are not related to the content of the website and second, those who are on your website for leather jackets will not visit a links with titles like; “10 celebs that fell in love on set” and “how to lose weight in 3 days”.
However, if you add relevant links to your page that are related to the content on your site, that’s when you will be able to get more people to spend more time on your site by visiting pages deeper within your site. Something like “Most popular leather jacket styles since the 80s” would be more suitable and will give visitors meaningful data. Link building can be tricky, which is why 41% of marketers cited it as the biggest challenge in SEO. If you use naturally spoken written content that is long-form, 1,000+ words, then you will find it easier to link to relevant content within your existing site as well as external sources.
The first step to improving your small business’s online rankings is to invest the time in replacing outdated SEO techniques. Updating your SEO methods isn’t something that is done over night, it takes work and you must keep your finger on the pulse of Google’s latest updates. Once you align your SEO strategies with Google’s latest updates, you will be on your way to achieving your digital marketing goals.
What outdated SEO methods have you recently replaced? Share your success stories with us or to learn how you can develop a SEO content strategy for your small business, contact us today.