March 24, 2017

6 Bad SEO Habits You Need to Break

Published: 24 March 2017 

When you’ve got a website for your business, it’s important to ensure you keep up with and implement the latest SEO trends. Google is constantly changing its algorithm, so it’s important to make sure you know about these changes. Sometimes, an SEO tactic that used to be popular is now no longer the best strategy to use.

What bad SEO habits is it time for you to get rid of?

1. Purchasing Links

Back in 2012, Google introduced a new algorithm called Penguin. This update penalised websites which created unnatural backlinks. If there were too many backlinks, or backlinks were going to low quality sources, a website would be penalised. This encourages people to build legitimate links, rather than paying for them. So it’s a good idea to avoid paying for links, and just earn links by promoting your work, and reaching out to influencers in your niche.

2. Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing used to be a popular SEO strategy. Keyword stuffing is where you overload a page with too many keywords, whether that be short or long-tail. The aim of this is to get a better search engine ranking.

Keyword stuffing used to help improve rankings, but not so much anymore. Google looks at more factors than just keywords, including relevancy and user experience. Keyword stuffing does nothing to enhance the user experience, and users are therefore penalised.

Rather than trying to stuff your pages unnecessarily with keywords, focus on producing quality content, and use your keywords in context.

3. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

This can often be an easy task for SEO specialists to overlook. However, this is an important factor for search engines when they are looking at your website.

A title tag will let search engines know what the page is about. The meta description gives a longer summary of the content, and is generally around 100 to 130 characters long. You need to make sure both your title tag and meta description are relevant to your page, and that they both include relevant focus keywords.

However, try to avoid keyword stuffing in your meta description. The meta description should be a way to sell the page and your business. Only use keywords that flow and make sense.

4. Forgetting Local SEO

You can’t overlook local SEO if you’re a local business! You need to make sure your website includes all the details anyone using a search engine to find you would need. That includes your opening hours (if necessary), contact phone number, physical address, and even a map showing your location. If people are searching for your business and they can’t find these details, they may be less inclined to visit your store. Make sure you also keep this information up to date, so people aren’t visiting the wrong address or calling an old phone number.

Make sure you include geographical keywords throughout your content and meta tags. This way, search engines will know to list your business when people are looking for geographically specific businesses. Don’t just assume Google knows where your store is located.

5. Mobile optimisation

In 2017, you can’t afford to ignore your mobile website. Mobiles are continually increasing in popularity, with more people making searches from their mobile devices than desktop. In 2015, Google released the algorithm “Mobilegeddon”, which penalises websites that aren’t mobile user-friendly. If your website doesn’t have a mobile version, you could see your search engine rankings slip.

Make sure you consider the layout of your website and whether it’s just as easy to navigate on a mobile. If not, it’s time to optimise your website and enhance the user-experience. You can test whether your website is mobile user-friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

6. Mixing up redirects

You want your website to be as user-friendly as possible. This includes having the right redirects in place. This is a common mistake that can occur after someone has changed their domain name. Often a 301 and 302 redirect can get mixed up. While it doesn’t sound like a big deal, it can impact your rankings as search engines will be unable to find the correct page.

A 301 redirect is used when your site has been permanently moved to a new domain, or if you’re merging two websites. Meanwhile, a 302 redirect notifies users the website or page has temporarily moved. This helps search engines to know whether to keep a page, or replace it with the new one. 301 redirects are far more common, as you are more likely to permanently move a page or website. How often do you temporarily move a page? While it’s easier and less time consuming to create a 302 redirect, it’s often worth the time to create a 301 instead. After all, you don’t want your old pages to still be indexed, you want them replaced with the new domain. When you move your website and want to keep your link juice, your best option is to put a 301 redirect in place.

Remember to always consider the customer and the user-experience (UX) before considering the search engines. This will help you to improve your website and implement the best SEO practices.

Ben Maden

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