The Do’s and Don’ts of SEO in 2018
January 16, 2018
SEO: Content > Keywordsⁿ + Linksⁿ
The average internet user visits ~90 websites every single month (Nielsen). It’s safe to say that by working in the industry that we do, we’re not ‘average internet users’. A quick poll around the office (and a look at our browser histories) shows that on average each of us visits around 40 websites each day.
In a nutshell, we’ve seen a lot of different websites over the years and it’s our job to understand the ever-changing ways they get *found*.
Sadly, it’s all too common for prospective clients to continue to ask us whether they need to build more links or ‘weave in’ (‘keyword stuff’) more keywords throughout their content in order to improve their search rankings – a method that used to work short-term in the early days of Google, but that will now leave your website penalised by the ever-more sophisticated Google search algorithm – with these penalties potentially leaving your website stuck in SEO freefall.
The obsession with links and keywords
A decade ago, keyword stuffing into any content associated with SEO was on the top of the agenda for any business with a website. Back then, Google’s algorithm for SEO success was much less advanced and could be easily manipulated (so digital marketers figured out) by stuffing keywords into web pages, URLs, blog posts, SEO content, blog tags, image descriptions – quite literally anywhere there was a space to insert some content.
Here are some throwback images that show just how big a problem this was:
An old blog post about – believe it or not – firepits:
100s of blog tags that are irrelevant to the blog content:
And the blog posts from the keyword era encouraging writers and businesses to put keywords (rather than value) at the centre of their content:
SEO in 2018
Moz estimates that Google changes its search algorithm between 500-600 times every year and has been changing its algorithm since 2000 – that’s around 9,000-10,000 changes made since the days of ranking manipulation through stuffed keywords and spam links was possible.
With each day that goes by, Google is smarter than the day before – and those that continue to engage in dated SEO practices will actually see their rankings penalised under the new algorithms.
With this in mind, here are some dos and don’ts of SEO in 2018:
SEO: Site content:
- Do: Draft quality, well-researched content across website pages and blog posts.
- Do: Ensure your content answers questions and adds value to your target audience.
- Do: Ensure your content is refreshed and unique.
- Do: Remember that Google is smart enough to group keywords and know which keywords mean the same thing – so you don’t need to use the exact same terminology over and over again. Make your content flow naturally.
- Do: Include relevant, owned, video content.
- Do: Ensure your website content is informative and user-friendly (can users find what they’re looking for?).
- Do not: Use duplicate or copied content across pages or from external sites.
- Do not: Stuff pages with keywords and external links.
- Do not: Use popup content.
SEO: Site architecture
- Do: Ensure your website is mobile optimised.
- Do: Ensure your URLs are SEO-friendly.
- Do: Ensure your website is HTTPS secure (for ecommerce sites).
- Do not: Use large images and files that slow down your site speed.
- Do: Ensure your website structure flows: Homepage > Category / Service Pages > Sub-category pages.
- Do: Ensure your page titles and headers are SEO optimised.
- Do: Ensure your content descriptions are SEO optimised.
- Do not: Create slightly altered website pages designed to rank for the same or very similar keywords – Google will discount both pages as duplicate content.
- Do not: Stuff your HTML content with keywords.
- Do: Build quality, earned links from authoritative websites relevant to your industry.
- Do not: Pay for bulk links or accept spam links.
If you would like help with your SEO efforts to ensure that you rank competitively for your target search terms, get in touch with our team today.