How your website gets found is always changing, as search engines adapt and evolve. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is not a fixed set of ways of doing things, and tactics that might have worked once may not continue to do so.
Here’s a note of caution: not only can getting your SEO wrong result in people not finding you on Google, but you can find yourself penalised and de-listed for certain SEO-related activities.
What Are Your Killer Keywords?
Traditionally, keywords drive SEO. But the same keywords that can attract site visitors can also kill off your rankings if you misuse them.
One example is the tactic of using different keyword variants as the basis for different web pages. But having keyword variants attached to separate pages is no longer effective in the way it once was. Google is that much smarter, and it is only going to reward sites which intelligently integrate keywords into their content.
SEO is driven now more by natural language search – the normal kind of questions that people ask, including more detail rather than just simple keyword variants.
Write your content for the user, not simply to cram keyword variations in there; and remember that building more pages will not equate to getting more traffic. Keyword stuffing is no longer a sensible option.
What Links do you Have?
The conventional thinking is that the more links you have in your text, the merrier you’ll be. But again, the new SEO focus is on the quality of your links, not the quantity.
You can buy links, but this is a dangerous tactic, because they’ll inevitably be too spammy, and, even if they do push up your rankings for a while, the way Google is continually evolving will mean they have a very limited shelf life.
The other thing to watch out for is broken links. These can occur naturally, but they may affect your rankings all the same.
How Many of Your Sites Are There?
Another old tactic has been to create multiple microsites or separate domains targeted at a common audience in the hope of driving up traffic. But really, you’re just dividing your efforts, and you can end up getting less traffic overall as a result.
Also, you’ll need to multiply the amount of original content you’re creating, and you risk segmenting your brand.
You must ask yourself if the amount of extra work involved will justify the rewards.
Are You Overdoing the Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the highlighted content that steers users to internal links based on your subject matter. If you overdo this, so, for example, every time you mention widgets your user is encouraged to visit your widget sales page, it can feel very manipulative.
At one time anchor text had a positive effect on SEO rankings, but now the emphasis is firmly on rich content that has natural value.
If your site navigation is clear, you don’t need to resort to overly manipulative tactics. It’s all about the user experience, and people don’t want to be sold to; they want to feel they’re in control.
Ranking vs Actual Traffic
Rankings are not the only metric you should focus your efforts on. In this context, SEO can become something of a red herring, because rankings do not always equate to the traffic visiting your site.
In other words, don’t mistake your outputs for outcomes.
Higher Google rankings may seem like an achievement, but if they don’t translate into site visitors, conversions and sales, then they’re meaningless.
Reform Creative is a Manchester-based agency specialising in design and marketing. We build attractive, with the focus on the quality of design and content, focussing on your target audience. Give us a call to discuss your online requirements.