Most web-based business owners are aware that their sites need Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to remain competitive. But few would be aware that the digital landscape changes constantly, therefore many of yesterday’s initiatives are ineffective today. Not only is money spent on obsolete tactics is money wasted, but continued use of some of these techniques will also cause the site to be penalized by Google. Below are some of the most common SEO practices from the last decade that are no longer valid. Are any of them being used to optimize your site?
1. Not Considering Website Functionality and SEO
For SEO initiatives to be most effective, they must be implemented on a website that is receptive to them. Early in the last decade the concept of having a site that was visually stunning prevailed. But how were users expected to find it? And once on the site, were visitors able to make their selections and buy quickly and easily? Today’s successful web designs can still inspire awe, yet facilitate optimization (SEO) and therefore the sales process towards greater profit. Does yours?
2. Focusing on Keywords Instead of the User Experience (UX)
Many clients and agencies still place great emphasis on rankings to drive site traffic. That’s great, but what happens when these visitors, read prospects, arrive on your site? (And yes, this is the WHY of the website design consideration above.) That’s like waiting in line to get into a nightclub or movie, only to be ushered into a big space and left to figure out where to go next for yourself. At that point, many people would leave. The same thing happens on a keyword-driven site. Prospects arrive, but find no direction and few clues as to how to proceed to find what they came for. If your website has a high bounce rate, its likely that your site focus must shift to making it easier for visitors to quickly locate what they came for and receive guidance throughout their buying process.
While we’re on the subject, keyword density (the requisite number of keywords allowable per document) is not a term one hears much about anymore. This concept led to keyword stuffing and content that was choppy and awkward, not fluid and easy to understand. Visitors soon got the message that they were being manipulated and that’s never good for achieving site goals. Other no-nos along this vein include writing for bots instead of users and creating pages for every keyword variation. Are these by-gone strategies still in play on your site?
3. Exact-match domains
A popular SEO strategy had been to create a microsite for a particular keyword to attract prospects. An example would be ‘italianrestaurantsonwallstreethuntington.com’. The primary website would be Roberto’s Osteria, (or robertososteria.com) but to garner the business of those who were not sure of the exact name, but remembered the location, a microsite would be created. The sole purpose of this site would be to ensure that potential, but forgetful, prospects did not make reservations at a competitor’s dining establishment.
Microsites are still valid but are not the magic bullet they once were since Google adjusted its algorithm to flag many such sites as spam. It is also difficult to brand a microsite. Today there are simply other means of achieving the same end without the risk.
4. Paid Links
Paid links are still popular because, short term, they are an effective way to jump start an SEO campaign. However, using paid links to increase PageRank has been in violation of Google Webmaster guidelines for years. There are other ways to accomplish this objective that will not land a website in hot water with Google. Does your agency know about these strategies and how to use them effectively?
5. Anchor Text
Internal linking is integral to solid site structure as well as to user experience enhancement. Anchor Text is the chief component of internal linkage and offers a deeper understanding of the content the user is reading. There are several types of anchor text such as branded, exact-match, headline, etc. however some can be misused and put a site in jeopardy with Google. The fact is, it is possible to over-optimize site pages and anchor text was specifically cited in Google’s Penguin algorithm as a potential red flag. Does your agency know how to negotiate around such potential land mines and still provide the best optimization/results for your spend?
Instead of asking point-blank if such impactful measures are being used to optimize your website, ask yourself this: are your site metrics trending in the right direction? Are you meeting your stated goals and objectives? Has your agency provided a ‘road map’ as to what can be accomplished in a given time period? If not, or if you have more questions than answers, it’s likely time for us to have a conversation.
Active Web Group has earned its reputation as a professional, ethical, and highly-qualified digital agency that strives to fulfill its client’s online business goals. We offer our clients customized campaigns that address their business requirements and the best ways to achieve their objectives. As a full-service agency, we work as a team to create effective Search Engine Marketing campaigns drawing from our core competencies, Web Design and Development, SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing, and Pay-Per-Click. Give me a call and we can address your online business’ specific needs and chart a course towards achieving its greater online success. Call me at (800) 978-3417.