Ten years ago it was possible to find a keyword in Google, write a 250-word e-zine article and achieve top-ten rankings within a matter of days. While few people continue using this extremely dated technique, it’s a testament to how much the industry has changed.
Nowadays it’s much more difficult to rank articles in the search engine results pages, or SERPs. But although Google has said time and time again that quality content and ethical SEO is the only way to survive, many search marketers still use spammy techniques and refuse to move on until they get hit by a penalty.
If you’re currently making any of the following mistakes, you should seriously consider changing your strategy.
Google’s algorithm is extremely complex. It doesn’t need exact match keywords within body text to rank a page for a relevant phrase. Prepositions should never be removed at the expense of good grammar. The keyword “law firms in London” is just as powerful as “law firms London.” Removing the preposition “in” will only hinder readability and make otherwise decent content frustrating to read. In fact, preposition-free keywords are a danger as Google could recognize them as spam.
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Parallax Website Development
A parallax website is essentially a single-page website that keeps scrolling down. Although they can look the part, unless you’re using one as a landing page to collect email addresses or offer free gifts, experts don’t recommend them. Unlike ordinary websites, which have the page structure “website.com/about,” a parallax website will have the page structure “website.com#about,” which Google doesn’t recognize. Therefore, search engines will only list the index page, rather than each individual page. This could significantly limit exposure in the SERPs.
Buying Bulk SEO Content
There’s nothing wrong with buying bulk content. However, you should steer clear of buying “SEO articles” from “SEO writers.” Nine times out of ten, someone who advertises their services as “SEO writing” will simply write generic 500-word articles that are riddled with keywords and offer very little value. What’s wrong with buying content from ordinary writers?
No Mobile Functionality
More people access the Internet via mobile devices than from desktop computers. Therefore, for the last few years Google has been factoring mobile functionality into their search criteria. While mobile optimization used to be optional, it’s now a necessity. Nobody wants to scroll through pages and pages of text on a smartphone or visit websites that don’t even fit within the perimeters of their template.
Only Linking to the Home Page
Backlinking is still—and will continue to be—the most powerful element of the SEO process. While we’ve all heard the phrase “diverse link profile” in the past, many don’t seem to take it too seriously. Aside from taking a quality-over-quantity approach, you should always aim to acquire a mixture of home page links and deep links to inner pages, using a selection of anchors: brand name, keywords, key phrases, and URLs.
If you are making any of the mistakes featured above, stop right now! While you may notice short-term gains, your long-term rankings will suffer. Quality, ethical SEO is the only surefire way to survive in the online world. And in order to deliver quality, you must write, develop and optimize for people—not Google.