Search engines are continually changing, and your SEO methods need to change accordingly. In this article, we’re going to take a look at five useless SEO methods that should stay in 2016 and what you should do instead.
Using the Same Description for Every Page
Templates for your product pages and the exact same home page save for the location information need to go. While the templates for product data may be perfectly search engine optimized for the key terms for that product, the repetition may lead to a duplication penalty. Fortunately, you only have to be fifty percent different to avoid receiving the duplicate content penalty. The advantage of leveraging this is that you only have to moderate half of your product directory information to avoid a duplication penalty. You can achieve this not just by spinning the content, but by adding additional information to a few sections or re-ordering bullet lists. However, you should never change your basic product directory structure itself, since this makes it harder for customers to compare products and find information.
Focusing Too Much on Keyword Density
Keywords in the content matter, but repetition beyond 1% or 2% becomes counterproductive, especially if it is already used in headers and tags. To improve latent semantic indexing and reduce keyword stuffing penalties, use variations of the term aside from the plural version. One of the most important things you can do is put the keyword in the first paragraph of the content, ideally in the first 100 words.
Fortunately, there are many other places you can use key search terms and boost your SEO. The title of the page is the best place to put a keyword. This confirms to the reader that the content is related to their search, and search engines give keywords in the title extra weight compared to repeating the key term in the content.
When you create a heading, use the H1 tag. The H1 tag and title should both contain the key term to dominate search engine results for the search tag. Heading 2 tags are less useful. As you move on to the next headings, their impact drops down to nothing.
You can also bold keywords to increase their ability to be noticed by both users and search engines. This is a new feature from Google that first showed up in tests in 2016. You can also italicize words to get them noticed by the search engines. Conversely, this means you shouldn’t italicize large sections of text in an effort to suggest you’re thinking or whispering to the audience.
You can use keywords in the ALT image tag. This is an ideal place to improve local SEO, such as describing the location the image was taken.
If you cannot afford an SEO expert, make one small change like improving the keyword in a title or altering a sentence so that the keyword sounds more natural. Then study your metrics for two weeks and see if it results in more traffic and/or conversions. This is more time consuming than the detailed A/B testing SEO professionals do, but it lets you test how altering titles, tags and content in small ways improves content. Then you know exactly what helps or hurts the page – and you know how to undo it if it hurts your SEO.
However, you should consider the cost of an SEO expert a worthwhile investment in your business due to the increased sales you’ll see. Read reviews about them to understand what their customers think of them, instead of relying on a general web search that most of them will rank well in. For example, read what people say about the HOTH to see how much better they are than their competitors.
Choosing a Search Engine Optimized Domain Name and Assuming That’s Enough
Keywords in the domain name itself matter less to your SEO than they used to. However, you need a domain name that is easy to remember, and ideally related to your brand, product or company. If your brand name is your domain name such that it has instant recognition by anyone who sees it, don’t change it. If you have used the same domain name for ages and receive massive organic traffic from various shared links and social media references, do not change your domain. It will take months of work by an SEO professional or years of work otherwise to get the same search engine optimization from organic link sharing and consumer education you have today.
An exact match domain isn’t a strong ranking signal anymore according to Moz. This means you shouldn’t compete for keyword1.com domains. One caveat is if it is very memorable or your brand name, seize it, because its marketing value is worth far more than its SEO value. If you’re doing affiliate marketing, then a keyword based domain may be useful in helping your site stand out compared to “Affiliate Seller 1” and “Affiliate Seller Local City Name”.
Creating 500 Word or 1500 Word Articles because that Length is Perfect
How long should your content be? If you’re writing rich content, Google’s sweet spot is 1300 words. However, this doesn’t mean you should write long rambling product descriptions or your life story on the about us page, since rambling or repetitive content actually ranks poorly. Focus more on compiling quality content, regardless of its length. Put reviews and testimonials on your webpage, and seek user generated content in the form of answers about the product answered by other users.
Ignoring Website Design’s Impact on SEO
Responsive sites are essential to good SEO, since customers abandon sites that load slow. Limit your media and images to only what is necessary to sell your product or service. And don’t waste bandwidth to put stock images on your website. Don’t delay your users and risk losing them with web redirects. Bloated code is penalized not just by users but search engines, as well. The risk of bloated code is compounded by the greater odds that at least one script will error out.
If you can, add social media sharing buttons on your webpage. If you have social media sharing buttons on your page, add a call to action button asking visitors to share your page on social media unless you’re trying to convert them into buying the product today. Don’t have more than one call to action per page.
Can you think of any more SEO methods that should remain in 2016? Let us know in the comments.