To digital marketers, SEO is a familiar term. Still, seeking SEO advice can be an arduous task. A quick Google search for “SEO tips” or “SEO best practices” is a testament to how difficult this is.
Sometimes you’ll get unethical or what SEOs call “black-hat” techniques. Other times you’ll make mistakes because you’re following plain wrong advice from writers only trying to make a few bucks. And before going any further, here are some SEO mistakes you should actually avoid.
Then there’s the excellent article, but the only problem is that this was written ten years ago. And some tactics there are as outdated as video cassettes. Sure, you may find some way to use it every now and then, but they are best avoided for newer and better technologies.
What are some of these SEO tips? Read on.
1. Exact-match anchor text
In the past, it was an SEO best practice to use exact match anchor text in articles. Here’s what I mean.
If you were trying to rank for “best lawyer in Houston,” you’d need as many links as possible with “best lawyer in Houston” as the anchor text.
Since this was promoted as an SEO best practice, many writers and marketers eventually abused it and articles or posts sounded more unnatural. Google itself soon realized that many sites had outrageous amounts of keyword-rich anchor texts pointing to them. Some of those sites suffered a Google penalty.
When you’re building links to your site or posts, the anchor text distribution will often vary widely. It will mostly depend on the context in the post or article at hand. In the example above, your anchor text can be a lawyer, one lawyer, lawyer in Houston, click here, and so on depending on the context.
Don’t try to control how other sites link to your site. Focus more on things like the relevance of the linking site to your site, and the number of links from credible, authoritative sites linking to yours. Most times, you’ll do just fine in the long run.
2. Exact match domain name
In the past, people worried about their sites’ domain names and if they were relevant to the content they planned to create on the site. For some, choosing a domain name for their site was a painstaking process. For example, if you were writing about blogging, you’d need to have any of the following variations in your domain name: blog, blogs, blogger, and blogging.
This was recommended because it was a terrible idea to make Google wonder what your site is about, so it just had to decipher that from the domain name itself. Lately, search engines are smarter and your domain name can rank as long as you have high-quality content. So you don’t have to create a domain name like lawyerinhouston.com to stand a chance of ranking for “best lawyer in Houston.”
You can use your company name which is more brandable than most exact match domains. For example, Mickey Mouse Attorneys is more brandable and sounds better than “best lawyer in Houston” right? There, you get the point.
Don’t spend days, weeks, or months worrying about your domain name. Just pick something good and move on to the more serious part-creating great content and building links.
3. Automated link building
Meet any genuine SEO expert and they’ll tell you that link building takes time. Armed with this knowledge, some folks created link-building software to hasten the process. Some made outrageous promises like saying they’d help you to rank for any keywords of your choice in a month or less, even though you’re starting your site from scratch.
Sadly, in cases like these, people often forget the adage: “when it’s too good to be true, it often is.”
Marketers jumped on the automated link-building bandwagon in a bid to outrank their competition. It did work sparingly for a while, but good ol’ Google put a fork in it.
Automation aids productivity, but link-building cannot be automated completely. And you know why it was terrible? Because links were posted indiscriminately on forums, link directories, multiple interlinked websites, and in spammy blog comments.
You won’t create a site today and expect to rank for five hundred keywords by the end of your first month. You’ll need to create quality content and go out of your way to get links manually to them. Unfortunately, you can’t make this process any faster than it should be even though you outsource content creation and link building to experts or an agency.
Be patient, and it will pay off in the end.