You must be wondering, why would anyone want to ruin their SEO? Trust me, I ask myself the same question whenever clients or prospective clients explain the things they’ve done to get themselves in trouble with the search engines.
While there are abundant “how to” resources on SEO online, at conferences in books, newsletters and blogs, knowing what not to do is equally important. Here are four tips on what to avoid in a SEO campaign:
- Forget the difference between SEO trends and tactics – The fundamentals of good SEO have not changed in the past five years and chasing after the latest SEO tactic can compromise months or years of solid SEO work. An example is changing a site’s dynamic URLs to keyword-rich URLs solely for SEO benefit. Making a site-wide URL structure change without considering the effect on current rankings, redirection strategy, site map, 404 handing etc is also problematic. This does not mean there should not be some degree of experimentation, but implementing SEO should be based on consumer trends, not search engine loopholes.
- Expect better rankings without committing to adding content and links to the site on an ongoing basis – Search engines work by finding text and links between pages as well as detecting new pages and links. Web sites with a quantity of quality text content and inbound links from other Web sites give search engines the signals they need to better rank pages. Not adding new content or acquiring links puts a Web site at a competitive disadvantage.
- Make major updates to the site without considering SEO – After hiring a SEO firm to extensively research keyword phrases, carefully write updated title tags, meta description tags, on-page copy, image alt text, link text and code optimization, nothing wrecks site SEO more than overwriting pages with updated content or publishing a new design without consulting SEO best practices first.
- Testing SEO theories on the site – A long-term client had great rankings, traffic, and sales when in a 30 day period of time, their results dropped off the first page. We noticed this before the client did as part ongoing monitoring. A robots.txt file disallowing all search engine spiders had been placed on the client site by the Web developer in order to eliminate server load as a result of search engine indexing. This action sent a message to search engines to ignore the Web site! Consult your SEO firm or consultant before making web site changes to ensure there are no negative effects on the site optimization.
The bottom line is that benefitting from improved search visibility requires expertise and an ongoing commitment to content creation and link acquisition. Implementing changes should be researched and based on long term results with technical and online marketing insight either from an in-house consultant or a SEO agency (like ToRank).