No matter what kind of website you are running, you are already aware of the importance of search engine optimization for your blog or business. You are also probably aware of the constant changes SEO practices are undergoing to match the search engines’ algorithms and crawlers’ evolution. With this ever-changing landscape in mind, we have compiled a list to help you navigate these treacherous waters. Here are SEO practices you should avoid in 2020 if you want to ensure your website is properly optimized and primed for great ranking.
What Are the SEO Practices You Should Avoid? – An Overview
Here is what we think you should steer clear of if you wish to develop a successful SEO strategy for your website and your business.
Forcing quantity at the expense of quality
Not auditing your website frequently enough.
Disregarding the intentions of people using search engines
Not being flexible enough to let go of outdated SEO practices in favor of new ones.
Paying little attention to internal links
Ignoring the analytics and reports at your disposal
Not bothering with alt. tags.
Flawed keyword research and application
Not accounting for regional differences.
Letting duplicated content reign free
Forgetting the importance of the end-user
Quality Versus Quantity
You are well aware of the need for regularly updated unique content to keep your website optimized. However, regular updates will do more harm than good if all they provide your website with is quantity. No matter how often you update it, you want to ensure every new addition to your pages satisfies the established quality level or even enhances it.
Quality being paramount goes further than your content. Ensuring that your website is functional, practical, and user-friendly will help it rank higher. Making it mobile-friendly is also of utmost importance. You want your visitors to have a smooth experience across all platforms, so don’t neglect this important tool. Furthermore, more than 50 percent of searches come from mobile phones. Search engines will automatically ignore your page if it is not mobile-search friendly.
Finally, the loading speed of your website is a determining factor in how high it will rank. Ensure that your website is well done, functional, mobile-friendly, and quick to load.
SEO Practices – Closed for Review
Search engines are increasingly moving toward making sure they provide their searchers with pages from websites where all content is of a certain quality. One SEO practice you should steer clear from is not auditing your website and reviewing your content regularly. Insist on good quality in all circumstances. We do not just mean coming up with new content, but also by deleting or updating the old. Start with your oldest content and pages that get the least traffic or none at all.
Besides doing this busywork yourself, one of the best SEO practices would be to hire a company to conduct an SEO audit and provide you with their analysis. It could be the first step towards building a stable and successful digital marketing strategy.
Disregarding Search Intent
Not accounting for search intent has always been a bad practice. Even if you provide the highest quality content, it will fall on deaf ears if it is not properly targeted. When optimizing your content, you want to be sure you have a firm grasp of your target audience and their intentions behind their searches. This is the only way to ensure people find your website useful when it pops up in their search. You must provide them with a solution.
So whatever content you are putting out, ask yourself what the searcher would be thinking when making this query. Focusing on the search intent will help frame your content and format it to be useful to the audience. This will make it better-optimized and rank higher.
Sticking to Traditional SEO Practices
It is not all traditional SEO practices you should avoid in 2020, but you should ensure to stay on top of the constant evolution of search engines. Something like keyword stuffing can not only hurt your rankings but also get your website penalized. Staying up-to-date on the changes and updates search engines are coming out with will allow you to stay ahead of the curve. There is no room for complacency when it comes to SEO practices. For example, you want your landing page SEO optimization to account for all pieces of up-to-date website SEO optimization, such as:
long-tail keyword research
Poor Internal Links
Poor internal linking is among SEO practices to avoid for sure. Doing this right means using internal links on your new pages and fixing any basic issues with existing ones. Internal links are particularly important for SEO as they provide a clear pathway to conversions. The higher up in the HTML code the link is, the more useful it will be. You will also get more use of it if you place it in the body rather than the header, footer, or sidebar navigation.
Another reason why poor internal linking structure is one of the key SEO practices you should avoid is that good linking helps spread the authority to your other pages. This, in turn, helps your ranking by communicating your most important pages to search engines. It also provides your visitors with additional content.
Not Making the Most of the Analytics
Getting a lot of traffic does not equal getting lots of conversions. This is unfortunate as conversions are what you are aiming for. If you notice that this is the case, it could be that your SEO is not up to scratch. You are halfway there by having determined the keywords and phrases that will drive the most traffic. However, with conversions as your goal, you might want to look into the analytics. They will help you determine keywords that will perhaps even lower the traffic while simultaneously increasing conversions.
Track your keywords and phrases and measure them against each other. This should give you an idea of reaching your real target audience and point you towards a way to move forward. Once you have a revised list of the most productive keywords, you can move on to outfitting your landing page templates for maximum conversions.
Not Consulting Paid Media
Just as Google Analytics and similar can help you determine what keywords to use, paid social media can point you towards your most effective keywords when it comes to acquiring and converting leads. The reports on landing page performance will give you an idea of how effective your campaigns have been. Additionally, they will point you towards the direction you can take to make improvements. Use every tool that is at your disposal to put the best SEO practices in place. Your SEO efforts on social media are often the ones behind the most conversions. Could you pay particular attention to them?
Harmful SEO Practices – Forgetting ALT Tags
While images are a great draw for your visitors, they are invisible to search engines. Not accounting for them when optimizing your website is one of the SEO practices you should avoid this year. Using image tags can be a lot of work, but it will ensure the visual content becomes visible to search engines. You should use keywords in your alt. tags as much as you can. They should provide a straightforward description of what is on the image, but it is possible to infuse them with keywords more often than not.
Not Doing Keyword Research
We have highlighted the importance of appropriate keywords many times so far. However, to bank on their importance, you must use the right ones. This is where keyword research comes in as one of the basic building blocks of any effective SEO. It is the first step towards knowing how to format your content and getting organic search traffic.
When doing research, do not go for keywords that will bring a lot of heavy competition. Try to come up with something different if that is the case. Also, it is advisable to use more than just one keyword. You can have a keyword that is the focus, but you should use its synonyms and secondary keywords in your content too. Be careful to make sure you use your keyword as naturally as possible and not overstuff your pages with it.
Not Optimizing for the Local Search
If you are hoping to reach audiences across regions, you should know that there is no one size fits all for SEO. Going too wide with your optimization is certainly one of the SEO practices to avoid. Besides the obvious need for using different languages if necessary, you should also optimize differently for different geographical regions within one language. The way to do this is by tailoring your keywords to a particular region. Once you have them, use those in your titles and meta descriptions. You can also help your chances of popping up in local search results by listing a local address and phone number in the header or footer.
In keeping with working hard on your website, providing quality unique content, and ensuring regular audits, one of the SEO practices you should avoid in 2020 is duplicate content. Duplicate content is pretty self-explanatory. It is the content that appears on more than one page of your website. When this occurs, search engines do not know which page to index. So they often avoid listing any of them in the search results. As you can tell, this can be a proper SEO nightmare.
Duplicate content can even start with the homepage duplicates, hurting your chances to rank high or at all. It could look something like this:
Duplicate URLs can happen if you are not consistent with the use of upper and lower case letters. This can also confuse search engines and hurt your ranking. Finally, different pages with the same or similar content can be equally harmful to your SEO, especially when it comes to landing pages. The same way you shouldn’t copy content from elsewhere on the web, you also shouldn’t copy your own content across various pages.
This can often get particularly tricky if you are running an e-commerce website. One of the SEO practices you should avoid using the manufacturer’s descriptions for your product pages. Not only are these users across the Internet and can harm your ranking and get you penalized, but they are also not written in a way that will move people towards a purchase. It is very much a lose-lose situation.
SEO Practices – Forgetting About the End-user
Focusing so hard on proper SEO practices can keep your eye on the wrong prize. No matter how well you optimize your website’s content for search engines, real people will still be the be-all and end-all of whatever business you are running.
SEO is there to help you get your pages in front of your target audience. However, what is on them will move potential customers towards purchasing your product, hiring your services, or doing neither of those things. This is why we have tried to highlight the importance of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes several times. Disregarding their perspective is one of the most harmful SEO practices you should avoid in 2020.