It is the age of information boom that the Web is infected with too much of it. In such a scenario, it is often difficult to sieve out relevant and valid counsel from the jumble of content that is made available online. There is a lot of bad SEO advice floating the internet. While some might confuse you or give you false confidence, others are just plain disastrous for your website. While it is best to trust the expertise of consultants who specialize in SEO and depend on them to work on your website, there is no harm in having a clear idea for yourself of what is beneficial or harmful with regard to SEO.
Here is a collection of some bad SEO advice that you might want to stay clear of, the next time you surf the web to educate yourself on the topic.
- There Is No Need For SEO, When You Have Achieved a Good Rank
So you find your website listed on the first page of results of a search engine, and investing in SEO appears futile now. You seem to have consolidated your rank there, yet there is no major change in your business. You still have no conversions. You are a victim of some bad SEO advice here. The goal of SEO above all is to increase your conversions. Your aim with it is not just a good rank, but a rank for those particular keywords or keyword-phrases that have a high CTR(Click Through Rate) and leads to more conversions. SEO must be utilized to decide on keywords that will ensure a high rate of conversion once you save yourself a position on the 1st Search Engine Results Page. More often then not, it is the long tail keywords(keyword phrases) that get you the most conversions because they cater to highly specific requirements of the user.
For Example, “3-BHK furnished apartments in Santa Cruz East on rent” will give you a better rank and CTR if you cater particularly to this demand, rather than “Rent apartment in Mumbai”.
- Content / Back-end Tech- Can Invest in Either of Them
You might often come across the advice to choose a strategy, whether content-based or technical-based. Technical here refers to the back-end elements of SEO which includes ‘header tags’, ‘meta descriptions’, ‘alt text for images’, etc while the content part includes placement of keywords, making blog posts, making use of multimedia elements like pictures and videos and info-graphs. It’s terrible advice because it places these two elements of strategy as mutually exclusive, suggesting that it is economical to invest in only one segment of SEO, and that it will be enough. The truth however, is that to get the best results, both these elements need to be invested together, as they are mutually constitutive. For example, keywords from content optimization also become a part of your meta descriptions and alt texts.
- Fill Up All Your Content and Tags with Keywords
It brings us to the next most common and confusing bit of SEO advice. If search engines look for keywords, shouldn’t the website that has the most number of Keywords rank better? The answer is no. There is a difference between strategic keyword placement and mindless keyword stuffing. While key-wording is important, great content is that which addresses the user’s query in the most comprehensive way. Search Engines like Google want to prioritize the most relevant content present on the web for their users so as to maximize their satisfaction. For this reason the algorithms are designed such that they pick semantically relevant content (content that is related to the query in terms of the underlying meaning) rather than just the particular keywords that a user puts in the search bar.
- Getting Directory Links Will Help Gain a Good Rank
At some point in the past it was so that your rank on the SERP(Search Engine Results Page) was decided by the number of external links pointing back to your website. To take advantage of this, marketers and advertisers dug out dubious directory websites which contained lists upon lists of website links and addresses and got their company name and website registered there. This method is long out-of-date and practice because Search Engines now focus more on quality links from authoritative websites and ignore the former. An alternate way to go about it for SEO today is to participate in guest blogging with popular websites that have a considerable following or by replacing dead links with your own links on an authoritative website like Wikipedia, for pages relevant to your business. Doing this can give you quality backlinks to your webpage that Search Engines actually consider and value.
- Buy Aged/Expired Domains and Redirect Them
This one is a bad gamble. You might find yourself stumble across an expired domain available at a very cheap deal that ranks for some keywords relevant to your own business. How tempting is it then to juice the opportunity and redirect traffic from the entire domain onto your own webpage. It is however a disastrous move and can lead to some serious harm like potential banning. Instead, experts in the field have stressed on the advantages of page-to-page redirects, where instead of redirecting an entire domain, you redirect particular pages present on the expired domain to the new pages on your main website that cater to similar content. It is also necessary that you make yourself familiar with the nature and history of this expired website. If it is too spam or has a history of being hacked, it will do more harm than good to your website.
- Focus on Ranking for the Company’s Name
Unless you are a super-popular global brand, you can’t hope to drive much traffic to your webpage by focusing on making your company name rank. Your target customers, beyond the small pool of people who might already be familiar with your name, are far more likely to be looking for solutions to problems that they put in the search bar than your brand name. For example, if I am looking for affordable laundry services in my area, I am more likely to put ‘Cheap Laundry Service in Delhi’ and not a branded keyword like ‘Dhobi-Mart’ (a local service provider), unless I have heard of and trust the company name before. On the other hand, if you focus on being ranked for the former search text, you will be casting a wider net and cover a larger body of potential customers.
It is crucial to remember that search engine algorithms change frequently. What is decent advice today might not work so well in future. What you can do on your part is to stay aware of the latest events that are occurring in the SEO world or to partner with specialists who can keep up with these changes and keep your website optimized.