In the first article of this series, I provided an overview of SEO and discussed on-page SEO tactics. This article will cover off-page SEO as well as some tips on avoiding bad SEO practices.
While you can control the content on your page, and therefore, your on-page SEO efforts, your off-page SEO can be a bit more challenging. Building this type of SEO requires nurturing relationships by creating content people want to link to.
Search engines look not only at the number of links to your site, but also at the quality of the links. For example, one link from The New York Times will mean much more than a hundred from smaller blogs. The search engines will also look at the anchor text surrounding links to your site, to determine the relevancy of the content.
Here are some tactics for getting relevant links to your website:
- Use social media to spread your content throughout the web. Search engines use the content shared on social media when determining website rank because simply put, if it has been shared, it must be influential and attention-worthy. Make your website content easy to share by installing social network buttons throughout your site. You can also share your content on your own social media pages and profiles, encouraging your community to pass it on. If your content is useful, people will link to you in their blogs and on their websites.
- Use email to spread your content, too. Make your email content easy to share by adding share buttons to your messages. These buttons can help readers tweet the content to their followers or forward it on to a friend.
- Blogs are the best way to create a stream of fresh content that your customers will find useful. Write engaging articles about your industry, offer tips to help your customers and clients, and provide interesting news, and people will share and link to you. There’s no better way to build links than to create amazing content that everyone wants to talk about and share.
Often, being good at something requires knowing what not to do. To that end, here are five things you should never do if you want to excel at SEO:
1. Using “Black Hat” SEO to try to boost your ranking is discouraged by search engines and may even hurt your business. Black Hat techniques are designed to bend the rules of SEO, and they include:
- Keyword Stuffing: cramming keywords onto a web page to create “content” with no regard to usefulness or even legibility
- Doorway Pages: pages filled with keywords that redirect users to another site
- Invisible Text: using white text on a white background so a search engine can see it, but a user cannot
2. Shady linking schemes have no place in a top-notch SEO campaign. Quick-fix link building will be recognized and punished by the search engines. Emailing tons of webmasters to ask for a link, offering to trade links with anyone who will link to you, and purchasing links will raise red flags. Building high-quality inbound links takes time and will happen naturally if your site contains useful, relevant content.
3. If you focus too much on metadata, you will miss other fruitful tactics for creating a site the search engines love. There was a time when cramming keywords into the HTML of your site was enough to rank high, but that time is over. Some search engines still use meta tags to index websites, so you should still include them, but don’t go overboard. Focus your efforts on the on-page tactics discussed earlier instead.
4. Creating irrelevant content just to get people to your website won’t lead to much more than increased bounce rates. When you don’t take the time to create content that flows naturally, your website visitors will become frustrated and will likely see through your efforts. Stuffing your content with keywords, to the point that it becomes illegible, is bad SEO practice.
5. Focusing on driving large amounts of traffic rather than qualified leads will leave you with an SEO campaign without much ROI. If you drive tons of traffic to your site, but your visitors never become customers, you should refine your keyword strategy. Aim to generate content that will have your website visitors saying, “Now, this is exactly what I was looking for.” So, if your traffic is increasing, but the bounce rates are also sky-high, reassess your keywords.
Hopefully, now you are well-versed in the strategies of SEO. Have you tried any of these tactics before? Let us know how it worked out by leaving a comment below.
Image courtesy of creative design agency ArraeGoogle+