If you’ve got a business website, the decision to optimize it for search engines might just be what makes or breaks it. Without search engine traffic, there probably won’t enough visitors coming to your sales page to make a purchase. Still, there are SEO practices that will harm more than help. In fact, some SEO content strategies will actually make your website rank lower than it should. Keep reading and you’ll find out the best ways to create SEO-friendly content.
Too Much Optimization
It’s possible to hyper-optimize content if the keyword density of certain expressions goes through the roof. Some websites do keep a close eye on keyword density but the real guideline should be that the content is genuinely useful and interesting, not that it chases an artificial metric. Another SEO trick is bolding keywords whenever they are used; a few times is OK but if every instance of the word is bolded, the search engine will penalize your website with a knock down the search result rankings.
The Panda Update
Google issued the famous Panda Update, ensuring that highly ranked websites with poor content become a thing of the past. Some websites might still slip through the cracks but by and large, this algorithm change has stricken a lot of the shoddily written content from the top of the search result rankings.
February 24th, 2011 was when we got the first Panda Update; the last one was on September 28th, 2011.
There was a total of 7 Panda Updates, all of which attempted to tackle separate issues relating to hyper-optimization of website content and other elements found on webpages. For instance, if a keyword appeared throughout the URL, alt tags, homepage heading and all over the content, the ranking of that website would be penalized.
Freshness Is Important
Modern search engines are built to figure out the freshness of content, meaning that if your content becomes outdated, your search result rankings could suffer as updated content appears for any given topic. This isn’t an ironclad rule because some content does fare better than other with the passage of time and what users enjoy reading will always be the top of results but heed this warning and update informative content as it changes.
For example, any developing stories in your niche should get updated or just get a follow-up. The idea is to keep providing new content rather that sleeping on your laurels or copy/pasting what other sites already have. The search engines will compare you to your competition and, if everything else is equal, use the freshness of content as a tiebreaker.
Search engines consider social sharing an important signal for engagement. With each new share over social media, your website gains reputation that makes it more favored by the search engine. The more users share various links from your website, the better your reputation, meaning the search engine concludes your content must be very interesting, otherwise users wouldn’t be sharing it. The natural conclusion of this observation is that you should make it as easy as possible to share the link to your content. Make the social media share buttons prominent and nudge the visitors’ attention towards them in a subtle way.
Use Some Keywords In A Limited Fashion
Hyper-optimized text hurts your search result ranking but that doesn’t mean you should avoid keywords. When in doubt, just try to figure out what your visitors would like to see on your website; in this case it’s a neatly presented, readable and easily consumable content. What keywords do is help your visitors figure out if they’ve come to the right place at a glance, saving their time and increasing user satisfaction. Try going with 1-2 keywords per page but don’t get obsessed with counting them; just stay focused on creating amazing content for your visitors.
These content-creating concepts should always be on your mind so that you can keep up with your competition. If in doubt, visit a high-quality competitor and look at how it does things. As we move further into the 21st century, we’re likely to see drastic changes to the search engine algorithm, resulting in a sea change in how webmasters approach the content side of SEO. Stay abreast of SEO trends and you’ll be able to constantly adapt to the shifting digital landscape.