Search engine optimization has always been a very powerful tool for marketers but in order to benefit from it, you need to stay up to date with Google’s various algorithm changes and updates to avoid being penalized. Google is constantly changing up their SEO requirements and black hat tactics will no longer be tolerated. Google’s algorithms are developed with the end user in mind in order to give them the best possible online experience. They are offering a product after all.
Google’s current algorithm
As of 6 October 2016, Google updated to phase 2 of Penguin 4.0. This particular update primarily focuses on your links and where they come from. Website owners want to make sure that their links are coming from reputable sources only.
Quality content is still the name of the game though so it still pays to focus on giving your users the best possible experience online if you want to keep your rankings flag flying high.
SEO tactics to drop in 2017
Below are just a few of the main SEO tactics that you should avoid altogether as you develop your strategies for 2017.
- Keyword stuffing. Even though this is quite a common no-no, it’s definitely worth repeating. There are still website owners out there who are finding excellent keywords to work with but they end up stuffing a keyword into a short paragraph 3 or 4 times. It’s essential for you to write your content for your users, not search bots, or you will end up being penalized.
- Page swapping. This is when you get one of your website pages to rank really well but then update the content to something else. Not only will you start seeing a high bounce rate but Google will realize that visitors aren’t getting any value and will eventually downgrade if not penalize your site.
- Buying links. Yes, having links on other websites that point back to your site are great green flags for SEO but not if they’ve been purchased and aren’t really relevant to your content, offerings or target audience. Your linking strategy should be well thought out and you should only be partnering with quality websites.
- Developing unoriginal content. Creating unique, engaging content is one of the best ways to grab Google’s attention. Don’t try and copy your competitor’s content or an interesting article you read online somewhere. Google’s algorithms are advanced enough to know when your content is too similar to other websites and they won’t pay you much attention if they know you can’t offer your visitors an original piece of content.
- Unrelated keywords. When someone clicks on your website in their search results, they need to see the exact content they were interested in reading if you want to keep ranking well for specific keywords. Many website owners will include irrelevant or unrelated keywords in their copy to try and capture a bigger audience but what use is this if the actual content you’re trying to push isn’t really relevant to them. Google will pick up on this tactic so it’s best to stick to keywords that you actually want to rank for.
Whether you optimize your own content or you have a marketing agency that’s doing it for you, it pays to stay up to date with Google’s algorithm changes if you want to give your website and brand the best possible chance of success.