The no-no’s of SEO

SEODespite being a twentysomething and working in the creative sector, I’ve only recently started understanding modern SEO techniques and their increasing relevance to PR. I first heard the term back in 2005, from a friend’s nerdy older brother. He was giving an explanation whilst also fixing my clapped out guitar amp; naturally my mind was focused on the latter. But comparing what I do remember then to what I know today, it’s clear to see that the principals of SEO have changed massively. What was regarded as best practice back then isn’t quite the same now. This is mainly due to Google’s ongoing refinement of SEO. So for the benefit of you SEO n00bs, I thought I’d jot down a list of some these no-no’s:

  • Anchors – One of the common techniques I remember being told about and still see being used today is the use of anchor text to improve SEO rankings. It worked back in the day, but now Google will kick you down the rankings for using them. If you absolutely need to use them, stick to URLs like www.sparkcomms.co.uk not something that is hidden like London-based technology PR agency. Making anchors obvious is viewed as more honest in Google’s books than hiding them under keywords.
  • Spam-filled articles – Writing guest articles is a good way to increase the SEO ranking and brand awareness of clients. But Google are increasingly clamping down on ones that contain poor content containing lots of backlinks. There is a balance to be had here, as backlinks can still be useful if they link to high quality sources.  However, to overcome this challenge overall, articles must now emphasise on delivering useful and factual content rather than paragraphs of optimised junk. Trust me; Google will reward you for it. But don’t expect this to happen overnight.
  • Keyword-heavy content – Bloating content with lots of keywords doesn’t help you achieve a high-ranking, increase search traffic or build authority either. When used in the right way, keywords can be effective part of an SEO plan. But like every other aspect of SEO strategy, balance and moderation is critical. Adding one or two keywords will help to slightly increase rankings. However, stuffing content full of them can have the exact opposite effect.

SEO might have been quick and easy back in the day, but this is no longer the case. Short-term approaches consisting of excessive use of optimised keywords and backlinks once worked. But better results can be achieved by using these age-old techniques in moderation and focusing on delivering better quality content more consistently.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

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