Are You "Au Courant" with the SEO Scene?

    The French proverb “tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse” can be translated several ways, but in essence it means “everything passes, everything breaks when tired.” What does this have to do with SEO? Everything!

    There are many old-school SEO practices writers are using that are simply no longer effective. It’s easy to fall into the habit of using the same ranking methods you’ve been successfully using for years. But both you and your clients suffer if you fail to stay current with modern SEO techniques.

    Stop Writing in the Past

    What modern SEO techniques rank your content best? Here are five practices you may still be using but might want to put out to pasture so you can write the results-driven SEO content your clients are looking for.

    1. Too many internal links.

    Using anchor text to link back to different website pages would seem to make sense, and the practice did at one time have a positive impact on rankings. Today, Google and other search engines are more often discounting these links and, in extreme cases where they judge them to be overdone or spammy, penalizing a site for them.

    What to do instead: make sure internal links are well-written and relevant. The sentence they’re included in should read naturally.

    2. Thinking mediocre content is saved by external links.

    Content writers are constantly being told that gaining links from “influencers” is great for ranking. Yes, earning links on other websites does help improve where your site ranks, but they must be organically earned. That means producing great content in the first place. Unnatural links will not help your content rank, and they could hurt you in the long-term.

    What to do instead: write content that engages and delights readers. High quality content that’s on topic creates a positive branding association without resorting to spamming.

    3. Indiscriminate guest blogging.

    Some people say guest blogging is dead, but that’s not true. It has dramatically changed and it’s no longer enough to haphazardly submit guest posts to sites you hope will reward you with a link (thinking the multitude of links will lead to better ranking).

    What to do instead: guest blogging still helps to create more exposure, demonstrate expertise, and build trust, but be sure your posts are submitted to sites that are relevant to yours.

    4. Creating separate pages for keyword variations.

    Google’s RankBrain algorithm is an AI system that helps it better process search results. In simple terms, RankBrain can interpret searches people submit to find pages that might not contain the exact words used in the search. This ability eliminates the need to create separate pages for the same topic. For example, if you write a page about “car repair services,” RankBrain understands it’s probably a good match for people who also search car maintenance, car tune-up, or auto services.

    What to do instead: stop creating new pages for every keyword phrase and create a more comprehensive page for keyword topic. An LSI keyword generator can help here.

    5. Forgetting to write for people.

    Have you ever written a page or post that repeats a particular keyword in ways that feel and look awkward? Do your heading tags have little or nothing to do with the actual content but they do include that keyword? Then you’re probably writing to bots, not people. This can be a tough one, because many clients who don’t keep current with current SEO tactics believe this is still important to do.

    What to do instead: write your content for the real people who are reading it. They are the ones who be buying the products or services.

    And what if the client insists on doing it the “old” way? A good approach is to put it in the form of a question. Say something like, “Based on what I’ve learned about Google’s latest algorithm, this piece reads a little like keyword stuffing to me, what do you think? Do you want me to remove some of the keyword mentions?” Some people do still fiercely cling to this technique, but at least you asked!

    The Bottom Line

    Hopefully you’re now au courant on all things SEO. To stay that way, be sure to subscribe to several websites that keep you updated on Google’s ever-changing algorithms and ranking processes. Staying informed and working new SEO techniques into your content writing routine will help you get the results you and your clients are looking for.

    Topics: SEO content

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