SEO Goes Social: Part 3 – Mistakes to Avoid
Now that we’ve reviewed some of the things you can do to help improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) with the help of social media – see SEO gets Social Part 2: Tips to Optimize your site – it’s time to have a look at some of the more common mistakes business owners can make when optimizing their website for search engines.
As part of our continuing look at SEO, your website and your social media properties, we’re devoting this entry to what not to do. Avoid the following things like the plague as you get to work on improving your site’s standing among the search engines:
1. Overload on advertising. While it may be tempting to put lots of ads on your site to generate additional revenue, recognize that it may be off-putting to some visitors. The same rule applies to your social channels: don’t use Twitter and Facebook solely to pump out advertising-laced messaging. Blatant behaviour like this can divert visitors away from the prime reason they connected with you in the first place: namely learning more about your business and, hopefully, buying something in the process.
2. Scrape content. By all means, keep the flow of new content coming, but make sure it’s original. Search engines love fresh content, but will punish those suspected of copying or “scraping” content from elsewhere with lower rankings. Beyond the search engines, human visitors can easily tell the difference between high- and low-quality content, and they’re only too happy to navigate away from your website if they think you’re anything less than 100 per cent authentic. Choose wisely, as beyond SEO it speaks to organizational credibility.
3. Overuse specific keywords. If you use the same keyword in every link or on every page, search engines will recognize this and drop your rankings down. Watch your social feeds, too, as overuse of specific terms can turn off readers and prompt them to share negative messages within their own circles, or stop following you – all of which can impact search rankings.
4. Choose substandard links. While linking is an important way of raising your rankings among search engines, not just any link will do. Choose resources that are trusted and respected. Industry sites, well-established media and popular observers and analysts, are preferable to link farms that simply aggregate various resources from across the web. When choosing what to share via your social channels, focus on quality rather than quantity.
5. Write terms instead of phrases. Content written in bite sized chunks for supposedly easy consumption by a search engine – “Concorde top speed?” for example, instead of the more human-sounding “What is the top speed of the Concorde?” – will turn real visitors off. Don’t spend so much time tweaking your text for SEO that you forget to make it readable for your visitors. Ensure everything is properly researched, well written, interesting, and informative. Writing for people instead of machines will engage your audience and motivate them to share your content – which in turn will drive SEO performance.
6. Ignore basic design principles. Search engines tend to down-rank badly laid-out sites. Keep things clean during the design phase by using simple templates and avoiding the temptation to clutter things up. As an added bonus, well-designed sites tend to attract – and keep – visitors. This applies to your corporate web presence as well as your social landing pages.
7. Fly solo. SEO is a constantly moving target, and web and social platform design, deployment and maintenance may not be the best use of your or your team’s time. If you’re looking for help with SEO or any other website project, Bell offers a wide range of website services to help businesses get the most out of their websites.
Our next entry in this series will share SEO tips on what to do – and what not to do – when building your organizational presence on Facebook, Twitter and related social media platforms.
Are a business owner that’s faced SEO-related challenges? Do you have any additional tips to share? Tell us about them in our comments area below.