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Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz.com, recently published an article about how people need to stop doing on-site SEO like it’s 2012 and for me, it hit the nail on the head.
All too often I hear businesses and clients talking about old-school SEO tactics that they believe are still an important part of a successful SEO strategy.
“It’s all about adding keywords to a page isn’t it?”
“How many times do I need to repeat this keyword in the content on the page to rank?”
Please, make it stop.
These old-school perceptions of SEO still linger strongly amongst businesses who may have previously done SEO back in the day, or who may have been speaking with other businesses or peers who have outdated knowledge.
If this all sounds familiar and you want some updated SEO knowledge to help your company grow, I’ve got some easy to understand tips.
First things first…
Stop thinking about keywords so much!
I have a love hate relationship with the concept of ‘keywords’ and there are a couple of reasons for this.
Obsessive ranking checking disorder
The first is that people get so hung up on obsessively checking their rankings for one or two specific keywords that they think determine the success of their SEO campaign. What about the tens or hundreds or thousands of other ‘keywords’ you are not obsessively checking on a daily basis? Do these not provide organic visibility and traffic too?
Long tail keywords are just as important, especially in terms of organic traffic as they are going to provide you with a steady influx of visitors, and much more quickly than that one competitive keyword you are fixated on. Focus on longer tail terms which are less competitive to begin to increase visibility earlier on.
It is vital to track a range of keywords using a third party tool to exclude personalised rankings based on your previous searches, location and device. Include those competitive terms and the longer tail terms. I recommend monitoring these frequently but don’t become too obsessed.
Analyse your organic search traffic. Compare data to previous periods to assess progress. Look at the organic landing page report to see which pages are bringing good quality organic traffic.
Keyword repetition throughout content
The second behaviour to address is the belief that adding a keyword to a page a certain amount of times will help that page rank well.This is an old-school view of how SEO works and is incredibly simplified. Google is so much more intelligent than that.
Yes, it is still recommended to use terms that people search for throughout your content but a repetition-based strategy is not the way forward. This could in fact:
- Inhibit readability
- Reduce content quality
- Upset Google
Instead of thinking about how many times you need to include a keyword throughout content, think about what the searcher wants to know and strive to answer their questions…
When creating content think about what questions you get asked frequently by customers. What are their main concerns and trust issues? Address these points within your content and you should naturally include the right kind of keywords and terms. Think about related topics and show Google that you have ‘topical authority’. As Rand states:
Related topics help tell Google’s on-page quality analysis systems that your content:
- Is on-topic and relevant
- Includes critical answers to searchers’ questions
- Has credible, accurate information.
This doesn’t just apply to your key service or product pages. It applies throughout your website and your brand as a whole, online and offline. Your blog or news areas are the perfect place to provide extra value and create more ‘topical authority’. So instead of just thinking about “on-page” optimisation for your key service and product pages, think about “on-site” optimisation for your whole website and brand.
It’s really important in 2017 that you understand the complexity of SEO and how it isn’t just about keywords or a couple of on-site pages that you consider core to your success. A good SEO strategy must consider the whole site – on site and off – and work to answer the questions of your potential customers.
If you are worried your SEO strategy has become outdated, get in touch with us to discuss your aims further. You can also get advice on how to improve your SEO by reading our guide on why cheap SEO services don’t work.