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What SEO Practices To Avoid When Developing A Search-Optimized Website

Sep. 27, 2023 | Gary Jones

Statistics on a laptop computer on glass-top table | SEO Practices

SEO practices to avoid

In the digital age, a website is one of the most vital marketing components of any business, and with millions of sites competing to rank on search engines, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a crucial aspect of web development. This makes it essential to adopt the right SEO strategies and avoid the wrong ones to complete for desirable search rankings.

Your position on search engine result pages (SERPs) significantly influences how many visitors visit your website. Reaching the top position on Google search results likely means more than 25% of visitors will click on your link. The click-through rate (CTR) falls quickly after that, with second place receiving a 15% CTR and third place getting an 11% CTR.

While several factors impact your SERP rank, focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) can produce quick results that increase traffic and conversions. In this blog post, we will explore the SEO practices to avoid when developing a search-optimized website, ensuring that your website ranks well and is accessible to all users.

Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing involves using keywords an unnecessary number of times in hopes that it will boost a page’s SEO. Google notes keyword stuffing can also include:

  • Blocks of cities and regions for local SEO.
  • Repeating words or phrases so much that they sound unnatural.
  • Lists of phone numbers that don’t add value for readers.

It might seem like a good idea to cram in as many keywords as possible. However, Google will likely notice this and lower your rank.

Poor keyword density

You can find a lot of contradictory information online about keyword density. Some people claim you should have a 1% keyword density for your primary keyword. Others will recommend a density as high as 10%.

Google doesn’t say whether it prefers a specific density, so the number of times you use a keyword per 100 words probably doesn’t matter much. Instead, focus on publishing content that sounds natural and gives readers useful information. If you want to aim for a practical keyword density, keep it between 2% and 5%.

Person using Google Search on laptop

Writing for Google instead of users

Both of the above tricks were adopted by SEO teams in the early days of Google when the company had a fairly basic algorithm with access to limited data. Today’s algorithm takes a sophisticated approach that considers whether your content has been written for the user.

While search optimization still requires considering Google and other search engines, that aspect has taken a backseat to writing for human readers. If you write solely to appeal to Google, the search engine will notice your attempts to influence the algorithm. You can avoid this mistake by always putting your target audience first.

Poor keyword research

A good keyword strategy should form the basis of your content development plan. You need posts and landing pages written by humans for humans. You must also know what words your potential readers are searching for.

If you include the wrong keywords in your content, Google will never show it to your target audience. Imagine making a page for a residential carpet cleaning company. You would probably use keywords like “carpet cleaning,” “home cleaning,” and “home carpet cleaning.” Using the keyword phrase “nylon cleaning” won’t generate much interest. Even though many carpets are made of nylon, homeowners simply don’t think about their carpets that way.

The first step in any keyword strategy is to review your data and determine how people find your site. Having established what works and what could be improved, you can further research your niche to discover new opportunities and the best way to fine-tune your website experience.

Not using the right research tools

There are hundreds of keyword research tools. Some work very well, and others give dubious recommendations based on outdated information. How can you determine which ones truly help? That often requires years of experience trying different tools and comparing the results. You can save time — and money — by having us perform an SEO audit to find the right keywords for your content without going over budget. An audit can help you improve existing content and build a successful strategy for publishing pages in the future.

Forgetting SEO titles and meta descriptions

Web crawlers look at the content you publish to determine the value of your pages. Unfortunately, they can make mistakes and miss essential content on your site. Adding SEO titles and meta descriptions that include your primary keywords helps direct web crawlers, even if they only minimally impact rankings. Additionally, the SEO titles and meta descriptions will appear on Google SERPs. Use this to your advantage by creating actionable, engaging messages encouraging people to read your content.

Early optimization strategizers realized they could boost a page’s SEO by linking to other domains they owned. Many people found the content useful enough to link to if enough websites were involved.

Today, Google considers link farms a form of spamming called “spamdexing” (spam indexing). Google has indexed so much of the internet that it can usually identify spamdexing attempts. When it finds sites that link to each other more often than usual, it penalizes the sites by lowering page rankings. Don’t think you can get away with paying a link farm to boost your SEO. Instead, publish quality content that attracts organic links.

Releasing low-quality content

You’ve probably heard you must post content regularly to improve your website’s authority. That’s true, but it only works when you publish high-quality content that gives readers useful information. Releasing low-quality content to keep up with an unrealistic schedule will undermine your authority and potentially damage your other page rankings.

Publishing clickbait articles

Resist the urge to publish clickbait articles with titles like:

  • 5 Celebrities Who Hate Their Jobs
  • 10 Meals You Cannot Miss in Detroit
  • 1 Billion Reasons to Breathe Air

Google started penalizing clickbait articles in 2022 as part of its ”more content by people, for people” initiative. The search engine rewards websites for originality and quality — two factors clickbait articles almost always lack.

Work with an agency experienced in SEO practices

Keeping up with SEO trends takes a lot of hard work. A search optimization strategy that gets great results today might not reach the first page of SERPs a few months later. We can build your site from scratch or rebuild every part of your existing website to get higher rankings. Our team does the following:

  • Perform in-depth keyword research
  • Track KPIs to ensure performance
  • Audit existing content to find opportunities for optimization
  • Write content that appeals to your readers

Want to learn more about how we can help your website and business success? Contact us today so we can talk about your needs.

Primary Image Source: Carlos Muza on Unsplash
Secondary Image Source: Unsplash