In SEO, there are white, black and even grey hat strategies.
However, it makes sense to avoid the black hat strategy as there are consequences for using it. Besides, there are plenty of white hat tricks (and grey ones too!) that you can use for your website.
Nevertheless, some of the white hat strategies are no longer effective because although they are easy to implement, it’s unlikely that they will provide you with the desired results. Listed below are five SEO strategies you should avoid implementing.
Using the same SEO tactic in every situation
Many large companies prefer this SEO approach because it’s easier for them to manage. For example, once a company has completed the initial on-page optimisation, it usually follows a routine that includes blogging and paying for links.
This type of tactic can be helpful but only for a short period; your website will inevitably reach a growth plateau unless there is little or no competition.
What should you do?
Avoid falling into an SEO routine. Instead, make an effort to find other ways to deliver value to your audience.
Consider studying the top-ranking content of your competitors and their content strategy. Make a list of what they do and exploit any opportunities. Ensure that the content on each page is customised to your particular audience.
The continuous research and creation of unique content can take time and effort but the results will benefit your website in the long run.
Take the case of the COVID-19 crisis. A March 2020 study reported that the pandemic caused a dramatic change in peoples’ search behaviour. Almost half of U.S. internet users have avoided going out to shopping centres, malls, and even general shops. However, people will still need your products, especially if they are essential items, such as food. This is one of those times that your business needs an aggressive SEO strategy.
Why? Many of your prospective customers are at home, surfing the net. SEO will help you attract their attention and lead them to your site.
How can you engage them?
Crises can cause uncertainty among customers. So it’s critical to write content that will foster trust from your readers. Once you gain their confidence, almost half of them will likely buy from you.
If your community is under some form of quarantine or restrictions, consider updating your Google My Business (GMB) page. Inform your customers about the changes in your business operations, such as:
- Operating hours
- Delivery options
Using algorithm updates as an excuse for ranking drops
There are times when Google’s algorithm update can cause a website’s ranking to drop. However, the fall can also happen due to various other reasons, such as:
- Technical issues
This is a common problem and occurs when an administrator unknowingly updates a site and causes some technical problems. In this situation you should consider:
- Going to the Google Search Console and checking the coverage report
- Checking the website for any changes using software such as Screaming Frog or Sitebulb
- Running an automated audit using an SEO tool to search for hidden errors
- A substantial change in the content
Websites such as those used in e-commerce often make revisions to their content. However, if you rarely update your site but notice a drop in organic traffic or ranking, consider carrying out an investigation. You can use Google Analytics to check which pages have seen the most significant drop and then analyse them.
- Seasonal changes
These types of change rarely affect websites. So consider:
- Checking your yearly benchmark
- Comparing quarterly trends to see if there are any unusual drops
This comparison can also help you forecast any expected declines in the future based on past trends. However, your primary objective is still to continue improving your ranking every year.
- Increased competition
When competitors improve their organic strategies, there is a chance that your website traffic will be affected. Typically, you will notice a steady drop, but on rare occasions, the fall can be quite dramatic.
If you suspect that competitors are stealing your ranking, consider using the Google Search Console to check them out.
Using the same copy for your location pages
If your website has several location pages, creating a unique copy for each can be tedious and time-consuming work. While it is quite easy to use the same text for each location page, SEO experts no longer recommend this approach.
If you want to achieve better local rankings, you need to make each location page unique. Also, physical store owners should consider creating a Google My Business page. According to this blog, you can also optimise your GMB page with particular keywords, such as:
- Contact number
- ‘Near me’
Relying on automated software for your SEO strategy
While they are a big help in SEO audits, you shouldn’t use automated tools to lead your strategy.
If you want to create a good SEO strategy, you should ask various questions, such as:
- Who is your target audience and what type of content will make them take action?
- Are there any obstacles to Google ranking your site?
- Are the various parts of your website optimised?
While software can significantly help your SEO campaigns, you will need a human mind to develop a working strategy.
Paying for the links
Paying for the services of link building companies is more of a grey area. While it is an easy way of obtaining backlinks, you cannot be sure about their relevance or even quality.
Nevertheless, link building is an essential part of your SEO strategy so you must make sure you only obtain links to trusted and authoritative websites. In addition, to increase your article’s chances of being accepted, create only relevant and original content.
Meanwhile, many of the large online publications can help your article’s organic ranking. This will in turn enable you to substantially enhance your backlink profile.
Other reasons for losing high rank
There are other reasons why your website traffic may suddenly drop, including:
- You are probably using keywords that are either outdated or irrelevant
- You may have lost some of your backlinks
- You may have broken 301 redirects
- Changes to Google
- A discrepancy in your site’s geo-location
- Changes to your site’s loading speed
- Some server issues have occurred
- You received poor-quality link penalties
- Changes to your click-through-rate
- Recent changes to your website or a complete redesign
- Complicated website navigation
- Server has overloaded
- Incorrect or inconsistent meta information
- Your site’s source of traffic has changed
- The time spent and bounce rate on your site has changed
- You have duplicate content
In fact, these are just some of the possible reasons and there could be others as well.
Search engines such as Google regularly update their algorithms. So, an effective SEO strategy today could be obsolete by tomorrow. If a particular SEO tactic no longer provides clear and significant benefits, you shouldn’t hesitate to discard it. You can always replace it with a better and more effective strategy. Also, update your knowledge of the latest SEO trends and consider reaching out to reputable SEO experts for advice.
Chris Anderson is an online marketing expert with 15 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads campaigns. As the founder of Springhill Marketing, he has helped various companies drive up their website traffic via increased sales and enquiries. His company is also a Google Partner, specialising in SEO and Google Ads Services.