Introduction

In terms of how your website gets ranked on search engines, it’s interesting to be aware of the old saying “bad habits form from good intentions”; it’s perhaps the right time now to really question these habits and look hard at them: do they actually work or simply hold you back?

From us at Trent & Hanover, as a company which has years of expertise in helping numerous clients with their SEO successfully, here are five SEO habits you need to overcome if you really want to get the best ranking.

Keyword Stuffing

While it’s crucial for clients to connect with your content through keywords, you don’t want to overdo it. There is a phrase known as “keyword stuffing”, in other words pushing a huge number of keywords into a meta description or web page in order to trick Google into sending you more traffic (due to these keywords).

This was fairly successful back in the earlier years of search engines, but not in 2017. Google’s algorithm continues to evolve and erode any short term benefits from this approach; what you’ll end up with is a web page full of buzzwords but bereft of any real content.

Spammy Internal Links

Internal site links are something you wouldn’t think you’d need to be as careful about using too many of as keywords; but you’d be mistaken.

Remember, good content is something special and well crafted, both well balanced and attractive to the eye, layered up and down, like a fine cheesecake. The internal links are like the decoration on top. It is – fundamentally – the content which must satiate the reader, not the internal links, which are merely extras. These extras can certainly be an enhancement, but use too many of them and your readers will simply feel bombarded; just as a site with too many ads can be off-putting, for instance.

It’s an understandable habit; after all, you’re trying to get more people looking through your website. But if you use those internal links where they’re needed – not simply for the sake of it – then your SEO relevancy will be that much improved.

Poor Affiliate Link Tagging

This is a difficult one; if you’re not that experienced in the realm of SEO, they can be particularly challenging. Google doesn’t dislike or loathe them – but, the way they are handled is very important. Basically, the way it works is that when it comes to artificial versus natural links, Google differentiates strongly, giving natural ones a higher priority by default. This because affiliate links generate traffic, and Google needs to compensate for this.

Quite simply, you can avoid any penalisation for what Google terms “unnatural links” by merely adding the “nofollow” tag, which will stop search engines from counting it. Easy solution

Alt Descriptions and Images Named Inappropriately

Easily avoided, this generally comes from people not giving proper file names to their pictures. In SEO, this is actually a huge mistake, because search engines actually analyse and consider pictures when it comes to ranking.

In short, don’t simply leave your images with filenames like “pic02.jpeg”, for instance. Give them proper, descriptive names. Search engines care about this difference and it can make a huge impact.

Bait-and-Switch Redirecting

You may not be familiar with this phenomenon. To put it most simply, it’s buying a domain name which holds keyword value of some significance, but for it to instead redirect to the main website of the webmaster.

As an example, let’s say that through a search engine, you came upon a website called saddlewear.com, and with the expectation that you’d find saddle-related gear for horses, you clicked on it; only for it to redirect you to cleatworld.com, which is an online soccer store – in short, false advertising. Luckily, this would throw a massive red flag on both domains and they would be left with little or no credibility on search engines.

In closing, as time moves forward, search engines only become more advanced with the development of new technological processes. A few months down the line, what is currently ‘in’ or acceptable might not be anymore. Which is why you should always keep yourself abreast of any changes to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, by checking on them. At Trent & Hanover, we look upon SEO as a hugely positive thing. Stay aware of any changes, avoid mistakes, and you will be able to use SEO in the best way for yourself, your website and your clients.