In an age where every business, competitor, and industry are using digital mediums for their outreach and marketing, SEO plays a critical role in ensuring that you are still visible to your target audience.
But using traditional SEO techniques in 2020 means spending a considerable amount of time and still not getting the right results. Several SEO hacks and shortcuts used by digital marketers are now redundant.
As Google and other search engines quickly upgrade their algorithms to fish out wrong SEO practices, committing these errors can be detrimental for your brand.
Worse, you may end up losing your reputation or getting blocked altogether!
To ensure you are not committing these mistakes and are focusing on SEO practices that actually work, here are a few SEO tactics that you should avoid in 2020.
Using Generic Keywords Too Often
Several SEO experts still tend to prioritize visibility overvalue and end up picking generic keywords to be optimized for a website.
However, with new updates to Google’s algorithms, focusing on generic keywords may not work because:
- The generic term may not be the right fit for the audience. If you’ve optimized for SEO in general, for instance, it will get you generic audiences who are not always your target group.
- The wrong target group will not interact with your page, resulting in higher bounce rates and negative SEO ranking.
So, in 2020, prioritize value over visibility, and do not use too many generic keywords hoping to get a higher ranking.
Incorporating Higher Keyword Density
For a layman, SEO processes are nothing but searching for the right keywords and repeating them often in your content. This is what many still think works to optimize the webpage.
But repeating the keyword will not give you better results, since page ranking is determined by several factors like freshness, domain authority, and relevance.
While you should use seo tools to optimize content and make sure you are researching primary and secondary keywords to be used in your content, please do not overdo it.
Remember, in the digital age, create content for the target audience, not for SEO bots and crawlers.
Ignoring Mobile Optimization
According to Statista, global website traffic from mobile devices was 51.53%, and that number is only increasing.
Google has noticed this, as according to its latest update, the search engine will prioritize websites that are mobile-friendly as well in its ranking.
Mobile-friendliness isn’t just about the look and feel of your website, but also how fast it loads and how user-friendly it is. Invest in optimizing the responsiveness of your website on mobile to get the benefits.
Going Overboard With Home Page Content
In an era where landing pages and link building is enabling users to find exactly the content that they are looking for, going overboard with the content on the home page is no longer a viable strategy.
Content overload on the home page will:
- Confuse the user who comes to your website
- Increase the bounce rate as the user may feel overwhelmed and not read all the content
- Raise your website’s load time if you add too many images and multimedia, thus making you lose quality leads
So in 2020, focus on navigation and make sure your home page has the right links to ensure the user interacts with your website.
Spending A High Sum For Exact Domain Match
Back in 2012, Google tweaked its algorithm to ignore exact match domains to reduce irrelevant website links from featuring in its results.
This renewed focus on quality content means exact match domain or keyword-rich domains are no longer the key players in domain authority.
For example, a search for best Best Pizza Place may not show bestpizzaplace.com in the #1 position, and instead, high-ranking quality pages may show up.
In 2020, no longer have to worry about getting an exact match with the trending keywords; you stand to benefit by focusing on your branding instead!
Using Clickbait Content To Boost Clickthrough Rates
Clickbait content is the practice of using titles and pictures that arouse curiosity but do not provide complete information, compelling the audience to click on the link.
While clickbait may increase traffic, ultimately, it’s relevance and content quality that determine your site’s authority. So, if your titles and descriptions don’t match user expectations, it may not have the impact you’d hoped for.
Instead, use best practices to give accurate information through your content, resulting in better session duration and lower bounce rate.
Cloaking Your Website For SEO
A prominent black hat SEO technique is cloaking the website for search engines and humans. This means the indexing and back-end are cloaked with content that is highly targeted for bots and search engine spiders.
This could result in the audience landing on pages that are not what they intended to find during the search.
While this gets you high traffic, it does not boost ranking, and can instead be flagged if identified as a cloaked site. Google and other search engines penalize these websites by de-indexing or de-ranking such pages.
Investing In Paid Reviews
For any product or service, the end customer prefers to research before they make a final decision. Other than the website, these users will look at reviews from several sources that’ll influence their final decision.
Using fake or paid reviews to increase your credibility may not result in positive results – if found to be fudged, it may have a negative impact.
Several countries have introduced fines for paid reviews and made the practice illegal. There are systems in place to identify a review as genuine or trusted.
Stuffing Keywords In Image Descriptions
Videos and multimedia-rich websites have seen a surge in the past few years, mostly due to image and video optimization.
Users, too, prefer to watch videos rather than read a wall of text as it is more comfortable and has a higher recall value.
Adding images and video content won’t add value, since, without an alt-text or description, it may not make sense to the search engine.
Instead, optimize your images using the right file names, alt-text, descriptions, and other attributes. Do not just stuff keywords or meta tags here; focus on content quality, too.
Increasing Content Length And The Number Of Pages On The Website
Finally, another big myth prevalent in the industry is about page rankings being higher, depending on the length and number of pages on a website.
With the new algorithms, these factors do not matter much. Instead, focus on creating and segregating content logically. Also, simplifying your pages is the right strategy as it makes a more navigable website.
Today, websites are no longer about just ranking higher or optimizing for SEO, but all about how friendly and appealing it is to a user.
A great strategy is to focus on optimizing your website for your target audience using different channels.
You can start a blog to create relevant content, while your website can focus on providing information about your brand and your products or services.