SEO is an essential step for increasing the visitor count of websites by appearing in the top results on Google’s search pages, and it involves good, audience-centric copywriting. What content creators need to realize is that they are not writing for robots, but actual readers. Google strives to make its user experience as optimal as possible through the results they provide for search queries. They do this by using algorithms to sift through what they consider the content on the internet and only show relevant results that provide the best possible solutions to user queries.
This is why Google has put in place strict guidelines for websites to rank higher on its search pages. However, a lot of SEO copywriting is done while employing bad practices with the intention of deceiving either the reader or the algorithms. The updates made to these algorithms have been adapted to pick up on these practices and ban websites that follow them. Here’s what to avoid:
1. Keyword Stuffing
The use of keywords is an extremely important part of SEO copywriting. However, sometimes web copywriters tend to go overboard to the point where the placement of the keywords seems unnatural in the text; this translates into poor user experience for the reader.
Keyword stuffing is defined by Google as “the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.” The main reason why keyword stuffing became a common practice was that it was the easiest way to trick Google’s algorithms into thinking a certain webpage was relevant to a search query. This is a majorly frowned upon practice in SEO copywriting.
2. Irrelevant Keywords
Much like keyword stuffing, adding irrelevant keywords for the purpose of boosting search engine ranking can have the same negative effect on your webpage. In the case of irrelevant keywords, it is often seen that copywriters use keywords that have a high volume of searches and fit them into their content.
When this practice is applied, it can be confusing because the keywords don’t make sense within the text. Google’s algorithms can pick this up quite easily because of the negative impact it has on user experience.
3. Hidden Text
This is a very sneaky way of inserting keywords and links into text without readers actually being able to see it, while Google still picks them up; this is an attempt to make the text more keyword-enriched and increase trustworthiness through linking without actually affecting user experience.
Text can be hidden in a number of ways. These ways include making the text too small to read, making it the same color as the background, and hiding the text behind images. This practice in SEO copywriting is considered deceptive and can lead to a negative effect on your website.
4. Plagiarism and Duplicate Content
Plagiarism is considered intellectual theft, and it should be treated so. Copying content from well-ranking websites and publishing it under another domain name has adverse effects on the website and on the user.
Duplication is a form of plagiarism, even if the content is spun to make it more relevant for the website in question, and this is still considered as a bad practice. Google’s algorithms are always looking for new and original content that shows expertise and authority on the subject matter; this does not always rest on the content alone but on the website as a whole.
5. Clickbait Titles
Clickbait titles may work to get users onto your page, but a high bounce rate means a lower ranking for your site. The more outrageous your claims in the title, the less believable your content will sound, hence making potential readers weary of your content.
Search engine rankings also matter on the loyalty of website users. Clickbait titles may get clicks, but those readers are often the quickest to jump off the site once they realize the content isn’t as “shocking” as the title made it seem, thus making your bounce rate a lot higher.
6. Doorway Pages
Doorway pages are created for one simple reason: to get readers onto a specific page. What they do is, they answer specific searched queries to show up multiple times on search pages, and all lead to the same destination.
This is another way that can lead to poor user experience if they are landing on the same content using multiple links. These links can also lead to varying domain names with the same content just to increase visitor volume, which is considered to be a bad practice by Google.
7. Poor Quality Content
One very common mistake that content creators make is not paying attention to the quality of the content. Google’s E.A.T. algorithm update puts a lot of emphasis on the quality of the content that is being created and the credentials of the creator as well.
What E.A.T. does is, it checks for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of a website. It checks this through the quality of the content if it is original, gauges expertise through the credentials of the creator, if they are an authority figure on the subject, and through trusted links and returning users.
8. Guest Blogging For Links
Guest blogging is a great way to get links back to your page, thus increasing visitors. It is also a great way to increase the trustworthiness of your content and website. However, if you focus on guest blogging just for the links and not the actual content itself, it could have an adverse effect.
If the content a guest blogger is putting on your website is not original, relevant, or written well, it is better not to post it. It will bring down the credibility of your website and will confuse your readers. Have strict guidelines about guest posts and who you allow to post on your site.
Google has a whole list of guidelines that they have created in order to avoid bad SEO practices. If you want to rank higher on the search engine results, follow the rules and remember that Google’s algorithms are adapting to suss out sneaky practices.