SEO is usually one of those areas of online marketing that drive up small business owners’ heart rates, and leave them scratching their heads over what they are supposed to do with it. Some of this is due to the fact that SEO is an unknown topic to many people. Some of it is because business owners have heard about different “tricks” they need to try in order to succeed, or have read SEO horror stories of companies getting severely penalized by Google over their SEO tactics (JCPenneys, anyone?). And some of it is because SEO is tied to websites in lots of ways, and websites are one of the other online marketing tools that raise the blood pressures of many small business owners.

5 SEO Things to Avoid

SEO doesn’t have to be hard. It also doesn’t have to be costly. Utilizing SEO on your website or blog is what you’ll need to either do or have done for you if you want potential customers to find your business during their next Google search.

What’s even better is that SEO is increasingly becoming easier for the Average Joe to understand and implement on their own websites. SEO tricks and gimmicks have never been the way to go, and with Google’s increasing focus on providing relevant search results to the queries entered by other Average Joes, it’s a great time to dig in. Just like you chat with a customer on the phone or in person about your business, products or services, you’ll be using many of those words and phrases in your SEO.

So now that you’re (at least somewhat) convinced to jump-start your website SEO, let’s take a look at 5 things you DON’T want to be doing.

5 SEO Tactics you Need to Quit Right Now

  • Writing for Bots If your website copy doesn’t read naturally, like it was written for human consumption, it’s a problem. Overuse of keywords is a big no-no in Google’s eyes. Google wants you to write for human readers, not to please its spiders.
  • Exact Match Keyword Phrases Tied into the previous point, you also don’t want to repeat the same exact keywords phrase over and over on your web page or in your blog post text. You should be writing in a very conversational tone, which naturally means you’d be using common variations of words and phrases to make your point. This exact match keyword phrase issue is also one of my big concerns over the most popular SEO plugin. It’s important to note that Google recognizes synonyms. So, for example, “kids” and “children” are understood to mean the same thing.
  • Exact Match Anchor Text Anchor text is the text included in a link. In the “olden days” of SEO, you were encouraged to repeat the same exact keyword phrase over and over when using a link. But now, much like Google wants to see natural, conversational variations in your website copy, it also wants to see varied anchor text in the links you use.
  • Focusing on AdWords campaigns instead of SEO Google AdWords is a powerful advertising tool, but far too often, we see small businesses pouring hundreds of dollars every month into campaigns instead of having their website optimized for search. You should never think of AdWords and SEO as “one or the other”, because they can compliment each other. However, the expense of SEO-ing your site is something that will pay off for a very, very long time to come, whereas as soon as you stop funding your AdWords campaigns, your Page 1 listings disappear with it.
  • Ignoring Google’s Changes Obviously, Google is always adapting to not only create the most relevant and helpful experience for its searchers, but to also thwart those who are trying to scam the system. One of the more recent changes is moving towards long-tailed keywords phrases. It makes sense that Google is moving in that direction as it’s much more likely that someone is searching a specific phrase like “How to replace a vinyl window in a brick home” or “Best vinyl windows for the money” instead of simply “Vinyl window“.

So if you’ve already tried your hand at optimizing your website for search, review your work with these 5 points. If you are looking for help with your site’s SEO, give us a call.

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