When it comes to search engine rankings, Google’s algorithms are evolving at breathtaking speed. Every few months, optimization specialists hold their breath collectively, waiting for the next update to hit.
But here’s the thing. If you use common sense when creating copy for your site, you won’t need to worry about the majority of these updates. Sure, it’s good to keep an eye on developments just in case, but you’ll rarely suffer if you post authentic, quality content. That’s all Google is asking for.
Here are 4 techniques we’d recommend you avoid as you plan your content strategy.
1. Measuring Keyword Density
Keywords are undoubtedly important in content, and this tip isn’t intended to write off keyword usage altogether. However, keyword density and natural, quality content doesn’t go hand in hand.
There’s no set ideal for density and never was. Matt Cutts confirmed this more than two years ago on his blog. Then, keyword stuffing was targeted in an algorithm update in April last year. In short, repeating keywords over and over doesn’t work and never really did.
2. Ignoring Long Tail Keywords
When targeting short keywords, it doesn’t take long to get disheartened. Inexperienced copy strategists tend to optimize for short, highly generic keywords; the ones everyone else is trying to optimize for too.
With natural copy come natural keywords – so-called ‘long tail’ keywords. These tend to lend themselves nicely to search engine queries, so Google likes them. They’re easier to rank for, easier to write about and give the user more specific information about what they need. Don’t neglect them in your copy.
3. Adding Unrelated Links
Sharing links, or using link exchanges, used to be an easy way to share link juice around. Google is wising up to link directories, paid links and other schemes that result in unnatural relationships between websites.
When planning website copy, forget adding links. Don’t bother running a link exchange either. If you link to clients’ websites or other projects, only do it because it’s (a) relevant and (b) beneficial. In February, Google confirmed that paid links are considered a violation. Likewise, link directories are seen as a way to cheat the system.
4. Forgetting the Importance of Authority
Up until last year, much of the content on the web was ghost written, with the original writer getting little credit. Now, with Google Authorship, it’s important to make a big deal about the author of your piece, because their reputation could help yours.
Authorship is linked to Google+, and is said to have some influence on search results too, so it’s crucial. It’s nice to have your name in lights, but unless you’re well known, you may gain more traction from naming the true author of your post since they’ll have built a reputation you can piggyback on.
Even if you’re not using these techniques now, you might want to scan back through your website and cull any articles that utilize them. Use 301 redirects to ensure you don’t wind up with 404 errors in their place.
There are no shortcuts to quality content production, so it’s best to future-proof your copy now to avoid hassle and expense when the next update hits. If you don’t, you’ll spend far more money fixing the problem than you spent on the original content.
This article is brought to you by Enest Studio