You’ve written a blog post and you’re pretty sure it’s akin to the next great American novel.
You’re an expert on your topic, probably the smartest person you know and funny to boot. So why isn’t everyone hanging out with you and your blog?
As someone who recently transitioned from copywriting with a rock and chisel to SEO copywriting, I’m a little overwhelmed by all of the expert “advice” about why the universe hates my blog.
Everyone can agree that content is King (ahem, or Queen!) but you could have pages of useful content that just falls by the wayside.
One of the biggest problems content creators face is how to transform their marketing masterpieces into customer action. Those of us in the ‘biz call that a conversion. So what does SEO have to do with any of it?
In short, SEO helps search engines find, decipher and rank your page based on how helpful the information is to the typical searcher in your niche. Better rankings raise your visitor count and increase your chances of conversion (and superstardom).
If you’re struggling with SEO setbacks, have no fear because I’ve compiled a list of five errors that sabotage your content marketing. And for those of you that love multi-tasking, half of these tips can also be applied to your dating life.
SEO Error #1: Cheating With Link Spam
Look out link-spammers! Although inbound link building is a great way to increase your SEO off-page, it’s also a common outlet for those looking to game the system. Google is cracking down on paid link brokers who back sites to help companies boost their search engine ranks. Sites that opted into link building instead of creating quality content are now being penalized with de-indexing and no longer hold any SEO value. Your goal should be to obtain as many natural links as possible, and realize that these might take time. Keep in mind an engine-friendly website has links that are easy to navigate. This will be a lot more efficient and result in higher quality pages than dumping a bunch of energy and money into a quick fix.
SEO Error #2: Being Lazy
The graph below says it all—right after an article is published, it has a high ‘freshness score’ that declines over time.
In a nutshell, fresh content appears higher in search engine rankings. Your goal should be to publish more often because a blog post written this morning has a much higher ranking than some ancient web page.
SEO Error #3: Using Key Words As A Crutch
As an avid reader, this is a huge pet peeve of mine. Your content should have a natural flow and feel to it, so don’t force in a bunch of key words and phrases if they aren’t working. You can always break content into several pages or blog posts in order to capture a larger audience. After all, if reading and navigating your site isn’t easy for a visitor, they’ll probably just move on to one that is. Also, in an effort to offer more security to Google searchers, marketers are being given less access to keyword data. In layman’s terms, its getting harder for marketing gurus to figure what words brought people to their sites. One of the best ways to alleviate this issue is by increasing your content footprint; just one 500-word post per day can get you 182,500 words indexed by the end of the year. I’ll totally drink to that in 2013!
SEO Error #4: Being Boring
Sometimes, reading a blog post can feel like reading the back of a shampoo bottle. Think about everything you love in a blog post: useful information that’s well written, entertaining and presented in an organized, reliable way. Google recognized this when they rolled out Google Panda and filtered out websites with poor content. Pages with content that testers found valuable were rewarded with higher rankings and more traffic.
Sparking The Social Flame
Search engines are a useful tool, but they don’t retweet you, buy stuff from you, or share comments with you. When producing content, your first priority is your audience because the more people like you, the more search engines will too.
SEO Error #5: Don’t Make Search Engines Guess
Search engine spiders are not that smart. They’re actually kind of stupid. The point of SEO is to spell everything out so the search engine can pick up on the relevance of your page. Your article titles, title tags (H1, H2, H3), meta-descriptions and meta-keyowrds should be in alignment with the topic to make sure your page has crystal clear communication with search engines. When people interact with your site, this data is collected and used to rank you.