Seo content

5 bad SEO content tactics you should have given up on

Bad SEO content is like a bunch of cockroaches invading a house.

They. Only. Habit. To die.

They are hard to find and easy to miss. When you see one, it is gone before you can do anything.

And, if you let the problem get out of hand …

Okay, let’s not go.

Take a look at some important facets that influence modern SEO:

  • We are a long way from Google’s Hummingbird update.
  • Voice search is ubiquitous to the point where you would expect to see voice assistants everywhere, even at your grandmother’s house.
  • We live in a hyper-connected online world.

Despite all of this, bad SEO content tactics are proliferating. They continue to haunt your web pages, search rankings, traffic, and conversions.

To get your content and website out of the 4th or 5th page of search results (Google’s dung heap), it’s time to live with the times.

Don’t worry, however – you can catch up on modern SEO and dramatically improve your search visibility.

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Take a look at some of the most common bad SEO content tactics and find out how you can permanently ban them from your web presence.

1. Use of one target keyword per page without variations

In the past, it was common to see one keyword targeted per page. All variations of this keyword have been ignored or spread across multiple content items.

For example, take the keyword “how to make latte”. Its keyword variations would have been separated from it (versus used naturally in the same room) and targeted on its own.

Of course, it’s old hat.

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Separating out related keywords like this ignores the importance of semantic search, which examines the topic of a page (rather than repeated occurrences of keywords) to determine its relevance to a user’s search intent.

How do search engines determine the subject of a page?

Through the target keyword, related terms, keyword variations, and synonyms all appearing in the same piece of content.

What to do now

Focus on staying relevant in your content, using the keyword focus as a starting point. Use variations of this keyword naturally throughout the piece.

If you want to make sure you include good keyword variations in your content, use this easy method to catch them:

  • Go to Google.
  • Enter a keyword.
  • Scroll down to find additional and related keywords to include in your content.

Research related to how to make latte

2. Expect miracles from short blogs (less than 1000 words)

If you still think short blogging performs well in search (and social media), you are living in the past.

Usually, for Google, short content = thin, underdeveloped, shallow content.

In response to this statement, many people will cry out, “But some shorthand blogs do very well in search!” And they are not entirely wrong.

However, these blogs are usually an exception to the rule.

Historically and statistically speaking, the long, high-quality content handily trumps the thin content.

Do not believe me ?

How about BuzzSumo, which analyzed more than 100 million articles. The most shared posts were in the long form (more precisely, over 3,000 words):

5 bad SEO content tactics you should have given up on

And, according to a Backlinko study by 1 million blog posts, long content correlates with higher rankings:

5 bad SEO content tactics you should have given up on

What to do now

Write longer articles that delve deeper into your chosen topic.

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Longer content is more comprehensive content. It comprehensively answers the user’s question, which Google prioritizes.

3. Post content erratically

Another no-no for content SEO: think that a blog here and there will do.

This type of erratic posting schedule doesn’t help you win over Google at all. you will not be:

  • Give Google fresh content.
  • Give your website more opportunities to rank with more indexed pages and more targeted keywords.
  • Regularly build your authority with users.

Especially if you want more traffic and leads from search results, you need to create and publish content regularly.

An excellent HubSpot reference to study that illustrates this is one where they looked at blogging frequency data from over 13,500 marketers and agencies.

Those who blogged regularly and regularly (16+ times per month) generated the most traffic and the most leads. Specifically, compared to those who blogged 0 to 4 times per month, consistent bloggers got 3.5x more traffic and about 4.5x more leads.

Impact of monthly blog posts on inbound prospects

What to do now

Establish a blogging schedule and stick to it. Publish consistently and regularly to build your content cache.

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4. Prioritize quantity of content over quality

Along with consistency of content, quality of content is also important.

In fact, Google employs search quality raters, or raters, to help determine the quality of a page from a human perspective. Google uses this data to improve the functioning of its search algorithm.

According to Google’s quality assessment guidelines, pages with the highest quality:

  • Achieve their goal.
  • Demonstrate a high level of EAT (expertise, authority and reliability).
  • Have a “fair” amount of Main Content (MC), and more.

5 bad SEO content tactics you should have given up on

The quality is enormous.

To that end, a good amount of quality content will go a long way.

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Quality + quantity must work together for the best results.

A few years ago, you could rank for a blog post that was simply “good enough” or “as good as” the page 1 results. Today, with the astounding amount of content posted daily, this state of mind will not suffice.

To be classified, your content must be better that results from the first page.

If you can’t maintain the quality and give people a reason to read, you worry about the quantity. And, oddly enough, focusing on quantity won’t pay off a high-quality lead.

On the other hand, if you champion quality to the point of posting random blog posts on a schedule that equates to “Surprise!” – you won’t help your SEO either.

What to do now

Find a balance where you can create and publish the highest quality content possible on a consistent basis. As soon as the quality of your content suffers, you’ll know you’re doing too much.

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Even posting once a month consistently, with the highest quality possible, is better than nothing!

5. Forget about SEO content issues like duplicate content

According to a SEMrush study of over 100,000 websites, one of the most common on-page SEO mistakes is duplicate content. Almost 66% of the websites in the study had serious problems.

5 bad SEO content tactics you should have given up on

What to do now

Fortunately, this is probably one of the easiest SEO mistakes to fix.

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Since duplicate content is just multiple similar or matching pages, dealing with duplicates will significantly improve your SEO.

Google has a lot of tips for good handle duplicate content it can be useful. Yoast also has a to guide to duplicate content worth reading.

How well-optimized inbound content can win big

Here’s a little story to show why focusing on great inbound content for your brand can mean exponential growth in results. (In my writing agency, we literally sell ourselves through our writing! Ninety-nine percent of our leads come from our content.)

Just days before I wrote this article, my strategist was telling me on Slack about a planned sales call. It was with a huge company that stumbled across one of our blogs while surfing Google for “content marketing and sales”, and decided to contact us for some content.

Example of a blog post that ranks well

The call went extremely well – they already liked us because of the blog post on our site, which focused on adding value and exposing a hot topic that could be considered controversial.

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Because of this blog, they are about to spend their entire marketing budget with us!

Great SEO content can dramatically shorten the sales cycle for almost any brand. It is worth more than the investment.

Studies show that many online shoppers today interact with content first, before even speaking to a sales rep.

Follow these tips to be successful and avoid getting left behind by yesterday’s outdated SEO content trends!

More SEO content resources:


Image credits

All screenshots taken by author, October 2018