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Happy Valentine’s Day, readers! Whether you’re celebrating with a significant other or observing Singles Awareness Day by watching a movie marathon in your sweats, there’s one relationship that deserves a little extra attention today: the one you have with Google. Your relationship with Google is a lot like a typical romance: You spend too much time worrying about it, it weathers plenty of ups and downs, and there are countless ways to screw it up. Someone ought to make a romantic comedy about this.
In honor of Singles Awareness Day, we present our movie-themed guide to some of the most common mistakes that can hurt your Google ranking, otherwise known as “How to Lose a SERP in 10 Days”.
The Jedi had to fight off an army of clones in the Star Wars prequels. You might have to wage your own clone war if you’re currently using the same keywords on all your pages. Using identical keywords across multiple pages causes them to compete with each other; this can ultimately hurt your SEO.
Remember the movie “Twins”? How about “The Parent Trap”? While you might have chuckled at the duplicates in those movies, Google doesn’t look so kindly on duplicate content. This applies to web copy as well as titles and meta data.
If you’re shoving keywords into your content like you’re stuffing a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s time to change your tactics. Nothing hurts your ranking with Google like unreadable text that’s been artificially bloated with targeted keywords.
Every romantic comedy features the nice guy who gets ignored by the girl of his dreams… until she finally comes to her senses and sees what she’s been missing. If you’re not using Google Analytics, you’re missing out on a terrific way to measure the performance of your SEO efforts. Give this guy… I mean, analytics tool… a chance.
It’s tempting to optimize all your inbound links with your targeted keywords, but overusing them can sometimes backfire. Sure, Mae West might have said “Too much of a good thing is wonderful!” but she wasn’t much of a SEO expert. In reality, using a variety of keywords for the anchor text of your inbound links is a better SEO move.
When you’re focusing on SEO strategies, it’s easy to forget that you’re writing for humans, not robots. Content on your website needs to be fresh, engaging and informative. Good-quality content is more likely to be shared, which helps you build inbound links and boosts your ranking.
It’s easy to take your titles and meta tags for granted. However, a few strategic tweaks to these tags can ramp up your SEO in a big way. Be sure that titles and meta description tags are unique across all your pages. Titles should contain targeted keywords, and shouldn’t be longer than 70 characters.
We all know that you “Can’t Buy Me Love”, but it turns out you can’t buy links either. Google has cracked down hard on artificial link-building practices, and being associated with questionable sites will quickly get you penalized. If you’re looking to earn inbound links, stick to sites with solid editorial guidelines and sites with content that’s relevant to your industry.
This practice is similar to buying links. Paying a service to spam links containing a backlink to your website is an all-around bad idea. Not only will it hurt your SEO, but it will also damage your brand’s image. Think of these sketchy link-building practices as the tempting, too-good-to-be-true Lothario in the movies who always ends up breaking the girl’s heart.
Your SEO strategy might be working for you today, but algorithms and best practices continuously evolve over time. It’s best to revisit your strategy every once in a while to see if any of your tactics need fine-tuning.
Don’t let your romance with Google turn sour. With the right SEO moves, you can stay in the search engine’s good graces and maintain your ranking “From Here to Eternity”.