Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm to reward quality sites, penalize blackhatters, and integrate new technology, which means franchise SEM and SEO is constantly evolving.
With that in mind, today’s post spotlights 3 dated SEO and SEM tactics that are no longer worthwhile.
- Practicing rigid keyword repetition. A fair amount of your franchise SEM effort will be spent trying to rank for targeted keywords in order to attract relevant web traffic. And that makes keyword-centric content very important. But if your strategy starts and ends with “1 keyword per 100 words” or something similar, you’re in trouble.
The problem is that many franchise SEM tools, free and paid, rank your content based on the number of times your keyword appears. This keyword “density” calculation can be helpful for focusing your piece and making sure you give crawl-bots appropriate signals, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.
Formulaic, paint-by-numbers approaches don’t work anymore. In fact, Google has begun penalizing content crammed with keywords, even when they’re highly relevant. Though keyword-laden content isn’t considered to be blackhat, the forced repetition kills your readability. Clunky content sends readers elsewhere, which tells Google your page isn’t very valuable, and sends you plummeting down the SERP.
Put your keywords where it matters – headings, hypertext, the opening 100 words, the title, and a few other critical points for longer pieces – but make readability a priority. Function and form are equally important; finding this balance is part of the art of franchise SEM.
- Inflating content schedules with multiple short pieces. Before it had developed to its current level of sophistication, Google blindly rewarded highly active websites. Though the exact details were never released, independent web marketers found a positive correlation between weekly post count and SERP, so that sites who had daily posts usually outranked those with 2-3 per week. And once they found out, they started exploiting it, breaking longer pieces into multiple posts just to inflate their post schedules (without increasing actual content writing output).
But, as always, Google eventually got ahead of the blackhatters with an update and sorted them out with stiff penalties. Nowadays, padding your content schedule with multiple short posts is worthless. In fact, any posts below 300 words aren’t going to rank well. That doesn’t mean they’re always a bad idea – not every piece of content needs to rank competitively, after all – but if ranking is your goal, aim for 500+ words. If you can break long-form content into pieces of 500 words or more in a natural way (think “Part 1” and “Part 2,” with each piece still functional as a standalone), then go for it.
- Alt-tag keyword stuffing. The “alt tag” on images was once seen as yet another opportunity to slip in a keyword with no real thought. But as we’ve discussed, there’s no value in that anymore. And more importantly, alt tags need to be used as they’re intended: to tell crawl-bots what they’re looking at. Search engines cannot interpret the images on your website visually, and rely on the alt-text code to do so. And, just like with any situation where you’re sending a signal to a crawl-bot, you want to be clear and concise to get a boost and avoid a penalty. That means writing alt text that actually describes and categorizes the image, rather than simply jams in a keyword.
Either you can choose to do this all these methods in-house or go with companies such as Tree of Innovation to make it happen.