3 Fatal SEO Sins to Avoid at All Costs in 2019

3 Fatal SEO Sins to Avoid at All Costs in 2019

? We did it! Congratulations! ?

‘Did what?’ ? you say?

Well, we only went and made it through another 12 months of radical search engine turbulence – and if that’s not worthy of a low-key celebratory jig, I don’t know what is.

Whether you’re a small business or a flourishing digital agency, looking good in the eyes of Google is becoming an increasingly complex game, with tough penalties being dished out to those that don’t adhere to the search giant’s ever-changing set of guidelines.

As an agency, we stay ahead of the industry curve to ensure the SEO strategies we employ are a help and not a hindrance to the brands we work with, but not every business has been so on the ball. Today, we’re looking at some of the potentially fatal SEO practices to avoid in 2019 and beyond, helping you protect your online presence in the months and years to come.

Buying links

It’s a well-known fact that a site’s link profile plays an important role in its search rankings, but how you acquire these links is being placed under intense scrutiny by Google. And while it’s clear that there are ways to cut corners when it comes to building them, these black-hat tactics are never worth the associated risks – and that’s truer than ever when paying for links. The moment you exchange cash for a backlink, you’re violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which puts you into dangerous waters.

While it’s difficult for Google to distinguish between genuine guest articles and paid placements at this point in time, if you’re caught buying links by our search overlords, the repercussions can prove fatal to your organic performance i.e. it’s totally not worth it. Have no fear, though – there are ways to build links to your site that aren’t frowned upon by Google. Whether through digital PR, genuine brand partnerships or one of many other white-hat tools, we can enhance a brand’s link profile through entirely above-the-board tactics.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the latest in link building methods, get in touch for a no-obligation chat.

Keyword stuffing

It’s happened to us all. You land on a site, your eyes glance at the content sitting at the very top and you begin reading:

“If you’re looking for kids’ toys UK, our cheap kids’ presents are perfect. Our children’s toys are ideal for Christmas presents, making these gifts for your kids ideal if you’re looking for a low-cost toy this festive season.”

It’s a classic case of keyword stuffing and is a huge no-no in 2019. From a user’s perspective, it’s clunky, painful to read and adds very little value. From a search engine’s perspective, it’s clear that whoever wrote the copy was intent on manipulating rankings for commercial keywords, rather than providing genuinely valuable information for readers.

All in all, it’s a recipe for disaster and will more than likely cause the opposite of your desired effect. Remember, keywords should inform the content, rather than form every other word. Sites that adhere to this rule will be rewarded and those that continue to keyword stuff will be penalised – there are no two ways about it. So, if your site is still relying on outdated content, it might be time for a refresh.

Check out our content creation and marketing services if you’re interested in employing a team of professional copywriters to help.

Duplicate content

If your site has thousands of pages, it can be tempting to simply reuse parts of the same content across them. By doing this, you might think you’re saving time in the short-term, but, in the long run, you’ll pay for it with blood, sweat and tears (well, at least one of those three things, anyway). Duplicate content is exactly what it says on the tin: content, duplicated. This isn’t just important for your landing pages, but it can also live on individual product pages and within your metadata, too – which means it’s key that you unearth it wherever it’s hiding on your site.

The purpose of content is to add value to a page, and this is dulled down when the same content appears multiple times in different places – Google knows this. It also means that the content will essentially be competing against itself on multiple pages if it’s keyword-optimised (naturally, of course). You’ll want to avoid this at all costs if you’re keen to perform well in organic results – and let’s face it, all of us do.

While certain parts of a page will be uniform across a site, it’s important that the copy itself is not cloned. This way, you can keep both Google and your site’s users happy – and isn’t that all you’ve ever wanted?! It can be a time-consuming task, so we’d recommend starting with your most important pages first. It also goes without saying that plagiarising content from another website will earn you a big fat Google penalty, or potentially even a fine or jail time – so whatever you do, avoid using copy from other sites at all costs.

Not sure where to start? We can perform an in-depth content audit of your site and use our SEO copywriting skills to correct any cases of duplicate content we identify. Get in touch to discuss this in more detail.

There you have it: three deadly SEO sins to stay well away from in the 12 months to come. Bring on 2019 – we’re ready for you! ?

Harley is one of our resident Digital Strategists, working closely with a range of clients to deliver on their online marketing objectives. Outside of work, he's a music-obsessed, nature-loving guy who enjoys nothing more than outdoor adventures around Tyneside with his trio of dogs in tow.