I recently came across an interesting article on Search Engine Watch on some “old-school” SEO tactics that you need to stop and some new ones that you should consider paying more attention to.
I’m not going to repeat what’s already been said but it did get me thinking about some of my own experiences when I’m discussing SEO Services with our clients or prospects and wanted to share a little more on this here.
Obsessing on the number of inbound links
This one just won’t go away!
The quality of your incoming link profile has always been more important than quantity. However, in the early days of SEO and perhaps even until not so long ago, you could still achieve decent rankings with intensive link building focused pretty much on quantity alone. I’m talking about article submissions, directory listings and blog commenting (to a certain extent). Any SEO professional now knows all too well that the quality of your inbound link is way, way more important than the number of inbound links. And by quality, I don’t mean just the originating PageRanks of your incoming links but the number of outbound links from that source as well, amongst other factors.
Search volume of keywords and key phrases
To get good results from your SEO campaign, making sure that your campaign search terms are targeted is critical. Considering the search volumes during the keyword discovery phase is important but I think a lot of us get carried away by this metric in our attempt to get “as much traffic as possible”. I think search volume is important but not critical to your SEO success.
For small and especially local businesses such as window cleaning or handyman services, I have found that including long-tail search terms (Example, “window cleaning Wimbledon”) which are often low in search volume (I’m talking less than 500 local searches a month) can give up to 300% higher return than focusing on short-tail keywords alone.
In fact, try this simple exercise: check your analytics software to see if you rank well for any local search terms. If you do, compare the traffic quality (Bounce Rate, Time on site, Pageviews and so on) of that to a short-tail (non local search) search term you rank for. I would say there’s a very good chance that the quality of the former is better. I’m also guessing that the search volume is lower too.
Check out Long tail vs Short tail for more on this topic.
Not paying enough attention to conversions
The conversion rate of your website has a very real and direct impact on the return from your SEO efforts. In spite of this, I’m not sure why many businesses don’t give enough importance to this.
I think the logic is that once the SEO begins to give some form of tangible return, you can reinvest that into improving the usability aspect of your website, whether that’s a complete redesign or touch-ups. However, if you can improve your conversion rates by even half or 1%, chances are that the increase in ROI from your SEO efforts will be able to pay for the cost of the website update in 2 or 3 months (for small businesses).
However, the challenge here is to get visitors to come back. As if it wasn’t hard enough to get visitors to stay on your website for long periods of time, getting them to return after their first interaction with your website hasn’t been effortless is going to be even more difficult.
This is the reason why I always prefer or recommend to start your SEO efforts with a website that’s geared towards giving good conversion rates as it can have a positive impact not just on SEO but your brand perceptions as well.
Hope you find this post useful and if you have any comments, look forward to it here.
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Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.