5+ Bad SEO Tactics You Should Abandon Today

Bad SEO Content Tactics You Should Abandon

Bad SEO content in 2018, and going into 2019, simply will not do. If you do have bad SEO content then you will quickly discover your content will not rank in any search engine. Period.

Search Engine Journal likens bad SEO content to a bunch of cockroaches invading a house. And they’re right. Letting bad SEO content fester will only make your ranking efforts more difficult and time-consuming.

Take a quick look at a few important SEO details from 2018:

  • We’re living in a post-hummingbird update world
  • Voice-search is becoming increasingly popular
  • Everything is connected

 Bad SEO content will continue to devalue your overall SEO efforts until it is fixed. Some negative side effects include loss in traffic, and loss in traffic means fewer conversions. Fewer conversions mean fewer sales.

Are you starting to understand where I’m going with this?

If you’re serious about getting your rankings out of the “SERPs Slump” on page four and beyond, you need to get with the times.

Let’s take a look at a few bad SEO content tactics and learn how you can remove these from your current tactics, improving your overall SEO efforts:

 

1. Only One Target Keyword Per Page and No Variations

In the old days, it was commonplace using only one keyword per page. Any variations of the target keyword were either ignored or spread out to other content through internal linking efforts.

For example, take the keyword “Dentist in Phoenix.” Before, the keywords would be separated and targeted on their own. Now, it is about using your target keyword and its variations naturally throughout the content. 

Bad SEO Content - Keyword Variations - Four Peaks SEO

Simply put, separating keywords like the example on the right ignores semantic search. Semantic search, in a nutshell, describes to the search engines what the user is searching for, providing the most accurate results possible.

Basically, it is looking for what the topic of that page is about. It is asking the search engines “Is this relevant to the user’s search intent?”

So how can you let search engines determine what the page is really about?

Use your target keyword and its relevant terms, variations, and synonyms all in the same piece of content to fix bad SEO content issues.

How Can I Fix This?

Stay relevant to the topic you want to write about. Use your focus keyword in the first paragraph at least one to two times. Throughout the content, use keyword variations naturally.

How Do I Find Keyword Variations?

Here is an often overlooked and simple method for finding keyword variations:

  • Go to Google and type in a keyword
  • Scroll to the bottom to find Searches related to Dentist in Phoenix
How do I find keyword variations - Bad SEO Content - Four Peaks SEO

2. Short, Undeveloped Blog Content (Under 1,000 Words)

Unfortunately, short form blogs with bad SEO content issues will no longer get you ranked in the SERPs.

How does Google view short content? Any content that is thin and or undeveloped.

Do short-form blogs do well in the SERPs? Some do. Some don’t. If your short-form blog is ranking well, great; you are the exception.

Historically, however, long-form content beats short-form – no question about it.

BuzzSumo analyzed over 100 million articles and discovered the most-shared posts were long-form (over 3,000 words):

BuzzSumo Shares by Content Length - Bad SEO Content - Four Peaks SEO

According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, his study of 1 million google search results found that long-form content is responsible for higher rankings:

How Can I Fix Short-Form Content?

Just write longer content that is both relevant and dives deep into your desired topic.

The longer your content, the better, because it thoroughly answers a user’s problem. In fact, Google places higher importance on long-form content that effectively solves a user’s problem.

3. No Content Schedule

The problem with not having scheduled blog posts is you run the risk of posting erratically. If you guessed it, it’s a big red flag for Google.

What are the consequences of erratic posting?

  • Your content will not be “fresh” in search engines eyes.
  • Run the risk of manually indexing pages with more keywords, which is counter-intuitive to your SEO efforts.
  • Spamming content and devaluing your authority over time

Yes, you need to publish content regularly if you want more traffic. Erratic posting can and will make current bad SEO content issues even worse.

For those who blogged on a schedule and more frequently (16+ times per month) earned more traffic and leads than those who post 0-4 times per month. Simply put, consistency brought in 3.5x more traffic and 4.5x more leads:

Hubspot Blog Posting Frequency - Bad SEO Content - Four Peaks SEO

How Often Should I Post Content?

Create a blogging schedule and stick to it. Remember, consistency is key. Try posting content around 2-4 times per week as a start.

BONUS:

If you’re using WordPress, download the Schema App Structured Data plugin.

What is Schema Markup?

Basically, it is code that tells search engines what your content is about. Use this in conjunction with your content relevancy.

Learn more about Schema Markup, why it is important, and how to add structured data to your website.

4. Never Prioritize Content Quality Over Quantity

More important than posting consistently, you must have quality content.

Google uses “raters” to determine quality content on a page from a human level. Using this information, its search algorithms are improved.

In Google’s quality rater guidelines, high-quality pages have a high level of “E-A-T” (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). Furthermore, it is looking at the amount of “main content” (MC) as well.

Google Search Quality Guidelines

There is no doubt about it that quality is king. Short-form content may not take you far, but long-form content will.

For maximum results, combine both quality and quantity.

Pre-2013, content that was “as good as” page one results were deemed high-quality thus Google placed a higher importance on them. This is no longer the case.

Does your content need to be better than first page results? Absolutely! Posting quality content on a consistent basis will do you wonders.

As Julia McCoy, VIP Contributor for Search Engine Journal puts it, if you’re only focusing on quantity, it won’t get you a high-quality lead. The same can be said for only focusing on quality, but not posting consistently. 

How Do I Balance Quality with Quantity?

Don’t strain yourself. Posting high-quality content on a specific date even once a month can help. Find what works for you.

5. Duplicate Content

SEMrush performed a study of over 100,00 websites and one of the most on-page SEO issues were due to duplicate content. In fact, over 60% of the websites in the study had “severe” level issues duplicate content.

What is Duplicate Content?

Answered by Moz:

Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. That “one place” is defined as a location with a unique website address (URL) – so, if the same content appears at more than one web address, you’ve got duplicate content.

SEMrush Most Common SEO Content Errors

How Do I Fix Duplicate Content Issues?

Fortunately for you, this is one of the easiest on-page SEO issues to fix. Google also has a handy-dandy guide on what duplicate content is and how to fix it.

You can use a duplicate content checker tool from copyscape or siteliner to fix this kind of bad SEO content issue. If you’re using the WordPress plugin “Yoast SEO”, you can read their awesome duplicate content guide.

For more on Yoast SEO, visit our Yoast SEO Plugin Definitive Guide” today!

6. (BONUS) Not Adding Schema Markup To Your Content Can Make Bad SEO Content Issues Worse

Schema Markup is arguably the most powerful form of SEO today. Once you understand what Schema Markup is and how to use it for your content, the more boost your website will receive in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

What is Schema Markup?

In a nutshell, it’s code that is placed on your website, and in your content, that tells search engines what your page, and content respectively, is about.

Here’s an example of what Schema Markup looks like for a local business, using it for their event schedule page:

Neil Patel - Schema Markup for Local Businesses - What is Schema Markup

The schema markup here tells the search engine result page to display a schedule of upcoming events for this local business. This is especially useful for the user without having to go through many links to get the same information.

Additionally, Schema Markup tells search engines what Schema Markup means.

What Schema.org says about it:

Most webmasters are familiar with HTML tags on their pages. Usually, HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string “Avatar” in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn’t give any information about what that text string means — “Avatar” could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture—and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Get Started with Using Schema Markup Today

There are many kinds of data markup, helping search engines understand and rank the website better. For instance, here’s a short list of data markup types:

 

  • Articles
  • Local Businesses
  • Restaurants
  • TV Episodes and Ratings
  • Book Reviews
  • Movies
  • Software Applications
  • Events
  • Products

What Do I Do Now?

In other words, Schema Markup helps to better understand what your content means and if it’s relevant to the user’s search intent.

Add Schema Markup to your content and blog posts, respectively, and don’t forget to manually index them in Google Search Console afterwards.

Conclusion – Fix These Bad SEO Content Issues Before It’s Too Late

Follow these tips and you will go far!

Remember, SEO is constantly changing, always evolving. Today’s methods might be outdated tomorrow but if you focus on removing these bad SEO content issues and improve on them, you’ll do just fine keeping up.

It’s also worth noting you should read more about what other SEO issues you may face. A great example is reading our “5 Simple SEO Strategies You Probably Forgot About” guide. And if you’re a small business, check out our “Ultimate SEO Checklist for Small Businesses” guide.