SEO: What you should NOT be doing.

As Marketers, we are finding that a lot of new clients are still using antiquated SEO efforts or, worse, none at all. While some old school Marketers may argue their tactics still have a positive influence on a business’ search-ability, there are some tactics you should just give up.

Ditch Google Adwords.

SAY WHAT?! You heard us. While some companies (who have a big brand name like Zappos, Nike, Nordstrom, etc.) may benefit from Google AdWords, trends are showing that AdWords aren’t providing the traffic, let alone return, they once did. Did you know that the average click-through rate (CTR) on Google “Adwords paid search ads” is around 2%. Anything above a 2% CTR is considered to be “high-performing.”

Recently, our CEO went to speak with some Business students at University of Kentucky. The students were asked, to show with hands, how many of them click on Google AdWords when searching a service or product. The answer? No one raised even a finger! The pay-per-click (PPC) world is evolving because consumers are too. When the students were asked if they ever click on ads on Instagram (like a sponsored post) or a Facebook ad, nearly all of them raised their hands. While CTRs on social media advertisements also have room for improvement, it appears consumers are less wary of interacting with a social media post versus a Google Ad. You don’t have to totally ditch the idea of Google Ads, but maybe start small with more affordable advertising options on social media sites and work on boosting your SEO in other ways.

Stop with the meta tags.

Over 10 years ago, Google stopped using meta tags as a way to boost a site’s search ranking. Now while it definitely benefits you to list keywords about what you do throughout your site, the rules with keywords have changed.

It’s important to understand the history about meta tags. Here’s what Data Driven Labs explains as the history and reason behind meta tags:

“Before Google, search engines were very basic. They crawled the web and created a searchable database, similar to today’s search engines, but, were not very intelligent. … These engines crawled the web and used the meta tags including the keyword meta tag to know what topics a website was about.”

Data Driven Labs

This method relied on the trustworthiness of the website creatorsin hopes they would only put in keywords related to their site; however, this method quickly fell apart as web creators learned they could rank for highly searched keywords by just adding them to their meta keyword tag. This misuse of meta data pushed the need for a better way to rank websites.

Search engines like Google came up with new ranking factors to try and combat this problem. They created an algorithm that took many things into play, mostly based on the “authority” of a site. What exactly does authority mean? The more sites that are linked to you, the higher your site will rank. In addition, the higher those sites ranked, the more “cred” they passed on to your site’s ranking.

Example: if your site is linked on a Big Fish’s website like Cisco, Google will view your website as having “authority” for the search. Wondering why people are offering to write blogs for your business for free? This is why. They can link their website throughout the guest blog and increase their SEO authority.

While it certainly doesn’t hurt to utilize meta tags in your website, SEO is not as simple as adding your keywords to the backend of your website.

Don’t believe everything you hear.

Business owners get scammed every day by businesses or people who promise a #1 ranking on search engines. You may find offers stating someone can get you to show up for a search as #1 (and for your main keyword). SEO is NOT an exact science; it is complicated. You’ll end up wasting your money and run the risk of working with someone who may spam your site or the sites of others with your information.

Don’t just focus on the words.

Written content is great for SEO, but we’ve got a secret (well, a secret maybe for you)… video content is KING, or Queen for that matter. Some people prefer watching videos to reading a blog. Plus, a video also helps keep people on your website for a longer period. Providing multiple options for your content helps you hit a wider audience. It also does wonders for SEO!

Video content is also great to utilize for your social media sites. People love sharing video content! When people share your content (that links back to your site), that helps boost traffic to your website which also helps your SEO! Get creative with your ideas – think of tips, tricks, or insights to share to a particular audience!

SEO can be tough to manage on your own—we get it. Not every small business has the budget to hire an employee or outside business to help with marketing. Make sure you constantly educate yourself on the changing environment around SEO. There are FREE resources out there like HubSpot that provide online trainings on subject matters like SEO, social media marketing, and more.