We’re all familiar with the stats by now: 75% of Google users won’t bother to scroll past the first page of the SERPs, securing that elusive number one ranking spot will get you almost 33% of the clicks.
Basically, getting to the first page of search results is everything, and some marketers aren’t afraid of using outdated, even unethical tactics if it means they get there fast.
However, as is often the case in life, quick fixes can rarely be relied on for long term results. In fact, they sometimes do more harm than good.
1. The Problem: Building as many links as you can
It has been an idea many search marketers have clung to since the early days of online marketing. The more links directing to your website from other websites, the more authority you’ll have in the eyes of Google and the better you’ll rank.
This notion has since been disproved, yet many businesses are still buying links, or posting them in blog comments, forums and directories. In 2012, the Penguin algorithm was rolled out to penalise those marketers who focused on building a huge library of low quality backlinks in this fashion, yet links are still listed as one of the most important ranking factors by Google. Unsurprisingly, many businesses are left confused about what their approach should be.
The answer: focus on quality over quantity. Aim on building links with high-quality sites and industry influencers only. Be picky. You won’t build as many links, but the ones you do build will be with sites that Google considers high authority.
2. The Problem: Counting keywords
In most cases, optimising a website or piece of content starts with some basic keyword analysis to identify the words and phrases to target for high rankings.
The logic behind the myth that was prevalent in the early days of digital marketing was simple: the more often you repeat a particular keyword, the higher you’ll rank for that term. This idea has long since been put to bed, and most marketers now know that churning out poor quality content overstuffed with keywords is one of the fastest ways to achieve a spam penalty from Google.
More recently, Google insiders such as former software engineer Matt Cutts have admitted there is no “perfect formula” when it comes to keyword insertion. Sure, there’s a minimum number of repetitions of the same keyword to hit to give Google an understanding of what your page is about, but there’s no real need to obsessively count how many times you’ve included the phrase in your meta tags, alt text or on- page content. Go overboard, and you’ll quickly end up with poor quality content that’s seen as spammy not only by Google, but your guests too.
The answer: put the preliminary work in to identify the keywords that are most likely to attract your niche guest groups, and make sure it naturally fits into the content you’re creating.
3. The Problem: Focusing only on on-page optimisation
There was a time when websites with high domain authority (DA) ruled the search results. Think Wikipedia, for example: a huge, popular website with a huge number of pages and high domain authority. DA is still an important ranking signal, but Google is no longer concerned with the size of a website or its overall popularity amongst all the other pages on the web. What’s more important these days is topical authority – demonstrating to Google that you’re an authority within your particular niche.
What this effectively means is looking beyond simply optimising each page of your website for a particular keyword and instead trying to build your website and indeed entire online brand around a relevant phrase.
The answer: focus your content creation efforts on establishing yourself as an authority in your hotel’s travel niche. Strive to create associations between your hotel’s website and your niche through engaging, informative and genuinely helpful content that will signal to Google that your property is a name to be trusted within the industry.
SEO is constantly changing, if you’re not following the trends, you’re falling behind.
Are there any tactics you need to drop in the coming year? Let us know in the comments below!