Is Your Website on the SEO ‘Naughty’ or ‘Nice’ List?

Posted - December 15, 2020
A present with SEO on the box

It’s almost time for Santa to come down the chimney and bring gifts to all good girls and boys. But did you know that Google and Saint Nick are in cahoots, and use your sites’ search engine optimization (SEO) practices to determine who’s been naughty and nice this year?

While we say this all in jest, you really don’t want to risk your site’s rankings by getting on Google’s bad side. Here are some quick holiday SEO tips ⁠— repent your mistakes and keep your rankings high!

Naughty SEO Practices to Avoid

You may have attempted black hat SEO to get ahead ⁠— or simply didn’t realize that some technical aspects of your site actually mattered to Google. Either way, these three mistakes are the fastest route to lower rankings and boosting your name up on the “naughty list.” 

1. Aiming for Unrealistic Keywords

Crafting content using the right keywords is essential to successful SEO. However, aiming for unrealistic keywords just isn’t beneficial.

If your industry is saturated with large competitors, focusing on broad match terms will get your content nowhere. Yes, you can still sprinkle in the high-competition keywords throughout, but in order to show up in specific searches, your keywords must show diversity.

For example, if you’re a board game creator (yes, there are still some of those!), focusing on the keyword “board game” will leave your content drowning in competition ⁠— not to mention directories, review sites and informational sites like Wikipedia. 

Google Serp of Board Games

Focus your content and goals on what matters to your brand’s specifics. Back to the board game example, the creator would be more successful if their content focused on keywords that have less competition, such as:

  • Cooperative board games for adults
  • Top 10 board games
  • Worker placement games

Remember, the devil is in the details! By focusing on keywords and phrases that identify specific elements of your brand, product, or industry, you improve your chances of showing up in relevant search results.

2. Being a Scrooge with Your Site’s Speed 

Do users (or even employees) complain that your site is slow? Hey, saving a few bucks here and there can be smart for business, but doing so at the expense of site speed will hurt you in Google.

poor page load speed report

Page speed is a direct search engine ranking factor ⁠— and not just by Google’s standards. A slower site increases your bounce rate. The average person expects a page to completely load within a couple of seconds!

So, even if your site manages to attract users from search, your lack of investment in a quality web host could cost you conversions.

3. Using Duplicate Content

Whether you’re simply repeating yourself to fill up other pages on your site, or you are directly copying and pasting other writer’s content into your site, duplicate content is a huge “no-no” with Google. 

When duplicate content happens, Google doesn’t know which page is truly the authority, and could end up ranking some pages better than others, which generally hurts SEO for both sites.

Remember that while there isn’t an exact penalty for duplicate content, Google does handicap sites that directly copy, or “spin” (find/replace keywords) pre-existing content.

So, in order to jump onto the “nice list” and climb Google search rankings, we suggest that you keep your content well-researched and original.

Nice SEO Practices

The moral of many holiday stories is that even the worst mistakes are usually redeemable. Here are some great SEO practices you should implement, in order to climb higher on Google search results.

1. Focusing on the Big SEO Picture

Business owners who attempt digital marketing without the help of a professional team, often find themselves focusing on one aspect of a multi-faceted marketing process. 

SEO success stems from the following:

  • On-site optimization
  • Content creation
  • Social media management
  • Technical SEO
  • Paid advertising
  • Site design
  • Review management

With focus placed on several areas of SEO, your website will quickly become a relevant, rising star on user search results.

2. Writing Content with Users in Mind

As long as you write new and engaging content that your audience wants to read, you’ll always be doing something right in Google’s eyes.

Readers want search results that are relevant to their query and provide them with enough information to make a confident decision in a product or service purchase.

Natural language and long-form content that answers as many possible questions about a topic are Google-preferred, and will make your readers confident in your industry authority.

3. Giving the Gift of a Great User Experience

Aside from ramping up your page speed, your users could also benefit from you offering them an awesome user experience on your website. 

By using subheadings, appropriate white space, and visually appealing images in your content, users will be able to clearly navigate and enjoy your website. 

Aside from achieving a great user experience with these adjustments, having a clear website layout (i.e. subheaders), also allows Googlebot to easily understand what your content communicates.

Stay on Google’s Good Side Next Year, with Dallas SEO Dogs

So you’ve made some SEO mistakes in the past and are ready to turn over a new leaf in the New Year. Don’t make the attempt alone. Let Dallas SEO Dogs Help.

We’re a team of experienced SEO professionals who’ve had success working with businesses of all sizes and industries. We take care of your site’s content, user experience, backend, and on-site and off-site SEO, letting you focus on your day-to-day business. 

We want to help you succeed in 2021. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.