The WORST search engine optimization recommendation I heard this 12 months (and what it’s best to do as an alternative)


The commonest criticism I obtain from audit purchasers and bloggers is the shortcoming to “know which search engine optimization recommendation to comply with.” 

Not like search engines like google and yahoo which may rank, re-rank, or penalize data or practices which can be unethical or unscrupulous in nature, the identical can’t be achieved by the typical blogger weeding by a number of programs, gurus or podcasts.

Sadly, 2022 has taken issues to a complete new degree.

The quantity of emails and instantaneous messages I obtained from bloggers asking, “Is that this true?” or “I used to be instructed to do that, what do you suppose?” can’t be quantified apart from to say, “It was rather a lot.”

Executing an accurate and competent search engine optimization technique has by no means been tougher, particularly in gentle of the explosion of recent web sites launched in the course of the pandemic.

As such, understanding what recommendation is worth it and which is full and utter rubbish has by no means been extra essential.

To that finish, I current a few of the worst items of search engine optimization recommendation I used to be requested about in 2022, with the hope that the solutions will assist you to determine what not to do.

Worst search engine optimization recommendation #1: “I ought to by no means take away content material from my web site.”

The advantages of removing old content from an present website have been recognized and practiced for years.

Consider your website as a backyard. All of the content material producing visitors, hyperlinks, and common social alerts are your flowers. All the pieces that’s not? These are your weeds. Identical to in an actual backyard, you may kill your flowers for those who don’t pull these weeds.

Leaving expired, low-quality or skinny content material in your website may end up in a myriad of unhealthy search engine optimization outcomes, together with:

  • Diluting your total crawl price range.
  • Decreasing total website authority.
  • Creating web page and key phrase cannibalization points.
  • Decreasing on-page UX and time-on-site metrics.
  • Decreasing sitewide income per thousand impressions (RPM) for advert earnings.

It’s additionally been well-documented by Google’s John Mueller that low-quality content material on one a part of a website can negatively impression the search rankings of all the website.

Backside line

If you happen to can replace and enhance present content material, do this! 

But when not, delete it, and transfer on. Assume high quality together with your website content material, not amount.

Worst search engine optimization recommendation #2: “All I want is to jot down longer content material to rank increased.”

Man holding placard saying "Content length is not a ranking factor."

It has been said repeatedly that word count is not a ranking factor with Google. And but, each day, I run into purchasers who’ve been directed to jot down an extended useful resource as their principal technique to “recapture” a misplaced rating or enhance present visibility.

When requested about phrase rely, Mueller said, “simply blindly including content material to a web page won’t make it (rank) higher.”

What does assist a useful resource is including content material that’s helpful to the viewers.

For instance, no one desires to learn a 2,000-plus-word treatise on artichoke hearts. As such, understanding what your viewers is searching for and what’s thought of “helpful” can nonetheless be complicated to the typical website proprietor.

Backside line

A content material replace or rewrite has to have a clear objective and an understanding of why your web page isn’t rating within the first place. 

  • Is there an intent mismatch together with your question? 
  • Does the web page have technical deficiencies? 
  • Are you competing towards a lot greater websites? 

These are just some inquiries to reply earlier than deciding “simply to jot down an extended useful resource” for rating consideration.

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Worst search engine optimization recommendation #3: “I ought to embrace my focus key phrase in each web page heading.”

Keyword stuffed headings meme

Through the “good ol’ days” of search engine optimization, it was quite common to optimize a web page round a spotlight key phrase by together with the main focus key phrase within the title, the meta description, the URL, and each heading on the web page.

For instance, just some years in the past, a typical recipe publish making an attempt to rank for “banana cream pie” could have regarded like this:

<H1> Greatest Banana Cream Pie
<H2> Why this Banana Cream Pie is the Greatest
<H2> Banana Cream Elements
<H2> Step by Step to Make Banana Cream Pie
<H2> Banana Cream Pie Questions & Solutions
<H2> Associated Banana Cream Pie Recipes
<H2> Banana Cream Pie (recipe card)

Sadly, following Google updates from November 2019, and later introduced Core Updates in January and May 2020, a transparent sample emerged whereby bloggers who had been over-optimizing their headings (amongst different points) suffered decimated rating and visitors drops.

The sample was extremely straightforward to see in audits and on-line Fb teams and was quickly backed up by a Food Blogger Study by search engine optimization agency Prime Hat Rank printed in February of 2020. 

Within the examine, meals blogs noticed a 60% drop in direct Google search engine visitors to recipes and posts that had engaged in heading key phrase over-optimization.

Happily, bloggers who went again by their website and began de-optimizing their headings ended up with recoveries by the Might 2020 Core Replace, or a lot later, when Google did their subsequent introduced replace in December.

Backside line

Any suggestion to stuff your headings with key phrases will not be solely outdated recommendation however presumably harmful for the typical website within the present algorithmic local weather. 

Referencing your key phrase naturally within the H1 and one or two different H2s appears superb. Greater than that, it can look spammy and must be averted!

Worst search engine optimization recommendation #4: “Alt textual content must be used for search engine optimization key phrases.”

Keyword alt text meme

Alt textual content, or different textual content, is likely one of the most essential and misunderstood subjects in all of search engine optimization and accessibility. Having good and proper alt textual content for pictures isn’t just a easy search engine optimization finest follow, nevertheless it’s important for individuals with visible disabilities who go to the positioning.

Alt textual content exists at first to explain the picture to somebody who can not see it. The main target is on these accessing the positioning with display readers who can not see the picture and, as such, should have the pictures learn out to them for descriptive functions.

Nothing annoys visually impaired customers greater than visiting a website and seeing each picture learn out as “key phrase – key phrase – key phrase.” 

And but, even right now, with as a lot literature that exists on the correct use of alt text, this nonetheless occurs greater than it ought to!

Backside line

Ditch the key phrases and describe what’s within the picture to somebody who can not see it.

Don’t say “picture of” or “picture of” in your alt textual content. Be brief however descriptive.

Lastly, add a “interval” on the finish as a immediate for display readers to know the alt textual content has accomplished.

Toxic links Semrush reference

Oh, Semrush, you by no means disappoint! 

Though the Semrush suite of instruments is, by and huge, a high quality funding for customers and SEOs alike, that is by far its greatest downside. On this particular instance, the instrument fails miserably!

I’ve but to run a crawl for a consumer with Semrush and have the instrument not spit out an enormous “Hazard, Will Robinson! Hazard!” warning when reviewing a hyperlink profile.

Semrush identifies random hyperlinks as poisonous after which recommends that the person submit a disavow file. The issue with this suggestion is it’s pointless and utterly arbitrary.

Google could be very clear that:

In reality, Google doesn’t even have a concept of toxic domains, and blindly following a instrument that claims “in any other case” ought to all the time be averted.

Backside line

Until you have got a guide motion, or you inbuilt unhealthy hyperlinks your self, a disavow file is an entire waste of time for the typical website proprietor. 

Ignore the instruments and transfer on to one thing else that may truly assist transfer your website.

Closing ideas

You’ve heard that search engine optimization is a marathon, not a dash. As with every marathon, it’s all about coaching and preparation. 

Don’t derail your search engine optimization marathon by succumbing to poor recommendation baked right into a course, a podcast or a guru making an attempt to promote you their newest instrument.

As a substitute, use a little bit frequent sense and push again towards recommendation that “could” appear questionable when given. The positioning you save could also be your individual. Good luck on the market!

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Workers authors are listed here.

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About The Writer

Casey markee

Casey Markee is the proprietor of web consultancy Media Wyse. An search engine optimization for over 20 years, he has been working solely with meals and way of life bloggers since 2015. Throughout that point he’s labored with 1000’s of bloggers throughout each recipe area of interest possible. He likes lengthy walks to the fridge and again and believes bacon and sweet corn are gourmand meals.

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