We all should know by now the top common black hat tactics to avoid. But did you know that there are several white hat strategies that can seriously hurt your long-term SEO performance?
The reason most of these white hat strategies can hurt you is that they’re often “too easy to be good for you.” When we become complacent in the easy way out, our organic search performance can start to suffer.
Here are the top 5 easy SEO strategies you must avoid:
1) Assembly line SEO strategy
“Assembly line SEO” is defined as when a person or agency uses the same exact tactics for every client.
Many of the larger SEO agencies use this strategy for their SMB division because it’s efficient to manage.
Typically, after the site goes through its first round of on-page optimizations, the routine tactics include blogging and paying for links.
However, just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s always the best.
This type of strategy may be fruitful for a short period of time, but unless there’s zero competition, the website is bound to experience a growth plateau.
Instead of getting stuck in this routine “task-based” strategy, focus on finding out unique ways to deliver value to your website’s audience.
Investigate what your competitor’s top-ranking content is, and how they’re approaching their content strategy. Make a list of all of your competitor’s strategies and look for content gap opportunities.
Take these opportunities and make sure your content is built to serve your target audience at each stage of their purchase funnel.
The continual research and content production may be more time-consuming, but it will inevitably be more fruitful.
Another added bonus is that this will show your stakeholders that you truly care about their performance.
2) Copying location page copy
When developing location pages for large websites with many locations, creating unique copy for each location can be tedious and time-consuming.
It may seem like the easy way out to just use the same copy for each location page, but we highly advise against it.
You can get much better local ranking performance by focusing on unique copy for each location page.
3) Using automated auditing tools to drive strategy
Relying on automated tools may not be the best way to drive your organic strategy.
Many new SEO professionals tend to conduct their initial SEO and content audits with automated tools and let that guide their global SEO strategy.
What’s the problem with this?
These SEO grading tools don’t “ask questions.”
The key to any good SEO strategy is to ask questions including, but certainly not limited to:
– Who’s my target audience and what information do they need to take action?
– Are there any obstacles for Google to crawl and interpret my site?
– Does my internal linking structure facilitate entity-optimization?
Invest in a tool like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb and learn how to look holistically at a site.
Use visualization tools to analyze the structure of a site.
Look for content gap opportunities and ensure that your technical structure is sound.
When your technical foundation is clean, search engines may have an easy time discovering, crawling, and rendering your webpages.
4) Paying for links
Though this article is meant to be focused on white hat tactics, there is a gray hat method of link building in which you can pay link building companies for guaranteed links.
This is a great way to guarantee that you get a specific number of backlinks for your clients each month.
However, quality and relevance are almost never up to par.
Link building tends to have a snowball effect.
If you get links in well-known publications, it’s possible that another writer will discover you and link to you in their own articles.
However, this is a less common occurrence with smaller DA backlinks.
We recommend investing in some PR partners to help you craft content and get features in noteworthy publications.
These larger publications tend to have a greater rate of organically growing your backlink profile through the snowball effect.
5) Being too scared to ask questions
It’s too easy to just search the answers to your questions, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, when it comes to strategy or tackling specific problems, Google may not always return the right answer for you.
It’s OK to reach out to your peers for help. Even the best of us frequently run polls and ask for help on Twitter.
There’s absolutely no shame in that.
In fact, it’s highly encouraged!
No respectable SEO will make fun of you for not knowing something.
We all have to learn somehow.