If you aren't sure how to answer this question, there are several factors to consider. You should first start to think about the techniques and practices you're implementing for your SEO campaign. Are any of these techniques considered black hat? What about gray hat? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you could be hurting your website’s rankings through your own SEO efforts.
Let’s take a look at a few different SEO tactics and the right and wrong ways to implement them.
We all know that content is an important part of a successful SEO campaign. But do you truly have a good understanding about the type of content you should be putting on your site?
Let’s start with duplicate content. Duplicate content will NEVER help your site’s performance or rankings. In fact, adding duplicate content to your site will only confuse search engines more. You want to create quality, unique content.
But just having unique content isn’t enough. You need to think about the audience you're trying to reach and what kind of questions they may be asking. Use this insight to produce content that can intrigue readers while answering their questions. Not only will users find the answers to their questions, but they hopefully will develop trust and most likely look to your site again if they have a related question down the line.
Don’t buy links! If you're currently implementing a strategy that involves buying your backlinks, STOP. In the past, the number of links to your site was a way to help boost your site’s rankings, but not anymore. Now it's important to remember quality over quantity.
As I mentioned in the section about content, you want to create unique content that people will not only want to read but also share. Creating original content that others will find interesting and want to share is a great way to increase quality backlinks to your website. Your link-building efforts should be focused around building relationships and, in turn, building relevant, quality links.
Do you find yourself optimizing a page by trying to use the target keyword as many times as possible? If you do, you should know you're only hurting yourself and your website’s rankings. This practice is known as keyword stuffing, and it typically makes for an extremely bad user experience, and search engines will quickly pick up on your bad practices.
What you should do is use your keywords sparingly and strategically. For example, including your keywords within your title tag, meta description, H1, and a couple times throughout your content is sufficient to optimize a page. There's no benefit of using your keywords over and over again, so don’t do it.
So are you your own SEO enemy?
If you find yourself implementing any of these bad tactics, I advise you make changes because right now you just may be your own SEO enemy.
Remember, it’s never too late to adjust your strategy to switch out bad practices for good ones. Be sure to annotate in your Google Analytics account when you begin making these improvements to your strategy so you can see the changes over time. I can assure you, once you start seeing your site’s rankings and performance improving, it will be worth all the effort!
To learn how to evaluate your current SEO efforts and improve your SEO strategy, download this complimentary 17-point SEO checklist.
All the best,
Lauren Sheridan is an SEO Consultant at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia-area advertising agency.