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5 SEO practices that aren’t worth your time

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Time better spent

With SEO practices and algorithms constantly evolving, it’s difficult for financial marketers to keep pace with where their time and resources are best allocated. Having highlighted which SEO strategies financial marketers should be employing in 2021, we now look at some of the outdated SEO practices that you can easily do without. 

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Quick and dirty mass link acquisition

Link acquisition has always been, and continues to be vital to SEO success. Backlinks are a recognised Google ranking factor, and in the wake of algorithm updates such as the Penguin update, ranking correlates more closely with quality rather than quantity. High volume links such as mass directory submissions may seem like a quick way to bolster link numbers, but they will at best make little impact on your rankings, and at worst, actually negatively impact them. There’s no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to building up your link profile, the hard truth is they must be earned and this will take time and effort.

 

There’s no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to building up your link profile, the hard truth is they must be earned and this will take time and effort.

 

Not linking to other websites

The drive to acquire strong backlinks has led to confusion around whether sites should link to external sources or related content from within their own content. There is a concern that you are either diluting the authority of your page by linking out, or potentially passing on authority to competitors or related pages that may rank over you. In fact, not linking out to other sites is more likely to negatively impact your ranking than linking to them. Google’s own John Mueller explained the value of external linking in an Ask Google Webmasters video, “Linking to other websites is a great way to provide value to your users. Often, links help users to find out more, to check out your sources and to better understand how your content is relevant to the questions that they have.”

Sites that have no external links appear unnatural to the algorithm, which recognises that external linking is a natural part of writing great, useful content. 

An over-optimised keyword strategy

SEO is traditionally associated with targeting exactly the right keywords in order to rank for a specific term. While keyword research is still a key part of your content process, targeting one specific keyword per page is unlikely to yield high traffic results. With the advent of machine-learning like Rankbrain within the algorithm, Google is now able to take into account user intent as part of the query and this means queries are spread across a broader range of relevant keywords and phrases. Instead, consider including synonyms and medium to long-tail keywords as part of your keyword research, diversifying your content targeting and ensuring your content is of increased relevance to the user.

Tunnel vision for a number one ranking

The quest for the elusive number one position may no longer yield the best traffic results. The SERPs are so varied, potentially including a host of different results including, but not limited to: the Knowledge Panel, Google Ads, Featured Snippets, Maps, Video and Image results for any given search term. This makes it difficult to narrow down exactly what ‘number one position’ actually means for your brand. A number one organic result could get less clicks than a number two result that stands out within the featured snippets. Combine this with the number of long-tail keyphrases and there’s a lot of traffic to be won without gaining the number one position. Rather than focusing solely on rank tracking and positions, consider looking at impressions and click-through rate data to gauge your success; all of which is readily available in Google Search Console

Optimising for search engines

What each of these SEO practices has in common is that they put the search engine before the user, making them outdated and ineffective in the eyes of Google. Google’s regular updates combined with the search engine’s increased use of machine learning over the past few years have marked a shift designed to better emulate and understand user intent. 

To make best use of time, financial marketers should review the SEO practices they’re employing – from keyword research through to link acquisition – and take the approach of out with the old, in with the new. For help developing an effective SEO strategy that puts your audience, not a search engine first, get in touch.

To find out how your website SEO is performing, use our free SEO website audit tool.

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Annabel Hodges
Annabel is a digital marketer and seasoned writer with 15 years' experience working with global agencies and finance brands. With a particular love for SEO, analytics and all things data; Annabel draws on her industry experience and enjoys writing about growth and marketing solutions that tackle the challenges of finance marketing in a holistic manner.