Content Development Strategy … SEO Mistakes that Will Kill You

Web technology changes rapidly, yes?. I mean, let’s face it: the Internet is much different today than it was just a few, years ago. So when it comes to website optimization, this leaves many people confused as to which SEO strategies are still relevant. And this confusion can kill your content development strategy.

Check out our thoughts on creative marketing.


We don’t have an information shortage; we have an attention shortage.

– Seth Godin


Seth certainly gets it … probably had it down before anyone else. What may you be asking? The concept of what it takes for content marketing success, of course. Secrets? Probably not. But certainly essential for success.

Related post: Content Development Strategy … SEO Mistakes that Will Kill You


Content marketing tactics such as blog posts, feature articles, optimized website copy, white papers, social media content and press releases move consumers along a specific path. Content marketing generates awareness of your brand, product or service; inspires consumers to engage and consider you; converts them into leads and sales, and creates advocates. Lots to gain, yes?

Below I’ll define and discuss  SEO mistakes you need to cut out right away.  Thankfully, they’re easy to avoid once you’re aware. Let’s get to it.

Content development … employing keyword stuffing 

You might think using your target keywords in every sentence of your content would boost your ratings. That strategy couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, going overboard with using keywords is registered as spammy by search engines, which means it hurts your SEO performance.

That’s why keyword ‘stuffing,’ or overusing your intended keywords, is not crucial to your SEO success. Such an approach would make your content unnatural and useless for its intended audience.

In fact, Google is employing a special semantic search called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). This program can recognize your content’s topic without the need for stuffing your content with repetitions of your target keywords.

 content development strategy
Content development strategy.

Ignoring other search engines

Google has the most comprehensive set of resources for SEO. Anyone interested in SEO should get a Google Search Console account, and follow the Google webmaster guidelines for the best practices.

But that does not mean you should ignore other search engines like Bing, and Yahoo. These search engines are still a major source of organic traffic. Additionally, tools such as Bing’s Webmaster Tools can supplement your SEO efforts – giving you more data to work with.

 Content development marketing … missing quality links 

To get the best from SEO, content marketers today should grasp that the quality of external links included in content is more important than their quantity. That’s why it’s better to make sure you link to relevant, well-ranking websites with solid reputations – not just any site.

It’s also useful to link back to sites that have linked to you, as this brings back traffic in the future.

Another counterproductive practice when it comes to links is using ineffective anchor text. This wastes precious SEO opportunities, as the anchor texts signify to the reader and to search bots what the link is about and how it can be beneficial to users.

Thus, avoid using ‘click here’ as an anchor text and make sure you opt for a variety of anchor texts, as employing the same text over and over again can be seen as spammy.


measuring content performance
Measuring content performance.

Ignoring mobile optimization

On January 10, 2017, Google announced that

… pages, where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results, may not rank as high.

Most web designers have noticed the mobile-first trend that took over web design a few years ago. Despite this, a large majority of sites are still not mobile-friendly. Even if the majority of your audience views your content from a desktop computer, you will still miss out on mobile traffic.

 Check out the Google’s webmaster’s guide to mobile friendly sites for more in-depth information on keeping your site mobile-friendly.


Content development strategy … not promoting your content

Promotion and distribution are key to giving your content that initial burst of attention and engagement. Without it, your content is likely to sit unread, gathering few shares or links.

According to research from Moz and BuzzSumo, 50% of all online content sampled had 2 or less Facebook interactions, and 75% had no external links. I’m willing to bet this was largely due to a lack of intentional distribution.

Have a plan for how you’ll promote each piece of content, whether that’s through your email list, social media, through paid distribution, or a combination of all three.


Employing multiple keywords on a single page

Targeting keywords are still as important as ever. But trying to target more than one keyword is not as effective as focusing on a single keyword or phrase.

If you have more than one target keyword you want to focus on, consider breaking your article up into multiple posts.


 Not investing in a fast and mobile-friendly experience

SEO optimization is not only about content and keywords. It’s also about the quality of your website, particularly its performance on mobile devices, which are users’ top choice today. Google and other search engines can recognize when your website is not mobile-friendly (think about the Mobile addon update).

If you haven’t considered a  mobile experience for your audience, your rating on search engines can be jeopardized. The same goes for load speed, as search engines put an emphasis on that as well.

You can use online tools like Pingdom and GT Metrix to analyze where the speed problems come from and how to fix them.


Ignoring broken links  

content performance metrics
Content performance metrics.

A broken link is a name given to a hyperlink that no longer points to its intended destination. You’ve been won over by an article’s sales spiel, and you’re desperate to see what’s on the other side of the link, like the example below:

Obviously, anybody in their right mind would click a link that promised to make look ten years younger, and then, argh! It’s broken!

Sites naturally accumulate broken links: however, they’re a major nuisance to your visitors and Google doesn’t like them either. But, if they’re so natural, why does Google penalize you for them?

It’s because bad links will earn you a bad reputation. And people with online reputations aren’t viewed as authorities on anything.


Measuring content performance … lacking formal link building

Again, it’s always possible for your content to get links without any additional effort on your part. However, more often this strategy will result in 90% of your content sitting stagnant on your site.

According to the 2016 State of Link Building Survey, the most popular link building strategies among link building professionals included content promotion (e.g., guest blogging), creating content that’s likely to attract links, digital PR and getting local citations.

Related post: 10 Social Media and Business Marketing Killers


 Not employing performance metrics

Last but not least, the only way to know if your SEO optimization and content efforts work is to track their progress. Many marketers would disregard the numbers, but this is a serious mistake. Setting up and regularly reviewing your analytics is essential for your optimization results.

Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are just two of the main tools you can use to measure and get an overview of your website’s performance.


The bottom line

Search engine optimization is an indispensable part of any content marketing strategy today. While you can find plenty of advice online, making some typical SEO mistakes is quite common.

Instead, it’s better to get well acquainted with the challenges that others have experienced and avoided them in your marketing efforts. These errors have proven quite widespread, so they are now easier to recognize before you make them.

SEO has come a long way since the late 1990s, back then it things was much simpler. All you needed to do was tag your site with keywords, submit it to a search engine, and a bot would crawl your site. Now the bots are more sophisticated, and many outdated SEO strategies are no longer effective.


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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  


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More reading on social media mistakes from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

KPI Metrics … The Website Performance Indicators You Must Avoid

17 Cardinal Sins to Avoid in a Social Response Strategy

13 Social Media Marketing Trends Sure to Reduce Business



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Content Development Strategy … SEO Mistakes that Will Kill You