Using the wrong SEO strategies can harm your website rankings

There is so much information available regarding the practice of search engine optimisation (SEO) that it can be difficult at times for financial advisers to know what to do and what not to do. There are so-called experts selling their tips and ‘advice’ online, and unfortunately many of the methods they are teaching can actually damage your website from ranking online.

When managing your own SEO efforts, business owners should not only know what tactics are effective but also those that can land your site in big trouble if used. The content on your site should be relevant to your business and to your clients, and you shouldn’t try any sneaky manoeuvres to try to game Google’s algorithms.

Here are four bad yet common SEO practices that could damage your website’s search rankings:

1. Buying links
There are thousands of sites and services that will try to convince you to pay for getting droves of other sites to link to yours. For a minimal amount of money, you can arrange to have hundreds of links pointing back to your website. But what are the sites that will be linking to yours? Will they be related to the financial services industry? Will they be reputable?

While getting trusted and well-known sites to link back to yours is good for SEO, Google can de-index your site from its search results if it discovers that you are paying for backlinks. Basically, your company’s site won’t appear in any search results. Don’t pay for links and don’t participate in networks that sell links and help you distribute your articles to different sites – it’s not good for business.

2. Publishing irrelevant content
When creating content for your website, you want only what is relevant to your business. Google values the user experience, and if you’re providing that to your clients, Google will see that and reward your site for it. So, when writing content for your site, keep the needs of your clients and prospects in mind as much as your business goals, and create useful content around that. This can help you get ranked for key terms while also showing Google that your site is an authority in your particular area of financial and wealth management.

3. Spam comments
Some financial advisory firms decide to pay services to spam sites around the Internet with comments that include a link back to their website. While the idea is to spread links to your site across other sites that are relevant to your business, your brand can be damaged when clients or prospects see those links associated with spammy, poorly written comments.

The same thing applies to bad comments on your own website. Don’t approve all comments on your site but only ones that bring real value to your clients. This can help you keep the comment value and integrity of your website.

4. Overloading on anchor text links
An anchor text link is a specific keyword or phrase in the text on your site that is hyperlinking to a website URL. While keyword links can be good for SEO, you have to be careful when using them. Webmasters used to be able to build up thousands of anchor text links with specific keywords in them, and that would get their website to rank for those keywords. Those days are long gone.

In order to build the best ranking, the keyword ratio needs to appear normal. That means, if you have 10,000 keyword links for one phrase that you want to rank for and none for other ones on your site, it can look strange in Google’s eyes. You should have many keyword links for a variety of keywords.

Make sure not to build too many links to just one area, as it will not look normal to people. Build keyword links for people and user intent, not for search engines.

Jim Kirk, Senior Consultant, Goldmine Media

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