Discover more from Between The Lines
TOC #74: Bad SEO Advice
(May 24, 2022) Plus four SEO updates you can make today
Everyone has some random, weird, kinda-helpful-but-only-sometimes-in-specific-situations special skill.
Maybe you're amazing at parallel parking.
Maybe you can do a handstand.
Maybe you're ambidextrous.
Maybe you have the Greek alphabet memorized from your sorority days.
My random skill is always getting in line at the perfect time.
I don't know how it happens, but wherever I am—the grocery store, the drive-thru, the pharmacy, the godforsaken post-pandemic Zara store—I always seem to hop in line at just the right time: immediately before the line gets ridiculously long.
This past weekend, a Crumbl Cookies store opened dangerously close to my house, so obviously me and my sweet tooth headed there ASAP.
When I pulled up to the store, the line was practically a mile long—stretching past the Sleep Number, the Panera, the Loft, and all the way down to the Paper Store.
I told myself it was fine, and that I'd pop into Barnes & Noble to poke around for some new magazines, and that maybe when I left the store the line would magically be shorter.
Lo and behind, it was.
…and no more than a minute after I stepped in line, tons of people followed suit, making the wait behind me—from what I could tell—at least 45-60 minutes.
I still had to wait 15-ish minutes, but it was worth it, because now I get to tell you what the dude behind me in line said during our conversation (that I obviously started, because I can't go anywhere without talking to someone and getting their life story—another random, weird, kinda-helpful-but-only-sometimes-in-specific-situations skill.)
It all started when he expressed disbelief about the Crumbl line.
He had no idea what Crumbl even was, and was even more clueless about why they had so much hype.
(And then was basically shocked into confusion when I tried to explain TikTok fame to him.)
“I just came here because someone came and dropped a free cookie pass off at my store,” the man said. “This is INSANE! I need to take a picture of the parking lot. How can they say there's inflation when the parking lot is so full at this strip mall?!”
Now that I'm recounting the story, I'm realizing that last sentence should have been my clue that he was gonna say some ignorant shit later.
After he mentioned having a store, I asked him what he did for work.
“iPhone and iPad repair,” he said, with a sigh. “I've been doing it for over 10 years.”
How the hell someone has he been able to keep that brick-and-mortar business alive during the 'roni?! Is he working for Marty Byrde??
Then, of course, he asked what I do for work, and I gave him my usual ‘I'm a copywriter—I write the words that go on websites, y’know, words that are meant to sell things' speech.
This triggered his “I know things!!!” response, and he launched into a (very dated) lecture about SEO.
…including a few minutes spent reminiscing about the ‘good old days' when keyword stuffing was a common practice.
Naturally, I visibly went prickly, and asked, “You don't do this anymore…do you? You know that Google prioritizes user experience and accessibility, and won't reward websites that just throw random ass keywords on the page, change the font color to match the background, and call it a day…right?”
He looked at me with a shy smile, then a knowing grin.
“Next in line!” the cheerful employee called. It was my turn to head inside.
And now we'll never find out if that iPhone repair man has learned the right way to optimize his website for SEO.
Oh well, guess that's how the cookie Crumbls.
4 Easy SEO Updates You Can Make Today
#1 - Make sure your Home and Services pages have keyword-rich headlines.
#2 - Check the word count on each page of your site to make sure each page has at least 300 words. If you don't meet that recommended word count, try your best to juice it up a bit by adding more context, or a little “mini about” section about you or your services.
#3 - Verify that each page of your website has a unique title tag and meta description. You can read more about what those are & why they matter right here.
#4 - Scroll through your site and make sure all the links work.
& that's it for your easy SEO updates checklist!
Once you've double-checked those 4 things—which shouldn't take you very long at all, unless you're hung up on #2 (I can help!)—you'll be in Google's good graces in no time.
And if you're on an SEO roll, hungry for more updates to make, click the link below to read through a few more potential search engine optimization mistakes you could be making (and how to fix them)!
Hi, I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. Thanks for reading this edition of the Tuesday Table of Contents! If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
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