6 SEO Strategies Proven NOT to Work in 2024 (and What to Do Instead)

6 SEO Strategies Proven NOT to Work in 2024 (and What to Do Instead)

6 SEO Strategies Proven NOT To Work In 2024 (

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    So, let’s talk about something that’s been on every content marketer’s mind lately: SEO. You create fantastic content, but attracting the right audience organically seems impossible. Search engine rules keep changing, and the competition is getting fierce every day. No wonder there’s so much confusion!

     It’s easy to feel lost and the frustration that comes with this is common.

    Recently, I attended Content Marketing World 2024 workshops and listened to insightful presentations on SEO by experts like Andy Crestodina, Carlos Meza, and Mike King. Through their talks, I noticed some common misunderstandings and mistakes.

    Let’s simplify and clarify six of these misconceptions with the help of these seasoned professionals. We’ll break down these SEO myths and errors to help you navigate the digital landscape more effectively.

    1. Don’t Worry About Your Website, Focus on Your Pages!

    Many people ask why their entire website doesn’t rank higher in search results. The truth is, that Google ranks individual web pages, not websites themselves. This is an important distinction to remember.

    Here’s why websites aren’t directly ranked: 

    While Google does consider a website’s overall reputation when evaluating individual pages, it focuses more on the specific content of each page. Search engine optimization (SEO) tools also take website authority into account when predicting how difficult it will be for a page to rank for a particular keyword or phrase.

    There are various tools that measure website authority, each with a slightly different name: 

    Moz calls it Domain Authority, Ahrefs and Serpstat use Domain Rating, and Semrush refers to it as Authority Score. In general, these scores reflect the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to your website. According to Andy Crestodina, the quality of these links is more important than the sheer number.

    So, if websites don’t rank, why do domain authority scores matter? 

    These scores provide valuable insights into which keywords you have a good chance of ranking for in search results. By comparing your website’s domain authority to the domain authority of pages already ranking for your target keyword, you can estimate your chances of success.

    If your domain authority is similar to the top-ranking pages, and your content is thorough and helpful, you have a good shot at ranking well. However, if the authority of your page and website is significantly lower than the top-ranked pages, it’s unlikely your content will rank well, regardless of its quality.

    Here’s a helpful tip: Andy recommends using a free Chrome extension called MozBar. This tool displays the page authority and domain authority for web pages and search results directly in your browser, using a simple score from zero to 100.

    2. Don’t Be Afraid of Competitive Keywords

    Just because a keyword seems impossible to rank for, doesn’t mean you should give up on SEO altogether. 

    Here’s why:

    • The Difficulty Score: Let’s say your website’s domain authority is 19 and your page authority is 22 (like Astraius, the satellite launch company). Targeting a broad term like “space launch services” might be tough because the competition is fierce (difficulty score of 58 according to Moz Pro). That means the top-ranking websites for that term have much higher authority scores.
    • Get Specific, Get Results:  Instead of chasing broad terms, target more specific keywords. For example, “commercial satellite launch services UK” has a difficulty score of 36, which is much more achievable for Astraius. Plus, people searching for this specific term are more likely to be ready to buy, leading to potentially higher-quality traffic. Don’t worry so much about the total number of searches (search volume) for a keyword. Focus on attracting the right visitors who are genuinely interested in what you offer.
    • Go Deep, Go Wide: Building a strong SEO strategy takes time. You can create a lot of content around your target keywords and publish it on various platforms, not just your website. Collaborate with industry influencers, conduct original research, and get your findings published by other media outlets. This approach won’t guarantee immediate top rankings, but it will establish you as a thought leader in your field and ultimately improve your website’s authority.
    • Create the Page Anyway: Even if a specific keyword seems out of reach, creating a page targeting it can still be valuable. You can promote this page through paid search ads, sales outreach, or other marketing channels.

    3. Not Understanding User Search Intent While Optimizing Pages

    When someone types a question into a search engine, they have a specific goal in mind. This goal is called “search intent.”  Understanding what searchers are looking for is crucial for creating content that ranks well and keeps visitors engaged.

    Think of it this way: 

    If a visitor arrives on your webpage looking for information on how to bake a cake, but your page is filled with details on where to buy cake ingredients, they’ll likely leave quickly. This “bounce” tells search engines like Google that your content isn’t relevant.

    On the other hand, if your page delivers exactly what the searcher needs (a delicious cake recipe), they will likely stay longer, which is a good signal for search engines. This “dwell time” can lead to higher rankings and even more website visitors.

    There are three main types of search intent:

    • Informational: Searchers are curious and want to learn more about a topic. Imagine someone typing “best cake recipes.” They’re looking for answers and information.
    • Commercial/Transactional: Searchers are ready to buy and are looking for specific products or services. Think of someone searching for “chocolate cake delivery near me.” They’ve decided on a chocolate cake and want to purchase it.
    • Navigational: Searchers know exactly where they want to go. For instance, someone typing “[company name] website” has a specific company in mind and wants to visit their official website.
    Type of IntentSearcher’s GoalQuery
    Know (informational)Looking for answers“best locations for satellite launches”
    Do (commercial)Has a product/service in mind“satellite launch services”
    Go (navigational/branded)Looking up a company“Astraius”

    By understanding these different search intentions, you can tailor your content to better suit each stage in the buyer’s journey. This can ultimately help you achieve your conversion goals, whether it’s getting someone to subscribe to your newsletter, watch a demo, or contact your sales team.

    4. Using AI to write and create the SEO content

    While some believe that AI-generated content can be a shortcut to ranking high on search engines, this isn’t quite true. It’s important to focus on creating high-quality, trustworthy content for the long term.

    Here’s why AI content might not be the best SEO solution:

    • Google prioritizes Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT): When evaluating search results, Google considers factors like the author’s experience and the website’s reputation. AI-generated content often lacks these trust signals.
    • Everyone has access to AI tools: If you use AI, your competitors likely can too. This creates a level playing field, offering no real advantage.

    Instead, focus on creating content that demonstrates EAT. Here are some tips:

    • Content by Experienced Creators: For topics requiring firsthand knowledge (like product reviews), have someone with experience write the content.
    • Content by Experts: Involve subject matter experts in your content creation. Include their credentials and bylines.
    • Content Aligns with Your Brand: Focus on topics relevant to your brand and user search intent. This builds your authority in that specific area.

    A great example of a content brand that excels in EAT is NerdWallet. Their content includes author profiles with credentials, disclaimers about partnerships, and clear explanations of why readers should trust them.

    Creating high-quality content takes time and effort, but it’s a more sustainable approach to ranking well on search engines in the long run. AI can be a helpful tool to streamline content creation, but it shouldn’t replace the need for human expertise and trust-building strategies.

    5. AI as an SEO Content Powerhouse: Use it Wisely

    Don’t ditch AI for SEO content creation! Industry experts recommend using it as a helpful tool, not a replacement for human writers. Here are key takeaways for using AI effectively:

    • AI isn’t magic. It won’t solve all your problems.
    • AI boosts efficiency. Use it to streamline workflows and empower your content team.
    • Target the top of your funnel with AI. Use it for broader content like awareness pieces. Save in-depth content for human expertise.

    Consider AI as a tireless assistant.  Instruct it to generate content that would take humans a long time, such as brainstorming 100 article ideas on a specific topic. It can also summarize existing articles for research and suggest outlines for new content. 

    But remember, always fact-check and improve the AI’s output to ensure it’s engaging and relevant. AI won’t create groundbreaking ideas; it will rely on existing information. This might mean more editing and fact-checking on your end, even if AI helps you write faster.

    Here are creative ways to leverage AI for SEO content:

    1. Craft buyer personas with AI.  For instance, Andy Crestodina used AI to develop the persona of a commercial satellite operator. This persona included details like age, role, challenges, and decision-making criteria.
    2. AI can be your content critique partner. Use AI to review your content and see if it aligns with your target audience’s needs.
    3. Use AI to analyze competitor content.  AI can help you compare your content to competitors’ content and identify areas for improvement.

    6. SEO Needs Constant Attention

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t a one-time fix. Many things constantly change, like search engine algorithms, features, and the tools used for SEO. Even your business, audience needs, and competitors evolve over time.

    Here’s why SEO is an ongoing process:

    • Search landscape in flux: Search engines regularly update their algorithms and features.
    • Your business evolves: As your business grows and changes, your SEO strategy needs to adapt.
    • Audience needs shift: Your target audience’s needs and interests may evolve, requiring adjustments to your SEO approach.
    • Competitors never sleep: Your competitors are constantly creating new content and optimizing their websites, so you need to stay ahead.

    As Andy said, “Digital ink is never dry,” meaning SEO is a continuous process that requires ongoing monitoring and adjustment.

    Bottom Line 

    The journey to SEO mastery is ongoing, but the rewards are substantial. By implementing these effective strategies and remaining committed to the process, you’ll be well on your way to achieving top search rankings and driving organic traffic to your website in 2024.

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