Signs You Are Writing Crummy SEO Content 

Signs of Crummy SEO Content - Feature Image

The term “SEO content” often has a negative connotation. It brings to mind badly written, keyword-stuffed articles that don’t provide any real value to readers. This type of content, created solely to trick search engines, reflects poorly on your brand.  

It can actually hurt your website’s rankings in search results. It’s important to remember that any piece of content you publish online is a reflection of your business. 

Google’s Focus on Quality  

Search engines like Google wants to show users the most helpful and informative content possible. They’ve even released updates specifically targeting low-quality, spammy SEO content. If your website relies on these outdated tactics, you’re likely to see your rankings suffer.  

9 Signs Your Content May Need Improvement  

How can you tell if your content focuses too much on old-school SEO tricks and not enough on your users? Here are nine common red flags:  

1. Formulaic Writing  

Formulaic writing is like using a fill-in-the-blank template. Imagine if every marketing agency described themselves this way: “Need help reaching your target audience? Our experts will create a data-driven strategy to boost your ROI!”  

It’s boring, doesn’t tell you anything unique about that agency, and could apply to literally any marketing firm out there.  

This kind of generic writing is a red flag for both readers and search engines. People want to get a sense of what makes your company special.  

And search engines are smart enough to recognize when content is just rehashed from other websites with a few keywords changed.  

The best way to combat formulaic writing is to focus on these key points. For example:  

Formulaic: “Need to improve your online presence? Our experienced marketing agency offers a full range of services, including SEO, social media, and content creation. Contact us today for a free consultation!”  

Improved: “Struggling to get your website seen by the right people? We’re not just about keywords – we analyze your target audience to craft campaigns that get results. Let’s discuss how we can drive more qualified leads to your business.”  

2. Keyword Stuffing  

Keyword stuffing is when you try to cram as many versions of your target keyword into a piece of content as possible, even when it makes the sentences awkward or difficult to understand.  

This used to be a tactic to trick search engines, but it doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it can backfire! Search engines are smart enough to recognize this kind of manipulation.  

When your content feels unnatural, it’s a bad experience for readers, and search engines will pick up on that. This can actually hurt your chances of ranking well.  

3. Overusing Keyword Variations  

Imagine trying to fit these phrases into a single sentence: “marketing strategy,” “strategic marketing,” “marketing strategist”. It gets awkward fast! That’s because they all basically refer to the same core concept. Shoving too many similar keywords into your writing sounds forced and unnatural to readers.  

Search engines are pretty smart these days. They understand that “marketing strategy” and “marketing strategist” are related concepts. You don’t have to use every single variation to get your point across. Focusing on writing naturally, with your main keywords in mind, is often the best way to go.  

Here’s an example that demonstrates how to not overuse keyword variations for a marketing agency:  

Instead of: “Looking to grow your business? Our expert marketing strategists will create a data-driven marketing strategy to increase your ROI. And develop a winning social media strategy to engage your target audience. We also specialize in content marketing and can craft compelling content to convert leads into customers.”  

This is better: “Struggling to reach your target audience and see real results? We can help! Our experienced marketing team will develop a data-driven plan that combines strategic marketing tactics. Like social media engagement and content creation to increase your ROI.  

We’ll craft compelling content that resonates with your ideal customers and helps you convert leads into customers.”  

4. Awkward Grammar  

Think about how odd it sounds when someone tries to squeeze a word into a conversation where it just doesn’t belong. It disrupts the flow and makes you stumble a bit, right? The same thing happens with forced keywords in your writing. It makes your content harder to read and understand.  

Search engines have gotten much better at understanding natural language. You don’t need to use the exact keyword phrase if it sounds clunky.  

Focus on writing clearly and using synonyms or related words where it makes sense. This will actually help search engines connect your content to the right searches!  

Here’s an example of awkward grammar caused by forcing in a keyword, followed by a more natural alternative:  

  • Awkward: “If you need to improve your online visibility, a marketing agency can help you.” (Trying to force in the exact phrase “marketing agency”)  
  • Improved: “Looking to improve your online presence? Partnering with a skilled marketing agency can make a big difference!” (Uses the concept of a marketing agency without sounding unnatural)  

5. Boring Word Choices  

Use a variety of descriptive words to make your content more engaging.  

Imagine your content is like a meal. Using the same bland words over and over is like serving plain rice with no seasoning – it might be technically correct, but it’s not very exciting.  

Adding a variety of descriptive words is like adding flavor and texture to your dish, making it way more enjoyable for your readers.  

Here’s an Example:  

  • Boring: “Our marketing agency offers good services to help your business succeed.”  
  • Improved: “Partner with our dynamic marketing agency to unlock your business’s full potential. We offer tailored solutions to supercharge your growth!”  

6. Overuse of Passive Voice  

Overusing passive voice makes your writing feel weak and wordy. Think of it like this: Active voice is about who’s doing the action. Passive voice focuses on what’s being acted upon. It often results in sentences that feel vague or indirect.  

Here’s an example to illustrate the difference:  

  • Passive: “The blog post was written by our content team.” (Who did the writing is less important than the fact that the task got done.)  
  • Active: “Our content team wrote the blog post.” (Puts the focus on the doer of the action, making the sentence stronger.)  

See how the active voice version is clearer and more direct? It gets the point across without any extra fluff.  

7. Keyword-Heavy Lists  

Lists can be a great way to break up your content and make information easier to scan. But when the main goal of the list is to cram in as many keywords as possible, it actually backfires. Imagine a list that’s just:  

  • SEO services  
  • Content marketing  
  • Social media strategy  
  • Email campaigns  

This doesn’t tell the reader anything useful. Are these services the company offers? Topics they write about? It’s confusing. Plus, search engines can spot this kind of keyword stuffing a mile away.  

Instead, use lists thoughtfully. Here are a few ways to do them well:  

  • Offer specific examples: “Examples of content marketing include: Blog Posts or Infographics”  
  • Provide solutions: “Having trouble with your SEO? We can help with: Keyword research, On-page optimization, Link building”  
  • Be concise: Don’t make lists overly long – a few well-chosen items are more impactful.  

8. Too Many Links  

Imagine you’re reading an article, and every other word seems to be a clickable link. It’s overwhelming, right?  

Too many links make your content look cluttered and can actually distract readers from the main points you’re trying to make.  

Think of links like helpful signposts. They should guide your readers to additional information that’s truly relevant and expands on what they’re already reading.  

When you add links just for the sake of it, or link to things that aren’t directly related to your topic, it actually weakens the overall experience for your reader.  

9. Excessive Headings  

Headings should break up your content and introduce new ideas. Too many headings with minimal text under them make your content seem thin.  

Think of your headings like a table of contents in a book. The main heading (H1) is the title of the book, and the subheadings (H2, H3, etc.) are like the individual chapter titles. They help you quickly understand the main ideas and find specific information.  

Now, imagine a book with a chapter title on every single page! It would be confusing and make the whole book feel choppy and disorganized. The same goes for too many headings in your content.  

They should be used to break up your text and guide the reader through your main points. When you have too many headings scattered throughout with minimal text under them, your content starts to look thin and unsubstantial.  

Before you publish, scan through your headings. Do they give the reader a clear outline of your content? Could you combine some for better flow?  

Focus on Your Users – This is the Solution  

The best way to improve your SEO is to create content that people actually want to read and find helpful. Think of it like this: you’re not just writing for search engine robots, you’re writing for real people with questions and problems they need solved.  

When you write in a natural, engaging style, people are more likely to stick around and read your whole article or blog post. They might even share it with others, or come back to your website in the future. These are all positive signals to search engines that your content is valuable.  

Focus on solving your readers’ problems, offering unique insights, or simply being entertaining. Keywords are still important, but use them strategically, where they fit naturally. This approach is a win-win: you’ll attract a more engaged audience, and over time, you’ll see your search engine rankings improve as well. 

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