It’s best to stay updated on best practices and tactics. These 12 outdated SEO practices can cause more harm than good for your brand.
Search engines work to improve their algorithms on an ongoing basis. This ensures a positive experience for the search users.
In order to stay ahead of the digital marketing curve, it’s important to know that search engines update their quality guidelines regularly. If you don’t keep up with these updates, your website could fall behind in rankings.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
In this post, we’ll discuss the outdated SEO and marketing tactics that you should remove from your marketing strategy.
- Misunderstand Keywords:
There are many ways webmasters and marketers misunderstand the roles keywords play in general SEO initiatives, and how they should be used in the day-to-day strategy.
Let’s take a more granular look at specific types of keyword misuse and mismanagement, including irrelevant usage, writing for a specific keyword density, and keyword stuffing.
- Irrelevant Keyword Targeting
While keyword research is certainly a key step in the SEO process, it shouldn’t be the only one.
Novice SEO Practitioners create content that is not properly aligned with the actual keywords or intent of users, but it fits into what they think should be the best keywords to target.
If the keywords targeted in your content don’t align with the copy on the page, you risk creating a disconnect between your content and its goal. Even if it’s otherwise well-written, quality content will be ineffective if it doesn’t match up with what people are searching for in Google.
Google knows what this looks like, and it can truly be defined as an obsolete SEO practice (as well as a “black hat” technique, in many instances).
- Keyword Density
Keyword density is a tactic that has long been associated with black-hat SEO. This misguided practice is intended to artificially inflate the relevancy of a page for targeted keywords.
Writing for a specific keyword density, like many keyword-focused marketing tactics, is just missing the mark. Google no longer depends on keyword density to determine whether a webpage is an effective source for answering a search query.
Content creators and marketers should know that search engines like Google use a multitude of signals to determine search results. Keywords and link building are not the only factors that matter. The quality of content and how messages are delivered, however, remain the most important factors for getting high-value search queries.
- Keyword Stuffing
This is probably the oldest trick in the book.
SEO is about keywords, right?
So, loading up our web pages with keywords – especially the same high-value keyword we are aggressively targeting throughout the website – is going to help us show up higher in search, thus outranking our competition. Right?
Search engines have, for a long time, known what keyword stuffing is and what kind of text combinations are unnatural. They notice these as attempts to manipulate search results and demote the content as such.
Remember, you’re writing for humans, not search engine
2. Write for your Consumers not Robots
One common misconception about writing for the web is that we should repeat a subject by its proper name every time it is mentioned. We should repeat this in plural and non-plural, which includes the same word but in different forms.
When crawled, the crawlers see the keyword repeated, and in several different versions, thus leading the page to rank well for the keyword variations used (over and over… and over again)
This just doesn’t work anymore.
Search engines are advanced enough to understand repeated keywords, their variations, and the undesirable experience of generally bad content.
content: Search engines such as Google and Bing have become sophisticated enough to understand repeated keywords or keyword phrases, as well as their similar alternatives. This allows them to distinguish between your website and other websites that may be attempting to use those same keywords.
3. Article Marketing
Any attempt to game the system doesn’t usually work out in the world of SEO. But that doesn’t stop people from trying, especially when these tactics offer noticeable improvements to a brand, its website, and/or its associated digital properties.
Article syndication is a form of digital marketing that’s often considered to be one of the earliest types. It involves posting content on other websites, which can then redirect traffic to your own website. It’s similar to TV and print ads that are syndicated regularly.
But Google eventually caught on, unleashing its game-changing Panda update in 2011.
The Panda Update revolutionized the search landscape as it targeted content farms and directories as well as other websites offering crap content.
The idea behind article marketing doesn’t make sense today. Today, your content needs to be original and demonstrate Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
4. Content/ Article Spinning
Article spinning is when a person uses software to rewrite content in order to create unique, but similar articles. This is often done by spammers in an attempt to trick search engines into ranking their page higher than others for certain keywords.
It’s no surprise this isn’t effective anymore. The effectiveness of article spinning has been severely diminished by people who have figured out how to combat it, and search engines have caught on. This means the only way to get your content found is to make sure that you write well and add value to the conversation.
As AI becomes more sophisticated, it will no doubt improve its ability to create content. However, any computer-generated material will always be of a lower quality than that produced by human writers.
5. Buying Backlinks
Buying links is a no-no.
Like most SEO tactics, if it seems shady, you probably shouldn’t do it.
Once upon a time, the practice of quickly paying to get links pointing at your site was routine.
Now we know that backlink profiles need to be maintained and optimized just like the websites we oversee. Low-quality domains with far too many backlinks pointing to a website may be dangerous to a website’s health.
Google can easily identify low-quality sites. It will also identify when those sites are sending an abundance of links out that they shouldn’t be.
This is a common problem among website owners who want to boost their authority and visibility — they try to earn links, but instead pay someone else to build them manually.
6. Overuse of Anchor Text
Internal Linking is one of the most important characteristics of any good site structure and user experience.
This is typically done with anchor text, which is an HTML element that allows us to tell users what type of content they can expect if they click on a link. For example, if we want users to visit our About page when they click on our About Us link, we can use the anchor text “About Us.”
In the past, SEO best practices included using exact-match and keyword-rich anchor text. Since Penguin Update, Google has been better at identifying over-optimized content.
If you’re designing content with the intention of optimizing it for search engines, you may fail to produce something that is natural and user-friendly.
If you want to succeed at SEO today, you must do what’s right.
Although outdated SEO tactics may seem like an easy win for your search marketing campaign, they may not be the best option in the long run. For example, using spammy keywords and link building techniques could poison your marketing efforts.
To prevent any drastic changes to your search engine rankings, avoid using low-quality or spammy SEO techniques.
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Digital Marketer by Profession with over 4 years of experience | Google Certified in SEO, SEM & SMO | Strive for greatness | On the path of learning