Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an ongoing effort. This is something every business owner or marketer should print, frame and hang above their desk. It is no exaggeration; we see so many instances when a company “fixed their SEO” years ago and now wonder why they are no longer getting results. Because this issue is so widespread, we decided to prepare an article that covers outdated SEO tactics you should stop using.
Why You Need to Update Your SEO Tactics Continuously
So, what is wrong with relying on SEO tactics that worked several years ago? The main problem is that those tactics were devised to help pages rank according to an older Google ranking algorithm. Now, Google changed the way it looks for relevant search results.
This means that you need to evaluate, discard or update your SEO tactics depending on what Google is now considering as ranking factors. Actually, some of the changes Google made to its algorithm had to do with fighting black hat SEO tactics. Unfortunately, some of these unethical practices are still found among the outdated SEO tactics we will discuss in this article.
SEO Is Not About Cutting Corners
The reason why some businesses still hang on to these old and ineffective practices is because someone told them that they are a “quick trick” to get on the first page of Google. Let us stress one more time (and we will do it as many times as it is necessary): you cannot trick Google.
Not even a Google employee can trick the algorithm. At the present the biggest part of the process itself is run by artificial intelligence (AI). No one can hijack the rules, because it is not a matter of plugging out the AI and taking over to help a website get on the first page of search results for its keywords. Plus, if you are caught trying to trick the system (and in most of the cases, you will get caught) Google will actually penalise your site. Your page rank will drop drastically and you will have to work hard to get back to where you used to be.
Here Are the Top Outdated SEO Tactics You Should Avoid
We hope that you are no longer using these old and, sometimes, unethical SEO tactics. If you still do, please stop now and focus on implementing strategies that actually work (and which you can learn about throughout our blog).
1. Keyword Stuffing/Hiding
The myth: you have to use lots and lots of keywords. Google counts keywords and that’s how it selects the order of websites in search results.
The reality is that the Google algorithm has become very complex, and the keyword is only one of the hundreds of ranking factors. Instead of focusing on keywords, create a coherent content strategy, which is both useful for readers and relevant for Google’s ranking algorithm.
On a similar note, some shady tactics involve hiding keywords in the footer of the website or even writing them in white coloured font on a white background. This would make them invisible for readers, but visible for search engines. Do not do this, because Google is penalising this tactic.
2. Writing for Search Engines
You can recognise a piece of content written for the sole purpose of promoting a keyword. It does not flow naturally. Keywords occur in specific places, even if they do not really make sense.
This is one of the worst outdated SEO tactics, because quality content, written for users, is one of the most important ranking factors at the present.
3. Publishing in Article Directories
Article directories used to be all the rage about 7-8 years ago. How do they work? They publish lots and lots of articles. In most cases, there is no editorial logic – the articles are not categorised or ordered by topic, industry, niche, etc. The authors of these articles benefitted from the fact that they could add several links pointing back to their website.
“Wait, but this is link building! Why is this on the list of outdated SEO tactics?” We understand your confusion. Here is the explanation: article directories have lost their reputation with Google. This means that any links coming from these domains would actually hurt your page rank (by the process called link equity transfer).
4. Article Spinning
Article spinning software made various developers rich… for a period of about 2 years in the mid 2000s. What exactly do these software suites do? They work in two ways:
- They collect paragraphs from other articles already published
- They start replacing words with synonyms.
This means that, theoretically, with a few clicks, you can generate 10 or 20 versions of the same article, which appear unique. In reality, the result is a jumble of words that sometimes do not even make sense. More often than not, these articles do not contain a single coherent sentence. For this very basic reason we include article spinning on the list of outdated SEO tactics that you should avoid at all costs.
5. Exact Match Domain
Here is a thing that used to work years ago: secure a domain name that is an exact match for your main keyword. Google will definitely rank your website higher for the respective keyword.
In reality, the domain name is no longer one of the most important ranking factors. And it is quite awkward to use the domain name “homemadecookiesperth.co.au”. What you need is a memorable and representative domain name for your business. You should try including a keyword in your URL, but not an unnaturally sounding exact match.
One of the outdated SEO tactics still in use is on a par with a social media black hat tactic called “clickbaiting”. You know what a clickbait is: a title that draws your attention and makes your curious. However, when you open the article, it is actually bland and does not match the title.
Linkbaiting is a similar tactic: pointing people to a website with anchor text that makes user curious to learn more. However, they land on a website that is not as interesting and useful as they thought.
7. Pages for Each Keyword Variation
Did you ever browse a website and wondered why they have so many pages for content which could logically go in only one page? The answer is: because the webmasters wanted to boost their SEO by creating separate URLs for each keyword variation.
This is website bloating – making your site slower to load – and has no positive effect on your SEO strategy. Instead of building pages for keyword variations, create content pillars and build a logical structure of subpages.
And this leads us to the next item on the list of outdated SEO tactics…
8. Flat URLs
Flat URLs are linked directly to the main domain name (the home page). This makes your website very difficult to index. Creating subcategories is the logical approach to website structure.
Google is now capable of understanding content topics and will crawl a website more in depth if you subcategorise your URLs.. Otherwise, you may have several web pages not indexed by Google.
9. Content Mill
The content mill is quite simply the practice of publishing lots and lots of content, without focusing on quality in writing or finding useful topics for your audience. Although Google is looking for fresh and original content, it does not rank it indiscriminately.
Your articles and blog post should be well written and proofread, carefully researched and formatted in a way that facilitates reading on any device.