It is safe to say that ‘mastering’ the art of SEO was endlessly easier a few years ago. However, as consumer demands have continued to evolve and the importance of optimising user experience (UX) has skyrocketed, Google and other search engines have adapted to deliver according to higher expectations. This has meant the rollout of regular algorithm updates to weed out ‘black hat’ SEO techniques and to provide consumers with only the most relevant, best quality recommendations based on their search queries.
As such, here is a list of some of the old-school SEO techniques that are no longer effective, many of which could now have a detrimental impact on your rankings instead.
Back in the day, the more keywords that filled your content, the higher your website would rank. This led to a practice called ‘keyword stuffing’ and, unsurprisingly, the creation of a host of website content that was practically illegible — definitely not the type of experience consumers were looking for. Nowadays, keywords still play a role in SEO; however, the secret is to insert them sparingly and to use several variants wherever possible.
Paying for lots of instant backlinks is a dodgy practice that could result in a Google penalty. You should also steer clear of using generic directories or SEO directories when it comes to creating backlinks. Instead, stick to guest posting, making sure to craft quality content that is both informative and interesting to read.
Automated content creation
Back when Google was first starting out, simply posting a significant quantity of content was enough to give your rankings a boost, especially if the content was full of keywords! As such, instead of paying talented copywriters to get the job done, businesses found it to far more cost-effective to spend money on an automatic content generator or content spinning software. It is practically impossible to get away with this today.
In 2020, content is still very much ‘king’, but its value lies in its quality and its relevancy, rather than its quantity. Does it provide consumers with answers to the questions that they are asking? Is it relevant to your brand? Is it original and unique? Does it amplify the user experience? These are all essential questions to ask yourself before posting.
Over-use of anchor text
Anchor text is a vital aspect of a properly optimised website. Having said that, Google is now well-equipped to identify unnatural, keyword-heavy anchor text on internal links, thanks to its Penguin update a few years ago. The best way to ensure that your anchor text gets the thumbs-up from Google is to call on a professional SEO auditing company, like Click Intelligence, for assistance.
Creating separate pages for keyword variants
Think ‘hats for sale’, ‘hats sale’, ‘hats on sale’, ‘women’s hats sale’, ‘women’s hats on sale’ – the list goes on and on. Now imagine having to click through countless different pages focusing on the same topic on a website just to find the right information that you are looking for, and you will understand why Google was quick to outlaw this once-popular SEO tactic.
Now that you know what not to do from an SEO perspective, you can start learning what you should be doing from a clean slate. Good luck!