While there are timeless SEO practices that withstood the changes in Google’s environment, there are techniques that worked in the past that wouldn’t fly today. If you want to improve your website’s ranking, here are nine old-school SEO practices that you should avoid, both off-page and on-page.
1. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing means using too many keywords in the page title, meta title, meta description, alt text of the images and in the body of the content. In the past, this technique was used to help a website rank on the first page of Google’s results for their target keyword. But this just wouldn’t work today.
Google is continually updating their Panda algorithm, and manipulative practices like keyword stuffing wouldn’t work with the current SEO environment.
What you can do is use different variations of your target keyword. For instance, if you want to rank for “Japanese restaurant in Makati”, instead of using that keyword repeatedly, you can use synonymous/relevant terms or phrases such as “Japanese restaurant in Glorietta” or “Teppanyaki Restaurant in Makati”.
Click here to learn how to do keyword research
Free keyword tools are readily available on the Web today such as Google Keyword Planner. Meanwhile, a quick way to learn relevant terms to your target keyword is through checking the “Related Searches” section when you look up your target keyword on Google.
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2. Lousy Content
Are you still publishing content that lacks depth and quality? Yes, I’m talking about the 250-word blog post that you quickly whip up just to keep your site “regularly updated”.
An important part of effective SEO is quality content. Remember that people go to the Web to look for information that will help them, and you are giving them that when you publish well-crafted posts and articles. Meanwhile, you will easily lose user interest if your content lacks depth.
Well-researched and informative articles lessen your bounce rate, because people will be compelled to stay and read what you have to say. As a result, you’ll be placed at a higher position on Google search results pages (SERPS).
Good content is also worthy to share. If you did a great job of engaging and compelling your users or audience, your posts can easily go viral. Aside from that, increase a post’s exposure by promoting it on social media platforms and asking other authors in the same niche to feature you in their content.
3. Inappropriate Links
Internal linking can do wonders for your site if you know how to do it properly. However, it can turn into a disaster if it becomes abusive and irrelevant.
Avoid linking to irrelevant pages within your website. Although linking to other pages in the site can help in your strategy, that doesn’t mean that you can just drop links within the body of your content even if they don’t have any relation to the topic being discussed on a particular post.
As a user, how would you feel if you clicked on a hyperlinked word or phrase only to find out that it’s irrelevant to the article you’re reading? More than being bad for your site’s ranking, it’s impolite and disrespectful. Remember, it’s all about user experience. Make their stay on your site worthwhile and see to it that they are getting the help, information, or solution they need.
4. Spammy blog comments
Spammy blog comments are the bane of SEO and can cause your website’s ranking to drop or worse, get penalized by Google. Yes, that’s your worst nightmare right there, and it can turn all your hardwork to nothing if you’re not careful.
Here’s a list of dos and don’ts that will help you veer away from spammy commenting:
- Do contribute something to the conversation. Share your views and opinions about the post and interact with the author and other commenters. Only drop links if it’s relevant and avoid sounding too promotional.
- Do comment on high-quality and relevant content and posts. The Spam Scoring System of Open Site Explorer helps determine how spammy a particular page is and gives you an idea whether it’s safe to drop a link there or not.
- Do build an online reputation and brand awareness by using the name of the representative of your website when commenting. This makes you more relatable and trustworthy.
More so, don’t stop interacting when you placed a comment on a post. Read the other posts found in the site, continue reaching out to the author, and build a relationship not just with the site owner, but with other commenters as well.
- Do put a name of a person on the “name of commenter” field. It is designated for that specific purpose, so don’t use it to link back to your site or promote your brand name.
- Don’t use a keyword or keyword phrase and link it to one of the pages found in your site.
- Don’t put comments that don’t contribute to the conversation at all. Example: “Great post! (link here)”
- Don’t comment on heavily spammed pages.
- Don’t use a vague identity. People need to know that you’re a real person.
5. Social Bookmarking
Links coming from social bookmarking will not improve your strategy and ranking. Most social bookmarking sites are already heavily spammed, so you should just put your efforts on another technique.
Meanwhile, this may still work if you promote your content on high-quality sites like Reddit, but don’t count on it too much. If you still want to incorporate this practice in your strategy, just keep it at a minimum.
6. Spammy Anchor Texts in Forum Signatures
This post is really helpful. Thank you!
House for Sale in Cavite | Cavite House and Lot | Cavite Real Estate
Using keywords on your forum signature and linking it back to your site will not work today. It would be more advisable to use the name of the owner of the site or the person representing it.
Besides, it’s a bit of a hard-sell marketing ploy and this can easily turn off your target audience.
Instead of spamming your forum signature, what you should focus on is joining high quality and relevant forums. This is a good avenue to share helpful content and reach your target audience. If you stick with forums aligned with your niche, you can expect to see highly-targeted traffic to your website.
7. Link Directory Submission
Link directory submissions are not harmful per se, but it poses a danger to your website when you get listed on directories that are low in quality. These directories have very lenient filtering procedures—that is, if they actually sift through submissions because most likely, they don’t.
If you want to give link directory submission a try, you can try to get listed on human-curated directories like DMOZ.com.
8. Sitewide Links
You’d rather have 50 domains linking back to you than 100 links coming just from one domain. Remember, it’s not the number of links that defines the value of your website, but the number of root domains that links back to it.
9. Article submission
Matt Cuts mentioned in the video below that building links on article directories no longer works because it’s an abused technique. In fact, Google have detected this manipulative practice and puts no value on links that come from them.
What you can try is guest blogging. This can work to your advantage as long as you can follow quality guidelines.
Here is a sample of a guest post I made for one of my websites:
http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/optimist-5-ways-maintain-positive-disposition/ - there’s a link at the bottom of the post that points to my site’s homepage
SEO is an ever-changing field, and standards have drastically changed over the years. Basically, you just need to adjust and do strategies that adhere to Google’s standards. Avoid manipulative techniques, just like the nine mentioned in this article, because they just don’t work today. What you should focus on is creating quality content and prioritizing the experience of your audience.