Do You Do Any of These 8 Outdated SEO Tactics?

Back in the day your sites were rocking and rolling, raking in the cash and ranking high up in the search engine results. If you went away for 10 years, 5 years, or 3 years, and returned to start SEO efforts again, then you would be in for a shock. So many renditions of Google have come and gone, technology has changed to now incorporate YouTube, social media, and even the legitimacy and Internet footprint and trust level of sites to determine rank. The quality of what’s on a site is at the top of the list of what makes Google take notice and give your sites a chance these days.

We share what used to work, afterward providing a look at today’s best practices, by comparison. Follow this guide to ensure your sites are not sent to Google’s dumpster: basement rankings.

Root out all of these antiquated SEO practices of yore to rescue yourself from good-habits-turned bad. Replace them with good practices to achieve success going forward.

What Not To Do #1: Keyword Stuffing Headlines

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Sure you want to show off your keyword research by jamming all the keywords efficiently into the title and onto one page. Who is not into those throwback keywords and practices? Truthfully, readers never loved those pages. It made them question the quality of products or advice offered in them.

These days, what sounds efficient is going to have you out there with the grasshoppers — chirping alone in the woods. Wooden Pipes, Tobacco Pipes, And Wood Pipe are grasshopper food. Great for keeping the crowds and clicks away. Even Google will stay far away from your site.

Yes, you get the point — clicks are good. Yet, this is no longer a way to get them. Google actually reads for context and crawls for meaningful quality in writing. In other words, do people really want to read your garbage or not?

The mishmash of words stuffed into the title screams spam, virus, malware, and a waste of time. It used to help your site rank with Google. Not only will this practice no longer achieve clicks, but Google will demote your site to the basement for provided worthless garbage.

Instead Do This: Keyword Breathing Room

Increase your ranking by taking the keyword research, and parsing out the different keywords into separate blogs or articles. Do not confuse this with making separate microsites or subdomains for all the separate keywords. Instead, write coherent and thorough blogs addressing the keywords as a topic of interest. That’s what your potential traffic wants, and also what Google rewards.

If you want your site to be found, then try a headline like this: “Wooden Pipes: Find Flavorful Tobacco In Your Price Range”. This communicates in a way that has a clear message. While it covers relevant keywords it also makes sense, probably has interest for a segment of my pipe smoking audience, while selling our line of products. For one, it demonstrates our tobacco products reach every budget.

The other technique and purpose with this headline is to make a message like I might for AdWords. Again, the focus is not on the keywords but on getting the attention of the party I want to attract for the click-through. It’s effective, easier to write, and more appealing for the audience too. Keep in mind, this method has been preferred for almost 7 years now.

Blast From The Past #2: Anchor Text Within Internal Links

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This was a guaranteed recipe for success in the past. Now, it is a recipe for disaster, as Google takes harsh action against this tactic.

A Better Way #2: Better Quality Writing

These days, the recipe for success is similar to what we did in tip #1. We caress the copy, adding appeal, purpose, and make it make sense. In other words, yes, we are still employing that tactic of yesteryear, but making it sound smooth and natural, and slipping it naturally into the sidebar, headers or footers. Be forewarned that to use this method it must look natural, and not try to hide in plain view, as in being just for the search engines.

Remember the search engines are much smarter than ever. They know all the tricks and are on the lookout for sites that try to play the search engines. You will likely be discounted and harmed by Google.

Tsk, Tsk #3: Having A Page For Every Variation Of A Keyword

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This is one habit that’s facing a long, slow death even among the best of us. It was such a successful tactic for such a long period of time that people are having a tough time just letting it go. But, let it go we must if we are to have a site that’s anywhere worthwhile in the Google rankings.

To be clear, taking every variant of the keywords of Wood Pipe, Wooden Pipes, Wood-Carved Pipes etc. and giving them separate pages is bad practice. Google notices and comes down hard on sites that do this.

RankBrain and Hummingbird nipped this practice in the bud. Sure, the variations on wood pipes searches are real and present in AdWords. And, yes, you still want to deliver the goods to attract site traffic. Just do it all one one page. Not in the smarmy, keyword stuffing way that scares off readers, and lets Google kill your site. Do it in a natural way that makes full and creative use of the meta description, title, footers and even the text area.

What To Avoid #4: Skip Paid Links And Directories

Google does not like to be played anymore and punishes sites for attempting to wag its tail. Yes, it’s tempting. Don’t do it. It is only tempting the fates that Google controls. If you want to keep your site successful then skip SEO and generic directories.

Spammy auto-publishing of articles without any review process (think quality control, such as editing) are frowned on. Guest blogs and press releases are both in a gray area that are potential targets of Google. If your site is taking advantage of the process of how press release sites work, but not providing quality content, and using Google to manipulate searches coming to your site, you will lose.

Comment links, if you have been out of commission on the web-development scene for years, have not worked since you have been gone. Anyone who spun articles into crud that made no sense, along with private links also saw their traffic shut to a mere trickle many moons ago.

Even private blog and paid link networks have gone the way of the do-do birds thanks to Hummingbird and Penguin. Skip link buying sites as well, no matter how good the smarmy and sketchy pitch to guarantee rankings sound. They not only do not work but will ruin your site.

They will claim to use Moz and have some authority of the domain on a ridiculous number of sites. While Moz is great, it turns out domain authority is like looking in a mirror at a fun house. It’s not going to reflect back what you will get back clearly. You assume it is high ranking, but that’s just not the case. If someone is selling links on a forum, stop and think before you buy. Is it worth all your effort to lose your site because of one impulsive decision? Again, just say no to social links as well.

No-No #5: Microsites And Multiple Separate Domains For The Same Target Topic Audience

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Sure long-tail keywords are all good these days. What you may have done it the past was more along the lines of creating separate pages for every single variant of a keyword. It was such a great idea to make separate pages, people made separate super-specialized “micro” target websites.

We all had them in order to get rich back in the heydays when Google was into giving out free money. The idea was to include the same material on different sites to attract the same target audience. For instance, if it was about televisions, it might have been Sony Plasma Televisions, Toshiba Plasma Televisions, ToshibaTV, SonyTV, but populated with the same content.

Remember that term domain authority? That’s what this accomplished. And, it turns out it used to accelerate that effect, making sites very lucrative.

Though, here’s the inherent drawback. Imagine there’s no problem with precisely matching domain names. Imagine for a moment you could link freely to them without any fear of big, bad Google undoing your years’ worth of work. It turns out it had results of great success in the individual branding on each one while earning links for every site. The content marketing for this site would apply to everyone.

Now, what happens is that the sites would actually be ranked a fraction as well as the site before it, to the point where the sites are not really benefiting from the links. These days good sense tells us instead to focus all of our efforts on combining the different variants to exist on one single domain. Microsites were fractionally effective, even if they were still allowed. Maximize earnings while focusing efforts on making a great site that has content you can be proud of while attracting your target audience. Just make one focused site rather than having subdomains.

#6. Exact And Partial Keyword Match Domain Names

The truth is that general exact or partial keyword match domain names don’t sound credible and we are talking about domain names such as handmadepipes.net or woodenpipes.com. These names don’t even sound like they are owned by real brands and consumers will take notice to this. If you use exact or partial keyword match in your domain, the chances are consumers are going to head straight to your competitors. You want to sound credible and more branded, so avoid partial and exact keyword match domain names

Plus, such domains don’t do well when it comes to content marketing, earning links and having guest posts accepted by other websites. The reason is because people don’t trust it. The same goes for press mentions and public relations, so just don’t do it altogether.

Exact and partial keyword match domains are a barrier and will not do you any favors. Sure, you may find that there are a few keyword benefits of doing it, but the truth is that the cons outweigh the pros. If you choose to go down the route of getting a partial or exact keyword match domain, then you will eventually become overwhelmed with the roadblocks that come with it.

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#7. Using Adwords Or CPC Competition

People often turn to Adwords or CPC to learn about how hard it is to rank keywords, either organically or paid, but this is not the way to do things because it simply doesn’t work as good as it used to. Let’s say you lookup “hard-carved pipes” and the results show that the CPC is around $3.80 and the competition is medium. There really isn’t a good way to find out how hard it will be to rank that keyword in the organic results.

You need to know what types of links your competitors are using and who the competitors actually are and what kind of mentions they have on social media. You need to learn about how robust their content is and how many visitors they are actually receiving. As you can see, you simply can’t get that information from most keyword tools.

MOZ uses a keyword difficulty score and we love that tool, and other tools have their own way of scoring difficulty. We think Doctor Pete did a good job at creating a keyword difficulty score and there are a lot of metrics used about domains, page authority scores and other things. If you want to have a good chance at ranking a keyword, then stay away from basic keyword tools and use the tools that provide you with various metrics and not just one or two.

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#8. Link Bait That Is Unfocused

Believe it or not, there are still many people who are using link bait strategies and this is probably because content marketing has become popular throughout the years. There has been a lot of emphasis placed on content strategy. When people think of content strategy, they tend to think of building links.

Unfortunately, far too many people take part in unfocused link bait, whether they do it on purpose or not. The main idea behind this method is to get links back to their website, even if the content doesn’t make readers happy or if it doesn’t blend in with the website. There are so many SEO’s that are doing this and one extreme example is “here are five actors who at one time wore almost nothing.” You can find such titles and links at the bottom of ads for various types of content and many of these links say similar stuff or use similar language.

Sure, sometimes link bait can gran the attention of people, but high quality content is where it’s at and high quality content is what will create a positive image for your brand or website, while link bait is associated with gimmicks and people tend to know what websites are doing when they use link bait methods. Interesting content and content that is based around data does far better than link bait methods that use titles that don’t accurately describe the content that the person is about to read. The truth is that link bait may help you get a lot of traffic in the short-term, but it can have a major negative impact on your site in the future because people will just associated your site with nothing positive.

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The above eight SEO methods don’t work anymore or the don’t work as good as they once did. Some of them may work very well at first, but eventually your results will fade away and you will struggle to get traffic. What you want to do is research some of the best SEO techniques people are currently using and switch from using old SEO methods to using current methods because times change and so does the way people look and think of content. The sooner you start using newer SEO methods and the sooner you scrap the above three methods, the sooner you can get better results.

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