Technology is constantly moving at the speed of light and, as a result, the SEO and online marketing landscapes are moving along at the same rate. Industry experts need to be able to keep up with these changes and the unique demands that come with them. As challenging as this task is, updating your knowledge of SEO, improving your digital marketing strategy, and staying on top of Google updates is vital for not only staying in the game, but getting ahead it as well. Essentially, it’s time to get rid of those outdated SEO practices that are holding you back from hitting your online targets.
So which obsolete SEO practices should you avoid and which ones are worth hanging on to? Keep reading to find out!
In the early days of SEO and digital marketing, keyword stuffing was a perfectly acceptable and widely implemented practice. Digital marketers would analyze the performance of industry-related keywords and phrases for the sole purpose of finding ways to essentially stuff them within website content, backlinks, background banners, and so on.
Eventually, major search engines like Google caught on to this dishonest practice and have since put specific preventative measures in place to penalize websites that still do it. The common misconception is that stuffing high-performing keywords throughout your website will help it rank better. Actually, the opposite is true now because search engines have become more vigilant in spotting this tactic early on and stopping it in its tracks. Keyword stuffing could actually diminish your ranking and online visibility, even if you’re producing otherwise great content.
Using Unnatural Sounding Language
With the continual rise of voice search technology, it’s more important now than ever to use natural sounding language in your written and verbal content. Understandably, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what constitutes natural language because that’s subjective to ever single speaker. But the point is that you should strive to create content that makes sense, has a proper flow, and can easily be understood by the average reader regardless of their background.
Incorporating keywords and appropriate hashtags in your content is a good idea, but you need to make sure that you’re not exploiting these elements for the sole purpose of boosting your rankings.
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo crawl websites in search of relevant and informative content. In the past, they’d focus largely on pinpointing specific keywords and that would be used as the main search criteria for high performance and ranking. However, that hasn’t been the case for nearly two decades now. Search engine crawling has become far more sophisticated and as a result it’s since graduated to locating and presenting high-quality, informative, and relevant content that pertains to specific subject matter.
For that reason, it’s a much better use of your time as a digital marketer to incorporate natural language in your content. Simplicity and conciseness go a long way when it comes to boosting your rankings.
Using Articles and Directories to Market Your Brand
Ever since Google launched its Panda update back in 2011, article marketing and directories have become a thing of the past.
Article directories are websites that are dedicated to collecting and distributing articles on certain subjects—sort of like an online encyclopedia. Before the Panda update, article directories were an effective way to boost SEO rankings. Not only did the same article appear on a brand’s website, but the same article would also be promoted across several online directories at the same time.
This meant that the same article could be found on numerous websites. While that might sound great because backlinking is such an effective SEO method, article directories are problematic for a series of reasons. The main reason, however, is that at some point these articles can become public domain in the sense that they’ve been shared so many times on multiple platforms that it can often be difficult to determine what the original source was and who wrote the article. This opens the floodgates for potential plagiarism and the spread of misinformation to occur.
Upon discovering the perils of this tactic, Google and other search engines like it understandably wanted to crack down on this practice as much as possible to prevent the spread of poorly written, low-quality content on their platforms.
Using Certain Types of Anchor Text
Various types of anchor text such as backlinking, internal linking, brand name, page title, etc. have been standard practice in SEO and web marketing for a long time. Unfortunately, not all types of anchor text have been able to stand the test of time. Although exact matching and keyword-rich anchor text incorporation were once SEO standard practices, they’re now largely ill-advised and frowned upon.
Google’s Penguin update made sure of that by penalizing content that was very obviously written for web crawling algorithms and search engines or bots rather than actual human readers. In fact, continuing to use exact match and keyword-rich anchor text strategies can hurt your rankings and diminish your overall visibility.
Creating Separate Pages for All Keyword Variations
Essentially, this is another form of keyword stuffing in an attempt to trick search engines by masquerading a variation of a keywords or phrase as a completely novel concept for your website. Believe it or not, a lot of professional digital marketers are still guilty of implementing this very outdated and obvious practice.
In case you’re wondering what keyword variations look like, here’s an example. Say you’re trying to target potential customers for your asphalt paving business in Toronto, so you decide to create location-based service page for your website. Here are some keyword variants you might consider using to trick Google into thinking you’ve created new content when you’re just recycling the same basic information with slightly different wording:
- Asphalt pavement repairs Toronto
- Asphalt pavement repairs in Toronto
Although these keyword variants will appear on different service pages across your website, this is still the equivalent of keyword stuffing and it`s highly frowned upon by search engines.
Need help optimizing your website based on 2020 standards?
The digital marketing experts at Numero Uno Web Solutions can help you create effective SEO strategies and campaigns that put your brand ahead of your competition and help boost your rankings. Contact us today to learn more!