SEO is continually evolving, and the tactics and techniques that SEO experts utilize in order to provide consistent high rankings for their clients has to change and evolve along with it. If you are not an SEO professional who is continually staying on top of the ongoing changes that happen every day, then you are probably utilizing at least a few techniques that are completely a waste of time, and you probably do not even realize it. One of the major problems with SEO is that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what tactic is working to drive rankings up for a term and what is not, which is why so many amateur SEOs will just try everything that they read online. You may believe that by avoiding the tactics that incur Google penalties that there is no harm in doing as much as possible with regards to search engine optimization, but because the typical person who is doing work and then watching for the benefits will become frustrated if no results happen, they will generally lose interest in SEO, make excuses to themselves about it not working, and then completely stop the process. This failure is common, and because so many people utilize techniques that are proven to not have any real benefit anymore, they are setting themselves up to fail.
Everyone who is involved in SEO realizes that there are things that work and things that do not work. More importantly, there are things that work now and things that used to work, but do not anymore. This is the real deciding factor with regards to a lot of SEO campaigns that are undertaken by non-professional SEOs, where they are doing things that they read on Google as having a benefit, but the fact that the technique used to work and no longer does puts them into a place where they are doing things that they expect results from and are not seeing any. This creates confusion and speculation that there are tricks that they are missing, and if only they would find that one blog that discusses the secret then they would succeed. So they continue to mine Google for information, and continue to find old tricks that no longer work discussed in articles that were written at a time when they did. Nobody in the SEO world bothers to go back to their old posts and update them that the tactics being discussed are no longer relevant, and even SEO companies like ours will have articles in out archives discussing tactics that used to work but are no longer relevant. Why would we bother to remove them, because we are no longer using the tactic? Essentially, if an article on SEO is more than about a year old, don’t bother using the advice because it is probably not very relevant. Using the advice in it will probably get you penalized, if not simply providing no results…no matter how hard you work.
With all of that said, here are 7 outdated SEO techniques that no longer provide much value, at least not in the way they once did.
- More links gets better rankings. While volume of links was once very important, it is no longer the case since the Penguin update. Penguin concentrated on link quality over sheer quantity, and as a result those with tons of low quality links were penalized. While link relevance has always been important, you used to be able to get a boost from developing a ton of links to a site. Now, Google essentially ignores the majority of them and penalizes you if it looks like you have been doing it on purpose. Only relevant links help you today, do not waste your time trying to develop links in volume.
- Write keyword rich content. Google used to respond positively to articles and content that used specific keywords in different percentages and proximity on the page. Google now uses LSI (latent semantic indexing) which is a mathematical equation that compares similar terms. The basis of LSI is that similar terms generally have similar meanings, and the employment of it by Google is important in weeding out those who are writing blog posts and content for rankings and those who are writing to be relevant and provide important information. Only those writing for rankings are forcing a specific phrase into their content, and those who are writing to provide information will generally use different versions of the same phrase as it fits the context of the sentence. If it seems forced, it will generally alert Google that you are trying to rank for a specific term or phrase. If it is used over and over again, you have told them specifically that you want to rank for that phrase. Google’s reaction is to NOT rank you for that phrase. Do not keyword stuff, it does you no good.
- Nothing but specific SEO triggers. What this means is relying on nothing but links, content and code and expecting rankings. While you are probably confused here as to why Google would not give benefits to doing everything right and instead reward others who may not be doing things as well as you, keep in mind that Google is looking for leaders in a field. What this will generally equate to is social followings and social triggers/bookmarks. A website that provides a ton of perfectly written content, perfect code and links is suspect if it does not have a decent amount of social chatter surrounding it. If you are important and relevant, why is nobody talking about you. Concentrate on your social strategy as well as your SEO strategy.
- Rankings, rankings, rankings. Tracking rankings for specific keyphrases is no longer as relevant to success as it once was. While knowing where you rank for a specific target keyword is important to understanding how Google is viewing your site, you can expect far more traffic to come through to your site through LSI, essentially in the form of keyphrases that you are not targeting specifically. Instead of concentrating on the rankings of a few keyterms as success, instead concentrate on relevant traffic to the site through search engines. If traffic is building, then your campaign is working.
- More pages, more rankings, more traffic. Panda penalized websites that have low quality content. The old way of doing things was to create hundreds of pages on a subject and dominate rankings and positions with them. Now, Google looks for content that is thin and low quality and penalizes sites that produce it consistently as part of a program. Never post an article under 500 words with thin development and garbage subjects. You are only hurting yourself by doing it. Only post content that has specific relevance to your subject and has complete thoughts and ideas, well written and formatted. If it takes you less than an hour to produce, don’t post it.
- Text, text, text. Many websites believe that content only is valuable in text format. As a result they kneejerk to Panda’s penalties and write 2,000+ word articles that have nothing but text, believing that the overload of text information is the only way to gain rankings. Google assesses all forms of media for rankings calculations, including pictures, graphics, videos and memes. Utilize all forms of media in order to make your subject interesting to a wide variety of media consumers.
- Rankings means traffic. No, it doesn’t. Rankings for low search volume phrases might bring you specific visitors who were searching for a very specific term or phrase, but do not expect high volumes of traffic if you are targeting low volume terms. Many SEO companies rip customers off in this way, by providing guarantees of rankings for specific terms and then selling it as “if you rank for these terms you will get traffic and sales.” When they position the discussion this way, it seems to make sense. However, when they give you guarantees of rankings it is probably for thin traffic terms that are easy to rank for. Do not expect tons of traffic from phrases that do not have much search volume. Use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool to make decisions on targets that will produce traffic.
Hopefully this will provide a little bit of insight on SEO tactics that do not work any more, and give you a bit of guidance on what to concentrate on in the future. You only have so much time in the day to dedicate to SEO, and if you are wasting that time on techniques that are known to not provide value or improvements, then you are not doing yourself or your clients any good. If it is all too confusing or you do not want to dedicate the time that is needed, then just hire a professional SEO services firm to do it for you.