These tactics can not only be ineffective but also quite devastating. Even after repeated warnings from Google, SEO professionals continue to use them, even though they almost die down.
Here are some outdated SEO tactics that you should avoid at all costs.
1. Article and Link Directories
Link directories are not of much use these days, except for niche-specific high-quality directories that adhere to strict editorial guidelines.
Link directories were used earlier to categorize websites to make it easy for visitors to find things. Link directories became popular as the website owners were looking for more revenue and the software that powers them are simple to install and use.
Search engines become powerful overtime and as link directories didn’t provide any real value to visitors, they quickly lost their effectiveness as a link-building tactic.
Things are worse with article directories. This tactic was readily abused. Software were used by marketers to “rewrite” articles and submit them to thousands of article directories within no time.
Both article directories and link directories didn’t provided any value to visitors. They were used by marketers just to get easy and fast links. Low-quality content flooded the web and as Google’s Panda update was released, it destroyed endless number of websites.
2. Domains with Exact-match
For some time, exact-match domains (EMDs) were very popular as they turn to be good for search engine optimization. Just launch and exact-match domain and it could rank higher than a branded, traditional domain, that too within weeks or even in days at times.
The power of EMDs were quickly lost as Google made changes in its algorithm. Exact-match domains may become popular overnight, but they can easily be flagged as spam, either manually or algorithmically.
3. Reciprocal Linking
Link to another website is considered by search engines as a “vote’ for that website. Reciprocal linking means you link to me and I will link to you.
This tactic is used in manipulative linking and has been blindly used by millions of marketers, even with websites having no relevance to them.
In many cases, these links were not connected to valuable content, but were dumped on a “resources” or “links” page. It offered no value to visitors as at times it was broken into hundreds of other links.
This tactic is long dead, but it is still used by many of the marketers.
4. Flat URL architecture
This is not actually a “tactic” as this is the default way to set up the WordPress and many people are not aware that they need to change it.
Search engines finds it difficult to understand the hierarchy of the website due to flat URL structure since all the pages are given same amount of importance.
The first step is to change the settings for default permalink. Nested URL structure communicates clearly the importance of every page in comparison to other pages on the website.
The slugs of a category should match exactly with the slugs on the second-level pages. It is important as it enables search engines to value every page with the website as compared to others.
It is important to think on it before hand as making changes later on may bring down the ranking of your website.
5. Indiscriminate Guest Blogging
Opposed to many people belief’s, guest blogging is still alive and effective. However, it has changed considerably. To use it to our effectiveness, it is crucial to understand how it has evolved over the years.
Guest blogging is like traditional public relations. The basic objective is to try and hook up to a bigger, existing audience and publish an article on an established publication. It helps in:
• Demonstrate Your Expertise
• Build credibility, authority and trust
• Create more exposure
• Build a personal brand
Initially, a website owner would search publication opportunities for guest posting based on size and relevance. The purpose was to reach the right people with a killer content.
Such a link would contain one or more links back to the website along with a short bio.
Marketers latched on to this feature and published regular posts that would have no relevancy. A construction website was found posting links for an SEO website.
It didn’t took much time to come to the notice of Google and as a result numerous websites died down or took years to recover back.
6. Keyword Stuffing
There was a time when search engines were only able to interpret simple signals, such as keyword density. Putting in truck load of keywords into a web page was required to make it relevant.
This tactic is no longer effective and can never inspire trust in your company or website.
7. Exact-match Anchor Text
Anchor text was a big big ranking factor at one point. Marketers would try to acquire as many links as the anchor test as one could.
This tactic was also abused by marketers and the ranking of many websites was pulled down by Google who had unnatural number of keyword-rich anchor text backlinks.
There was generally a lot of variety for a natural link profile in anchor text distribution. The reason is in case 100 different people link on your website to the same page, every link would be used with the content in a different context.
8. Low Quality Content
Many people complain that they are not able to write articles for their website. They are frustrated that it takes too much time and effort.
It leaves them with little time to do something else.
The first rule for effective SEO is to provide amazing content on a regular basis. It can be understood that it is difficult for many marketers who are short of time
It is because of this reason many companies outsource the content writing work to non-English speakers or to budget services such as Upwork or Fiverr. The resulting content is mostly off the mark.
The task creating content just for the sake of publishing it is long gone and the credit goes to Google’s Panda update in 2011. The algorithm has been further refined and worked into the core algorithm since then.
The content need to be well-written, engaging, robust and accurate. There is no ideal length. It can be long or short, but it should be able to serve its purpose completely. The content can be of few hundred words or it can be of several thousand words.
9. Writing for Bots in place of People
In case you repeat a particular keyword in your article over and over, and many a times the sentence does not make any sense, then it is quite likely that you are writing for bots rather than people.
SEO has improved a lot since its early days. There is no need to spell out everything in order to rank page and for the search engines to understand. Your basic aim should be to write for people, as they are the ones who will buy your service or product.
Many marketers are still using these tactics. Later on they complain that they are not getting promising results. In frustration, they blame search engines to be too hard on them. The fact they are the culprit in actual.