10 SEO Strategies That No Longer Work
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the easiest ways to raise your website to a relevant position in the search engine results pages (SERP). It helps your business get more exposure, which leads to more website visits, which translates to more eventual conversions. However, SEO changes frequently. Google alone makes close to 500 algorithm changes in a given year. Some of them are minor tweaks in back-end processing, but a few of them are major and will lead you to reassess the way you approach your SEO strategy. With that being said, in the past few years a lot of once-popular SEO tactics have fallen short. Take a look at our comprehensive list of the 10 SEO strategies that no longer work.
1. Duplicating Content
In the past, businesses would write one blog, make some small changes to the wording, structure, or format, and repost it as a new blog. This was to boost keywords and quantity of content on a website and was not exactly frowned upon. However, once Google and other major search engines caught on, they started penalizing businesses.
The major reason for this change is because that duplicate content doesn’t add any value to your website. Your readers already have access to the information and having it indexed twice, or more, doesn’t make the search engines happy. Instead, they’ll push you further down a SERP and you’ll see a decrease in organic web traffic.
2. Poor Quality Links
During the advent of the Internet when companies began churning out websites left and right, link building was more about quantity than quality. Businesses would pay for other websites to link back to their sites, add their website to an unnatural amount of generic and SEO directories, post a massive amount of comment links, and blast content in multiple places on the web. This does not work anymore. Instead, you need to focus on natural link building through developing high quality content. If people like what you have to say, they will link back to your site.
Buying links is a dangerous SEO tactic to include in your strategy and should be avoided at all costs. If you don’t, you could get severely penalized by Google and even have your website taken down or blacklisted.
3. Keyword Stuffing
One of the most prevalent SEO tactics used to be keyword stuffing. People would take one of their website pages or write a blog and completely overuse a specific short- or long-tail keyword. There were even some black hat SEO tactics where people would write their keywords using invisible text in the background of their website to boost rankings.
Thankfully, Google caught on and simply doesn’t accept this type of behavior anymore. Algorithms have been changed to avoid keyword stuffing and if you move forward in an attempt to do so, you could find your business completely blacklisted by Google. It’s simply not worth the risk. There are other ways for you to use keywords naturally that can still help your SEO, but stuffing isn’t one of them.
4. Keyword Variant Pages
Falling in line with keyword stuffing is creating keyword variant pages. Until recently, this was easy and didn’t cost much to get done. It involves creating one page of content, roughly 250-500 words, that was focused solely around the keyword you were trying to rank highly for. Businesses would churn out articles like “best marketing company Chicago” or “good marketing company Chicago.” At the time, this made sense. It helped create more pages for search engines to index, thus boosting relevance, while also increasing your rankings for highly competitive keywords.
As you can imagine, this technique has been abandoned by Google and no longer holds any strength. Now, search engines are more focused on user intent and user experience rather than how many pages of technical jargon a business has.
5. Exact Matching
First, let’s go over exact domain names. This refers to the process of using highly competitive keywords to create a website domain name. While this does help your search results rankings, if your website is lacking high quality information, the search engines will notice. It’s not a problem to have a domain name with a strong keyword included, just make sure that’s not you’re only focus when creating a website. This same concept is spread to include title and meta tags.
Anchor texts are a good way for you to increase your SEO, but when it’s done aggressively and in an obvious matter to attempt to boost your SEO, you won’t make it far. Google has recently enabled a spam filter to catch this type of behavior because exact matches aren’t considered to be natural link backs. Don’t get too caught up with anchor texts, just build your website and links naturally and you’ll be rewarded.
6. Using Clickbait
You’re probably familiar with clickbait. It’s when you see an article containing a headline that creates this urge to know more, or to find out what happens. Then, when you visit the website, it’s either pages and pages of information you need to physically click through with the headline’s promise at the very end or completely different content than what was advertised.
This falls under the umbrellas of low quality content and irrelevant content. While you may get a higher click through rate, people will leave your website faster than they got there and this will take a toll on your overall SEO strategy. Instead, try to come up with headlines that are catchy and honestly reflect the content that’s inside. As long as you’re producing high quality, relevant, and accurate content, you’ll rank well in SERPs.
7. Illegitimate Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a great way to give insight on your expertise to an audience of readers that might not have known who you otherwise were. It helps you grow, gives the original website owner some fresh content, and spreads information. However, there is a difference between legitimate and illegitimate guest blogging and you need to stay away from the latter.
People have turned a great way to gain exposure into a shady, black hat tactic that is losing its value. If you want to write a guest blog, or feature one on your website, make sure it’s relevant, strong, accurate, and engaging. Stay in line with your business’ goals and only write a guest post for someone else’s website if it make sense for you to do so. Never write a guest blog post solely for the purpose of getting more links. It will backfire on you.
8. Only Optimizing Your Website
Prior to the rise of social media, website optimization was all you needed to focus on in regards to SEO. However, now that social media has become such an engrained part of daily life, you need to be using it for SEO benefits. When you focus on only optimizing your website, you aren’t going to grow as strongly in SERPs. This is because Google and other search engines favor businesses that have active, engaging social media pages.
If you produce content on a regular basis, make sure you’re sharing it across all of your social media profiles. This will give you a boost in search results and strengthen your business’ webpage. Plus, the chance to grow your customer base and audience doesn’t hurt.
9. Ignoring Mobile Users
The use of mobile devices for online activity is continually growing in an exponential way. Phones aren’t just phones anymore, they’re mini computers that we can carry around at all times. This means you need to stop focusing on optimizing things solely for desktops. Mobile optimization and integration is much easier than you’d think, so just make sure you take the time to include it in your SEO strategies. The benefits far outweigh the time it takes to ensure you have a mobile friendly website.
10. Using Microsites
Microsites are a bunch of small, poor-quality websites with different domain names—sometimes linking back to a main domain—that work to specialize and gain exposure on specific keywords in an industry. People used to do this to gain authority on the SERPs, but now, irrelevant microsites will do more harm than good. Your efforts will go much farther if you focus on creating one, high-quality website that has an array of valuable content for your readers.
If you want to get serious about your SEO strategy, you need to stop implementing the above 10 tactics. You should also make sure and keep an eye on any major changes in Google’s algorithm or other search engines. Strong SEO will help take your business to the next level by giving you more exposure on results page, which not only leads to more conversions, but also helps you to build stronger brand recognition. Just make sure that when you start implementing things, you avoid these 10 SEO strategies that no longer work. If you do that, you’ll find yourself on a strongly paved path to success.