5 Outdated Search Engine Tactics You Need to Stop
Search engines will drive more traffic than social and email if you get it right.
When you start your blog or website that will not be the case. You will need to earn that authority from Google, Bing and the other search engines over time.
It takes persistence and patience.
To provide some perspective on how important this is, this blog now receives over 50% of it’s traffic from organic search. That is free traffic! That is why SEO or “search engine optimization” is so vital.
As with any strategy – business, marketing, SEO or otherwise, sometimes, a refresher is in order. This is to evaluate what works and should be kept, and what doesn’t and should be removed from that strategy.
There’s no set-in-stone timeframe in which you should go about evaluating your SEO tactics. Though as a general rule, the more frequently they are evaluated the better. Additionally, there usually comes a time in every business manager or owner’s life at work when they realise that changes are in order. And that the sooner they go about making them, the better.
Why refresh your SEO strategy
The world of digital marketing is in a constant state of evolution and what worked so well yesterday mightn’t work at all tomorrow. In fact, with the number of Google updates and the like to contend with, even if you saw your website traffic skyrocket yesterday, you could see your website penalised tomorrow.
Consequently, there’s not only an inherent need to refresh your SEO playbook, but to also stay up to date with what’s going on in the constantly evolving world of marketing and SEO, especially where Google and its crackdowns are concerned.
Also, just because you’ve identified a need to make adjustments to your search engine strategy, this doesn’t mean that you’ve made mistakes or gone about things the wrong way. In fact, the truth is usually just the opposite. You’ve correctly made the effort to look for weak points in your strategy. You’ve identified them and now you can work on making the required changes, though you will naturally need to understand the most suitable changes to make.
Your marketing efforts need to keep pace with your business, says Hunter Hoffmann, the head of US communications at Hiscox. He further added,
“Most small businesses evolve or pivot from their initial focus as they react to what works in the marketplace. You can use this opportunity to put more resources to your most effective tactics, cut some of your less successful initiatives and try something new.”
With those important points in mind, here are five of the many outdated SEO tactics that you should remove from your SEO marketing strategy if you’re still relying upon them for SEO purposes.
1. Keyword stuffing
Whoa! If you’re guilty of keyword stuffing you need to do more than refresh your SEO strategy, you need to catch Doc’s DeLorean back in time – not back to the future as you aren’t ready for it yet – and familiarise yourself with what’s been going on in SEO over the past five to ten years.
Stuffing your content, metadata descriptions, titles, etc. is how you get your website removed from search engines because it’s a big no-no and has been for many years now. Whilst there’s nothing set in stone regarding keyword density – the number of times that a keyword appears on a webpage – deliberately stuffing keywords in your content, metadata descriptions and titles is a sure-fire way to get your website sandboxed.
2. Spammy guest blogging
Guest blogging really did take a battering early this year from Google, though that isn’t to say you should cease creating informative, original and quality content to make available on blog sites. This is because content is still king in a number of ways. And by creating original, quality content for blog sites, you can make your business and website an authority on subjects relevant to your business activities and interests.
However, if you’re to continue your guest blogging efforts, be selective about the blog sites that you link to. For instance, avoid blog sites that are blatantly all about the creation of backlinks – MyGuestBlog.com is a prominent example here after being slapped into nonexistence by Google. Be sure also to only upload your content to blog sites that are relevant, i.e. related in some way to yours. For instance, a florist business uploading informative, original content to a blog site concerned with gardening.
3. Favouring quantity of links over quality
The quality of your links is far more important than how many you’ve got. And although Google is no longer adhering to its ‘100 links maximum’ rule and has since stated that you can have as many links as you like as long as it’s a reasonable amount, if you’re still using links to boost your SEO rankings, it’s about time you knocked that strategy on its head once and for all.
4. Placing keywords in metadata descriptions
For many years, it was common practice to place keywords in metadata descriptions, and it’s still ok to do so. However, since 2009 keywords are no longer a ranking factor for SEO, something Google has publicly stated on a number of occasions.
This doesn’t mean you should cease bothering with metadata descriptions, nor does it mean you shouldn’t place relevant keywords in them. But rather, maximise the value of metadata descriptions by writing them with users in mind so as to make them understand why they should click on your link and not someone else’s.
5. Duplicating content
Ok, duplicating content is sometimes necessary – sometimes it’s actually a legal requirement – and as a result won’t incur any problems with Google. But if you’re duplicating content for SEO purposes, particularly content of a poor quality – this is what Google terms ‘deceptive content’ – then you’re asking for trouble.
Many websites require the use of duplicate content. This includes printer-only versions of web pages, discussion forums that generate content aimed at mobile devices, and saleable items that are linked via URLs which are considered distinctly different.
If the examples above don’t describe your duplicated content, chances are you’re in for a rude awakening. However, if you want to proactively address any duplicate content issues that might arise; you can do either of the following:
- Use 301 redirects
- Syndicate content to other websites carefully
- Make good use of Webmaster tools to tell Google how you’d like your website indexed
Every business owner or manager needs to review his or her marketing and SEO strategies from time to time to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. In addition to making changes based on your evaluations, bear in mind that the best way to go about SEO is to follow the guidelines that Google and other search engines have put in place.
Sometimes these guidelines mightn’t make immediate sense or any sense at all even after much scrutiny, but it isn’t up to you. So stay within the parameters they’ve set, keep up to date with the latest changes and trends, and your SEO strategy will ultimately bear fruit.
Author Bio: Martha Williams is a writer currently working on a freelance basis for Digital Rehab, one of Australia’s leading digital project management and marketing consulting companies.