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8 Outdated SEO Practices That No Longer Work

July 14, 2017

If you’re the sentimental type who has a hard time letting go of things from the past, it’s time to start purging, especially when it comes to your SEO practices. What may have worked way back when likely doesn’t work today. If you’re guilty of continuing to use the following outdated SEO tactics, consider letting them go in favour of methods that actually work for today’s websites and search engines.

1. Placing the Importance of Keywords Before Clicks

The idea here is to target some keywords after doing some research on them, and scattering them all over the page for SEO purposes. While you know that clicks are important, you place the importance of targeted keywords before clicks, which doesn’t work because it interferes with the natural flow and readability of the content.

Some people won’t click simply because these unnaturally sounding keywords that have been embedded within text seem spammy. Yet Google uses click signals to help documents and websites rank over time. Instead, you want to use anchor text that actually entices people to click.

2. Overusing Anchor Text on Internal Links

While this may have worked well before, it doesn’t any longer. Google is now discounting this practice and has even punished it if they believe it seems inappropriate or spammy. If your internal link is in the navigation, footer, sidebar, or content, and is relevant and flows well, you should be safe. On the other hand, if it has low usability and looks sketchy, Google could penalize your site’s rankings.

3. One Page Per Keyword Variant

Webmasters back in the day would dedicate one targeted keyword per web page. And while this was effective for a while, it’s not any longer. There’s just no sense in dedicating one page per keyword – which sacrifices usability – when you can effectively incorporate many variations of the same keyword into one web page.

Google has gotten smart about things like this with their latest algorithm updates. What you need to do is sprinkle these keywords intelligently into your content, headline, title, meta description, and others.

4. Paid Links and Directories

Generic and SEO directories, article links and article blasts, comment links, article spinners, private link networks, private blog networks (PBN’s), paid link networks, and Fiverr or forum link buys are being penalized by Google every day, so you should stay away from them. Basically, any links or unethical practices that you have to pay for should be steered clear of.

5. Various Niche Websites With Separate Domains

Similar to dedicating one web page per targeted keyword, dedicating one niche website per keyword is a waste of time. The benefit was to gain domain authority a lot faster. But what you’re doing is splitting up your efforts, which means each site would have its rankings split too.

What you should do instead is combine your efforts into one single domain. Putting all of your efforts in one spot will give you the best chance at earning the best rankings for your website.

6. Exact and Partial Keyword Match Domains

While you might want your domain name to have an exact or partial match to your targeted keyword, many times it doesn’t sound natural or like a real business. Over time, these domains will draw clicks away from your site and towards your competitors who will sound more competent and more branded than you. For this reason, you should avoid them.

7. Using CPC or Adwords’ “Competition”

When doing keyword research, many people still think that using cost per click or AdWords as competition scores will help pinpoint how hard it will be to rank organically in non-paid results. This is the wrong way to look at it. The cost of the keywords for Adwords and pay per click, as well as the level of competition, are not correlated with how challenging they will be to rank for organically.

8. Unfocused “Linkbait”

Some people are still using link bait with the idea that if they can draw links to their website, it doesn’t matter if people don’t like the content or if the link bait actually matches what’s on the website. This is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing.

Instead, what you should be focusing on is link bait that’s on topic, takes people to relevant content that they enjoy reading, and creates a positive branding association.

If you’re still using any one of the above SEO strategies, it’s time to toss them. Instead, focus your effort on updated and white-hat techniques that actually work to bring your organic SEO results where you want them to be.

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