As SEO continues to evolve at a phenomenal rate and Google, the king of search engines, consistently update their algorithm every year, more and more SEO methods have increasingly become irrelevant. Continuing to use old SEO methods that were previously effective may not help your overall SEO strategy. Worse, it can become a liability and prove dangerous to your search strategy.
Before you jump right into your SEO strategy execution, let’s look at these 10 old-school SEO hacks that you should stop doing right now in favour of more updated alternatives.
Let’s face it, keywords are important. It only makes sense to do keyword targeting after doing a bunch of keyword research. Old school SEO tells us that targeting multiple keywords on the same page is a crucial and effective element of SEO.
Keywords are important because it draws clicks. When you overstuff your post with targeted keywords, it becomes sketchy and spammy, giving a negative impression to the user, prompting the user not to click. Consequently, Google uses click signals to document this behaviour and uses this to rank websites over time.
The bottom line is to shift the focus from integrating raw keywords to optimizing the opportunity to draw the click. This is a far effective approach and it has been for the last seven years. Drawing the clicks complemented by the effective use of targeted keywords is a far superior approach.
This used to be a best practice and it proved to have a great impact on rankings. But that was a long time ago. Google has discounted this best practice for several years now and has even penalized those it identified to have abused this practice. Google felt that the use of anchor texts has increasingly become spammy or inappropriate, overdone, and manipulative.
The recommended approach is to use internal links in the navigation or sidebar or footer or even in the inside content for as long as it’s well-written, relevant, and it has high usability. If the internal link decreases usability and appears to sound funny or sketchy, or if you’re trying to make it unnoticeable by making the font so small, you might be putting your website in a dangerous zone. Google can ultimately penalize and/or hurt your website at some point.
This practice was effective five years ago, but its relevance and effectiveness have waned over the years. Today, this is something counterintuitive from a usability standpoint. The idea of having a page for every variation of a keyword may be a technical and precise science but it creates a negative user experience and downward usability.
Google’s new algorithms and AIs, particularly the Hummingbird upgrade with RankBrain last year, have become smarter. It focuses on a much more intensive topic-and-intent matching model. That said, the old school method of creating pages for every keyword variant becomes a waste of time and resources. A single page that targets all the quality keywords and making them fit more intelligently into the content, title, headline, and meta description can go a long way. Again, the intent is king.
Google has been aggressively penalizing websites that have abused link building and other link acquisition techniques. If you continue to tread on this path, this is downright dangerous for your website. Generic directories as well as SEO directories, article links without no editorial review, guest content, press releases, etc. are all within Google’s discount list.
The same thing is true with reciprocal link pages, private link networks, comment links, private blog networks, forum link buys, private blog networks, article spinners, and other advertised paid links. You have to run away from these. Simply say NO.
This is another common but very outdated SEO practice. These are most often keyword-rich sites or domains that pretty much look like optimized photocopies playing around with keywords in the domain names. While the benefit has been effective several years ago, it’s now a costly endeavour that doesn’t really measure up to ROI.
You should move away from multiple microsites and sub-domains. Instead, consolidate and focus your effort on your main domain. This will get you more success in the ranking with less effort compared to the multiplied efforts producing the same result.
Keyword domain names are a thing of the past. Yes, it’s going to get you through 1 to 3 years of the world wide web’s existence. But after 3 years, those domain names don’t really make sense as a brand. They don’t sound like real brand names. They look spammy and a complete turn-off for consumers.
You have to think about positive associations and come up with a credible and more competent brand name. This is the real differentiator. Positive associations draw clicks in unlike partial and exact keyword match domain names. This is an old-school SEO technique that’s designed for short-term success but not really sustainable for business.
For some reason, a lot of SEO pros and webmasters continue to use CPC (cost per click) or Adwords as competition scores as a way to help them determine the difficulty of ranking in organic results. This is absolutely wrong.
There’s no way to correlate how difficult these results will rank in organic search results. This is a misconception since the beginning. The real analysis should be about the competition, their content, their links, social mentions, visitors, etc. These are more difficult to calculate.
A lot of people still engage in using linkbaits—a method to draw links to a website even if the content doesn’t really matter or doesn’t satisfy what the user needs. The result is an immediate negative customer experience. This kind of practice has been so useful before and it really did drive traffic. However, as the search world evolved, driving traffic to your website is not the ultimate success formula.
Search engines have now employed a more sophisticated way of measuring website performance and user experience. Not only will you jeopardize your website, but you’re also going to lose credibility if you continue to employ this old-school SEO method.
With the advent of mobile devices, local SEO has increasingly become a norm. Years before, SEO pros found a way to increase a website’s relevance in a specific location by merely putting all the city names on the home page. Flooding the page with all the names of the cities, regions, states, etc. where the services are being provided.
This is no longer a viable method. If you want your website to rank for a city name, you’ll need an actual page with a description of the city and a meta title as well. This makes you more competitive and relevant.
After two decades of SEO practice, there’s still a lot of people employing hidden text. You heard that right—using hidden text is still a thing. This is totally against correct SEO practices. It’s a frowned-upon practice and it violates search engines’ terms of conditions. If you want to build credibility and trust, play fair, and follow correct and updated SEO best practices, just like how Variance Marketing does.