Digital marketing in general and search engine optimization, in particular, have been significantly involved over the last ten years. Search engine algorithms have also come a long way. You can feel that difference even when you look at the Google SERPs. All this means that SEO tactics that were used to drive results a decade ago do not work anymore.
Combine that with advancement and new features being introduced by search engines and increasing scrutiny and crackdown on black hat SEO tactics, you can no longer get away with those shady tactics. Despite all this, many SEOs are still using these antiquated SEO tactics which no longer work. That is why they struggle to achieve the desired results.
7 SEO Tactics You Should Avoid
Here are seven SEO tactics that you should stop using right now.
1. Keyword Stuffing
Turn back the clock couple of decades ago and you will see keyword stuffing being the primary tactic SEOs use. This is because they realized that SEO is all about stuffing keywords in your content. As a result, they started stuffing keywords into pages to the point that it becomes harder to read and comprehend for the readers. Content laden with keywords was the norm back in those days.
It might seem silly today but back in those days, SEOs think that they can get higher rankings by stuffing dozens of keywords in their content. What’s even more interesting is the fact that this tactic used to work back then but not anymore. It was the early days of search engines and they were not as smart as they are today.
As time passed, search engine algorithms matured and became more advanced. Soon, there were able to detect these keyword-stuffed content and started penalizing it as it was not delivering much value to users. That is when the focus started shifting from keyword stuffing to fulfilling the searcher’s intent. Today, if your content does not fulfill the user intent, it has no chance of ranking in search results for your tar
2. Using Exact Match Keyword in Anchor Text
Anchor text was one of the most important ranking factors a decade ago. In fact, if you could include your targeted keyword in your content as an anchor text, it was considered that your page has a better chance of ranking for that particular keyword.
When search engines realized that SEOs have started to abuse this tactic, they stopped using it as a ranking signal. Not only that, search engines like Google launched a crackdown and eventually stopped using it as a ranking factor.
Some started using long-tail keyword variation by adding suffixes and prefixes to the main keywords and spreading them through their content. It used to work till search engines were not capable of understanding the context but once they started analyzing the context, this tactic becomes irrelevant. When it comes to using exact match keywords in the anchor text, you can only benefit from it if you are using it for brand names and own domain names.
Since anchor text is no longer an important ranking factor, you are better off focusing on relevance, authority and the number of authoritative backlinks pointing to a website you are acquiring backlinks from.
3. Submitting to Article and Link Directories
Most SEOs are familiar with submitting their website link or content to article directories and link directories. Just like other tactics on this list, it does not work as well as it used to in the past. Despite this, some SEOs still use them for professional SEO link building.
If you are one of them, make sure you only submit your articles to article directories that have a high domain authority and domain rank. Secondly, you should submit your links to link directories that are relevant to your niche. You should never post links and submasaasit articles to irrelevant directories just to get a link. This can cause more harm than good to your website’s rankings.
4. Writing Content for Bots
One of the biggest questions most content creators have in their minds when writing content is who they should write for? Should they write for users or should they write for search engine bots? If they choose the latter, they will try to insert keywords forcefully just to make it easier for the bots to crawl and index their content. What they don’t realize is that it can have adverse effects as it can make your content look unprofessional to users. Such content could never deliver the value users are looking for as they are created for the sole purpose of attracting search engine bots.
As search engines started considering user signals as a ranking factor and put a lot of emphasis on improving the user experience, we saw that these tactics quickly became obsolete. Today, search engines are smart enough to track how much time users are spending on your website and whether they are satisfied with the user experience and the information or not.
If they hit the back button immediately after landing on your website, this sends a clear message to search engines that users did not get the content they have been looking for. Due to this, search engines will demote your website in their search index instead of pushing it up. You can invest in the best dedicated server to deliver a much better user experience to your website visitors.
5. Buying Links
SEO takes time. Whether you do your SEO in-house, or go with professional SEO services, it takes somewhere from six months to a year before you can see some traction. If you are not patient enough, SEO might not be for you. You are better off looking at other alternatives such as pay-per-click advertising, which can deliver results much quicker.
Sadly, most SEOs don’t like to wait and they take shortcuts. These shortcuts land them into hot waters instead of giving them quick wins. One of the best examples of this is buying links. Yes, buying tons of backlinks can give your website a sudden boost but it is almost impossible to maintain the gains over time.
Moreover, it is strictly against Google’s webmaster guidelines for ads. If you closely look at Google’s webmaster guidelines, it clearly states that it is against their guidelines to pay for links. Sadly, many SEOs are guilty of using this tactic to pass PageRank and authority to their website and end up getting penalized by Google instead of benefiting from it.
There is no denying the fact that you might be encouraged to purchase links especially when you have a new website that wants an instant boost but it will hurt your website in the long run.
6. Creating a Page for Every Keyword Variation
Another misconception most marketers have is that the more pages they have on their website the higher their website will rank on search engines. As a result, SEOs tend to create a new page for each keyword variation. What they don’t realize is that they can not trick search engines with such shady tactics these days, as they are more intelligent now. With the introduction of RankBrain and Google Knowledge Graph, which use sophisticated semantic indexing, such tactics are no longer effective.
7. Buying Exact Match Domains
Similar to using exact match keywords in the anchor text, many businesses have started purchasing exact match domains. They think that it can help them boost their brand visibility online. Yes, it could have been true a decade ago when search algorithms were not that advanced but today, it is not.
The problem with buying an exact match domain is that people don’t trust it, which can make it difficult for you to acquire backlinks from high-authority websites. Moreover, this can have a negative impact on your conversion due to a trust deficit.
Which outdated SEO tactic are you still using? Let us know in the comments section below.