Old school SEO tactics that are hurting your website

Old school SEO tactics that are hurting your website

When are you aren’t a specialist in the fields of marketing or search engine optimisation (SEO), it’s easy to continue search engine optimisation tactics that worked well for you in the past. Unfortunately, the rapid digital environment transforms and grows on a regular basis, with Google and other search engines algorithms changing the game every time.

You can’t blame them. Google’s job is to reduce the amount of spam, dodgy ranking tactics and attempt to stamp out the amount of useless content in a world of information overload.

We asked the iFactory SEO experts what tactics brands should ditch immediately in favour of more effective strategies. Here’s what they said:

Thin content + overuse of keywords = poor user experience

We get it. Writing great content takes time. According to HubSpot, 42% of marketers spend 1-2 hours writing the average 500-word blog post and 27% spend 2-3 hours. When you don’t write for a living everyday it can take upwards of four hours. 

To reduce the amount of “time it takes” and “get ranking quicker”, companies would often prioritise keywords over the user experience (in this case, the person actually reading a blog). They would create content, metadata and heading with only SEO in mind. To save more time and resources, they’d outsource content to non-English speaking writing services for as little as $1-2. The result: Utter gobbledygook.

Creating this kind of content has been frowned upon since the Google Panda update in 2011 (which is now a part of their algorithm), which aimed to stop sites with low quality content from rising the search engine results page (SERP).

So, what’s the key to good quality content? It’s simple. Your content, whether blog posts, product descriptions or website pages, should:

  • Always prioritise the reader, therefore should be robust, well-written, relevant and engaging
  • Never be written for bots. I.e. trying to organise sentences in a way that awkwardly forces a keyword into an irrelevant sentence
  • Be long enough to serve its purpose, no matter how short (350 words) or long (700 words+)

Creating web pages for every keyword variant

Sure, this had been effective for a long time, but it’s no longer the case. The idea behind this concept involved creating a single page to target every variant of keyword (which could be in the hundreds). This tactic even worked up until five years ago, despite people forfeiting website usability for rankings.

With the Google Hummingbird upgrade and RankBrain, Google has created a concentrated topic matching model. Google doesn’t want you to have three pages for keyword variations for digital marketing services such as “online marketing companies”, “search engine optimisation Brisbane”, “search engine marketing” and so-forth. They want you to have one page targeting all in an intelligent way, via the content, headline, title and meta description. Be careful when doing this not to abuse keywords, stuff them in everywhere and abuse internal link anchor text.

Not sure how to find the right keywords? Our blog on keyword research tools will get you started.

Link and article directories

According to Search Engine Land, link directories are generally redundant today with the exception of high-quality, niche-specific directories with strict approval and editorial guidelines.

Link and article directories started out as a way to share your brand’s insight, knowledge and expertise while garnering links. Online content marketers quickly cottoned on to a few software programs which would allow you to rewrite articles (and avoid duplicate content) before submitting them to thousands of directories – all at once! Of course, anyone can predict what was to happen next. The directories became bloated with poor quality content which provided no value to users. Google’s Panda update set the slate clean by wiping a large majority of these websites.

Exact match domains

Exact-match domains (EMD) were always too good to be true. One would simply launch a microsite for the exact-match domain and climb the ranks quicker than the branded domain. Those who adopted this “strategy” had exact-match domains which looked like this:

  • 123movies.tv
  • Watchfreemovies.tv
  • Watchmovies/free.tv/

Google cracked down on EMDs back in 2012, yet businesses are still using this outdated tactic. If you are, you’ll have a higher chance of getting spammed and risk your brand reputation, with your domain likely to be viewed as less trustworthy.

There are many more outdated SEO strategies that you should put to bed, including:

  • paid links (just don’t do them, no matter how “careful” you’re being),
  • exact match anchor text (have some more variety),
  • indiscriminate guest blogging (unless it’s clearly relevant to your industry) and
  • automated link building (there’s no way to automate “high quality” links).

iFactory are a Brisbane digital agency. We are the experts in all things digital marketing, website design and app development in Brisbane. If you’re still living in the SEO past, get in contact with our friendly team today.

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