Out with the old, in with the new. Well, not completely since we can always learn from the old but you get the point ! What was once the foundational practice of SEO has come and gone. Sure, some of those valuable tricks on and off your site continue to hold weight, but search engine optimization has evolved into more than keyword-cramming and ranking-focused actions. What you may have implemented in 2014 is going to be obsolete when compared to 2017 SEO, so learn what has stuck around, and what has to go. To resume it in a nutshell, aim for quality, quality, quality. To quote Andy Crestodina – Co-Founder / Strategic Director of Orbit Media
If you made the best page on the internet for your topic …there are 2000 Google Math PhD’s trying to HELP you; If you didn’t make the best page on the internet for your topic …there are 2000 Google Math PhD’s trying to STOP you.
Then vs. Now
Back when SEO was a newborn in the world of content marketing and website growth, the main focus was gaining more traffic and high ranks through any means necessary. The focus was on organic traffic, meaning that a technical or analytical perspective was valued.
Content held less value years ago. You can still see remnants of keyword-cramming practices where it seems the writer lost all sense of proper English grammar. As long as the anchor text matched exactly to keywords, that was good enough. Generally, authors also avoided personal exposure and only valued how many people were visiting or clicking through their page. In order to do this, website owners bought links and generally disregarded communication in lieu of “pushing” their notifications.
Now, SEO is leaning towards the following:
- Creation of a personal identity;
- Building a brand and working on exposure;
- User experience and meeting demands of the user;
- Social media and referral traffic;
- Marketing know-how;
- Direct, personable communication;
- Community participation;
- Establishing relationships with other websites and users.
Old School SEO Practices to Graduate From
Now that you know how SEO has evolved, let us have a look at what you need to avoid. Chances are you may still be implementing some of these.
Valuing Keywords Over Clicks
A title comprised of keywords, such as, “SEO help, SEO audit, Keywords and Content” may have once served you well in the rankings. Not anymore.
Yes, keyword research is still highly valued, useful, and crucial to getting the overall forecast for the market. Multiple keywords on a single page is also widely accepted still. But if you spam those keywords in a single line or repeat them in ways that read unnatural, then the user is going to steer clear of it.
Pages For Keyword Variants
In the past, people would make pages for every single variant to give gravity to the word on the site. For example, you would see “fine silver jewelry,” “handmade silver jewelry,” “unique handmade silver jewelry,” as different pages even though they all pertained to the same product.
Spamming Anchor Text and Internal Links
An obsolete focus would be anchoring useless text, like linking the word “Google” to Google.com. Others would link text that a person might click thinking they are getting more information but would send them to a sketchy or pop-up riddled website that was usually a paid link (pay-per-click, for example). People will no longer tolerate that, and neither will the search engine algorithms.
Click and Linkbait
Particularly the non-strategic, superfluous kind. Imagine, as the user, you are cruising through the details of a website that has to do with health and fitness then see an ad for “the top ten alcoholic beverages” or “the best wardrobe malfunctions in Hollywood.” You are not going to respond well to that. Offering high quality links over paid links that build on the information already being presented is essential to boosting user experience.
Now that you know some of the old SEO practices that have lost their popularity, it is time to stop using them for your content. Continuing to do so will only penalize your site or drop you from your ranking. Once you have updated your SEO practices, you will notice a healthier growth for your website.