Anyone who runs a website knows that to climb the rankings they need to put SEO into practice.
But continual updates from Google means that SEO practices are constantly evolving and what worked one month, might not work the next. Keeping up to date with SEO can become a full time job.
So just what are those outdated SEO practices that should be ceased immediately?
Why should you stop using outdated SEO tactics
Outdated SEO practices could do your website more harm than good. By continuing down certain SEO routes, you could unwittingly be:
- wreaking havoc on your page ranking
- reducing traffic to your website
- lowering the conversion rate that you’re so desperately trying to increase
But just how can outdated SEO practices harm your business so badly?
Because Google is all about the user experience. The Google company mission is:
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
And if your website doesn’t help Google achieve its mission, then your website (according to the Google webmasters) is being irresponsible, and should therefore either be ignored, or worse, penalised.
The worst outdated SEO practices?
Unhelpfully, Google doesn’t publish a list of SEO practices that it approves or disapproves of. The majority of the time SEO practices evolve as a reaction to a Google algorithm update or through trial and error. And frustratingly, there are some practices that are accepted one day, and penalised the next.
So, these are 5 outdated SEO practices that Google currently hates.
- Keyword stuffing
It was so common, in the early days of Google, to see pages upon pages of a variation of the same keyword.
But Google has come a long way since then and now places huge importance on the use of natural language.
Rather than picking a keyword and abusing it, you should focus on using multiple long tail keywords that convey the same meaning, but approach the subject from lots of different angles, using a broad spectrum of search terms that your audience might use to search for you by.
Plus, Google wants context, rather than keywords. So think around your subject and use a wide variety of words to demonstrate what your website is about.
- Creating short form content
If you want to write short pithy content that is fine, but don’t expect it to help your SEO efforts.
Instead, focus on creating long form content. The most shared content and the content that tends to rank the highest usually has a word count of between 1,500 – 3,000 words.
Just don’t waffle on to boost your word count.
Users want quality and relevance at the end of the day. So if you’re an expert in your particular field, demonstrate it through in depth articles and other useful content.
- Posting erratically
By regularly posting content onto your site you are not only feeding Google’s insatiable need for relevant and up to date information, but you will be providing your audience with valuable content, which means they come back to you time and again. Plus, they might recommend you to their friends and in turn you can create and build a following. (Well that’s the dream anyway).
According to a study by HubSpot, websites that post new blogs 16+ times every month had the most traffic and generated the most leads.
So what does that mean for you?
Create content when you can and then schedule posting it. Just don’t overwhelm your audience by throwing content at them all at once.
Instead, drip feed interesting, engaging and relevant articles, blog posts or whatever else you keep in your content library to your readers and make sure you don’t let the quality drop.
- Quantity over quality
We can’t emphasise this enough – just because the top websites post a new piece of content every other day, doesn’t mean you should, if it means your content is taking a hit in order for you to meet a hectic delivery schedule. And also, if your audience don’t expect nor want content that frequently, spamming them or bamboozling them with a never ending stream of complex articles is simply going to turn them off you.
There is a fine balance to be struck, so firstly, get to know your audience and what their wants and needs are. Then try and meet them.
Never favour quantity over quality just to be able to churn out more material than your competition. Because in the eyes of Google one awesome, in depth article that is shared far and read widely, is always going to be more valuable than ten shorter, barely scraping the surface articles that frustrate readers more than solve their problem.
Google has even issued guidelines to help website owners create great content.
Essentially Google want quality content that achieves its purpose, that is capable of demonstrating the author is an expert, has authority and is trustworthy.
No biggy, right?
All you have to do is simply check out the top ranking content that rivals yours, then produce something that outstrips all of it combined.
- Buying backlinks
This is the most outdated of all the outdated SEO practices.
Once upon a time it was common to build backlinks by paying for them. But now any website with low ranking, irrelevant, spammy links is going to get heavily penalised. Because Google has expressly forbidden the buying of links.
Think of backlinks as a vote of confidence from another website. If you are that authoritative on your subject that someone else wants to link to you, then you must know your stuff, and if you know your stuff, then other people will want to find you, ergo, you go up the rankings.
And if you buy your ‘votes of confidence’ then you are essentially cheating the system and haven’t earned your place at the top.
So if you want to build backlinks focus instead on building relationships with other website owners in order to get backlinks naturally and be a trusted website. Create content that people naturally want to link to, and you will get those sought after backlinks, and with them, a growing audience.