Unless you have been living under a rock for the last two decades, you have no excuse for not knowing about SEO. In spite of several tries by Google and almost all marketing experts around the globe, SEO is a recurring nightmare for bloggers and e-commerce site owners. Webmasters have been trying to master the art of it ever since targeting keywords became a thing. In the beginning, their tries the efforts of black-hatters thwarted, who would use keyword stuffing and link farming to establish their dominion over the web. Later, it became way too complicated for simple webmasters to make space for their sites among the SEO experts.
Competition has always helped us evolve and become better than before. The same is true for the web. Over the years, search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo have tried to make the web a better and safer place for the users. In the process, they have overtly penalized quite a few black hat methods. Sadly, a number of white hat SEO methods from back in the day now fall under the category of black hat SEO. Several webmasters are unaware of these factors, and their websites are still taking the brunt.
Do you know why your website is not performing as well as it should? Do you have any sneaky black hat strategy in place? Here are ten SEO techniques that you should have gotten rid of ten years ago!
1. Link directories
Link directories are not as useful as they used to be unless you are storing some high-value and high-quality links. They were a method of indexing sites and their content in the disco days of the internet. However, they are irrelevant now, and they might even incur some damage to your site. They have become a junkyard of low-quality links that signals search engines of poor choice and substandard quality.
2. Reciprocal links
Reciprocal linking is the SEO way of saying, “You scratch my back and I will scratch yours." Search engines have stopped taking kindly to websites and domains that engage in reciprocal linking. They consider this practice as a form of manipulative linking that adds zero-value to the domains involved. If you have any such links on your site, you should double-check their authority. Most of them end up in toxic dumps of unscrupulous links or resource pages.
3. A flat URL structure
The URL structure of your site and web pages will determine how the search engine views your website. It is all about humanizing the URL structures right now. The URL should be easy to read, informative and easy to understand. Start by changing the default settings of your permalink structure.
4. Keyword repetition and stuffing
This point is all too well-known by all SEO experts and website owners. Yet, they try to overstuff the target keyword or its variants, because it is the easy thing to do. You cannot make up for other faults in the SEO, by stuffing more keywords into the content. There might be no particular guideline for ideal keyword density, but sticking to less than 1% is the norm for medium length articles.
5. Keyword-rich identical anchor texts
This was not a penalty-attracting factor even a couple of years ago, but the marketers have overused this tactic. Finally, Google has come down heavily on the use of exactly matching anchor texts, and the search engine has started penalizing websites that have been doing so. Currently, Google emphasizes the following instead of identical anchor texts –
- The authority of the website you are linking to.
- The number of links between your site and the authoritative site, and their relevance.
- The bearing of your site with the linking site.
6. Dedicated pages for keyword variants
When you use the variants of a keyword in different pages of your service or company website, you fool no one. Google knows exactly what you are doing and does not treat it any differently than keyword stuffing. This is a new trend that has started since the evolution of RankBrain. If your business focuses on car servicing, you can choose to dedicate tens of pages on the topic with several variants of the same keyword (car maintenance, vehicle repair or automobile servicing), but your website would perform much better in case you created one dedicated page describing your service, complete with all keyword synonyms.
7. Paying for website links
There is no worse crime in the eyes of Google search engine and the bots than paying for the links. Practicing this violates Google Webmaster Guidelines, and it attracts a hefty penalty from the search engine. Yes, it may have helped your friend or your competition to buy links, but for how long. It is impossible to escape Google's scrutiny and survive the competition with purchased links. It is simply not worth it in the long run.
8. Not optimizing for local SEO
Yesterday, it may have been alright to ignore the importance of local SEO, but today, you need to include the possibility of mobile searches that require local results. Therefore, there is no way you cannot update your Google My Business profile for your locality of business. For example – your business caters exclusively to Monmouth County. Ideally, the address on GMB, Google maps, and your website should contain the location. That is the primary way of optimizing for Monmouth County SEO.
9. Not writing for your visitors
There was a time when satisfying the bots was enough to earn brownie points from Google. As artificial intelligence has become a part of their search engine ranking algorithm, ranking by writing for just the bots is no longer enough. You need to pay attention to the visitor’s interest and experience to be able to impress the leading search engines.
10. Creating more than one website for the same business
This is a deadly trap that many businesses set for themselves. Neither of the two approaches that can create multiple interlinked websites for your business is effective today. Linking several websites that you may own falls into the domain of black hat, and it attracts penalty from the king of search engines.
Staying on the right side of SEO is very important to stay visible and active. In most cases, employing a team of experts to oversee your website’s optimization for leading search engines can help you enjoy better traffic and higher ROI.