By Jessica Fender
It’s not always easy to stay on top of the most recent changes that Google and other search engines make to their algorithms. Just know that they are constantly changing in order to provide users with the most relevant results. One side effect of these changes is that SEO tactics that may have worked very well now no longer do. Worse, using them can even result in penalties and poor rankings. If you are still using any of the following SEO tactics, it may be time to put them to bed.
1. Publishing Multiple Pages with Variations on the Same Keywords
Most webmasters have gotten away from this, however, you will still see it from time to time. Have you ever surfed into a website, scrolled to the bottom of the home page, and found links to several pages, all seemingly covering the same content? This is a form of keyword stuffing. Unfortunately, while people are getting away from forms of stuffing this one persists. It may be because spreading keywords across pages seems a bit less offensive than stuffing them in one post.
Well, the jig is up. This can result in penalties and lower ranking just like any other form of keyword stuffing. Then there’s the user behavior consideration. Imagine shopping for a camera online and landing on a website that has pages titled:
- How to buy a used digital cameras
- Used digital cameras for sale
- Help me buy a used digital camera
- Find me a used digital camera
If you would dismiss that site as likely spam and bounce, you wouldn’t be alone. Instead of focusing on keywords, write unique and relevant content. You’ll get those nice long tail keywords naturally.
2. Publishing to Article Directories and Their Equivalents
Article and link directories have largely disappeared. At least they have in their most obvious incarnations. Spammers can no longer spin dozens of articles and post them in article directories to boost search engine results. People are no longer dumping irrelevant links in link directories.
This is great, but the problem hasn’t completely gone away. The difference is that there is a new incarnation of article directory. These are online publications, some of which are quite popular, that have little to no editorial standards. Yes, they do block out the spammiest of posts by setting up rules about use of keywords and links, and by catering to specific niches. Still, hundreds of writers publish on these sites, and the quality of their content is often suspect.
What happens if you submit content to these publications? Your content gets shelved next to mediocre (or worse) content, it’s difficult to find, and you’ll be lucky to earn even a few links. Instead, aim higher. Look for publications that work only with people in your niche and have high editorial standards. You may get some rejection notices before you get it right, but the payoff is much better.
3. Publishing Boring Content
There probably wouldn’t need to be any advice on SEO tips, techniques, tricks, or tactics if people would simply focus on one thing. Writing and publishing great content will just about solve any SEO issues the average business faces. Whether you do this by focusing on educational content, tugging on your reader’s heart strings, or simply being a bit out there, just know that no technique is going to work in the long term unless people click your links and then want to read your content.
4. Using Exact Match Domain Names
It was once considered good SEO practice to use exact match domain names. People would realize that something was trending. Then, they would rush out to buy a domain using the same name and create website with shoddy or irrelevant content. Then, they would enjoy ranking on that keyword. Traffic and profits would then ensue.
Today, not only are search engines wise to this tactic, people are as well. With the exception of a few, very novel ideas that may result in some short term results, exact match domain names are largely a turn off. Think about it like this. Would you be more likely to click on castironskilletsforsale.com or brandname.com/products/castironskillets? As it turns out the second option is more appealing.
5. Using Other People’s Comments to Drive Traffic
Unfortunately, this technique is still relatively popular. Find an article that’s generated lots of conversation. Then, insert your comment complete with a link to your website or blog. Don’t be mistaken, most people agree that the most offensive versions of this, e.g. ‘I make 500 dollars a day doing absolutely nothing! Ask me how!’ are absolutely awful. The problem is that many of the same people will think nothing of doing slightly more subtle versions of the same thing.
It’s really simple. The comments sections of other people’s content aren’t the place for links to your web pages. Instead, use other options to get your name out there, link your content, and show your expertise on relevant topics. Check out Twitter conversations as well as question and answer forums such as Quora.
It really boils down to this. If you find yourself continually thinking up and testing out ‘tricks’ and ‘techniques’ to improve your traffic and rankings, it may be time to reevaluate things. Nothing will ever stand in for great user experience and quality content. Over the years, search engine algorithm changes have worked towards this. Shouldn’t your focus be on working towards the same goals?
Photo credit: SEO notes from Roobcio/Shutterstock