From Link Building No-Nos to Keyword Stuffing, The SEO Landscape Has Changed Over the Years
Search engine optimization goes back to the late 1990s when search engines first made it easier to find what you were looking for on the web. Then came Google with its first-of-its-kind algorithm to try to ensure popular content rose to the top of search results. From then on, the SEO landscape has constantly shifted as people found ways to artificially inflate their site’s ranking and Google countered with their latest, and supposedly greatest, algorithm.
That has led to the obsolescence of several SEO tactics that were once effective. Some of these are relatively benign and simply a waste of time, while others could cause serious repercussions for your site should you employ them. Here are some of the most prominent:
Poorly-Written Content and Article Directories
In the bad old days, you could hire a bunch of people with questionable writing skills to bang out articles by the hundreds crammed full of key words, spin each of them a hundred times, and post the whole mess to as many article directories and blogs as you could find. Well, that entire paradigm died a well-deserved death back in 2011 thanks to Google’s Panda update. Now, your content needs to be well written and relevant in order for it to rank well on search engines. Article directories have been banished to oblivion, and bloggers are a lot more careful regarding the type of guest posts they accept.
If you’re trying to get your name out there, your best bet is a two-pronged approach: Create content that highlights your expertise, and get mentions from high-authority bloggers in your niche.
Interlinking Irrelevant Websites
One tactic that enjoyed some temporary success and popularity was to create a bunch of websites and link them all together, thereby increasing the authority of your primary website. Google has since become hip to this tactic, and it’s now very easy for it to detect this pattern and punish all the websites involved. So, this is a definite no-no today.
However, if you do have websites that are legitimately related, you can link between them without worrying that you’ll come to Google’s attention in a bad way. For example, if you run a real estate agency with an associated mortgage-finding service, you can provide links from your agency website without running afoul of Google.
Domain Name Keyword Matching
Many people don’t realize that the practice of acquiring a domain that has a relevant keyword embedded in it is no longer necessary. For instance, “chicagoroofers.com” is no longer the very valuable domain name it once was. Back before 2012, you could dole out domains for every keyword you could think of related to your product or service and watch as they climbed very high very quickly on the search results. In 2012, Google yet again tweaked their algorithm so that low-quality exact match domains didn’t automatically rise so high in the rankings.
That said, having a relevant keyword included in your domain is not a demerit against you as long as you’ve got a quality, content-rich site that follows SEO best practices. It’s just no longer worth it to create a bunch of similar domains.
Creating a Different Page for Each Possible Keyword
Similarly, this old tactic made popular thanks to easy-to-use content management systems is no longer necessary and can in fact backfire. Used to be, creating a bunch of similar pages for things like “auto repair” and “auto servicing” and “auto tuneup” was the only way to ensure that people would be sure to find you. Now, doing that can cause your website to be crawled less frequently while dropping in the rankings at the same time.
But hey, keeping all those pages updated was a lot of work, anyway, and thanks to Google’s ever-evolving AI, RankBrain, it’s no longer necessary. Now, Google is smart enough to know that someone who searches for “auto repair” is likely to be equally interested in “auto servicing.” If you offer several related services, your best bet nowadays is to describe them on a single page that’s divided into sections with headings for each service. Go ahead and get rid of those keyword variation pages, and use a 301 redirect to point human visitors as well as search engines to your new Services page.
Low-Quality Link Building
Before Google started caring about the popularity of sites that linked to other sites, automated link building services became very popular. That’s when you had blog comments by the thousands that existed for no other purpose than to link to some other website, relevance be damned. As this craze got out of hand and continued to proliferate, Google was eventually forced to come up with a way to weed out the junk. Now, Google will simply ignore these low-quality links and may also penalize the site to which these links point.
Now, the only way to ensure you’re getting quality link building is via manual outreach link building. This refers to “reaching out” to a high-authority site, usually a blog or other publication, and incentivizing them to review your product or service and hence provide a link back to your site. The best SEO link building services will ensure that your backlinks are limited to only high-authority sites that cover your particular niche. This kind of premium quality manual link building can go a long way toward catapulting your site up the search engine rankings.