More than two decades have passed since Bill Gates enthroned Content as the King of the World Wide Web in 1996. As per Gates, Information and Entertainment are the two ideal by-products that are expected by the users when they put a query in the search box. To ensure that the users are presented with the most relevant results, search engines have employed a range of algorithms. But do you get outdated SEO?
The search engine giant, Google, has clearly stated three principal characteristics that its algorithms take into account while ranking- Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT). Any webpage that lives up to these criteria is listed among the good books of Google and is given preference in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
There has been a rat race among website owners and content creators to rank higher among the SERPs. They have engaged in various SEO practices over the years to ensure improved positioning, which often turned into malpractices. They would essentially find loopholes in the ranking algorithms and then use them to their leverage.
This soon alerting search engines and caused them to tweak their search algorithms in such a way that the results generated are optimally aligned with the query, leading to enhanced user satisfaction. Now, search engines have put algorithms in place which identify the sites engaged in SEO malpractices and then penalize them, resulting in their suspension.
More often than not, these malpractices are simply outdated SEO tactics, which the site owners ignored, knowingly or unknowingly, to update with the changing time and emerging technologies.
Why you should Avoid the Outdated SEO tactic?
Content and SEO go hand in hand. Although content can exist independently, it is more or less redundant if it does not reach the desired audience. That is where SEO comes into play. The employment of SEO tactics will make sure that your efforts do not go in vain and fulfill the purpose that your content was destined to. But you have to see that you keep updating your SEO campaign, otherwise, it will become irrelevant with the ever-changing trends and SERP algorithms. Also, it can affect your traffic and ranking.
Think it like this- the poison that you were using in your homes to get rid of the rodents about 20 years ago will no longer work. Reason? The rodents have developed immunity against that poison formula. This is why the formula has to be improved and changed with time so that it can effectively break the wall of immunity and make your home rodent-free.
If you keep insisting on using the same formula, not only will you not get the desired results but will also invite unnecessary frustration and diseases into your home.
Similarly, if you do not alter and improve your SEO tactics (you can also use tools to help improve or optimize your SEO) with time, your web pages will suffer. As a result of its inefficiency and incapability to live up to the expectations, an outdated SEO campaign becomes a bad investment leading to heavy financial losses.
Here, I am listing such SEO practices that have lost their relevance and value with time. You should avoid them at all costs; otherwise, you might find yourself as redundant and outdated as they are now:
1. Keyword Stuffing and Irrelevant keywords
A keyword is a term that you put in the search box. The web pages having content correspondent to the searched keyword will appear in the results. It is imperative that you use accurate, relevant, and trending keywords in your content so that the search engine can match your page with the query.
In ancient times (as per the SEO chronology), the density of relevant keywords was all that mattered to drive traffic to your webpage. Content creators would “stuff” their web page’s mouth with more than it could chew. It’s like, when you do not know the answer to a question in an examination and does not want to fail, so you just take the question, twist the words, and manage to give an answer just for the sake of answering.
If you’re lucky, the trick would work and the evaluator would grade your answer based on just its length, without even reading it. But what if the evaluator reads it? S/he would get irritated and might award negative marking to you for pulling off such a thing.
Keyword stuffing is similar. If the search query says “homemade cake recipe”, a keyword-stuffed result looks something like- “Read on to find the best homemade cake recipe. This is a very simple and easy-to-follow homemade cake recipe.
This homemade cake recipe is the answer to all your cake-baking woes.” Although the result here consists of the searched keyword, it does not contain the answer to the actual query. It does not impart any value.
Only a few years ago, the SEO team would provide keywords such as “homemade cake recipe; homemade cake; cake recipe; homemade cake recipe video”. However, now such keywords will act as a negative trait of your webpage. With the advanced algorithms like Panda(2011) and Hummingbird(2013), Google is now able to eliminate the search results containing such “not smart” keywords.
With its increasing knowledge and smartness, Google AI is capable of detecting the sense behind a search query so that it can provide the user with the most relevant SERPs. If you search for “cake recipe”, it will now automatically show the results of homemade cake recipes, along with the related images and videos.
Inserting irrelevant keywords in your content just because it is currently trending is another outdated SEO tactic that you should no longer use.
Today, people are short on time. If you cannot offer them anything valuable, they will not waste another second on your webpage. The importance and benefits of keywords are indispensable. However, you have to be smart enough to strategically mingle the keywords with the rest of the piece.
It should look seamless, rather than forced. Packing your piece with all the possible keywords was the trend once, but it will no longer cut the deal for you. You’ll have to put in the due deliberation and sincere efforts while choosing which keywords to use, and where to place them.
2. Substandard Content Quality
Publishing low-quality content is a sin that cannot be forgiven. Google has equipped its AI to follow the “EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)” criterion while filtering valuable content from the enormous pile of subpar content lying in its indexes.
Google is a service provider, which wants to deliver nothing less than ideal to its users. In order to do so, it has to keep a check on the elements which might lower its credibility. All its metrics collectively make certain that it is able to provide a completely satisfactory experience to the users.
Google assigns a ‘Quality Score’ to each webpage depending on a variety of standards. A high-quality score enhances the accountability of a webpage and places it higher in the search ranking results. On the other hand, a low-quality score will alert the search engine police, leading to a negative impact on the image of such a webpage.
However, this is to note that Google does not take the number of views into account while calculating the quality scores. Rather, it is only concerned with the value that any content imparts to the viewers.
If you do not want your webpage to be red-flagged by Google, stay away from the evils of plagiarism and duplication. You might have survived through school by copying the assignments from your meticulous classmate, but it won’t do any good while you are under Google’s surveillance. Google is like the guardian that protects the genuine contributors and eradicates the vultures eyeing to claw the credit for someone else’s hard work.
If you are thinking that you will stream this ocean by simply copy-pasting someone else’s rowing moves, you are in the wrong. This SEO tactic might produce some profits in the short term. However, you are much better without it if you wish to remain in the business in the long run.
While we are on the topic of low-quality content, another turn-off is automatically generated content or automated content. Your final audience is humans with a pumping heart, which robots do not have. This lack of heart shows in the flat, apathetic piece that a bot manages to produce by random synonymizing of words and stitching of sentences picked up from different sites. It is advised that you refrain from employing such automated writing software for developing content for your website.
Finally, if your piece is filled with grammatical errors, you are deemed to lose the trust of your readers. Well, if you cannot write a well-articulated content, you might as well not do it at all. Ultimately, grammatically-errant content will lead to decreased credibility and loss of readers. Rather than an obsolete SEO tactic, this is more of a basic rule for producing effective content.
3. Link Schemes
You are often defined by the people you surround yourself with. You should always be wary of your connections to establish an impeccable reputation. Based on that, you are either respected or degraded in the societal hierarchy.
The same goes for the SERPs. If your page is linked with other reputable web pages, you will earn the trust of Google and subsequently, of the readers.
Google is constantly searching for new pages to add to its library through the process of crawling and indexing. It follows one link after another and keeps on adding those links to its link library. Indexing is crucial because unless your webpage is in Google’s library, it will not appear in the search results.
Several new pages are published every day on the internet. While Google is doing its best to index them as soon as they get posted, some pages might remain unidentified at the time. It can only list the pages that it knows about. This is where links play an imperative role. If the newly published page is linked to an already indexed page, it becomes easier for Google to ‘crawl” it up.
Having said that, be careful while engaging in link selling or buying. This outdated SEO tactic might get you blacklisted from Google. Several website owners have been teaming up with each other for cross-linking in exchange for money as well as non-monetary benefits. Using links to manipulate your site’s ranking is a clear violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines.
If the link present on your page connects the reader with an irrelevant page, if there are too many promotional keyword-rich anchor texts, or if the Google senses any kind of intended manipulation, then you are going to be in a lot of trouble.
4. Exact Match Domains (EMDs)
During the initial period of internet popularity, there used to be a cut-throat competition among the online businesses to obtain a domain which exactly matches with their offerings. Due to the high level of competition, the prices of such Exact Match Domains (EMDs) were usually through the roof. Anyone who managed to get the EMD relevant to their business would enjoy high click-through-rate (CTR).
An EMD is essentially a domain name made out of a popular keyword. Brilliant, right? Eh! It wasn’t then, it sure isn’t now. You are more likely to be categorized as spam by the sophisticated and advanced Google algorithms if your domain’s name is somewhat along the lines of ‘www.babycarseatcovers.com’ or ‘www.toolsforgardening.com’.
This particular SEO tactic is as outdated as rotary phones and film cameras.
While selecting a domain, stick to one-word names as much as possible. You don’t have to display your entire curriculum vitae in your domain name. It could simply be the name of your establishment. Keep it simple, efficient, accessible, and relevant like www.nike.com or www.apple.com.
A Final Word
Change is the way of life- of the real world as well as of the internet world. Internet trends are highly dynamic. The crucial thing is to stay relevant. Adapt your SEO tactics with the changing trends and advancing technologies. Fire that team who still suggests you apply the above-listed outdated tricks. Alter your strategies to align with the advanced ranking algorithms.
Summing it up, do not overwhelm your webpage with keywords; Do not compromise with the quality of content as it is the only sure-fire way to success on the web; Use only relevant and trustworthy links; and Avoid spammy Exact name domains.
If your content has value, it will reach its audience given that your SEO campaign employs modern and advanced schemes, helping in the attainment of a better search ranking position. Efficient Search Engine Optimization will happen when you will throw out these outdated SEO tactics and keep optimizing your strategy as per the evolving trends.
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