Search Engine Optimization (SEO) remains a key focus area for website developers, designers, marketers, and content developers. Some critics may propound that SEO is fast losing relevance with Google outsmarting mortals with newer updates and algorithms. How that pans out remains to be seen.
SEO is still relevant, but the basic practices have undergone drastic changes. Have you been using old school SEO practices that were prevalent some years back?
Today we are going to talk about the SEO practices that are now not only ineffective but also penalized or discounted by Google. We also suggest better alternatives for each outdated practice.
Prioritizing Keywords, not Click Attribution, in Titles
We see examples of keyword-stuffed titles that are targeted just at SEO and make no sense at all to users. Keyword stuffing of titles was a good way of attracting search engine attention till a few years back, but now it doesn’t work. Titles that draw users’ attention will draw more clicks and automatically rank higher under Google’s new algorithm.
Market your pages for people, not for search engines. Optimizing titles is still important, but follow these best practices for creating click-worthy titles:
- Keep the title short. Google cuts off titles more than 55 characters long.
- Keep them relevant. Try making them self-explanatory with the focus keywords as close to the beginning as possible.
- Include a strong call-to-action in there.
Anchor text is the blue descriptive text that shows when you hover over a link. Internal links are links that take you to a page within the same website or to a different section on the same page. They help users navigate to places of their interest and are generally a good SEO practice. But adding keyword-rich anchor text to internal links just for SEO is looked at suspiciously by Google since its 2012 Penguin update.
Keep your site structure shallow and layout intuitive. The most important pages should not be more than three clicks away from the homepage. For analyzing the depth of your website information architecture, use the Website Auditor tool.
Outdated, Spammy Link- Building Tactics
This practice looks sketchy from its name but was widely used some time back. Backlink exchanges, private blog network, paid comment links, reciprocal backlinking, irrelevant, non-authoritative guest posting, are all a big no-no. So are generic article directories that allow websites or their content (articles, etc.) to rank up without having them undergo a robust editorial review process.
We’re afraid that you’ll have to remove some risky backlinks present on your pages. To detect them, SEOSpyGlass is a powerful tool that analyzes your website links and gives a risk percentage for each. Links with 60% or higher defection need your immediate attention. Either you can rid these risks in the tool itself or ask the link initiators to take them down. After cleaning your website, you may use valid link-building exercises to rebuild your authority.
Focusing on Content Quantity, Not Quality
Google’s preference for long-form content has been abused by SEOs and led them to penalize or discount sites with redundant or keyword-stuffed content, since the introduction of Hummingbird and RankBrain. Many marketers still feel that earning links to their site is more important than giving people helpful usable content that keeps them engaged longer.
They use dubious practices such as splitting content into microsites and subdomains (with SEO but sketchy names), using variations of the same keywords in their content repeatedly and creating multiple pages on the same topic. Such content will neither earn the trust of audiences nor will find a place in social media or press mentions.
Learn more about Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing that delves on creating content with context. Create quality content with high usability and interest factors.
We hope you found this post helpful. Watch this space for more useful tips, hacks, and resources.
At Results Driven Marketing, we’ve been helping our customers increase qualified traffic to their websites with the latest SEO techniques. Essentially turning clicks into clients. If you’re looking to stay relevant, consistently rank higher in search engines, and drive more traffic that converts, call us at 215-393-8700 and find out how we can help.