4 Obsolete SEO Practices You Should Ditch Right Now

How often are you adjusting your SEO strategy – monthly, yearly, never? It’s tempting to say “why fix it if it ain’t broken?”, but with SEO you should never wait until something truly breaks to switch things around. 

SEO evolves because user preferences evolve. However angry you may be at the latest Google algorithm change, keep this in mind: much like yourself, Google also wants to keep users engaged for as long as possible. They definitely have a bigger budget and a bigger database than you do to research and implement the changes users need. So, instead of hating the latest changes, I suggest you look at them as opportunities to keep your users engaged for longer – and buying more.

If you are unsure whether your SEO strategy is up to date, take a look at the things you shouldn’t be doing anymore:

1. Keyword Stuffing

Modern SEO has (thankfully!) moved away from keyword stuffed articles that are illegible by human readers. You can now write naturally, without fearing that you won’t rank high enough.

The advantage is clear: your content can now rank in search engines and convert users because it’s well-written! Check out this case study of how my agency has managed to meet both these goals for a client of ours through naturally-written, high-converting content.

2. Bad Keyword Matches

User intent should be at the very core of any marketing strategy you create and SEO is no exception. In the olden days, SEO specialists would try and optimize their content for generic keywords, like “best coffee”.

Today’s SEO writers (the good ones, at least) know that generic keywords are very hard to match with user intent. For instance, is someone who types “best coffee” into the search bar looking to buy it or are they just looking for information on what the world’s best coffee is?

Moreover, are they looking to buy ready-made coffee or do they want coffee beans for home use? Depending on what your business is, these distinctions are crucial.

A coffee shop would need to optimize for “best coffee in Tampa Bay center” or make sure their profile on Google Maps is up to date so they can pop up when someone looks for “best coffee near me”. A shop selling specialty coffee beans would need to optimize for “best coffee beans delivery Tampa Bay” or, better yet, target a more specialized audience with “best Colombian coffee beans price”. Finally, if you run a website for coffee aficionados and/or use affiliate links, then you can try and optimize for a high-volume, high-competition keyword like “best coffee”.

3. Content Spinning

10 years ago, article spinning was a lucrative industry, whether it involved software that would spin content automatically or humans who would do it manually. The principle was simple: find an article online that matches your goals and spin it so it’s not duplicate content. Then publish it on your website as if it were your own.

This came with several problems: the ethical one (of course!), the fact that automatic spinners simply replaced some words with their synonyms (and not always the best matches), which resulted in illegible content, and the fact that readers catch on when they see “reheated” content.

If you’re still doing that, it’s time you stopped. It’s not just ethically wrong and bad for your brand, but it’s also useless. Today, search engines look beyond individual words to find duplicate content, so you’ll be severely penalized.

4. Link Buying

Yes, links are the lifeblood of SEO. The more links from high authority domains that point to you, the higher your own authority will get and the higher you’ll rank in SERPs. This is why, until a few years ago, buying links was a common practice.

Web directories were major sellers. But search engines caught on to this and now consider these sellers spam domains. When you have a lot of those pointing to your domain, you will be considered a spammer, too.

In other words, buying links will do more harm than good. If you have spammy links pointing to your website (whether you bought them or they just appeared without your involvement), go to your Search Console account and disavow them immediately.

Ready to take your SEO game to where it should be – in 2021 and beyond? Talk to my team and I about SEO content that brings you results with no ethical compromises or obsolete practices.
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