If your business is using any of these 10 outdated SEO techniques, you’re not boosting your rank – you’re damaging your brand. Discover which techniques Google has wised-up to, and learn which SEO strategies still work.
10. Obsessing Over Keyword Density
There’s no magic formula for keyword density. Google only cares about the relevance of your content, and not the number of keywords that appear in it. Natural, high-quality content will contain dozens of keyword variants, and often, surprisingly low densities. There’s no need to fixate on a particular density. Focus on high-quality, relevant content writing, and keyword density will take care of itself.
9. Keyword Stuffing
With that in mind, it should be obvious that keyword stuffing is a seriously bad idea. Super-high keyword densities of 5-10% are completely unnatural, and compromise the readability of your content. Google realizes that, and penalizes websites that keyword stuff their content.
8. Choosing Short-Tail Over Long-Tail
Instead of filling your text with single short-tail keywords, it’s more beneficial to include dozens of long-tail variants.
Short-tail keyword: Web Design Agency
Long-tail keywords: Web Design Agency New York, Professional Web Design Agency, Web Design Best Practices 2014
These long-tail variants occur naturally in well-written content. They improve the quality of your writing, and allow you to rank for dozens of low-competition, relevant keywords – instead of slaving away at a single super-competitive short-tail keyword.
Bonus tip: Use the service from our friends at HitTail – they tell you which long-tail keywords to optimize for.
7. Hidden Text
By changing the color of text to match a website’s background, it used to be possible to hide huge swathes of keyword optimized content. This made it easy to rank for particular terms, without compromising the readability of your website. Unsurprisingly though, Google discovered this cheap trick incredibly quickly – and this practice is guaranteed to get your site penalized for keyword stuffing.
6. Anchor Text Manipulation
Anchor text refers the words or phrases that contain a hyperlink to your website – and a decade ago, it was common practice to optimize anchor text. A website would try and source backlinks with the same anchor text – think web design agency for a web design business – with the belief that keyword optimized anchors would boost their rank for that chosen keyword. Nowadays, search engines look for a diversified anchor cloud, containing dozens of natural anchor text variations. To avoid over-optimizing your anchor text, try and use a combination of the following anchor types:
Brand name: Green Glass Design
Naked URLs: http://greenglassdesign.com/
Generic: Click here!
Keyword variations: website layout tips
Exact keyword phrases: web design agency
5. Neglecting nofollow Links
Dofollow links are backlinks that provide SEO value to your website. They tell Google to index the link, and include it in their backlink analysis, boosting your rank in the process. Nofollow (links that look like this: <a href="www.yourdomain.com" rel="nofollow">Your Product</a>" tell Google to ignore the link. Unsurprisingly, many businesses try and source dofollow links exclusively – but this is a damaging practice. Google looks for a natural mixture of both dofollow and nofollow links, so to avoid penalization, it’s crucial to use a combination of both types.
4. Blog Networks
Blog networks are a selection of specially-built sites, designed with the sole purpose of providing backlinks to a central website. They’re usually low-quality sites, with a couple of pages of low-quality or duplicate content. They aren’t designed to provide value to a reader – just links. Unfortunately, Google is pretty smart, and capable of checking the registered owner of each blog network. If it becomes clear a single operator is running a ton of spammy-websites, and creating thousands of backlinks to a single site, bad news – you’re going to get penalized.
If you operate multiple websites, there’s no harm in interlinking between them. Just stick to the following best practices:
- Unique content on each site
- Link to third-party websites
- Only link to your other sites when relevant
- Avoid operating more than a handful of other websites
3. Spun Content
Content spinning is the process of rewriting an existing piece of content, in an attempt to make hundreds (even thousands) of unique copies. It’s possible to spin content manually, or through the use of spinning software – but both practices are completely redundant. Spun content doesn’t make sense: and if your content doesn’t make sense, people won’t read it. No readers means no click-throughs, no social media shares and, in the long-run, no search engine rank.
2. Content Syndication
Content syndication websites are designed to allow small businesses to share their content with a larger audience. Sounds great, right? When Google tries to determine the original source of a piece of content, it looks at a range of factors – publication date, popularity, backlinks and social media engagement. The search engines tend to work on the assumption that the most popular source of a piece of content is the original source. With thousands of blog posts and web pages, and new content published each and every day, syndication sites are likely to outrank your website – and Google is inclined to believe that the syndicating website is the original source.
Instead of gaining a ton of SEO value from syndication, the bigger website earns all the benefits – and you get served with a duplicate content warning. This problem is made even worse by syndicating websites that demand a period of exclusivity with your content, and ask your website to publish the piece after they publish it.
1. Paid Links
Many businesses choose to use guest blogging sites and SEO agencies, paying them to source backlinks and boost their search rank. Unfortunately, Google is in the middle of a serious paid-link crackdown. As the MyBlogGuest penalty showed, it’s no longer viable to source your backlinks from guest blogging sites and third-party agencies. Thankfully, there’s no need to pay for links. With link intersect analysis, and LinksSpy’s automated outreach software, it becomes possible to source high-quality backlinks yourself – with no risk. Responsive, relevant websites can be identified in minutes, and it’s easy to contact them directly. It becomes possible to build a relationship with the site, share great content with their audience, and obtain legitimate, high-quality backlinks in the process.