SEO is one of the most effective and powerful strategies for getting a steady stream of traffic to your site. Whether it is a business website, e-commerce site or a blog, following best SEO practices will take it to the top of SERP.
To keep yourself on the top of the game, you need to continuously update your SEO strategy. With each passing year, Google brings in new sets of do’s and don’ts. The same SEO tactic that was effective last year may be penalized this year.
Today we bring to you 5 such SEO practices that were once effective are now considered outdated. In fact, few of them might even harm your ranking in the long run.
For those who are aiming to rank better on the Google search result, you must always be aware of the changes that each update brings to keep their head above water.
1. Artificial internal linking
Keeping in line with the previous point, another aspect that Google now detest is unnecessary internal linking. Until recently, linking as many pages and as much as possible was considered a good way to climb Googles ranking.
However, the latest updates have closed this loophole. No more ‘the more the merrier’. To Google’s eyes (which are everywhere btw), the internal linking should only be made if it comes organically. Google punishes sites that place links out of context.
The best course of action is to avoid artificially inserting links to your various pages, linking only those pages that seem to come organically to the content. Artificially inserting links to unrelated topics gives it an unnatural feel.
Google prioritizes the users experience greater than before, and over-abundance of internal linking will minimize any positive experience.
Placing internal links that are well-written, grammatically correct, and of course, relevant is what Google looks for. So, therefore, if the link you are thinking of placing doesn’t have the aforementioned characteristics, abandon that thought and move on.
2. Ignoring voice search
SEO isn’t confined to just typing keywords in search engine anymore, it has evolved. More and more people are using to voice to search for things online today than it has ever before.
According to Alpine.AI, there are around one billion voice searches per month! That is a staggering number. And as the popularity of voice assistants and devices like Amazon’s Echo & Google home surges, that number will only grow.
3. Over-dependence on exact keywords
In the old days, keyword stuffing was all the rage. People use to jam in their preferred keyword anywhere and everywhere they can. These were the days when Google was still considered not advanced enough to understand users’ intent.
After that, when Google advanced further, the best practice was to have numerous ‘focused keyword’ throughout your content. Mind you, this is nowhere near what is considered as keyword stuffing. These were surgical strikes to maximize keyword potentiality.
But now that Google has soared to new heights, the focus is more on semantic search and the value it has to the user. Google attained the capacity to dig deeper and determine the user’s search intent as well as their preference for content.
Whereas back in the days you could just concentrate on placing the keyword, for example, ‘best car deal in town’, you should now concentrate getting more clicks and fulfilling the users’ initial goal.
There is no need to ensure that you have the raw exact keyword throughout your content. Sure, having some of the content is useful, but the dependency it previously had has been reduced.
And as always, unnecessary placement of keywords to dupe the user and Google will hamper your ranking in search results.
Google understands the need of the people and when people use their voice for searching, the ones that are optimized will be greatly prioritized.
ComScore predicts that around 50% of all searches by the year 2020 will be through voice. Ignoring voice search optimization is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make and it needs to be stopped now.
Before, the best SEO practice was to not invest in voice optimization. But that is not the case anymore.
4. Buying PBN links
A lot of you are familiar with the term PBN and a lot of you aren’t. PBN stands for Private Blogging Network. It is essentially considered by many to be a black hat tactic to increase backlinks. People buy up expired sites & microsites in mass numbers and use them to create a backlink to their main site.
PBN’s focuses on artificial link building, using own network instead of producing quality content. The need of the users are essentially disregarded and is only aimed at bolstering the ranking of the main site.
Even though this may seem like an unethical technique to some, buying up PBN’s have been going on for a long time. With the recent updates, Google has decided to put the hammer down and highly penalized those who use this method.
Googles RankBrain is able to easily thin out the herd and identify these microsites that link back to your original site. Google then deindexes those site along with devaluing your main website.
A lot of people who used PBN have lost most of their network overnight. It is best to stop following this SEO practice before it takes you down with it.
5. One time SEO
Even today, when almost everyone knows how advance Google has become, some still believe that SEO is a one-time deal. To a lot of people, optimizing your site once is more than enough and it will sustain you till the end of days.
But as mentioned several times here before, SEO is a dynamic process. Doing it only once leaves you high and dry. One day you’ll be on the first page of Google, and the next day you are nowhere to be found (probably on the 2nd page).
Unlike you, your competitors know that a regular and continuous SEO process is the one way to sustain at the top of SERP. As such, they invest in SEO strategies.
This uninterrupted investment of their time and effort helps them to be competitive and triumph over others.
On the other hand, if you consider it as a one and done deal, the consequences will be dire in the long run. You will fall off the foremost part of the SERP and people will have trouble finding you.
2018 is shaping out to be an interesting year in terms of SEO. Google is now more advanced than it has ever been. It has brought new ways to influence the ranking system and opened up the field.
When things don’t work anymore, the best thing to do is stop doing them and come up with new solutions. The 5 SEO practices mentioned above are better to be left alone than taking on risks associated with it.
Here’s hoping that you have a fruitful and successful SEO campaigning this year. Cheers!