12 Outdated SEO Practices You Should Avoid

It’s common knowledge that SEO evolves at an unprecedented pace. It only took a few years for Google to transform from a basic keyword-hunting search engine to an intuitive algorithm that ranks pages according to user intent.

Keeping up with Google updates and search trends can be challenging without an SEO partner on your back.

That’s why we brought together 15 outdated SEO techniques you should avoid to ensure SEO success.

1. Keyword Density

Aiming strictly for a specific keyword density score rather than focusing on the quality of the information provided misses the point of content marketing and SEO. That’s because Google no longer counts keywords and is now more intuitive in determining if a page best answers a search query.

We recommend focusing on content quality and delivering your message as effectively as possible so that your users can find everything they need without having to click back.

2. Keyword Stuffing

If you write long-form content with paragraphs upon paragraphs of content with keywords, then Google may rank you highly right?

Well, no.

Google frowns on keyword stuffing as it harms user experience and manipulates search results with out-of-context tactics. It violates Google’s search quality guidelines and may put your site at risk for over-optimisation.

3. Abusing Anchor Texts

Internal and external linking establishes your website’s structure and provides a seamless user experience. Anchor texts greatly help in this aspect – but it’s also very prone to abuse.

Since Penguin’s release, Google has quickly picked out natural from abusive anchor texts linking. That said, optimise your link building and internal linking strategies for human readers instead of crawlers, and you’ll most likely succeed in seeing higher keyword rankings.

4. Publishing a Page for Every Keyword Variation

This is a common practice back in the day. But Google Hummingbird and RankBrain drove this practice obsolete as Google now understands that keyword variations point to one topic.

Instead of posting one page for every keyword variation, consider optimising your content for several keywords, positive user experience, and addressing search intent to maximise ranking power.

5. Unnecessary Word Count

Many SEO practitioners still think that word count is directly proportional to ranking power. But despite the available data on this matter, correlation does not mean causation.

Statistics show that long-form content gets up to 77.2% more backlinks than its counterpart. However, that could also imply that pages that answer a query rank better. As long as you can thoroughly address a query, short-form content pages can still rank highly for competitive search terms.

6. Writing for Solely for Search Engines

Poor keyword practices discussed above are primarily because some businesses write for search engines, not users.

Today, Google knows well about this and is pushing its algorithmic efforts to penalise and devalue websites that are solely creating pages to rank, not to serve users with high-quality information.

Google’s stance and search direction are evident through the announcement of the upcoming ‘Helpful Content Update’ algorithmic update.

7. Content Syndication

Manipulative tactics such as article marketing or content syndication no longer work in today’s SEO landscape. This obsolete practice involves content farms and page directories that publish thin content and make the site appear authoritative.

Today, originality and E-A-T are vital to ranking on Google’s first page.

8. Low Quality Paid Links

Back then, businesses spend so much on hundreds or thousands of backlinks pointing to their website. This is an outdated practice since today’s backlinks should be optimised and maintained.

You need to earn backlinks from authoritative websites to establish authority around your brand properly. Earning backlinks may take weeks or months, but the result will ensure maximum ROI for your business.

9. Focusing on Exact-Match Queries

Trying to rank for exact-match search queries implies that you’re only in it for the numbers, not the value they carry.

Your content may rank on exact-match keywords, but your organic traffic volume may not translate to revenue and sales without creating high quality content that serves the users’ needs.

10. Over Emphasis on Domain Authority (DA) Scores

There’s no harm with building backlinks from a list of high domain authority (DA) sites. But you can only go so far if you’re counting on this metric alone.

We too often see SEOs placing all their focus on acquiring guest post backlinks from high DA websites and paying hundreds and thousands in the process, with much to no success. Sometimes, sourcing niche-relevant backlinks are more powerful than chasing high DA scores.

11. Publishing Poor Quality Content

The points discussed above all contribute to poorly-written content. If you’re stealing content or stuffing keywords, anchor texts, and paying for poor quality backlinks on your site, it’s only a matter of time before Google penalises your website.

It all boils down to writing for your target users. Publish high-quality content that your users will read. The rankings, traffic, sales and revenue then come naturally. 

12. Over-Reliance on Desktop and not Mobile

It’s no wonder that mobile is taking over the internet and the search landscape. With mobile-first indexing in full swing, about 70% of pages in Google’s SERPs have switched to a mobile experience.

Focusing all your time only on optimising for desktop experience is heavily outdated. With many consumers not browsing on the go, optimising for mobile is not an option, it’s now mandatory.

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