Search engine optimization (also known as SEO) has been going through something of a revolution over the past year. This is because Google has become far more sophisticated with their search algorithm. Many previous techniques used by site owners to improve their search ranking position are no longer advisable and in many cases will likely cause their site to be de-listed from Google organic search altogether.
Here are five old SEO tactics that will most likely get your site penalized if you’re still using them. If you feel that you’ve used them on a site before then it would be a good idea to go back and clean up the site before a manual Google penalty is applied.
Technique 1: Overly-optimized Anchor Text
One of the oldest techniques is to look up keywords with high monthly search traffic and pepper those keywords throughout an article. Some of these keywords would be used to link to a webpage. Sometimes the keyword would exactly match the most popular search term. Because of this, for years Google would reward websites that have many inbound links featuring the same keywords in the link.
Today, Google can easily pick up on overly optimized anchor text and will penalize websites that have many links like this. In fact, it is good idea not to use the same anchor text more than 3-5% of the time to avoid looking guilty.
Technique 2: Link Exchanges
A link exchange is where one website agrees to link to another website if the second website will link back to them. This mutually agreed linking agreement has been devalued by Google to the point where it either has no benefit or it actually hurts relative ranking position depending on how often it is used by the site owners.
Occasionally, site owner #1 will try to get smart by linking to a second site owned by site owner #2. The owner of that site will then link to a different site that site owner #1 has in their collection. This method avoids a direct connection between the first two websites, however through domain ownership records, Google Analytics data and other methods, Google is often able to determine what is going on here too.
Avoid link exchanges going forward and remove any links setup in this manner.
Technique #3: Shooting For Quantity, Forgetting About Quality
The more backlinks a website has, the better it will rank. Correct? Well, no…
It used to be the case, but that has all changed. Google now looks at the quality of the website linking to the site in question. Are they well respected? Have they been around a long time? Are they an established authority in the niche?
For quality linking, consider sites that have high trust ratings (see MOZ.com and Domain Authority to learn more). Also look for sites that are related. Links from a dentist site to one about dog training won’t be highly valued any longer.
Technique #4: Keyword Stuffing
Stuffing too many keywords inside written content is a recipe for disaster. Do not simply take the most searched for keywords on a topic and use them all in a single piece of content. Sprinkle lightly and occasionally, instead of liberally and frequently.
Write content naturally so that the intention behind the content is clear. Google is now much better at understanding what searchers are really looking for and which content will provide the right answers. Trust in that.
Technique #5: Low Quality Content
The days of adding copious amounts of low-quality content to a site to bombard Google with fresh content are over. Whilst Google currently has an overemphasis on new content, they still value quality and can determine good from bad much better than they used to be able to.
Also look to order content which is longer, rather than shorter, as Google respects a longer word count.
Hiring SEO Professionals
To avoid making these and other mistakes in the fast-moving SEO space, it is a good idea to hire an SEO agency that keeps abreast of the changes. Lead to Conversion is a good choice to outsource important SEO and conversion optimization functions for better results.
No website owner can afford to stay on the sidelines with search engine optimization. Careful management of a website is needed to ensure that it stays viable and profitable.