This was originally published on the HubSpot Marketing blog on June 26...
It's 2015 and SEO hasn't gotten any easier for digital marketers. With Google's Panda and Penguin algorithm updates that have happened in the past few years, it's no surprise that the search engine optimization aspect of digital marketing is constantly changing.
This volatility requires digital marketers to be agile with their tactics, frequently adapting to the latest guidelines that search engines implement into their algorithms. Throughout this post, I will help you understand which tactics you should not be using, because, let's face it-- they just don't work anymore!
1) Get more links to rank higher
In the past, building as many links as possible without analyzing the linking domain was how SEO typically worked. By doing this, your website was sure to rank higher. Building links is still a very important part of ranking factors. According to Search Metrics, it is still top 5 most important rankings factors, but you must build links in a much different manner than you used to.
Around Penguin 2.0, which was released in May of 2013, all of this changed. Nowadays, it is important to focus on the quality of links you are obtaining, rather than the quantity. Sometimes less can be more if you know how exactly to build links the proper way.
2) Write keyword rich content for better ranking
It used to be important that you write your content with the keyword incorporated exact match, but now Google uses latent semantic indexing (LSI), which was conceived around February of 2004 and became more and more prominent within search through every update.
With this type of indexing, the contents of a webpage are crawled by the search engine and the most common words or phrases are combined and identified as the keywords of that page. LSI also looks for synonyms that related to your target keywords.
Today, it's important to optimize your page for the user experience; this means that you do not have to place your keywords word-for-word in the content. Write the content for the user. By using synonyms and related terms, the search engines will still understand what your goal is.
3) Only focus on links and content
About 5 years ago, SEO used to be all about getting tons of links, good code, and okay content. These days, most of the websites that are ranking really well have a large social following. People argue whether it directly or indirectly affects rankings, but either way it does have an impact.
Think of it this way, the more popular your website is socially, the more eyeballs you will draw to it. The more people see it, the more backlinks and traffic you will receive. Additionally, social media is a great way to send out content and get the traction you are looking for.
4) Build more pages to get more traffic
Some people have the notion that if you have more pages, you will get more traffic to your website. Just like link building, creating content just to have more pages will not help you. Make sure you are focusing your content on quality, not quantity. If you do not have good content, you will not rank well and all of those pages you created will not help your cause.
Introduced February 2011, Google’s Panda algorithm updates have been getting better and better at detecting bad content. Nowadays, if you have poor content it is possible you may face a Google penalty, so make sure you are created great content that users want to read.
5) Rank higher to get more traffic
There is a big misconception that higher rankings mean more search traffic. It is true that people will see your listing, but it does not mean you will get more click-throughs. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- You do not have the correct keyword strategy because you are trying to rank for keywords that are unrelated to your field.
- Your meta descriptions are not appealing and inviting for the user.
To solve these problems, try using Google Adwords to create a great keyword strategy relating to your business, and be sure to use enticing meta descriptions to get people to the site. It is a good rule of thumb to think about what would entice you to click through.
6) Guest blog at a large scale to build SEO authority
Before Penguin 2.0, in 2013, people used to write content, whether bad or good, to anybody that would listen, with a link back to their site. A lot of the time, it was content that had nothing to do with their actual industry; they were just trying to get a backlink.
Guest blogging has changed immensely since then. Now it is important that if you do end up getting one or two guest posts here and there, that they are high authoritative, relevant websites. Guest posting on a smaller scale can be beneficial if you do it the correct, ethical way.
7) Fill the title tag with keywords to increase ranking
Keyword stuffing is the act of shoving as many keywords onto the page as possible. Google’s own, Matt Cutts, warned us in 2007 against stuffing your page with keywords to rank higher in the search results. Some webmasters did not take this to heart, until Google continuously came out with new algorithm updates, like Panda, every year that were meant to target bad content.
Keyword stuffing is 100% against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and is a dangerous game. Because of Google’s algorithm getting more advanced each year, you are likely to get your website penalized.
8) Don't waste time on including images in your content
For a long time, it was okay to neglect the images on your site and still rank without using alt text and image file names to boost your page relevance. On-page SEO is more important than ever, so excluding images will prevent your website's SEO from being the best it can be.
Search engines cannot see images on websites, so it is important to give the image an alt text and relevant file name to ensure Google knows what the image is about. By not creating this text, you lose a huge opportunity to be as visible as possible online.
9) Get listed in lots of directories to fill your backlinks profile
On April 24, 2012, Google released the first Penguin algorithm update, which targeted websites with unnatural links and has since gotten more sophisticated. It is important that webmasters and marketing ensure they are not just getting a ton of links from low-quality spammy directory website.
Instead focus on niche related directories that have strict standards and high authority that will benefit your personas by getting quality information about your company’s mission and website. It is pretty easy to decided which directories are natural and which are unnatural, and if you cannot decide do not risk it!
If you are using any of these worthless tactics, it is time for you to clean up your SEO and create a better strategy. Go out there are create great content and create high authoritative, relevant backlinks to your website.