2022-02-25 | 572 Print PDF
There are lots of bad SEO practices that are still in use to game search engines for faster and higher-ranking positions with zero to no effect, thus questioning yourself, is SEO outdated?
Most SEO tactics that were working 10 years ago are no longer relevant while others have lost their high impact on SERP, and this is due to continuous abuse of these tactics, making them spammy in nature. I will like to address some of these outdated SEO practices which are still in use and those that are also considered as BAD SEO.
But prior we kicking off I will want you to get familiar with some very popular Google penalties algorithm that was introduced in the mid-20s to help prevent the critical meltdown of how search engine serves query and information to end-users.
image courtesy: internetvibes.net
Google Panda Algorithm (released date: February 23 2011)
The stated purpose of the Google Panda algorithm update was to reward high-quality websites and diminish the presence of low-quality websites in Google's organic search engine results.
Google Penguin Algorithm (released date: April 24, 2012.)
Google staffer John Mueller called Penguin a site-wide algorithm, meaning that the presence of a large number of low-quality links pointing to one page of your website could result in a reduction of Google's trust in your entire website.
Google Hummingbird Algorithm (release date: August 20, 2013)
Google's increasing mastery of semantic search enables them, in their own words, to understand “real-world entities and their relationships to one another.” Hummingbird's focus on matching query context to results relies on the intelligence of Google's technology — the ability to parse intent.Unlike the previous Panda and Penguin updates which were initially released as add-ons to Google's existing algorithm, Hummingbird has been cited as a complete overhaul of the core algorithm.
All quotes are courtesy of moz.com
Other Google algorithms are;
Page Layout Algorithm (Release Date: January 2012)
Page Layout Algorithm(January 2012): This algorithm is linked with user experience by balancing the ads and content in a website. Approximately 1% of websites are affected by this algorithm because these websites are forcing users to which ads for accessing actual content of the website.
Pigeon Algorithm (Release Date: July 2014)
Pigeon (July 2014): The invention of the Pigeon algorithm completely changed the local search. This algorithm helps the local businesses. After this algorithm, Google enhanced ranking signs for both Google Maps and Google Search.
RankBrain Algorithm (Release Date: October 2015)
RankBrain(October 2015): Many say it’s similar to the Hummingbird algorithm or some say it is a part of the Hummingbird algorithm. But in actual it’s a machine learning system that builds off Hummingbird. Its main work is understanding the reason behind the search query and giving the best result based on the queries. Google also states that Rankbrain is 3rd main ranking factor.
BERT Algorithm (Release Date: October 2019)
BERT (October 2019): BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. In this algorithm, Google is using new techniques for giving the more relevant output of search queries and in this algorithm advanced level NPL embed. It deals with low-quality written content and lack of context.
All quotes by studysection.com
1.) Keyword Stuffing
It was easy and fun when all you need to do was to stuff your meta tags with keywords you are trying to target, bombard your title tag and description tag with keywords, and not optimize them for length or meaning. Hence the release of the algorithms by Google to deal with the threat of spammy content with the consistent release of tweaked updates to its indexing helping to clear the search web from such bad practices.
"Keyword stuffing" refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose)...as defined by google.com
The way you utilize your keywords in your Meta-Tags carries weight especially when it is in correlation or better yet synchronized with your body content, you should see your Meta-Tags as your product or message context that encapsulate the content (body) of your web page. When you start to have this perception towards the Meta-Tags then you will be able to set title tags, description tags, and keywords that actually link to your content, hence providing meaning and understanding to search engines when they crawl your pages.
2.) Backlink Soliciting
This was the numero uno premier during its era when all you got to do was to make sure you had tons of links pointing back to your page more than those ranking on the search engine. The rule of engagement was to make sure your keywords were laced with these sought-out or bought links, with the majority coming from irrelevant websites; seriously what does a dentist site has to do with a car rental website? Yep! That was how bad those links were. The most annoying aspect was the rate at which the links were being lost, imagine a link farm selling links to tons and thousands of websites online via comment anchor text linking, spammy one-page context with exact match domain name keywords, you need to understand one thing straight, they will need large resources to deal with maintaining that volume of one-way links or reciprocal links with a lot of repetitive URLs, poor linking structure to mention a few issues.
So to move forward, it is still positive to actually EARN your links naturally, and these are mostly one-way links, they are given more precedence than any other form of link building, with the dofollow having a higher priority. Methods apply to gain such links was via having an account with a popular website that allows you to place your website under a correct category, back then article marketing, directory listing, press release, and social media account linking were a big deal for these practices, while some are still considered valid with modification others have been downgraded in terms of SEO impact.
3.) Anchor Text
This should be classified under keyword stuffing as well but because it has a lot to do with the body content I have given it its deserved audience. Do you wonder how does anchor text matters in SEO ranking? Well, there are two ways to go about this, either you place your keyword-linked anchor text in your header, footer, hidden, or smaller text, and worst use anchor text poorly negligibly on your navigation tabs. Going way back in time, your keywords were to be applied in the first structure of your anchor text, and what better place if not your navigation bar located at the header section, the footer section is also notorious for this practice as well.
Mind you an anchor text is a link pointing out or into your website, alias as outbound and internal links, with the text used as a preferred keyword, we did maximize this effort with email marketing as well, having click-throughs from our keyword anchor text with a UTM referencing the keyword. And most especially link building, in general, utilize the anchor text, even the ones you buy or ask for as reciprocal or one way are all anchor text "boomer right"?.
So it is the abusive approach of this SEO factor that has made search engines reduce the impact of such tactics and place a caveat on the kind of link and the domain sending these links, in terms of link flow and domain with page authority. If you are to work on anchor text linking then make sure to use partial exact, broad match mix with exact match keyword phrases with your links.
4.) Article and Directory listing
These two don't give so much traction as they use to, especially directory listing, in fact, directory listing may as well be a low hanging fruit or a hangover effect of all the years it has been of service, their relevancy alongside article marketing is as simple as a referencing tactic and less focused on link building which was the priority of most peoples association with this kind of sites. But there is good news in the likes of article marketing, which has morphed from being a guest post site or article site to a blog syndication platform. If anyone is still using article marketing, it is sure not for SEO ranking as they use to be, but for traffic and generating signals to your own original content as authoritative.
A simple illustration, We have content published about a website, having the same content with a one-way link back to them, this link is to pass juice while their link has the rel canonical to avoid duplicate sanction by search engines, do you know within weeks the post published on our platform got to Google page one, while the aforementioned website was within the 5th and 6th page of Google ranking. After a few months, their website ranked at the number one page while ours fell to the top 20. Why did this happen? It was simple most web visitors on our web page choose to click on the anchor text link that drove them to the client website after visiting our webpage. Google reading meaning to this understood that we had more users for the search phrase visiting another website (original author) than visiting other pages of the website. Therefore it is only fair to bring the website to the first page while we take the cool-aid in the relay race to the first page of Google for that keyword, now it depends on their performance in that spot that will determine their overall ranking position span.
5.) Equal Match Domain
The equal match domain practice is a very outdated technic and has some tweaks to it as well. Normally it was a big deal to get the exact match keyword you are trying to rank for as domain names, but some people even went further to mark their blog as a subdomain like this keyword. domain or keyword.com sole to rank for this keyword which was pointing to spammed, duplicate contents. This SEO practice is deemed BAD and does not go down with Google, the best way to do this is to incorporate your keywords in your brand name if you are that desperate to score a point and when writing your blog URL it should follow a path (directory) like this keyword.yourdomain.com/blogs and further URLs can take shape as follows;
you can take a cue from the URL of this page.
6.) Low Content Quality
This is quite obvious, especially among link baiters, who tend to use dynamic sites to generate tons of dead pages with little to no content value with the likes of spinning links back to you, veretekk was one of those internet marketing tools that generated plausible pages to simply drive links, traffic and leads to your webpages. You have lots of links from low content websites pointing to your webpage you will be marked and hit with a Google algorithm that will suggest you remove the spammy link, you may be lucky to get this message on your webmaster tool (now search console) or email, but most cases you will be left to act on an instinct when your traffic from search starts dropping like flies on your Google analytics.
Even during your guest posting or article syndication, it is of best practice to always put in contents that are of importance and value, anything less than 500 words is deemed spammy, you are not just writing a sales memo, but an appraisal, a howto, and informative content that should educate and solve or get your readers coming back for more.
7.) SEO As A One-Time Contract
This is a bad misconception from SEO consumers and end-users alike, over the years I have come to realize that the contract base of pricing SEO is obsolete in contrast to the retainer-ship aspect of patronizing an SEO work. Why? Because it is no longer a rank and waits for the next 6 or 1 year, SEO as become technical, with an ever-evolving relationship with webmasters tool. Take a good guess with structuring metadata, or the proper usage of HTTP header response, site map structuring, organic CTR, Google indexing and page speed maximization, etc, all these are not on a do and dump situation, they now come with regular checkup and analysis.
Sometimes you tend to not know the difference between a web designer and an SEO Web Analyst because now their functions seem to be interwoven with the SEO Web Analyst carrying more weight with respect to SEO technicalities and analytics proficiency.
To become relevant and competitive in this new SEO era, you need to work with a retainer-ship model for your SEO work, it is cheaper and it ascertains that you will get more relevancy on search engines the more you spot out issues and solve them, SEO is now a continuos process, I can attest to this myself, with our current website as a case study. As far back as 2016, the website was among the 100k on Alexa that was 3years of work and dedication (with blog content not up to 130, that was to tell you how good my SEO work was as at then) that was the last time I did any SEO work and maintenance on the website, by 2019 I had already lost more than half of my juice and relevancy online (with the site sinking down low to the million categories in traffic), by not picking up on new trends and methods, knowing that I hone my skills in Search Engine Optimization with proficiency in digital marketing I made a come back to the online scenario, trying to rank old pages and work on new ones (now it is more difficult to get google to index websites, due to lots of changes, I feel Bing is doing a better work indexing). The moral of the story is do not consider SEO a done and dusted work, but let it be a part of your social life as well if you are to continue gaining traction with your SEO practices.
The below infographic is a picture representative of what are SEO best practices and how to differentiate them from bad SEO practices, all thanks to webapex.com.au for putting in the work of differentiating these techniques.