3 Old SEO Tactics That May Hurt Your Website - and How To Fix Them in 2022
March 3rd 2022
SEO has changed so much in recent years. You may have read a fantastic guide to SEO five years ago and used the tactics since, thinking it’s the right way to go! Unfortunately, those old tactics, as useful as they once were, are probably not helping any longer, and they may even be harming the function of your website. Like most things in life and especially in the world of technology, nothing stays the same forever – SEO techniques change and evolve over time – often rapidly. That’s why the search engine optimization specialists at SilverServers work hard to keep current with tactics that work.
These old SEO tactics might not be effective anymore, but they’ve all evolved into the strategies of today. Here are three old tactics and how to update these SEO methods for 2022:
1. Keyword Overload
It wasn’t too long ago that stuffing keywords by the bucketful onto a webpage was both a common and accepted SEO practice. While this tactic never made for inspiring content, and always created the potential of annoying visitors to your site, it still had its place in SEO. Not anymore.
Today’s much more advanced search engines will easily recognize the overload of keywords and may penalize you for it. They can even remove your site from its search engine results if the stuffing is deemed excessive. Overloading your site with a single keyword (or phrase) can also give your site the appearance of spam and nobody appreciates being spammed.
The Solution: Take a careful look at your content and identify where it feels unnatural or too full of certain keywords. Be critical. You may have to rewrite it entirely to fix the problem. Don’t leave it sitting there to hurt your rankings further! Make sure that there is a point to every piece of writing, and that every sentence has a unique contribution to the meaning of the content. Keywords still need a presence on the page, but they don’t need to feel as unnatural as they did even 5 years ago. Use them wisely in headings and sprinkle them into content in a way that highlights them to search bots but still reads naturally for people.
2. Link Directories
Before search engines existed, there were web, or link, directories. Rather than searching for a specific site, you would locate a web directory (think new school phone book) and find a list of pertinent sites. Quickly, as the Internet exploded, web directories became too large and hard to navigate easily and, voila, search engines were born. Now all people had to do was type in a keyword or two and a list of relevant websites would appear.
Link directories soon lost their popularity, but they did not disappear completely, and many still found them a useful SEO tool. Eventually, though, most directories became interspersed with spam and Google made the decision to penalize sites that used directories as a means of increasing their rankings. While directories still exist and some may even contain valuable links, they are rarely managed these days and for the most part have lost their relevance.
The Solution: Backlinks are still important, but now it’s the quality and relevance of the link that matters. If you’re listed on lots of link directories, look into having your website removed from some or all of them. If it’s just a couple, leaving it alone likely won’t hurt. For future backlinks, try to find natural, logical, and relevant placements. Write a guest post for another local business blog! Check with your local Chamber of Commerce, your city’s website, and any other business organizations to see if they have bio pages for local businesses. Make sure the content that goes with your link on any site is high-quality and relevant to both your business and the business posting it.
3. Writing for Robots
When search engines first took hold, content creators had to use every tool imaginable to capture the attention of the search engines in order to be recognized and ranked. Repeating the same keyword over and over, forcing key phrases into text in an unnatural way and using multiple heading tags were all common practice.
Thankfully for all those who actually care about what your website has to say, SEO has come a long way since those days. Robots won’t buy your products or use your services, so writing for the humans that keep your business alive is your best option. Now that search engine robots are smart enough to recognize quality wordcrafting, the quality of your content matters much more than the quantity of keywords used.
The Solution: Write for people! Humans love stories, and the best content often contains an element of storytelling. Your About page should tell the story of your business, from the very first idea to your current status. On all pages, if it flows naturally, contains real and relevant information about your business (including keywords), and is interesting to the reader, it’s probably good content. There are always some checks and edits that we recommend for SEO purposes, but if you don’t have access to an SEO expert, then writing in an organized way (ie. use headings) for a human audience is a safe bet.
A few other tactics that have lost their lustre are:
• Exact-match domains – may be flagged as spam or considered untrustworthy
• Indiscriminate guest blogging – guest blogging has its place but articles must be relevant to be effective
• Paid links – have always been a violation of the rules, but are now much more likely to be found swiftly and cause negative consequences.
Does it surprise you that any of these tactics have lost their effectiveness? SEO is evolving fast. Tactics that worked well only a short time ago have now changed. If you find you're having trouble keeping up with changing tactics while trying to run your business, then we can help! Get a free, no obligation website review today!