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The Top 5 SEO Tactics You can Drop in 2015

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SEO is not a stagnant science. It’s a very dynamic process with tricks and tips that may propel you to the top one year, and literally do the reverse the next.

Google’s mission is simple: They want to provide the most accurate, user-friendly search experience possible. This means the search algorithms they generate are always in flux, as the mission is a truly complex goal.

The result is that companies need to stay on the current pulse of SEO trends. Since most small businesses don’t have the luxury of a full time SEO professional, I have outlined below the most common past practices that will no longer serve you in 2015. In addition to calling out the most common archaic practices, I also suggest some modern alternatives that will help you in your quest for better rankings.

Stop Stressing About Backlink Volume

Some experts will still tell you that you need as many links pointing to your content as humanly possible. This is simply no longer the case. Links are critical to your ranking health (or at least a sizable factor), but more is not more. In fact, if you solicit links from sites that either have questionable reputations in Google’s mind, or are simply irrelevant to your industry, your rankings could suffer.

In this modern age, there are many websites with only a few well-targeted back links that own the top rankings. Relevancy is your guideline here, not quantity. Google’s pervasive Penguin update keeps emphasizing this necessity, so make this your SEO link mantra in 2015.

Change the Way You Monitor Your Success

In the old days, traditional ranking tracking was an obsessive practice to see how healthy your SEO efforts were. Now, however, we live in a long-tail world. What that means is you no longer need to spend scads of time seeing your rankings are for every conceivable keyword combo. In some ways, rankings have become irrelevant. What’s important now is tracking the power and accuracy of your long-tail keywords. Many websites are now reporting that up to 90% of their traffic comes from long-tails alone. Why? Because searchers are becoming more exact with their hunts, and that means you need to have a clear view of your long-tail search terms. Spend your time testing the validity of these longer keywords, and you can all but ignore head terms that are nearly impossible to dominate in our Penguin and Panda world.

Stop Publishing Content for its Own Sake

Just like more is not more for backlinks, having hundreds of content pages will no longer boost your SEO. Instead, it can be considered clutter. Google is very hip in offering search results that are relevant and valuable, so the days of being rewarded for any and all content are decidedly over. Content, just like backlinks, needs to be informative and high quality in order to elevate your efforts.

This is the key focus of Google’s Panda update. Panda is essentially the portion of the algorithm that deciphers the actual quality of content across the web. If Panda deems your content is low-quality and/or irrelevant, your business is in big trouble. Be thoughtful and strategic about your content releases; stop publishing things for the sake of having it. That’s now a losing battle.

Quit Obsessing Over Keyword Density

One of the major factors in bad content in the last handful of years stemmed from the obsessive practice of adding keywords. Many turned this into a mathematical quandary, insisting that X percentage of keyword density was required for significant rankings. This is very old news. Google quickly realized that writing content for search bots meant that human beings were turned off by the robotic, awkward language.

Now, Google uses something called latent semantic indexing (LSI). In essence, this means that you don’t have to litter your content with all the keyword phrases you want to rank on; LSI will assume that similar phrases are also relevant.

Here’s an example: If you want to rank for “affordable cell phones”, you don’t have to include “cheap cell phones,” “inexpensive cell phones,” “affordable mobile devices,” etc. Google will now assume that if you use a phrase in your content, similar phrases are also applicable.

The Internet became a much happier place thanks to LSI, because we no longer need to manipulate the copy on our websites to speak the language of search engine bots. Instead, they’re learning to speak ours.

No More Excessively Wordy Content

It used to be a practice that more words were more valuable, just like we assumed with keyword density. In part as a response to the short attention spans of most internet users, Google now values brevity over wordiness. This goes straight back to the focus on quality over quantity. It also highlights the power of various content offerings like videos and images. Words are no longer the darlings of SEO; since people appreciate multiple content types, search engines now do as well. This means you should no longer feel pressured to produce 2,000 word articles for everything you publish. Instead, focus on the quality of what you’re creating. Say what you need to say to impart value and education, and nothing more.

So there you have it; a handful of common SEO practices that are all but obsolete. Use these variants in your 2015 SEO efforts, and you’ll see your results improve.

What other archaic SEO trends have you stopped using recently? Have you seen a positive shift as a result?

About the author

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Tina Courtney

Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile

57 Comments

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  • Hi Tina,

    While it’s true that a writer shouldn’t drag out a topic when it’s obvious there is nothing left to discuss…..emphasis should not be taken away from the importance and benefits of publishing long form in-dept articles, which Google itself has over time shown to place more weight to and value on….”if” the content in question provides great value and usefulness to the reader.

    But I’d like to stress and in way support your last point….an article shouldn’t contain 3,000 words if 1,000 words can deliver the same message. Aplace lso, a writer should aim to deliver all he can on a subject without leaving anything out of it.

    Thanks Tina, nice reading.

  • Nice article as always Tina. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about future SEO. I was not aware of latent semantic indexing (LSI) so thank you for explaining this. Great work.

  • Sorry, but considering the subject and content of the article, I just had to smile at the user names in the first two replies.
    “Tommy experienced weight loss” and “Marketing Infographics”.

  • Thanks for sharing.
    It will be much easier to make good websites, since we can skip a few old tricks that only messed up the content and made it irritating for the users to read.

  • So basically it’s what it always should have been – don’t stress about unnatural manipulation – just write quality, relevant and interesting content that you care and know about and you’ll be fine. At last, common sense!

  • If word count doesn’t matter, can we post with 50 words in a post ? Will it be considered thin content spam ?

  • When providing back links, the words being used to anchor those links should be relevant and of good quality.

  • As an SEO specialist, I’m producing more promotional videos for customers on Youtube, Dailymotion, Frequencey, and finding out the videos can rank high on Google search results even if your website does not and doesn’t require as much SEO work with a website.

  • Sorry for being offending but why does this article not conform these rules? 2-5 could be expressed in 2 words: “neat content with as little as possible water”.

  • Thanks for this article. I am happy to hear that I don’t have to write long articles when a good concise informative one will be better.

  • Well written article. Our site was revised in 2014, but Google still sees us as a new site whereas in reality it began in 1999. Any suggestions about contacting Google?

  • This is a great article, but length of text still matters to some extent. I’ve done extensive analytics across various sites and blog posts that are only 250 or 300 words invariably rank more poorly than ones that are 400 or more. This is regardless of photo or video inclusions. Your mileage may vary, but there’s a point when the bots don’t have enough to grab onto and evaluate if there’s not enough text. Too long is better than too short.

    • I agree, Timothy, but I think the author isn’t suggesting we write really short content – only that those writers who use a ton of words and say nothing need to stop.

  • Good article, Tina. Regarding the last point on content length, I think there are different ways to look at that. If you offer content that benefits by brevity, then keep it short. If the topic benefits from a lengthy discourse, then there’s no reason to shorten it up.

    Does Google in fact favor brevity over wordiness? I actually have not seen that to be the case. Google is increasingly able, algorithmically, to favor quality over quantity, but that’s a different contrast. I find that long-form content can rank very competitively as long as it is on point and offers value to the user.

    Look at it another way. How come this article is 900 words, when you probably could have edited it down to 500? Because 900 words was the right length to share good information and get your point across.

    Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

  • If the search bots start to have similar behavior as our human instincts that normally moves away when gets bored of something or anything then this might work. Be concise in form and yet comprehensive in the final scope make sense to me.

  • “we no longer need to manipulate the copy on our websites to speak the language of search engine bots. Instead, they’re learning to speak ours”

    fascinating!

    thanks for the intelligent and excellent article!

  • Yes, only unique and quality content is helpful in ranking well. If your content is poor, no matter how many links you have, it won’t get you ranked.

  • SEO is something that keeps on changing, no one can predict what is going to happen tomorrow. SEO has to be done, being careful all time.

  • SEO played a major role in building a good rank, but over SEO can do the opposite too so be careful when you are doing SEO

  • Indeed, just exclusive and also good quality content is useful in rank very well. In case your content can be inadequate, it doesn’t matter what number of back links you have, the idea won’t allow you to get rated.

  • Please tell me if there is anything else which we have to take care about SEO tips in 2015. Like Backlinks and much more.

  • Nice article thanks for sharing these top 5 SEO Tactics 2015. CBSE Result 2015

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