January 11, 2019
SEO strategies have gone through so much evolution in the last 10 years, and what earned you #1 rankings in 2010 could result in a penalty today. Today we’ll be going over 5 SEO tactics that fall under this category.
1. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword Stuffing is where a website owner would make sure that Google knew exactly what their website is about… by using the keyword in every other sentence. Although Google now knows better, they used to think that if you say the keyword 50 times in a 300 word article, it must be really relevant to the search term, and should be rewarded with higher rankings. In reality, this can now result in a huge penalty from Google. However, it won’t result in de-indexing.
People would paste their keyword over and over at the bottom of their page, not even forming proper sentences. I’m glad that SEO has received a facelift since then, because it obviously didn’t show the sort of results that the consumer wants to read after a search query.
So if you’re wondering how to avoid keyword stuffing, it’s quite simple. As always, write long form content, and aim for a keyword density of somewhere around 3%. This is not a hard and fast rule. Some people use a keyword density of 5% and produce great results, and others aim for the lower end.
2. High Volume Spam Links
Spam links in general were the SEO strategy of choice for many companies in the last decade, but Google has become a smarter beast since then. Gone are the days where you could buy 100 links from a spam SEO company and find your website on the top of page 1.
This would include link exchange (if done in an obvious way), link buying (again, if done overtly), forum links, blog commenting, and profile links. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t incorporate any of these strategies in your link building efforts, but you need to use them intelligently and scarcely.
Google will reward you more for 1 super high quality link (e.g. from Neil Patel’s blog) than 1000 spam backlinks from a bot doing blog commenting. But again, this is a benefit for us white hat SEO’ers. If Google never penalized sites for spam backlink campaigns, they would be outranking our sites while spending 1/10th of the time and getting 10x the results.
In today’s SEO landscape, our time is much better spent creating high quality, authority links from similar sites in our niche. Earlier I gave the example of a link from Neil Patel’s blog. Go find the “Neil Patel” in your niche and work on getting a backlink from them.
3. Unrelated Guest Blogging
Before you scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a nasty comment, guest blogging is a component of SEO that is far from dead. However, if people used guest blogging today the same way they used to, their outcome would be less than beneficial.
I’m talking about when someone who ran a farming website would guest post on a site that is about plumbing. If you have to use more than one sentence to justify how your site is connected to theirs, it’s probably a good sign that you should look for new backlink prospects.
Again, guest blogging can and should be a critical component of any SEO campaign. Heck, the blog post you’re reading right now is a guest post. But you need to be somewhat picky with sites that you’ll guest post for. Also, check out their site metrics and make sure that the backlink is worth the effort required.
4. Exact Match Anchor Texts and Domains
In the past, SEO campaigns consisted of overly optimized anchor texts, and the use of EMD’s (Exact Match Domains). If someone wanted to make a site and rank for how to lose weight, they would buy howtoloseweight.com, and build as many backlinks as they could with the anchor text “how to lose weight”.
The right percentage of exact match anchor texts is also a question that is somewhat in the air. In a great article on anchor texts by Nathan Gotch, he suggests that 5% of your backlinks are exact match. This is a great ballpark figure, but you shouldn’t worry about getting exactly 5% exact match anchors.
The use of EMD’s are an issue that still divide the SEO world as to their effectiveness. Some people believe that using an EMD still works, and that if you’re building a new site and it’s available, that you should use it. Others have sworn off of EMD’s, and believe that Google will see it as a spammy site and not rank it.
My philosophy is that it’s a case-case-by-case basis as to whether or not they are effective. If the EMD appears natural for a given keyword, you should go with the EMD. If it just seems spammy, you should go with a branded domain.
5. Creating Sites Just to Interlink Them
We all know that spam PBN’s are something to avoid as of 2018, but that wasn’t always the case. In the past, SEO experts would create their own “private blog network” and use it to interlink between the sites, increasing the authority of each site in the network.
They’d then link to their money site, and enjoy their newly boosted rankings. Although you can still build your own blogs and use them to boost your site’s rankings, you need to be 10 times more careful about keeping everything looking natural, including site layout, backlinks, and even hosting.
Yet again, you should just focus on building authority backlinks, and you won’t need to worry about tricking Google into giving you rankings.
I hope you’ve learnt something today that you’ll be able to take and implement (or rather, be sure not to implement) on your own website’s SEO. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to visit my website and fill out the contact form to get ahold of me.
Josiah Brown is an SEO Professional at Airborne Digital Marketing Agency, a Winnipeg SEO Agency that uses white hat SEO strategy to rank their clients’ sites. They offer a results-based pricing model, because they believe for them to be successful, their clients need to be successful.
Josiah Brown is an SEO Professional at Airborne Digital Marketing Agency, a Winnipeg SEO Agency that uses white hat SEO strategy to rank their clients' sites. They offer a results-based pricing model, because they believe for them to be successful, their clients need to be successful.