SEO is a constantly changing field. What worked on Friday might not even work on Monday! Here are a few SEO tactics that are no longer effective. If you’re considering hiring someone to optimize your website, these SEO tactics should be red flags.
1. Keywords before clicks
2. Heavy use of anchor text on internal links
3. Pages for every keyword variant
4. Directories, paid links, etc.
5. Multiple microsites, separate domains
6. Exact and partial keyword match domains
Keywords before clicks
This used to be called keyword stuffing. You would do your keyword research and then plaster keywords all over your page to get clicks for those keywords. The downside to this approach is that it rarely yielded any conversions because visitors left those web pages immediately upon arrival. Web pages stuffed with keywords are nonsensical gibberish. Don’t do this or risk being penalized by Google.
Heavy use of anchor text on internal links
This is another SEO tactic that risks a Google penalty. In this case, I would suggest that if the internal link is in the navigation, the footer, sidebar, or inside content, and if it’s relevant and well-written and flows well, has high usability, you are safe. However, if it’s sketchy in any way, avoid this SEO tactic at all costs.
Pages for every keyword variant
This is an SEO tactic that many people are still pursuing today but has been ineffective for a long time. The idea was basically that every variation of a keyword should have its own page. It makes far greater sense to focus your energy on creating great content and trying to use the keywords intelligently within the content, the headline, the title, or the meta description.
Directories and paid links
Every single one of these link building, link acquisition techniques that I’m about to mention has either been directly penalized by Google or penalized as part of an update, or we’ve seen sites get hit hard for doing it. This is dangerous stuff, and you want to stay away from all of these at this point.
Avoid all of the following:
• Link directories
• Paid link directories
• Article links
• Comment links
• Reciprocal link pages
• Fiverr or forum link buys
• Private link networks
• Article spinners
• Social link buys
• $99 SEO link packages
Multiple microsites, separate domains with the same audience or topic target
This used to be very common SEO. You would split up content into multiple microsites, often with separate domains like virginiamovingcompany.com and vamovingcompany.com and va-md-dcmovingcompany.com and use the same content for all three domains. The problem is that Google penalizes for duplicate content and linking between sites. Plus there’s a huge additional cost to maintaining and managing all these extra sites and domains.
Exact and partial keyword match domain names
Basically keyword match domains names look sketchy and spammy and usually are. You’ll still find tons of examples online – http://www.truckaccidentattorneysroundtable.com/, for example.
The types of domain names that don’t sound like real brands are actually going to draw clicks away from you and towards your competitors who sound more credible, more competent, and more branded. For that reason alone, you should avoid them.
But also these types of domains do much more poorly with link earning, with content marketing, with being able to have guest content accepted. People don’t trust it. The same is true for public relations and getting press mentions. The press doesn’t trust sites like these.