Search Engine Optimization has changed dramatically over the years and what worked before doesn’t necessarily work anymore. Some of the old tactics you are using may now be a waste of time or money and it’s also possible that some obsolete SEO tactics may actually now harm your search engine ranking.
Obsolete Tactic #1: More Backlinks Means Higher Ranking
Although more backlinks used to mean a higher search engine ranking, this is no longer completely true. These days you’ll notice new sites with few backlinks that rank better than old sites with hundreds of backlinks. What’s going on? Google is prioritizing backlinks – rewarding backlinks that are more relevant. This just shows that you don’t have to focus on backlink quantity. Focus on building highly relevant links that are topical to the content of your website.
Obsolete Tactic #2: SEO is About Writing Keyword-rich Content
If you want to rank for a term like “business loans,” you would need that phrase on your web page, right? That used to be the case, but Google’s algorithm uses latent semantic indexing.
Latent Semantic Indexing is an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition (SVD) to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text. LSI is based on the principle that words that are used in the same contexts tend to have similar meanings.
In other words, Google sees the words “corporate loans” as being similar to “business loans”. That means that if you used the word “business” instead of “corporate” you would still rank for both words.
Instead of trying to write keyword-rich content, write content that is user-friendly. If you put your users first and you write what’s best for them, Google will naturally figure out what terms you should rank for and will place you there.
Obsolete Tactic #3: SEO is Just Links, Code, and Content
This is what SEO used to be five years ago. Sites with tons of links, good on-page optimization, and mediocre content ranked really well. That’s not the case anymore.
Sites that rank well are sites that have a large social following. The more popular your site is on the social web, the more eyeballs you will draw to it. And the more people see it, the more backlinks it’ll get.
Obsolete Tactic #4: You Need to Track Your Rankings
Rankings are irrelevant. Sure you want better rankings, but search has changed into a long tail game. Just look at the data: search volume for head terms is down by 8%, and sites are starting to see the majority of their traffic coming from long tail phrases.
The beautiful part about this is that you no longer have to track your rankings. Instead, you need to focus on creating a long tail strategy by using content marketing.
Obsolete Tactic #5: More Pages Means More Traffic
If the pages aren’t high in quality, you won’t rank well. Instead of actually helping you, adding too much content, especially mediocre content, can hurt you.
Google released an update called Panda, which targeted sites with low quality content. Such sites got penalized, and their search traffic dropped.
Don’t create sites with thousands of pages. Focus on creating high quality content.
Obsolete Tactic #6: Higher Rankings Means More Traffic
There is a big misconception in the SEO industry that higher rankings mean more search traffic.
It’s true that more people will see your listing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get more clicks because the keywords you are targeting may not get much search volume. Or your meta tags may not be appealing, which will cause people to not click on your listings.
You can solve this by doing two things:
- You need to start using the Keyword Planner tool by Google to find the right keywords to go after.
- You need to optimize your click-through rates.
Obsolete Tactic #7: You Need A Lot of Text to Rank Well
Until recently, you needed as much as 2,000 words on a page to rank well, but this is changing dramatically. Sites like upworthy.com have very little text but rank well.
This shows that text isn’t the only form of valuable content. Videos and images also do well in the rankings, which is what Upworthy typically uses within its posts.
If you want high rankings, use different types of content to reach this goal. From podcasts to videos and quizzes, there are many possibilities.
Stop wasting your time on obsolete SEO tactics, and start focusing your energy on strategies that will boost your traffic.