Standalone GPS systems, landline phones, CDs, cash-only establishments, your grandmother’s kitchen—all of these things are long outdated. But if you’re wondering if SEO is still relevant in 2017, it is. What isn’t, however, are these outdated SEO tactics that too many companies are still using.
1. Being a spammy guest bloggerNo, guest blogging isn’t dead. And no, you aren’t limited to writing just on your company’s blog and (fingers crossed) hoping people find your stuff. But guest blogging simply to get a link or two back to your site is. Posting on sites and writing about topics that don’t fit your brand or getting guest post links that aren’t relevant to the site they’re posted on are considered spammy guest blogging tactics.
What you should be doing:Don’t focus on guest blogging simply for that one link back to your site. Rather, find quality sites with good followings that fit your industry or write about topics you’re passionate about that will help grow your brand, develop relationships with other bloggers and allow you to reach a bigger audience. People seeing your post, even if all you’re given is a nofollow link in your author’s bio, should get some traffic back to your website.
2. Cramming keywordsKeywords are an important part of SEO. But cramming 10 of the same keywords into one website page or even one 500 word blog post is just wrong and awkward. Think of it like talking on the phone to a sales rep from your internet company. No matter what question you ask, they repeat the same thing over and over again from a script. It makes for an unnatural conversation; it’s like you’re talking to a robot that has a button stuck.
What you should be doing:Like I said, keywords are good and still should be used. But like with sugary foods, use them in moderation. So read through your page or post and count how many times you use each keyword—or use a content or keyword analysis tool if you don’t want to manually count—focus on writing quality content that’s user-friendly vs. just trying to fit those keywords in and use relatable keywords instead of the same one over and over and over again.
3. Using exact match anchor textOnce upon a time, linking to exact keyword phrases used to be a go-to SEO tactic. It was guaranteed to bump you up in the search rankings. But today, it’s a bad SEO tactic. Google sees these types of links as unnatural, and Google won’t reward you for unnatural, over-optimized anchor text, whether on your website or a third-party website.
What you should be doing:For this one, focus on writing for real people and not search engines. You can also use longer phrases and/or similar keyword phrases that fit more naturally into your content.
4. Choosing quantity over qualityIn terms of links, more isn’t always better. If you’re spending all your time getting added to link directories, buying links and getting numerous links in comments and forums, you’re wasting your time. Search engines care more about the quality of links you have instead of the quantity you have.
What you should be doing:Spend your time on natural link building, crafting content that’s really useful that other bloggers and brands will want to link back to, and remember that quality is greater than quantity.
5. Building out pages for each keyword you’re targetingThis is one keyword extreme you need to stay away from. Sure, for a while it worked. You were able to target each keyword, and every possible variation of each keyword, on its own and give search engines more of your pages to index, making you seem more relevant. But today, you’ll be penalized for doing this. Building out pages for each keyword is a user’s nightmare, and Google cares more about good user experience than a business’s relevancy.
What you should be doing:Again, consumer usability should be your top priority here. Consolidate similar keywords onto one page rather than having a handful of variations solely for keyword optimization purposes.
6. Forgetting about socialWhile Google hasn’t come out and said that social is an important indirect factor of page ranking, all SEOers will tell you that it is, and so will we. Good old Neil Patel has even done case studies proving how social signals impact search rankings.
What you should be doing:So if you’re not paying attention to social media or creating shareable content and promoting your content, add those things to today’s to-do list.
7. Not optimizing your website for mobileGoogle has already announced that website pages may not rank as high if they’re not optimized for mobile. You’d think in today’s day and age, Google wouldn’t have to make that kind of announcement; that people would already know how much mobile user experience matters to businesses, consumers and Google. But yet, some know and still neglect this important part of SEO.
What you should be doing:To help make your website mobile-friendly, start by doing these four things:
- Ensure your text has readable zoom.
- Choose a WordPress theme that’s mobile-responsive.
- Don’t use Flash or any software that’s uncommon on mobile devices.
- Keep links spread out so users can easily tap each one.