#11: Once Revered SEO Tactics
If there’s one thing you need to know about the world of search engine optimisation (SEO), it’s that nothing stays the same for too long. In fact, all it takes is looking away from the latest trends and changes for a moment to end up on the wrong side of the shifting equation. To ensure you never find yourself there, let’s take a look at some once-revered SEO tactics that simply don’t offer up much value anymore.
- Ultra-Short Content - At the top of the list is developing optimised content under the 300-word benchmark. While these ultra-short offerings once held a spot in successful SEO campaigns, today’s content marketers and brand managers are much better off playing by Google and the rest of the search engine world’s rules and generating longer selections.
- Forcing a Keyword-Centric Title - Forcing the target keyword into the title of your content has gone from mandatory to highly unnecessary. A more appropriate approach is to focus on a title that uses strong wording, embodies value held within the content, and leans on fun devices, like alliteration, when possible.
- Using Too Many Meta Keywords - Aside from coming off as unfocused and cluttered, going too heavy on meta keywords is a great way to let competing brands know exactly what your clients focus on during content creation and planning. You’re much better off using these tools in a strategically sound and measured manner.
- Valuing Quantity Over Quality in Link-building - In terms of inbound links, if some is good, more is better right? As the HubSpot Blog’s Nicole Rende explains, that old adage doesn’t hold a lot of weight in today’s SEO landscape. The truth of the matter is that buying bulk links and forgoing quality connections to other relevant thought leaders will not only fail to help get your pages ranked, it can also land you in some hot water with Google and other search engine titans.
- Taking Every Guest Blog Opportunity - Not too long ago, whether you were submitting good or bad content was irrelevant, so long as you captured every possible guest blog opportunity. Much like Link-building, this best practice has shifted dramatically toward an emphasis on quality. If you’re going to seek guest blog posts on behalf of the brands you represent, it’s imperative that the connections in question drive value and build a strong reputation for these organisations.
- Neglecting Proper Image Management - The final archaic tactic covers the inclusion of images within blog posts and other site content. Essentially, instead of properly tagging and utilising alt-text like most digital leaders do today, brands and marketers alike simply left these assets uncategorised and therefore “un-crawlable” by search engines – or ignored the usage of these tools entirely in favour of other best practice tactics of the era. Either way, neglecting image optimisation means forgoing huge opportunities from an SEO perspective.
- Using Exact Keywords - There was a time when pinpointing exact – and sometimes nonsensical – phrases was the most effective way to rise up the search result pages. Today, delivering value throughout the content and working around a strong topic or series of keyword ideas is the best way to approach SEO.
- Gaming the System via H1 Tags - The concept of H1 tag manipulation. The gist of this dated practice is that overusing or improperly incorporating this headline designation was a prime way to take advantage of search ranking algorithms. However, with a steady stream of updates and adjustments, the variables that determine results no longer incorrectly reward this kind of shady tactic.
- Emphasising “Big Picture” Over Local SEO - Just a few years ago, it was common practice to presume that SEO didn’t have any bearing on local audiences or search results. Unfortunately, those marketers who don’t optimise or tailor content toward the local community end up leaving a lot on the table in terms of reach and impact. The truth of the matter is that with the Pigeon algorithm and other similar updates, skipping local SEO operations is far from a great approach.
- Directionless Press Releases - In the right hands, press releases can be a powerful tool for leveraging the more formal side of SEO and content marketing. However, the history of SEO is littered with press releases that are devoid of news. Press releases aren’t just free publicity and added content to your clients’ digital portfolios like the examples of yesteryear. Press releases should be both warranted and full of informative content to generate search ranking value.
- Relying On Automation - The final tactic that makes the list – automated content generation – is perhaps the most notable relic of a bygone SEO era. What once stood as a pillar of many effective campaigns now serves only as a warning to brands and marketers: If you spin or otherwise generate a lot of junk articles, don’t be surprised when Google, Bing and other leading search engines slap you with a healthy dose of ranking penalties.
As you can see, a lot has changed in terms of what’s considered a best practice in the world of optimising and refining content. Thankfully, with this realisation in hand and a willingness to learn new and better approaches, you can move forward knowing that you’re prepared and capable of building a winning SEO game plan for brands of all shapes, sizes and orientations.