We all like things that are slightly outdated. In fashion, the exuberant style of the 90s has come back, with everyone under thirty romanticizing the slacker look of baseball caps, neon running shoes and baggy jeans.
Here are three examples of SEO practices that are no longer effective:
Putting Keywords Before Clicks
This is a phenomenon that happens far more than you might think, which is to say: some analysts still don’t know it’s harming their ranking. It is essentially the practice of putting a few target keywords into the same document, or onto the same page.
For example, let’s assume we’re working with a client who sells analog synthesizers. A realistic set of target keywords might be:
- ‘Analog Vintage Keyboards’ as title
- ‘Cheap Vintage Synths’ as h1
- ‘best deals on analog keyboards’ as h2
Narrowing these down is an important first step of your search strategy. However, combining them into a single article, either has h1 or h2 headers especially, is not a wise decision. Why?
Using numerous generic keywords in a single document holds your page back from potential domain authority and CTR scores. For one thing, we know that Google pays close attention to click signals like time on page and conversion rate. Putting a bunch of bland keywords is not going to attract readers because readers probably associate this practice with spammy content.
It’s far more effective to make an article about a specific kind of synth in stock and describing the features in-depth, with an SEO strategy that highlights one keyword and some general questions about the purchasing decision on each page.
Anchor Text + Internal Links
The overuse of anchor texts with internal links is another pointless SEO endeavour.
By now Google is intelligent enough to decipher relevance and usability of internal links in the context of a page. They may penalize sites that rely on internal links with low-usability that appear solely for the benefit of extra clicks.
Analysts should take special care to design internal links that fit within the larger site architecture, while also taking into consideration the spread of traffic evenly throughout the site.
For instance, putting three internal links to the homepage at the bottom of an article is probably not going to sneak past the Google bot. A far more effective strategy is to put one link to the homepage within the first 100 words of text, and then only incorporating links to other areas of the site when it’s context appropriate.
Every Keyword Has Its Own Page
To go back to the analog synth client page example: Google will no longer look fondly upon the site if it has separate pages for similar keywords.
For example, let’s say the site had separate pages for ‘Analog Keyboards’, ‘Analog Synthesizers’, and ‘Vintage Synths’. If you’re looking to generate traffic to the site, the logic behind this manoeuver makes little sense.
These queries are all for pretty much the same thing, so your much better off making specific page titles and incorporating the general keywords into each page.
How would that look? Something like this:
Page 1 title – ‘Korg Synthesizers’ – h1 tag: ‘Analog Polyphonic Synths’ – h2 tag: ‘Vintage Monophonic Synths’
Page 2 title – ‘Roland Synthesizers’ – h1 tag: ‘Analog Polyphonic Keyboards’ – h2 tag: ‘Monophonic Synthesizers’
That way you spread traffic AND domain authority through the pages of your site, while also giving readers specific information about exactly what they are searching for. Check out this article for more info on effective keyword planning techniques.
There Are No Short-Cuts in SEO
These erroneous SEO techniques are all, in one way or another, attempts to skip a step without getting caught. Since domain authority is a comparative metric, the only way for SEO’s to get pages and sites to rank is by sticking with the basics and avoiding alluring short cuts. The sites that do so will always rank better.