Five SEO Techniques to Trash

Before Steelsmith Group sits down with a client in San Diego to talk to them about any facet of internet marketing – SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing, Content Marketing or CRM Services – we make sure we do our homework on not only their company, but also the trends and best practices for each facet.

These days you have to be especially careful about how you do your SEO. What used to work yesterday may be a big no-no today.  So if you want to avoid getting your hand slapped, and getting your site penalized, listen up.

According to analytics guru, Neil Patel, as posted in his Quicksprout blog, there are 5 SEO techniques that you must kiss goodbye if you want to win at the SEO game. (Patel notes that what works or doesn’t work can be a day-to-day proposition and underscores that these 5 bad practices are bad as it stands today.)

The first technique is “Spammy Guest Blogging”. Many folks use guest bloggers to pull traffic to their site. But the trick is to be selective and smart. As Patel points out , “There is legitimate guest blogging, and then there is spammy guest blogging.” A few hints: The guest post has to be relevant to your site’s theme and it must be well-written with high level content. And try to not use optimized anchors.

And that’s the second technique you’ll want to kick to the curb – Optimized Anchors. People use optimized anchors that contain keywords for which they want to rank, but Patel says you’re just asking for a penalty when you use them today. His suggested reading on the topic includes Google’s “Link Scheme” document. Plopping anchor text willy-nilly can get you in big trouble. But some optimized anchor types are still on the ‘okay’ list – like naked URLs, branded URLs and carefully constructed long phrases.

The third technique to tip into the bucket is Quantity of Links Over Quality. The belief that more is more when it comes to the number of backlinks your site gets is so wrong. Yes, you can purchase backlinks quickly for not a whole lot of money, but be careful! The site that links may be penalized or it may have a low Domain Authority (DA). If you receive a huge bunch of links in a short time that raises a red flag too.

There’s a fourth taboo technique that points out that too much of a good thing is not a good thing – Keyword Heavy Content. This surfaced early and often as the easiest – and laziest – SEO practice. But this too has had the kibosh put on it. This is how Google defines keyword stuffing: “Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.”

The fifth SEO technique to boycott is Relying on Link-backs Instead of Content. Patel cautions that it is a delusion to think that “merely throwing a lot of links to a site will magically bring massive authority, high rankings, and tons of search traffic.”

Bottom line is that good SEO strategy is learning to combine a number of good techniques, never relying on just one. And good content trumps poor techniques all day long.