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Outdated SEO Practices You Shouldn’t Still Be Doing

Outdated SEO tactics

The world of SEO changes fast. Tactics and techniques that work nicely one year can be completely outdated the next. In order to have success with your SEO efforts, you need to work hard and keep up with the changing landscape around you. 

Unfortunately, many digital marketers have fallen behind the times and are still using SEO practices that simply aren’t relevant any longer. Even if you think you are pretty well up-to-date with your methods, it’s still a good idea to take a look at what you are doing and make sure none of your strategies appears on the list below. If you are still actively using some of these practices, consider retiring them in favor of more modern, advanced techniques. Here we go!

Keyword Stuffing is a No-No

You have most likely (hopefully!) left this one in the rearview mirror. But just in case you are still keyword stuffing, we’d like to lead off with this old concept. In the early days of search engine optimization, it was standard practice to simply pack as many keywords onto each page as possible. Many sites would even go as far as not bothering to write coherent content – it would sometimes just be lists of keywords stacked up at the bottom of the page. 

Fortunately, this doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it’s been a long time since keyword stuffing was a viable practice. Keywords are still critically important, of course, but they need to be used in a natural manner throughout your content, and that content should be easy to read and useful for the audience. The modern internet is a far better place thanks to the removal of keyword stuffing as a useful SEO tactic. 

Covering Every Single Keyword Variant

Keyword blocks

When you do keyword research for your SEO efforts, you are sure to find tons of small variations on the same keyword that you might be tempted to target. Basically, these keywords will be talking about the same thing – and the user will be looking for the same thing – but they will show up as different keywords within your chosen research tool. 

Traditionally, that meant sites trying to optimize for SEO would use each and every one of these individual keywords and build separate pages for them all. In the end, those pages would all be very similar, which isn’t a surprise since the searches meant the same thing despite their small differences. This created a ton of work for site owners and operators, yet it didn’t really add any value for the visitors to those sites. 

Site owners used to use this plan simply because it worked. At that point, Google wasn’t as able to sort out what the various keywords were about, so it was necessary to target all of those individual keywords if you wanted to cover a topic thoroughly and draw in as much traffic as possible. These days, Google knows better, and you don’t need to do this anymore. All of those small variations in keywords can easily be rolled into the same page and Google will know what you are talking about. Save yourself the effort of building out so many pages and instead focus on optimizing the quality of the pages you do build. 

Exact-Match Domains

One of the popular trends from years ago in the world of SEO was buying domains that were an exact match for the keyword you were trying to target. For example, if your targeted keyword was something like ‘best kitchen spatula’, you might see if you could secure the domain ‘’. At the time, there were reasons to believe that owning exact-match domains was an advantage over the competition and you may be able to rank higher in the search results when your domain lined up with what was being searched. 

As you might imagine, this is one of those tactics that has long since faded away. You don’t see these types of domains very often anymore, and for good reason. It isn’t going to make any difference in your rankings if your domain happens to line up with the keyword being searched – rather, you need to build an authoritative site that delivers quality information and meets the needs of your users. 

Bulk Publishing Bad Content

High quality SEO content

Another old-school SEO technique was simply to put up as much content as possible – regardless of the quality of the content. The thinking was that by putting up tons of pages on various topics and targeting various keywords, at least some of it would rank, and some traffic would start to come in. Over the years, you could just keep publishing more and more pages, and you might wind up with a pretty good flow of traffic in the end. 

This doesn’t work very well anymore, if at all. The quality of your content is essential these days, as thin or low-quality pages just aren’t going to get very much traction in the search rankings. Unless you have a huge budget to buy a lot of great content from professional writers, you’ll probably want to take a more targeted approach. Today, it’s better to post fewer pages that are of the highest possible quality than it is to take the bulk approach and publish pages you aren’t really proud of having on your site. 

Buying Cheap Links

Everyone knows that links are important in SEO. And we aren’t here to tell you that links don’t matter anymore – they certainly still do. Having quality, authoritative links pointing in toward your pages is one of the best things you can acquire to help you move up the search rankings and earn more visitors from potential customers. 

The important word to remember here – and a theme that is running through this article – is quality. Good links remain highly valuable, but that’s not what this is about. In this case, we are talking about low-quality, spammy links that you can buy from site owners who sell such links for a modest price. Paying for cheap links might seem like a good way to build your site’s profile quickly without doing the hard work that is usually required for traditional link building. It isn’t going to work, however, and you might even wind up getting your site penalized as a result of having these kinds of links. 

So, how do you get real links without taking this step? Yet again, it all comes back to a focus on the quality of what you publish. If you work hard to publish great pages that deliver value to your readers and answer their questions or solve their problems, the links will come naturally over time. Also, you might try reaching out to other quality sites to point them to your pages and let them know more about what you do. Rather than trying to buy a link on a bad site, you can form relationships with people who run good sites and hopefully collect links because they are impressed by what you do. This is a slower method, to be sure, but it’s the one that is far more likely to leave you with positive results and a site that steadily grows as time passes. 

High quality SEO links

Using Site Directories

Speaking of links, another method of getting some links that used to be popular was to add your site to as many different directories as you could find around the web. These directories were just lists of sites in various niches, and some of them might even still be around for you to use. Don’t waste your time – adding your site to one or one hundred of these directories isn’t going to do anything for your rankings, so you might as well invest your effort in something that is going to pay off in one way or another. 

The problem here is that having a link from a directory to your site doesn’t say anything about the quality of the site itself. The whole idea of links as a ranking factor is that they are supposed to speak to how good a site is and what others on the web think of the site and what it has to offer. If you are just adding your site’s address to a directory and submitting the listing, that doesn’t mean much. It’s not the same thing as another site owner finding your site and wanting to link to it because of the value it offers. It makes sense that site directories have been devalued and you don’t need to waste any of your time thinking about this outdated tactic. 

Spinning Articles

If you have been around the digital marketing world for a while, you may be familiar with the concept of article spinning. This is a technique where you would find pages that are ranking in the search results for a keyword that you would like to target, and you’d then copy the content from that page and paste it into a spinning tool to create a “new” article. Once the spinning software produced a finished product, you could grab that and use it to create a new page on your own site. 

There are many problems with this strategy. In addition to the questionable ethics of grabbing content and twisting it around into a new form, there is also the matter of the product produced by a spinning tool being of very low quality. The article it spits out won’t be very good, so you won’t be offering much of value to any readers who do land on that page. Not only that, but you’ll basically be bringing the same information – in a different form – that other sites have already published, so you’ll be behind the game from the start. Article spinning as a useful strategy is a thing of the past, and the web is better for it. 

The outdated SEO practices we listed above aren’t just a waste of time in the modern landscape – they could actively be hurting your site and degrading your rankings. Take a moment to think about the way you view SEO today and how those views might need to be updated to be better aligned with today’s reality. We hope this list has been helpful and we wish you the best of luck with your SEO endeavors!

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Morgan Staples
About Morgan Staples:

Morgan Staples leads written and verbal content efforts for digital marketing projects and campaigns, delivering highly effective copy that drives leads and sales. She has always loved reading, writing and research papers, and now she gets to put that to use every day.

Learn more about Morgan.

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