Which SEO Techniques Should be Avoided?
As a business owner, you are looking to get in front of as much of your target audience as possible. That is the goal of your website right? To bring new traffic to your website, show them your stuff and convert them to clients, customers and fans! This is where SEO strategy comes into play; optimising your website to help search engines match you up with the users searching for your solution. BUT… like with anything, there is such a thing as a bad SEO strategy. And unfortunately, there are STILL people actively recommending SEO techniques that should be avoided.
Why does it matter if you use outdated SEO strategies?
These outdated SEO tactics were formed on a strategy to trick or please much simpler technologies. And as these technologies have advanced so too have the processes used: including search engine optimisation! A good SEO strategy is now (and probably always should have been) about providing a good experience for the user and proactively providing the strongest match for their search. This is known as white hat SEO techniques which create strong, long-term results.
The reverse of this is black hat SEO. These strategies might work short term for a quick ranking (think the scammy websites that pop up selling a premium product, delivering a cheap knockoff from WISH, and then vanishing). BUT… they also tend to be really bad for user experience and are actually against the guidelines of most search engines anyway. Using black hat SEO is a really good way to find your website penalised and lose any traffic that does find its way to your website!
My goal is to help heart-centred business owners be found with a great SEO strategy. I only teach best practices and hope to dispel any bad advice you might have been given. So let’s talk about this. In this blog, we are looking at which SEO techniques should be avoided and why.
To do the 6 Outdated SEO tactics
1. Keyword stuffing
Remember the ‘old days’ of the interwebs when you would read a blog/recipe where the keyword had been stuffed in 25 times? This was a strategy used to trick search engines into prioritising your content over other websites. It felt repetitive and annoying even back then and it is so much worse now. The algorithm is much smarter now and it actively prioritises user experience.
Keyword stuffing as a strategy just creates content that is clunky, repetitive, and boring. Instead, use longer key phrases (technically we call these long tail keywords) in a natural way within your content. You can test this by considering how the content would flow if you spoke it out loud. Would those keywords still fit where you used them on the page? Have you used those keywords appropriately to convey what it is you are speaking about?
2. Writing for Google instead of humans
I can’t say this enough; write for humans! Good SEO strategy really comes back to user experience. Your goal is to support, inform and convert your human readers so please keep these humans at the front of your mind.
Search engines such as Google have spent a whole lot of time and money building sophisticated procedures that are looking at the user experience. Go back to the above tip about reading your content out loud and consider if it makes sense to humans. Or are there perhaps some funky phrases in there to ‘nail’ keywords and make the little green light on Yoast happy?
3. Hiding keywords in the same colour as your website page background in the background
There is a reason why this one feels a bit like cheating on your high school essay! This outdated tactic is yet another one designed to try to ‘trick’ the algorithm. The idea was to stuff more keywords on the page (sometimes the same or sometimes an alternate set of keywords) without the reader noticing by hiding them with font colour or size or font.
You MUST avoid this SEO technique! As we have discussed, algorithms are really smart and search engines will penalise your website for trying to trick them. Instead, focus on strategically incorporating your strong keywords and alternate keywords naturally into your text, headers, slug, meta description, image title, and image alt text.
4. Duplicating popular blog content even if it’s changed up a little
Can you write a new blog on the same topic? Yes, absolutely. In fact, you can and should be delivering as much valuable content to your audience on popular topics as you can consistently create. The black hat SEO technique we are talking about here is simply duplicating your blogs and just tweaking them a little to try to tell Google you have more content with those search terms. Search engines do crawl your website for duplicate content and they know when you do this!
Again this has high school vibes of cheating on an assignment by copying off someone else, doesn’t it? To do the assignment properly you and your friend both needed to go away and write on the same topic with your own words, ideas, and viewpoint. By all means – write another blog on the same topic, but take the time to write a new blog with some new information, a different perspective, or an update for your audience.
5. Misleading your user by leading them to content that doesn’t match the heading/title
If you take just one thing away from this blog; please avoid this SEO technique! Deliberately misleading your audience is one of the fastest ways to lose them for good and get picked up in a spam filter while you are at it. This falls into the realm of clickbait titles as a ploy to get users to click the link.
Use catchy, and exciting titles but be authentic! Make it relevant. This serves your audience and it will make Google happy. Sometimes mistakes happen and the wording on a page will be updated while the linked content is not. So check carefully when doing updates to ensure that your buttons, titles and content are matching.
6. Buying and building poor-quality backlinks.
This is typically the reason why you see weird comments left on blogs. The thing is not all backlinks are made equal! SEO algorithms are looking to see if the links referring back to your website are valid backlinks from reputable websites. Sadly, this is one of the poor strategies that some SEO agencies utilise as part of a monthly fee.
I believe SEO is better done once and done well with a good strategy in place to continue creating valuable content and quality backlinks. You do want links back to your website as this tells search engines that what you have on your website is good, noteworthy content. But you want them from the right places. Focus instead on collaboration and celebration. Ask to submit guest articles on well-known websites and seek to be a guest on relevant podcasts. Celebrate those around you by leaving quality feedback on their websites after receiving their goods or service. Check my handy backlinks cheat sheet here for more information.
Where to Start with your own SEO strategy?
There really is a difference between good and bad SEO strategies. One focuses on the user to help them find relevant, valuable content. The other uses outdated SEO tactics to try to trick an algorithm that is actually smart enough to know you are trying to manipulate the result. If you are looking to create a solid website, find your ideal audience, and bring traffic to you with long-term results you should avoid these 6 SEO techniques. There are better ways! You can start by reading this blog on 10 easy steps to help you improve your website SEO.
It is so satisfying when we look at the results to see my past SEO projects continuing to grow month after month with a good SEO strategy in place. If you are ready to invest in growth for your business I’d love to help! I specialise in SEO strategy to help you be found by your audience and see the effect of SEO on your own website. Learn more about my services here or fill in my contact form and I will be in touch.