Over time, we have experienced a lot of changes in the world of digital marketing, especially in search engine optimization. We have to accept the fact that it is no longer an easy-peasy job for us.
But we couldn’t blame search engines for making it hard for us. More than other people, we, marketers, know that change is an essential factor to address the changing user’s need. Search engines giants roll out updates, one after the other, to make web searching more accurate, safe and secure.
So don’t be surprised to know that some age-old optimization tactics may no longer be as effective as it was before. It’s about time to check on your list and ditch the strategies that don’t deliver results anymore.
Here are some of them.
Way back years ago, digital marketers build as many links as they can to get higher rankings. Most of us are guilty of creating hundreds of links without even thinking about how the linking domain is related to the landing page.
But this was years ago… even before the release of Penguin 2.0 which shook up the world of SEO. These days, while link building is still considered as one of the important factors for search rankings, the way to do it to get into the top results has totally changed.
Seriously, if you keep on building links without analyzing them first, you see your website penalized rather than getting the top spot. It is now time to focus on building relevant and quality links. Quality links may come from different sources like from highly authoritative editorial sites and industry or influencers’ websites.
Create backlinks from other highly authoritative and reputable websites with quality contents. Optimization is no longer about the number of links you build anymore. It is better to build few high-quality links from reputable sources than building hundreds of links from poor, second-rate websites.
I’m pretty much sure you came across some content analysis tools that tell you that you are not using your keywords enough. But if following the suggestion means you need to compromise the quality of your content, you are better off without it.
Google and other search engines are getting smarter and smarter. The number of times you mentioned your keyword within your content is unnecessary for content optimization.
Google are smart enough to analyze your content based on context and other on-page factors. Through LSI or latent semantic indexing, Google still understands your content even if you just retain the minimum amount of exact match keyword.
It is enough that you place your keyword in your Meta descriptions, titles, on-page linking URL and just a few mentions within your content. Unless you want to commit an SEO suicide, keyword stuffing cannot take your website anywhere but down.
Keyword stuffing is not the only cause of over-optimization. One of the many culprits of over-optimization is when you overdo internal linking.
Notice how I used the anchor text to link to my reference above (URL: blog.kissmetrics.com/avoid-over-optimizing/). If this is 2012, I should have used keyword-rich anchor text such as “avoid over optimizing” or “how to avoid over-optimizing”.
Moreover, pointing all your internal links to the homepage or to main navigation pages can also cause over-optimization. As they are, these pages can already gain a lot of links that you don’t need to create plenty of links directing to them anymore.
Using keyword-rich anchor text or pointing all your internal links to the homepage and top navigational pages do not give Google a positive impression about your website. Instead, you are just getting yourself closer to being penalized.
If you scan through the content from the Kissmetrics post I referenced above, you’ll see that it discussed some signs of over-optimizing a website. So instead of using keyword-rich anchor text, I used an anchor that is closely related to what the topic is all about, thus, not compromising its usability to my content.
Furthermore, if you are building links, focus more on creating deep internal and external links. The recommended ratio of the homepage or top-navigational page links to deep internal links is 50:50. So if you think your deep links are far behind, double your effort through quality contents that encourage people to link to you.
Anything you do too much is bad. Though internal linking is a good SEO practice, overdoing it cannot help you move forward towards good SERP results.
Way back in 2013, most content marketers would likely write too many poorly written guest articles to random websites just to have a link back to their websites. These contents may have nothing to do with their respective industry or anything about the website. But it doesn’t matter. They are merely written for backlinks.
But everything has changed. Unless you make your content excellent, relevant to your niche and publish it to highly authoritative and relevant websites, your content will be useless.
If you already heard about the Google featured snippets, you probably have an idea how it works. These are snippets which are programmatically fetched by Google and place them on top, just above that #1 result in a search query.
According to a study, these snippets steal significant traffic from the #1 result. If you take a look at the example below, it is not even the #1 in the ranking but it is placed on top because it directly answers the user’s query.
Ahrefs revealed that a portion of clicks (8.6%) goes to featured snippets instead of going to the top website . So indirectly, if you get this spot, you can increase your traffic by “stealing” CTR from the top results.
Getting that spot requires you less effort than trying to be #1. Follow Google’s format and if you are lucky to answer the user’s query your content will be featured.
With this new addition in SERP, it is safe to say that ranking is not the only determining factor for SEO campaign success. Google is now putting more importance to the relevance of your overall content. It is not just about rankings anymore. It is also about who can provide the best answer to the user’s needs.
The digital marketing industry is getting tougher and tougher. Stop optimizing your pages like it is still 2012. There are more changes to come. You have to face the fact that some tactics, no matter how good they were before just don’t work anymore.
So if you have any plans of staying longer. It is time to level up your game, choose an SEO pro that can help you improve your SEO strategies. You need to be flexible in this very dynamic battleground. There is no other way to survive and stay in the competition than to adapt to the changing requirements of search algorithms.