5 Outdated SEO Practices You Should Avoid

Staying on top of changes to search engine algorithms and adapting your content accordingly is a fast-moving, ongoing process. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics that were revolutionary in 2015 may simply not be effective any more.

If you’ve fallen behind on your site’s search engine optimization, then your website probably has dropped to the bottom of Google search results. Now, it’s necessary to make changes to how you optimize it.

Our SEO specialist, James, lists 5 of the most debilitating, outdated SEO practices and why your company should avoid them.

1. Focusing on Keywords Instead of User Experience (UX)

“The key to creating a great website is to create the best possible experience for your audience with original and high quality content.” Google Support, Module 1.4: Create Valuable Content

The prioritization of keywords over user experience (UX) is one of the most common, least effective SEO practices we see in professional websites. Companies often create written content, metadata, and headings with only SEO in mind.

They overlook the importance of creating engaging, well-sourced content that explains the intent of each keyword. As a result, they sacrifice the website’s UX. This is a critical mistake. Why? Google and other search engines are in the business of providing the best search results for their users’ queries.

For your website to perform well in these search engines, web pages should contain great, relevant resources for the terms you’re trying to compete for—not just have the most keywords. If you succeed in doing this, you’ll satisfy user needs (i.e., offer great UX), and therefore, improve your SEO position.

2. Creating Pages for Every Keyword You Want to Compete for, Instead of a Single Page with Useful Content

This spammy tactic has been used for years, and it’s unfortunately still prevalent on many websites.

In a Moz Whiteboard Friday, Moz co-founder and cutting-edge content marketer Rand Fishkin describes how one company created multiple product pages to optimize its tobacco pipe product pages. Examples included:

  • Unique, hand-carved pipes
  • Hand-carved pipes
  • Hand-carved tobacco pipes
  • Hand-carved tobacco smoking pipes

The intent for each of these searches is the same. Consequently, the business should only have one page—remember our note about UX—instead of four different product pages.

Local service providers often try to compete for audiences in a variety of towns, creating a series of nearly redundant locations. For example:

  • Painters in Zeeland, MI
  • Painters in Holland, MI
  • Painters in Hudsonville, MI

This practice similarly neglects UX because the website has essentially published nearly duplicate content about the same service.

3. Prioritizing Content Quantity Over Quality

Low-quality content makes every SEO specialist’s list of bad practices. That’s because high-quality content is what ranks in search engine results. Your website should contain content that’s valuable to your audience. If it doesn’t, it won’t be competitive.

SEO isn’t rocket science. It’s about creating useful, relevant content for your audiences. Do this over and over, and you’ll see your rankings and organic search traffic grow.

If you want to create great content, White Shark Media recommends the following tips:

  • Post new, engaging content regularly to keep your business relevant.
  • In your ongoing content production, write unique blog posts that are 700-1000 words.
  • Use your content to address your audience’s potential problems and interests.
  • Avoid making keywords your content’s focal point.
  • Use informative and natural-sounding language.

4. Ignoring Social Media

Improving your website’s rankings is just like trying to increase foot traffic at a brick and mortar store. You can have tons of great products and services. But if you don’t tell anyone about it, then how will anyone find your business? Social media is instrumental to helping brands grow their awareness, and drive users to their website.

Engagement metrics, social signals, and links are all factors in search engine algorithms. Therefore, it’s necessary to make social media apart of your digital marketing efforts. It can deliver enormous benefits to your website’s rankings and its organic search traffic.

5. Deprioritizing Website Design and Functionality

Website design and functionality goes way beyond making sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Ask yourself: is your website easy-to-navigate and intuitive-to-use? Does it help users find exactly what they’re looking for? Do your web pages load quickly? If not, your website’s lackluster functionality is negatively impacting your rankings and conversions.

Engagement signals have become much more prevalent in SEO, in part because of Google’s artificial-intelligence-powered algorithm, RankBrain, and in part because search engines to cater UX. As these trends grow, the technical aspects of your website will become more important to rankings—and to your bottom line.

Here’s an eye-opening statistic for you to consider. According to Neil Patel, “A one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.”

Improve Your Website’s Google Rank with OptimWise

The bottom line: SEO is about User Experience. If the current iteration of your website doesn’t deliver the best possible UX, contact OptimWise today.

Our team can provide you a comprehensive strategy to improve your website’s search engine results. We offer initial and ongoing SEO services, including keyword research and mapping as well as site-wide, local, and on-page SEO.

Featured image by Alan Light

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10 comments on “5 Outdated SEO Practices You Should Avoid”

  1. Hello Ryan,
    Important tips mentioned in your article to avoid outdated seo practices for the better seo of web or blog, Your tip of focusing on content quality rather than quantity must be focused on.
    Thank you for sharing your article.

    1. Yes, Gaurav, it's not just about having content; it needs to be quality content (of real value to the reader, because it's informative, motivational, etc.). Thanks for commenting!

  2. That whole mantra of content is king has resulted in lots of bad content. Content is only going to have a positive impact on an SEO campaign if it's high quality, helpful to target audience members, properly optimized, and shared to increase exposure. It's better to have one great page or one great blog post on a topic than lots of thin pages of content on the topic.

    1. I agree, Nick! All content isn't equal in Google's eyes, or in the eyes of readers. We definitely recommend prioritizing content quality over quantity (the opposite of outdated practice #3, Prioritizing Content Quantity Over Quality, in our post). Thanks for commenting!

  3. Point #1 is something I always have to remind my clients when they choose to write their copy. When content is written with SEO in mind before the user experience, it really shows. Thanks for sharing this article.

  4. Thanks for this. I am new in SEO, I believe I still got a lot of things to learn.

  5. An excellent post on SEO, which I was seeking this for a long time. Well, and correctly said about SEO practice. Informational knowledge about how to do SEO of a website. Thanks now I learned to know everything about how to optimize a blog post for SEO.

    It’s crazy how many people never even practice Google Webmaster Tools. It’s a remarkable tool that can show you a lot if you practice learning how to use it. Although I use the all-in-one SEO plugin for a long time, now I got to know how to use it productively. One of the serious mistakes users make not picking an exact matched targeted keywords. Choosing the right keywords is essential, and you can save time by storing lists of keywords you have created collected for later use. I examine keywords for every post. Selecting the wrong keywords can completely decimate you if you’re intending on doing SEO. This is excellent and ultimately got something to learn after walking around on the other blogs. Thanks for this fabulous article. Bookmarked.

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