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5 Popular SEO Practices Which Don’t Work Today

The SEO world is extremely competitive, which, in turn, leads to competing ideologies and best practices. If you are new to SEO, it wouldn’t take you very long to get confused about which techniques actually work, and which ones don’t. In the recent months, we have seen a whole host of updates from Google. Hence, we thought it would be great to list out 5 SEO practices that may be popular but already irrelevant as we are moving forward.

Keywords in Meta Tags

People have been well warned about the effects of keyword stuffing. Since Google’s Panda update, the overuse of keywords in the content has gone down, but SEOs still continue to use the Meta description tag to insert keywords. This act isn’t stuffing per say, but the SEO benefits have changed. There are 3 basic elements of the Meta Tag:

  • Title
  • Description or Meta Description
  • Keywords

The Usage of the Meta Keywords tag as Google’s Matt Cutts says in the video below, has completely been discontinued.

So let’s look at what you should do. Just as Matt Cutts indicated in the video, since the keywords tag isn’t in use, you can take advantage of the description tag which can potentially contain an important keyword.
Ensure that the Meta description tags vary across pages in your website. You must limit them to 160 characters, too. You can improve the richness by creating natural descriptions, just like you would with content in general.

Paid Links

A complex category comprising of many different types of links, but all of them are extremely dangerous. A lot of SEOs still to this day continue to buy links from link farms, directories, press releases etc. You often see advertisements like “SERP Package for $99”, with claims for amazing results. The reality is that these links simply do not work today. Although they have been around for a long time, Google has become smarter. These links are now more easily detected, and the penalties can be quite severe.
SEO Directories, paid guest posts with article blasts linking to them are not completely obsolete.
So what would constitute an alternate approach?
Instead of buying links on Forums, Fiverr and markets that advertise networks, try to focus your efforts on the quality of content. Instead of using cheap content, create rich meaningful content so that people automatically share, and feel like linking to it.
Even though we mentioned paid guest posts as a bad thing, guest blogging on the whole is by no means dead. When done in the right spirit and the right way, it can yield some amazing results. Search for different sites in your niche that let your write for them, and create pieces of content linking back to your original. Niche related directories are also great, as they have very strict rules and guidelines for entering. This would be a great way to avoid all sorts of risky tactics.


Content Spinning

Although considered to be BlackHat, a number of SEOs use this method to put out content. First and foremost, content for the sake of it, is bad. This is a method where a marketer uses a piece of software that takes an existing piece of content and rewrites it, so that it appears to be original. Spun content is often used on sites that take money for links. Hence all these bad practices are on some level interlinked. Private Blog Network managers often employ content spinners to do the job cheaply at the cost of quality. In 2016, Google is very clear about the quality of text. Hence, after the Panda upgrade these techniques no longer work.
Some new article spinners that promise amazing quality, will keep popping up over time. However, it is very important that SEOs resist the temptation to put out quick and spun content.
The solution is simple. Make sure you get written content from real people. You can find many good writers on freelance sites that can create great quality content economically.


Using the Competition Level Specified in Adwords

For a lot of SEOs today, this is more of a passive element that plays on the mind, especially when doing keyword research. In this day and age, it is impossible to determine how difficult organic search is to rank in simply by looking at the keyword difficulty mentioned in the adwords section. For example, when we are using the keyword planner tool in adwords to scout information about marketing practices, we can see the competition section below:


keywords trends

That section determines the difficulty for paid search alone and not organic search. Even though, for the keyword “Marketing” the competition level is stated as low, it might be impossible to actively target that keyword.
An alternate approach, would be to use tools that you find in Moz. This is a great way to determine how difficult the niche actually is. If you want a better idea of what you are up against, then analyse the domain authority of the pages as well as their backlinks. These should give you a more realistic picture of what you are up against.

Long Form Content Guarantees

This is almost a rule of thumb that articles should be around the 500 word mark, minimum. In 2016, SEO guru Neil Patel in his post has clearly indicated that the size of the content is only relevant in a particular way. The answer itself, with regards to the article size can vary greatly. Long form content similarly, doesn’t guarantee you a spot in the top 3. It varies based on the niche you’re in. You might find many examples of where pages that have a significantly lower word count rank higher. The examples below illustrate exactly what is mentioned in the last 2 sentences.


top ranking average words

average word count

Our recommendations involve two points for SEOs.
Firstly, forget about the length of the article, and ask yourself, if every sentence of the article you create is essential. Articles that have interesting content might boost your rankings indirectly, because of the ease of distribution. Avoid aiming for a particular word count like 500 or 300. It would be great if your article is longer than that but don’t make it too long, and fill it with keywords.
If you feel long form content is the way to go for your niche or topic, then simply make sure you don’t expect high rankings straight away. Long form content does rank well, but not in the top 3 in a very short time span. Also this doesn’t necessarily boost conversion. Use it well.


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