SEO tactics that aren’t working anymore
Google is always working, it may seem, at cross purposes to anything we’re attempting to do to get better rankings for our pages. If you’ve been doing this (trying to rank pages) for any amount of time, you’ll have acquired a bag of tricks that you’ve used for this purpose. Over time, some of these have become ineffective. What worked last year doesn’t now, or worse, it actually hurts you. So it’s time for us to review some of the SEO tactics that worked over the past few years that you should no longer be using.
SEO tactics to throw in the trash for 2014
Overuse of keywords
In the past you were able to pound your pages with numerous instances of your primary keywords, and they would rank well for those. Not anymore. The best practice now is to include your primary keyword in the title, and perhaps a few other places on the page, but let’s be very clear that Google is asking you to write for your readers first. The relevance of your content in far more important than the number of times your main keyword is found on the page.
Today the pages that rank on the first pages of Google are similar in that they sport longer, more in-depth content. The times when we could get by with slapping up 250-300 words of dubious quality are no longer, as far as your main blog and site pages are involved. There’s a place for micro-content; such as on sites like Tumblr, Facebook as well as other primarily social sites.
This one expired a while ago. From the time that Panda came down the pike, article directories have struggled. To publish your content there at this time and expect much in the way of traffic or links is an exercise in futility.
Keyword anchor text
Google’s algorithm is now smarter, and now understands that if every link into your site has “Your main keyword” as the clickable anchor text, something is afoot. Strive for a more natural link footprint, using keywords, your site URL, as well as some random phrases that make sense, such as “click here” and longer, post specific terms.
The absence of social media
Not so long ago, if you were totally put off by the thought of dealing with social media on your site, you didn’t need to. Now, you may as well start selling shoes. (Offline) Be sure to make your posts and pages socially sharable and start your own social sites if you haven’t by now.
Inbound run of site links
Getting or buying, run of site inbound links, is a sure-fire way to get yourself penalized. Wish to make it worse? Have them all use the same keyword!
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Best Backlink Practices for 2014
These days every other person you encounter will tell you that link building as a means to enhance your search ranking is dead.
Not so fast, as stated by Google’s own Liege of link building Matt Cutts states: “Links are still the best way that we’ve found to discover (how relevant or important somebody is) and maybe, over time, social or authorship or other types of markup will give us a lot more information about that.”
Since it’s now clear that the good old days days of link building are over, they do still matter, and we’ve put together some of the best practices for link building in 2014.
Internal linking on your site – Internal linking means the links you have on your own pages that (hopefully) lad to more relevant content on your site. Google views this as a help to your visitors, and as long as you don’t overuse the linkage with tons of excess keyword links, such as extra menus and tag clouds and the like, you’ll have some love too. Link from textual content to other textual content, and use anchor text that seems logical.
Google+ shares – It might not be Facebook yet, but Google+ can get your pages indexed almost instantly, and this definitely benefits you in your search rankings.
Guest blogging – Having your posts featured on popular blogs has long been a way to garner links, but have you tried being the blog that accepts the guest posts? This can also help collect links, in addition to helping you build authority and content.
Curate popular content on your own site – Now and then we find a post or piece of content that has gone viral in our market and is of interest to your readers as well. Curate this onto your own blog, giving attribution obviously, and encourage your readers to share it with their social circles, thus sending them to your pages!
Relevance and diversity – Back in the day you could simply obtain a ton of links form almost anywhere and the site with more won. No so any longer! Google rewards relevance now, so relevant links and diverse anchor text are the keys these days!
Tips to Avoid Over-Optimizing Your Pages in WordPress
One of the recent updates Google blessed us with over the last couple of years included what became known as the over-optimization penalty. This one is aimed at Webmasters who attempt to stuff their pages with keywords in the hopes of raising them in the search engine results.
This played out with folks being told to create their pages with a keyword density of between 2.5 and 5 percent for their primary keyword. The problem was, at least for many of us using WordPress and similar blogging platforms as our content management system, we now know that:
WordPress isn’t so “out-of-the-box SEO ready” as we thought!
WordPress injects a huge number of keywords into your content that you probably aren’t aware of. Once you count up all the instances where your primary keyword shows up, from the titles, H1, H2 and H3 tags, post tags, archives, recent posts widgets and breadcrumbs just to name a few, you can easily have over 30 mentions of your primary keyword on the page before you’ve written it one time in your main content. Not to mention the links to your page that are anchored with that keyword. Google looks at the whole enchilada when determining where to rank your pages.
So what can you do to avoid this?
Here are a few tips to avoid instant over-optimization in WordPress.
- Don’t ever use tags again! – Tags and especially tag clouds inflate your keyword density beyond belief. Get rid of the habit!
- Remove the author link from your template – That little link simply generates another duplicate version of your post, inviting trouble.
- Sweep up the breadcrumbs! – Breadcrumb navigation is yet another useless addition of keywords injected into the mix for no apparent reason.
- Don’t duplicate your navigation – Often times we’ll have a top nav menu along with the same thing replicated on the sidebar. You don’t need both, unless you’re fond of over-optimization penalties!
- Kill the recent posts widget – Another demonstration of your template contributing to your ranking demise!
For more great tips on how to avoid over-optimizing your WordPress content go see this awesome post!