Why you Should Stop Using Outdated SEO Techniques

‘Outdated SEO techniques’ is not the phrase you want to hear when you’ve been involved in your digital marketing activity, but the truth is, the search marketing arena is as fluid as the London stock exchange.

As Google adapts, perfects and evolves its complex algorithms to filter out sites that try to game their way up the SERPs (search engine results page), SEO techniques, which were once considered to be jackpot-actions, are now just mere memories. Why? Because just like your Accountancy firm working to grow a loyal client base, so too is Google.

For Google, quality results are key.Achieving these quality results requires time, effort, originality, creativityand momentum. Translated, this comes down to web marketers willing to put in the donkey-work to understand Google’s algorithms and how they work and implement best practice SEO techniques.

Unfortunately, us web marketer are never given a definitive list from Google or any other search engines, breaking down exactly what’s required to beat the competitor, but a combination of keeping up to speed on SEO best practice guidelines, trialling, testing and getting creative with online campaigns, are the types of activity keep us busy. For not only are we striving to improve SEO performance, we are also trying to avoid negative SEO performance too.

Is your Accountancy firm using outdated SEO techniques?

Firms that handle their online marketing in-house may be as informed as marketing agencies, but often Accountancy firms either don’t have the resources in-house to take on this donkey-work, or are seeing a negative impact on SEO traffic and don’t know why.

Accountancy firms aren’t always aware of the frequently changing algorithms and continue to implement old techniques that are now obsolete or in some cases, can actually hinder SEO performance.

Some examples of outdated SEO practices

Here is a run-down of the top 5 SEO techniques that are now considered outdated.

1) Keyword over-optimisation

Keywords for SEO

Once upon a time keyword optimisation was all the rage. And it was very effective. So simple was the act of perfecting keyword density and keyword proximity that web masters could write programs to produce this kind of content, boosting their spam sites to the top of the results page, with little effort at all. And that’s exactly what they did, until Google introduced Google Panda and brought the spam sites tumbling down.

First released in February 2011, the Google Panda algorithm was designed to lower the rank of low quality sites, favouring those where web owners had spent time researching and writing engaging content. Needless to say, a high level of poor sites got ‘Panda slapped’ and the quality of search results vastly improved.

Google Panda has since evolved into a highly intelligent, complex algorithm that now uses latent semantic indexing (LSI). When your site is crawled, Google will look at the keyword and then look at synonyms that relate to that keyword.

What this means is that there is less focus on repetition of the keyword and more emphasis on descriptive content with language that will naturally contain synonyms of the keyword assigned to your page.

2) Overuse of backlinks

using backlinks

Backlinks are inbound links to your site. Whilst backlinks are incredibly important in determining the weight of your site, quantity of links is no longer the key metric. In fact, there are a number of common link-building mistakes that web owners make.

In the early 00’s, sites were favoured by number of inbound links from other sources. So powerful was this tool that web owners engaged in buying large volumes of links, networking with link-farms and hassling clients for reciprocal links. Whilst all this was happening, more and more spam sites were able to form links with credible sites.

In April 2012, Google released Google Penguin. Like its compadre Panda, it sought to filter good quality sites from poor quality sites only Penguin did this by penalising sites that were seen to be attempting to artificially rank high up the SERPs with an unnaturally high level of backlinks, especially links from low quality or ‘spammy’ sites.

The penalty was strong, with some sites being delisted altogether and unable to be re-indexed until the next algorithm update rollout, provided they had removed all the poor links.

In a post-Penguin world, backlinks are more about quantity than quantity. A handful of high quality links from established sources, such as news sites, industry related sites are worth far more than a hundred links from poor quality sources.

One effective way to grow inbound links naturally is via PR and social media. The more exposure your site gets online, the higher chance of attracting natural backlinks.

3) Creating additional pages

sitemaps

This is another case of quality versus quantity. In the past, a site’s size was important to show weight. This also enabled sites to spread out their keywords to target more terms and maximise lands to different parts of the site and so web owners began expanding their sites unnecessarily.

Whilst the creation of additional pages was not and is still not frowned upon, creating pages for the sakes of it and adding no content is likely to fall foul of the quality content rule.

All pages that you want to index on your site should have a clear keyword structure and should promote original, engaging content that is ideally above 300 words. It should contain images and image ALT tags (a placeholder description of the image to display to the user if the image fails to load).

Creating additional pages and leaving them blank or with poor quality or duplicate content will probably result in your site being picked up when the next Google Panda update rolls out.

Quality over quantity every time.

4) Guest blogging

Guest Blogging for SEO

There was a time when guest blogging was a sure way for you to introduce your site or brand within a guest blog and earn a link or two. It was once an opportunity to share your expertise and increase traffic.

As with many techniques that started out as powerful tools, spam sites jumped on the bandwagon, abusing it as a link-building tactic to promote unrelated content anywhere and everywhere.

It became so spammy that in June 2014, Matt Cutts from Google released a statement indicating that Google would be taking a stern view of guest blogging. Another technique ruined by the spammers.

So to differentiate, any guest blogging activity where you might be introducing your brand or website on a site that might not be relevant is a practice best avoided. Indulging in blogger outreach for your brand’s topics, tapping up PR channels, promoting your own blogs across social channels and contributing authority based information in industry groups are activities that will help, not hinder your SEO performance.

5) Limiting your SEO activity

SEO for Accountants

SEO is now about so much more than a checklist of activities. Whilst a Google Best Practice guideline exists, ticking all the boxes and simply waiting for results to flourish is archaic.

The truth is, web owners are much more savvy these days and are doing so much more than they used to, to optimise their site and compete with other industry sites.

Yes, making sure your keywords, content, URLs, meta data, backlinks etc. are all technically sound is important. Without these elements, there’s no point even showing up to the game. But ongoing activity is key. This especially relates to content strategy and the promotion of original content across blogs, social channels, industry groups, PR channels and marketing campaigns. Check out some of these on-page SEO factors that search engines love.

Having Trouble with your SEO?

If you want to understand more about outdated SEO techniques, or you’d simply like to discuss your brand’s digital marketing strategy, please get in touch. We are a specialist digital marketing company for Accountancy firms.

Call us today on 01303 720 288.