3 Traditional Search Engine Optimization Tactics That Will Get You Penalized Today

Search engine optimization has changed a great deal over the past several years. Your tactics need to change too.

A lot of people don’t entirely understand what search engine optimization actually is, or what it means. It’s a little ironic, really. It’s right there in the name.

It’s about optimizing your website to perform well on search engines, which, in a modern context means putting content quality and the end-user above all else. That wasn’t always the case, though. Today, we’re going to take a look back at some old-school SEO tactics that you should avoid at all costs. 

They may have used to work, but they no longer do.

Duplicate or Thin Content

At one point in the past, thin content was a great way to game the system and get your website to the top of the search engine results page. Over the years, however, Google has released multiple algorithmic updates that harshly penalize this tactic. Content that’s deemed duplicate or thin by Google will directly hurt your ranking, meaning you’re losing out on potentially valuable traffic. 

Keyword Stuffing and Invisible Text

Keyword stuffing is another old-school technique that once went hand in hand with duplicate content. In the earliest days of search engines, websites filled with multiple, stuffed pages shot to the top. Again, however, Google’s algorithms are wise to this now.

Repeating the same phrases over and over indicates to the search engine that you’re attempting to manipulate the system and that you aren’t actually interested in providing quality or value. And even if your content is of decent quality, it’ll still get flagged if you insert invisible, repeating text keywords anywhere on the page.

Mention a few variants of your keywords throughout a page instead, making sure to stick to natural language. The better your content flows, the more your audience will engage with it. And the more your audience engages with it, the better you’ll do in the long run. 

Guest Post Spam and Link Farming

Guest posts are an excellent source of brand recognition and web traffic, particularly if you can place them on sites that are recognized as high-quality or authoritative by Google. It is, however, important to note that quality is what’s important here. If you publish the same low-grade guest post on multiple different sites with no rhyme or reason, that’s going to do you more harm than good.

Your guest posts need to be tailored to the sites on which they are placed. And they cannot be attention-grabbing clickbait or inaccurate, outdated filler content. The point of guest posting isn’t just to bring in more traffic, after all.

It’s to build a reputation. 

Similarly, link farms — websites that host backlinks for the express purpose of gaming the SERP — are explicitly prohibited by Google. You cannot buy traffic, and you cannot buy backlinks. If you aren’t growing your website organically, Google will be able to tell.

A Changing Landscape

We are nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, and the world is changing very rapidly. Both businesses and consumers today operate in a very different fashion from how they worked around this time last year. And by this time next year, things will change again.

That includes the search engine optimization space.  Particularly with Google’s plan to implement core web vitals into its algorithm as a ranking factor by May 2021, SEO is going to change in a very big way. Don’t worry too much about that, though.

Focus on creating quality content, and you’ll do just fine. 

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for SEOHost.net, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.