SEO Tactics To Abandon in 2018

To an extent, SEO and SEO tactics are an arms race between search engines and the people who are trying to rank as highly as they can (even if they don’t actually deserve it). Google regularly updates how they rank websites and what criteria they use. Then the marketers out there figure out how they updated their algorithms and try to find loopholes and tricks to game the system. Like the red queen, from Alice in Wonderland, this means we’re all running to stay in place.

If you stop running, you will fall behind. In fact, you might start heading in the opposite way as tricks that you used to use to help your ranking now actively hurt it.

So, what are the SEO tactics you should abandon in 2018, now and forever? Here are some of the biggest ones that you should abandon immediately.

1. Too Many Advertisements

Another bad idea is too many ads. Now, to be clear, having a few ads isn’t the problem. They’re not trying to undermine your financial situation. If your website is more ads than text, however, then you’ve gone too far and you will be punished.

One thing that you’ll want to pay particular attention to is those pop-ups. Google does not like those (and neither do I, to tell you the truth). The most seriously punished are those which redirect you to another website. And that isn’t strange, as obviously when you start sending people away from the site that Google sent them to, then you’re undermining their efforts – and they’re not going to like that.

2. Cheap Hosting

Here’s one you might not have known about. Google uses where you host your website to determine the value of your site. It’s quite simple, really. They look at IP addresses and if your IP address is close to a group of sites which it has marked as questionable, then you get punished as well.

Sure, a lot of innocent websites are going to get hurt in this way. But ultimately that’s not Google’s concern. What matters to them is making sure that when people search for something they get the information they want. That’s how they keep ‘Google’ as the action verb and their competitors at bay.

No, it isn’t fair. At the same time, it does work. After all, if people are trying to game the system with lots of websites and trying to push some of those to the top, then obviously they’re going to want to pay as little as possible per site. And so, dodgier websites are going to hang out at dodgier hosting companies.

3. Ignoring Mobile

Yeah, it seems logical. You don’t care about smartphones because that’s not where your customers come from. And so, you ignore them. That would work wonderfully well if it wasn’t the case that you now get punished for not being mobile compatible.

So, even if smartphones don’t matter to you, you’re going to have to take steps to make sure that people can view your site quickly and easily from their phones.

Do it for Google!

4. Filler Content

The internet is full of junk, crap and horse manure. Why anybody would think it’s a good strategy to add more to it is beyond me.

It’s also beyond Google. They don’t like content that basically says the same thing as everybody else. And they’re certainly not going to put content like that high up in the search results.

Note that Google is getting better and better at figuring out when somebody is using slightly different words to say what amounts to the same thing. They’re constantly working on updating their AI and algorithms towards this end. So simply getting people to re-write your competitor’s content for your website is really not a very good idea.

Of course, don’t go too far. Your fear of average content can lead to paralysis. Don’t let that happen. The goal is not to create content that seems to come straight from God’s lips. Instead, what you’re after is content that people can appreciate. If your readers find the answers that they’re looking for, then the content is good. If they don’t, then it isn’t. 

5. Keyword Stuffing

People find keyword stuffing incredibly annoying because keyword stuffing makes a text much harder to read than those in which keyword stuffing has not taken place. So try to avoid keyword stuffing so that Google doesn’t penalize you for the keyword stuffing that you’ve done.

Wow, that’s annoying to read. 

And though it might have worked once, it certainly doesn’t anymore. Google now checks how often a word or a series of words appears in a text and if it appears too often they send out a death squad to take you out.

Okay, they don’t do that, but they do penalize you by dropping you in the ranking and that’s almost the same thing.

A much better idea is to use semantically related keywords. These are phrases that match the meaning of your original keyword but don’t repeat the exact same structure. Google’s algorithms take these to mean close to the same thing.

6. Link Trading

Why do people still do this? I mean, it’s become perfectly clear that Google frowns so heavily on the practice they might as well have their eyes closed. What’s more, it’s incredibly easy for them to know when people are trading links. Did your link to their page appear at the same time as their link to your page? Well, now you might be trading links. Does it happen again and again? That means you definitely are.

In fact, any activity where you are building links in a non-organic way is probably going to backfire. A much better strategy is to actually create highly valuable content and then share that with websites which would be interested in it (as well as social media of course). 

7. Not Focusing On Quality Links

Another link-building strategy which you really need to let go is to think that more is better. That is not the case anymore. It is no longer the quantity of the links that matter. Instead, the quality has become far more important.

In fact, if you’ve got a lot of low-quality links then there is a good chance that Google will determine that you must be a low-quality site. After all, what other reason is there that you’re only being shared by people in that range?

It gets even worse. If your website appears regularly on black-listed sites (as in those which Google suspects are guilty of selling links to other sites) then your site will be blacklisted as well!

The solution? It’s simple enough. Don’t buy links. For even if the site right now might appear upstanding and high-quality, nobody knows what the future may hold and once you’ve been blacklisted you’re not getting off! 

8. Internal Linking Too Much

Many sites talk about the value of linking to your other content. And up to a level that’s a great practice. Indeed, Google can appreciate some well-placed links as it helps them to determine what new websites are about, for example.

What’s more, it can also help establish the hierarchy of different pages, as well as make visitors stick around for longer by offering them content that they can click through to once they’re done reading that first page.

The thing is, some websites take this too far. They include a dozen links to other content on each page to other pages on their website, in the hope of getting people to stick around longer. Google does not appreciate that. And so, though you may make people stick around a little bit longer, you’ll also have fewer people coming to your website. So don’t do that.

How do you know when you’re putting in irrelevant links? Well, whenever it’s a bit of bait and switching then you’re probably heading down the wrong road. Similarly, if you’re finding that you have to twist your language into uncomfortable positions in order to get that link in there, then you’re probably going too far as well.

For Best Effect, Follow Google’s Philosophy

Really, it’s quite easy. Google’s entire model is based on making sure that they can give people what they’re looking for – be it a product or an answer to a question. If your content follows that philosophy then you’re generally going to do well.

This means:

  • Give your articles accurate headlines and meta descriptions which fit the actual content that you’re presenting.
  • Before you try to sell your users anything, make sure that you’ve given them what they came to the page for in the first place.
  • Remember that sooner or later Google will figure out when you’re trying to game the system. At that moment something that helped a little, to begin with, will tank you completely after that. Is that worth it?

If you follow these simple steps, then you’ll be able to avoid that arms race I was speaking about earlier. After all, now you’re working with Google, using SEO tactics that won’t land you in hot water with them. I guess you’d call that a symbiosis.

Is that enough on its own? No. But it sure gets you closer to where you’re going!


Guest Author, Jessica Fender, is the creative brain and head of content at OnlineWritersRating.com. She is passionate about fresh SEO tactics and elaborate marketing approaches. What does she love about her job? The opportunity to prove that SEO is not dead.