8 Outdated SEO Strategies to Stop Using Right Away

Posted on February 25, 2017 by in Tips & Tricks | 33 comments

8 Outdated SEO Strategies to Stop Using Right Away

Web technology changes rapidly. I mean, let’s face it: the Internet is different today than it was just a few years ago. So when it comes to website optimization, this leaves many people confused as to which SEO strategies are still relevant. Even if you create a compelling, interesting site – employing outdated SEO strategies can affect you negatively.

Below I’ve outlined 8 outdated SEO strategies you need to cut out right away. Using the following methods would result in penalties that can hurt your presence in the SERPs. Thankfully, they’re easy to avoid once you’re aware. Let’s get to it.

1. Stop Ignoring Other Search Engines

Google has the most comprehensive set of resources for SEO. Anyone interested in SEO should definitely get a Google Search Console account, and follow the Google webmaster guidelines for the best practices. But that does not mean you should ignore other search engines like Bing, and Yahoo.

These search engines are still a major source of organic traffic. Additionally, tools such as Bing’s Webmaster Tools can supplement your SEO efforts – giving you more data to work with.

2. Stop Using SEO Data in Your WordPress Themes

This is more of a preference than anything, but I have seen people lose all their SEO data because they used the built-in SEO features. Adding meta descriptions to hundreds of pages because they were all lost in the move doesn’t not sound like fun. It’s a part of best practices to follow the convention to separate presentation from content to avoid this.

Otherwise when you switch themes, you will either:

  • Lose all your data
  • Or have to migrate everything, which isn’t easy.

3. Stop Ignoring Mobile Site Optimization

On January 10, 2017, Google announced that

…pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.

Most web designers have noticed the mobile-first trend that took over web design a few years ago. Despite this, a large majority of sites are still not mobile-friendly. Even if the majority of your audience views your content from a desktop computer, you will still miss out on mobile traffic.

What you can do:

  • Make sure your text has readable zoom.
  • Use a mobile responsive WordPress theme.
  • Avoid using Flash or other software that isn’t common on mobile devices.
  • Place links far enough apart so they can be tapped easily.
  • Read up on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), because it’s becoming increasingly important.

Checkout the Google’s webmaster’s guide on mobile friendly sites for more in-depth information on keeping your site mobile-friendly.

4. Stop Using Intrusive Interstitials for Mobile Traffic

Browsing some sites on a mobile device isn’t always easy. We’ve all been intruded upon by an interstitial at one point or another. Don’t be ashamed, it’s not your fault. In Google lingo, an intrusive interstitial is anything that makes your content less accessible. Whether it’s by design, or by accident, stop using methods that do this on mobile devices. The following images from Google’s webmaster blog show examples of  intrusive interstitials.

Intrusive Interstatials

From left to right: Intrusive pop-up, intrusive standalone interstitial, intrusive standalone interstitial

There are many cases where an interstitial is necessary. The images below show examples of interstitials that are acceptable.

Acceptable Interstitial

From left to right: interstitial for using cookies, interstitial for age verification, a banner

5. Stop Trying to Rank Multiple Keywords on a Single Page

Targeting keywords is still as important as ever. But trying to target more than one keyword is not as effective as focusing on a single keyword or phrase.

What you can do:

  • If you have more than one target keyword you want to focus on, consider breaking your article up into multiple posts.

6. Stop Posting Daily

There’s nothing wrong with posting daily, if you can manage to maintain high-quality posts. In the past, anyone could post poorly curated content to trip the search engines and get better rankings. Nowadays this can actually harm standings with search engines, and your reputation.

While there aren’t many hard, written-down rules when it comes to SEO, we have seen better results from focusing on high-quality content. Fresh content that meets this criteria is great, but it can be equally important to update some of your old content.

What you can do:

  • Find one of your pages that is doing well in the search results.
  • Add value to the article or post by adding fresh, relevant content.
  • Change the publication date.

That not only brings more value to your audience than a hasty post, but it will also rank high in the SERPs. If you are unsure what search engines deem “high-quality,” visit this Google Webmaster blog post to see a laundry list of guidelines and criteria that can help. Joost De Valk also published a helpful article on cleaning up old posts.

7. Stop Submitting Your Site to Search Engines

It’s not hard to submit your site to a search engine, but it’s been practically useless since 2001. Crawlers will be able to find your site. If you’ve made improvements to your website and want that to reflect in the search engine results pages, you can contact Google for reconsideration.

8. Stop Using Outdated SEO Strategies for Linking

The best practice for getting high-quality sites to link back to you is to create relevant content and to network with others who write about the same topic. There’s no shortcut around this. Creating high-quality content will pay off.

Methods of link building like buying backlinks aren’t easy money for SEO companies like it was in 2005. Stop doing these three linking methods:

  • Unnatural keyword placement for links. Crawlers are much better at detecting natural language than before.
  • Forum comments with optimized links.
  • Buying or selling backlinks. This black hat SEO technique can hurt your rankings and it can be difficult to repair.

It’s also important to make sure that anyone you hire for SEO doesn’t use any methods that might result in penalization. Learn more about link schemes so you know what to avoid.

Wrapping Up

SEO has come a long way since the late 1990s, back then it things were much simpler. All you needed to do was tag your site with keywords, submit it to a search engine, and a bot would crawl your site. Now the bots are more sophisticated, and many outdated SEO strategies are no longer effective.

Now’s the time to fess up. Have you used any of these outdates strategies recently? Share your SEO missteps so we can all learn together below. 

Article thumbnail image by Nobelus / shutterstock.com

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  1. Very informative.

  2. Thank you. Once again your infos are precious.

    Which method should we use to fill the posts description html tag ? Third party plugin ?

  3. Great info. Thanks!

  4. Good article…. but I never get any traffic from bing or yahoo… I wonder what 7% of population is using those Search Engines. (I’m in Europe, designing sites mostly for local businesses with local public)

    • 7% based on 94 websites…

      One of my websites gets about 70% of its traffic from Google and a further 30% from Facebook and Twitter.

      Bing / Yahoo don’t get a mention! Go figure…

      • Bing / Yahoo is the default search engine for iPhone users that are not using Chrome, don’t want to eliminate them!

  5. Thx Brenda! Great tidbits to remember. Always a continuous process.

  6. “Stop Using Intrusive Interstitials for Mobile Traffic” – I would add Stop Using Intrusive Interstitials for Desktop Traffic, too!

  7. I have a website for selling EAN numbers. During my Christmas holiday last year I have paused my Adwords campaigns, thinking that my #1 organic place will still generate orders.

    To my big surprise, in the 14 days of my Christmas holiday, not a single order or request comes in.

    3 January I did restart the Adwords campaigns and the orders flown in like before.

    Anybody have a suggestion about the course?

  8. Very decent article, Brenda.

    Especially the tip to stop posting daily (this mantra is soooo dead wrong) is seldomly seen but so very true.

  9. You are living my dream! writing on WordPress, living by the beach…

  10. This is excellent. I can’t tell you how many people are using some of these old practices! I Love that DIVI is so mobile friendly.

  11. Right on and well said. I talk to people all the time and they don’t want to hear about how old fashioned their SEO practices are. Divi makes website building a breeze because you can check the mobile, tablet, and desktop… we know this, but it’s such a great feature.

  12. Love it, nice article Brenda

    I do still ignoring other search engine like Bing and Yahoo, but 7% seems quite tasty…

    Btw, I tried to submit my site to Yahoo, but ended up in Bing’s Webmaster…is this correct?

    • Yes, Bing search powers Yahoo search results. They no longer use their own search engine technology.

      To add, Yelp provide Yahoo’s Local listings. They did away with that too.

      Yahoo is a shell of its former self.

  13. Things may have changed. To be honest, I couldn’t care less about Bing / Yahoo or their Algorithm(s).

    Bing is (was*) very much using a Google (pre-2010) style Algorithm where keyword rich / exact match anchor text was considered useful for ranking purposes.

    Sure you can try and get that additional search traffic with “spammy” anchor text. But you run the risk of upsetting Google and losing far more traffic in the long run!

    (* Bing may have changed things in the past couple of years. As I said, I don’t pay any attention to Bing /Yahoo Search. But based on previous understanding, that’s how things worked.)

  14. Thanks Brenda, These are very useful information about updated SEO Strategies.

  15. Can you explain more about point 2 and “Stop using SEO data in your WordPress themes”. I understand the separation of content from presentation regarding HTML. Are you referring to self-coded themes?

  16. This article worth read. Good job.

  17. I have to disagree with the following statement:

    ” 7. Stop Submitting Your Site to Search Engines

    It’s not hard to submit your site to a search engine, but it’s been practically useless since 2001.”

    Submitting a sitemap is an essential part of getting new sites crawled, indexed, and ranking in search. Is that what you mean? I have multiple client examples of how submitting sitemaps to search engines was an essential part of the SEO process.


  18. What is your opinion on claims that apparently dramatic amount of extra code from Divi Builder affects SEO negatively due to lower loading speed? and the fact that crawlers need to read all the extra code too?

    I am a new member, and got worried about it…There is mixed opinions online, just wonder what is your position on this.

  19. Thanks for sharing..in 2017 we cannot ignore the mobile site and optimization. Google give the priority to mobile friendly websites.

  20. I’ve no idea what intrusive interstitials are – and your images are not responsive so the captions and half the graphic fall off the side of my phone screen. I’ll have to wait until I’m back at my desktop 😉

    • Interstitials refers to mobile popups. Either ads or email opt-ins are usually what people mean.

  21. Informative to say the least! Nowadays it’s really not that instant to rank anymore. What I mean is the fact that if you want to see serp movements – it will take time, period. Un-natural linking and spamming will only hurt your website’s rank and it’s one to be especially careful about.

    Great stuff!

  22. I don’t know what you mean by not submitting your site to google. When you register on the Webmaster Console you are submitting it to google, and it’s something everyone should do. If you mean indexing urls separately then yes, unless you have updated something and google hasn’t picked it up it’s useless to manually send your urls to google.

  23. This year I am encouraging all of my internet marketing clients to focus more of their investment toward mobile marketing, as it is definitely where the future of internet marketing lies!

  24. Great article and it confirms much of what we have all been reading about search engine algorithms.

    I see a lot of the top ten lists getting on the first page of Google which may include paid placement. In some cases like restaurants it’s hard to find any thing other than review sites.

    Isn’t this kind of black hat if you have paid inclusion?

    Just wondering!

  25. Thanks for sharing this post! It’s great content for everyone to remember as we try to build SEO the right way. Thank you!

  26. If you want to succeed with SEO today and in the future, you have to deliver GREAT content for your visitors. As an online marketer I know the importance of good and inspirational content if you want to rank high in the search engines. I totally agree with you that black hat SEO is not the way go in 2017.

  27. This is an interesting list. Mobile is the new kid on the block. I do post a lot to my blog so maybe I should stop doing that so much.

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