Just as technology continues to evolve and improve, we need to understand that what SEO tactics we used to use may no longer be effective. In fact, by using old-fashioned and outdated SEO techniques you could actually end up hurting your website rankings rather than to help them rank higher in search results.
If you have been doing the same things for a long time to help boost your website rankings, then maybe it is time to review your SEO techniques and leave your old tricks back in the ’90s where they belong!
Ever-Evolving SEO Innovations
In the world of IT, nothing is set in stone. Nowadays website owners need to implement ever more technical SEO tweaks and create a lot of fresh high-quality and relevant content to help drive organic traffic to their site.
Having the ability to access and analyse critical data, test, observe and refine new approaches to engage with their target audience is the way forward that will allow website owners to create trust in their visitors and build a loyal customer base.
Ditching Black Hat SEO For Algorithms
If you have been around the block with search engine optimisation (SEO), you will remember very well that ‘black-hat’ techniques used to be all the rage before the big search engines began using algorithms to rank websites.
Black hat SEO tactics were sometimes underhand strategies you could use to manipulate your search engine results. These old tricks and techniques are now deemed unacceptable and highly unethical by all the major search engines such a Google and Bing etc.
The term ‘black-hat’ was coined from old western films where the bad cowboys would always wear black hats while the good cowboys wore white hats.
Who Used Black Hat SEO?
Black hat techniques were mostly used by marketers where they would try to manipulate their rankings to get their websites to the top of the search list ASAP. This often involved a lot of keyword stuffing where they would shoehorn in and over-use popular keywords that they knew their target audience would use to search for products to buy.
While organic keyword use is still an effective SEO tool, obvious keyword spamming in your web content can now cost you dearly. Google and the other major search engines will now actively punish websites that use keyword-stuffing techniques by knocking them down in search result rankings.
Sneaky Tricks To Avoid
One of the most overused black-hat tricks was the use of hidden text. This was where marketers would use invisible text on their website that was hidden from view to us but was visible to search engines and would rank in SERPs results.
For example, if your website had a white background you could add a block of keywords on the background in white (or whatever matching colour background your site had) to make it invisible to the naked eye of web visitors. These keywords were most commonly hidden in the footer where they wouldn’t interfere with any website text or content.
Try this sneaky trick today and search engines will slap your site with a much lower organic ranking.
Other black hat tricks to avoid like the plague include:
- Cloaking: This is a sneaky way to cloak one website within another. Effectively cloaking techniques showed one website to the search engines to rank, but a completely different one to actual website users.
- Link farming techniques: While search engines do consider internal and external web links as valuable, those links need to be genuine and relatable to your website or the topic of your content. Link farms were used by marketers to add tons of additional links that pointed to their website, but search engines very quickly caught on to this trick and penalise any site that uses a link farm.
- Keyword spamming: Keyword spamming or stuffing was a very effective technique back in the 90s and early 2000s to help rank websites organically in SERPs. However, this is unacceptable these days. Keyword-stuffing led to swathes of websites displaying content that make no sense and didn’t offer any quality information that was useful for the web visitor.
Anyone that simply inundates their website with all the keywords they want to be ranked for will be penalised now. Since the release of the Panda update, Google closely monitors keyword density very carefully. Google and the other major search engines now value and rank higher sites that create user-friendly, valuable content using natural language that reads well and makes sense.
The best reason to ditch your old black-hat SEO techniques is that modern search engines are now smart enough to see through all of these old tricks. Try any of these things now and you will soon find your site punished with very low rankings or even completely removed from SERPs results completely.