Outdated SEO Tactics To Retire In 2019


  • While rankings are important, prioritizing rankings over traffic can actually hurt you if you aren’t focused on longer-tail queries that focus on user intent and engagement.
  • If you do one thing in 2019, it should be writing better content, even if that means you’re publishing less often.
  • Don’t ignore mobile. Doing so can result in higher bounce rates and less traffic.
  • Teams should replace exact match anchor text with natural looking long-tail anchors, navigational “read more” anchors, or phrases that are relevant to the topic.
  • Avoid automated link building services that associate with private blog networks.

SEO has come a long way since the early days of the web, and like most industries has seen its fair share of tactics come and go. Some tactics are worth retiring however, especially in a time when algorithms are getting more sophisticated. With the New Year right around the corner, we wanted to take a moment to address the SEO tactics that are less valuable now than they were yesterday.

Prioritizing Rankings Over Traffic

Not even a decade ago, nearly all SEO practitioners were hyper-focused on rankings –achieving page 1 results for any blog post, product, or service page they could optimize. While rankings are still important, prioritizing rankings over traffic can actually hurt you if you aren’t focused on owning longer-tail queries that focus on user intent and engagement. It’s one thing to rank well but it’s another battle to generate quality leads from your web pages.

Furthermore, pages that rank for long tail queries typically carry more relevance to users. Think about how you would search for something using voice commands on your smartphone; you’d probably ask something like “How do I create a winning SEO strategy?”, wouldn’t you?

Chances are there’s an in-depth blog post ranking in the top five positions that is not only optimized for one keyword, but multiple keywords or relevant phrases that will inevitably help educate you on various related topics. Also note that “Featured Snippets” often do not come from the number one result. Instead they may come from the 3rd or 4th position because Google finds the content to be more relevant to the query.

Creating Shallow Content

Shallow content, otherwise known as “thin content,” is another SEO tactic that you definitely should retire. Why? Because thin content does very little in the way of providing user value, erodes your authority, and ultimately leads to higher bounce rates when users discover you don’t have what they are looking for. Thin content examples include:

If you do one thing in 2019, it should be writing better, longer content, even if that means you’re publishing less often. A 900-word blog post published once a week tends to carry more weight than nine 100-word blog posts that are published nine times a week.

Getting Stuck In Content Silos

Content siloing is the process of creating categories and subcategories you can use to house related content. While this isn’t exactly a bad practice it can inhibit the ranking power of service or product pages.

Workaround: consider aligning with other teams in your organization to gain a better understanding of the types of content needed to support the business and focus on making it better. Key-takeaway: You want to amplify your most important pages without diluting them through related, but less-important pages.

Fortunately, content is one of our specialties. Learn how our content development services can help prevent your organization from getting stuck in content pitfalls.

Ignoring Mobile

The mobile first index days are here and this means that search giants like Google are indexing the mobile version of your website first. It’s important to note that in most industries more than half of website visits are coming from mobile devices. With that in mind, it’s very important to not ignore the mobile first index.

What you should do: you have two choices: 1) optimize your existing mobile site, or 2) create one website that is optimized for mobile that’s still desktop-friendly. What this means is going with a design that is clean, concise, and most importantly fast! Bottom line is do not ignore mobile because doing so will likely result in higher bounce rates, frustrated users, and less traffic.

Exact Match Anchor Text

Exact match anchor text is the practice of anchor-texting an exact keyword or phrase you wish to rank for in hopes that a user will click through to a deeper web page. While this used to help send a positive ranking signal to search engines, this practice is outdated and ineffective. Exact-match anchor text is also a red flag for Google algorithms that may penalize your site for being spammy.

Teams should instead replace exact match with natural looking long-tail anchors, navigational “read more” anchors, or phrases that are relevant to the topic of discussion. Floating a keyword towards the top of a paragraph is also distracting, not to mention more conspicuous to spam filtering search engines. Focus on earning a natural link and you’ll avoid pitfalls associated with exact-match anchor text.

Automated Link Building

Link building can get pretty dodgy if you aren’t careful with whom you work with. Avoid automated link building services that associate with private blog networks, and lower quality sites that have names no one has ever heard of. Try working with a team of outreach specialists that are focused on building relationships with publishers before asking for a link.

The results and response might surprise you because all of a sudden you go from being a complete stranger to being a trusted source of information that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

We Can Help You in 2019…and Beyond!

That wraps up this installment of SEO tactics to avoid this year. For information about SEO, content, or how we can help improve your site in 2019, reach out! We’re friendly…we promise! 😉

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