There have been a lot of changes in the effective methods of optimising a website in the last 8-10 years. There was a time that you could put a site up, cram it with keywords, stuff the alt tags and meta tags with that same word and, hey presto, there you were in top position in Google, fortunately things have moved on somewhat these days, so I decided to do a quick post about some of the things that really don’t help any more.
Whilst many of these factors will not actually do any harm (keyword stuffing excepted) they can waste a lot of your time, so you may as well stop doing them if you haven’t already.
This post is specifically about Google SEO and other search engines may differ, although if you find, as I do, that 90% or more of your traffic comes from Google, that doesn’t leave much at all from the others.
What is Unimportant in Google SEO in 2011
Blog Comments – I’m starting with this one as it’s a slightly grey area, as some people still report getting results from blog comments, whilst others say the opposite. It would appear that in the case of people actually engaging with the blog owner and discussing a topic, can be beneficial, however paying someone to post comment spam on thousands of them is certainly not.
Forum Signatures – Because these are so easy to get it seems that these too have been devalued, however bear in mind that participating in a forum and offering sound advice to people can drive traffic and business, I know, it’s happened to me.
Reciprocal Links – These are the ones where you say to another website owner “I’ll link to you, if you link to me” then you typically each put the links on a page with a load of other links, probably all unrelated. It’s easy to detect and devalue the links. Of course, if you are an authority in your niche and link out to other related websites, it’s highly likely that they will do the same and could end up linking back to you, that’s fine, those links are natural and will appear natural so will still be counted.
Three Ways – No, not that type, nothing that exciting! The type where you link to a site, then that site links back out to another site, again these are usually pretty easy to detect, remember that this is against Googles guidelines and you certainly don’t want to be the site in the middle of the three or you could even get yourself banned altogether.
Keyword Density – Not to be confused with keyword research which remains, in my opinion, the most important stage of any SEO campaign. Google simply does not appear to be using keyword density as a ranking factor any more, so be cautious of any SEO company who says anything more about them than “you are overdoing it”, Google have much more complex ways of determining what a page is about, so just write naturally about the subject and don’t squeeze your keyword in as often as you can.
Meta Keywords Tag – It was officially announced by Google that they no longer use the tag for rankings.
Meta Description Tag – Is not used either, this was included in the same announcement
This is all accurate at the time of writing as far as I am aware, but as with any SEO techniques, they come and go, so it’s possible that any one of these could become relevant again at some point in the future! Oh, it’s a fickle world…….