Search engine algorithms are evolving to try to better align search results with customer needs and desires. They are changing in order to combat spam and grade the quality of content, all the while trying to better determine what the customer wants or needs based on limited information. Here are five SEO techniques you should ditch in 2017, as well as what you should do instead of these now obsolete tactics.
Link spam can take several forms and multiple search engine algorithm updates have occurred to fight it. First, search engines use social media sharing of links as a measure of quality versus the sheer quantity of them. Stop posting links in comments sections where it is unrelated, and don’t put poor quality articles on article directories to generate backlinks.
The spring 2017 Google update hit another version of link spam; the unnamed Google update penalized sites that were littered with affiliate links and ads with links in them. Your website can still have a landing page promoting a product link, but if it is referenced more than once or twice on the page, it is considered spam and the page will be downgraded in the search results.
Yes, Google still accounts for around two-thirds of all searches. But Yahoo accounts for perhaps ten percent of US traffic, while Bing makes up most of the remainder, so they should not be neglected. Search engines like DuckDuckGo are seeing traffic double every few months, while many other small search engines that promise not to track customers are seeing similar growth. This means you need to identify which search engines your customers use and take SEO for those search engines into account.
Keyword density is irrelevant to SEO in 2017. It is being replaced by search engines measuring how well your content matches the intended question of the searcher. And keyword density is being replaced by full-length queries that are either asked in conversational queries of Siri and Amazon Alexa or the questions the search engines think the user is asking. When your content is focused on keywords, the AI’s efforts to determine the context of the content forces you to use the right secondary keywords and phrases. These latent semantic indexing terms help search engines understand your content’s purpose.
Rankings do matter, but not as much. Other metrics like conversion rates matter more. After all, that’s the entire purpose of creating a website and generating traffic – to bring in potential customers and convince them to buy. Digital marketing company Single Grain can help you determine what metrics matter and how to increase the numbers that truly matter.
Don’t seek as many backlinks as possible. Instead, work on social media sharing of links and high-quality backlinks. Determine which search engines visitors are using to find you and tailor the content to those search engines. Don’t worry about traffic volume but instead focus on customer conversions. Keyword density is almost obsolete compared to matching customer intent. The quality of content is more important than quantity of pages or words.