A few years ago onsite SEO made obtaining rankings quite easy. If you were technically gifted in the ways of onsite, you could often get sites to rank simply by making more onsite changes than your competition knew about.
There are many onsite factors that you could have considered, some being more technical than others. This was great for the onsite SEO specialists and not so great for the more creative minded.
Nowadays SEO is more of a creative science in our opinion and more factors have to come into play to obtain higher rankings rather than just knowing more technically than the other person. Don’t get me wrong knowing more is still good but these days you also have to be good at link building, content writing, social media etc. etc. A more holistic approach is required to sit on top.
This list is my own personal view so don’t be too offended if you are still using these methods as our science has and always will be subjective to the SEO performing the activities.
Yes, I have said it. The keywords tag despite this being discontinued that long ago I can’t even be bothered to dig out the date is still being used. Back in the day, this tag was used to tell the search engine what the page should rank for. SEOs the world over would stuff every single keyword related to the page in question they could think of believing Google would look at it and rank the page. In a lot of instances, it did.
Today though the only purpose of a keywords tag is to highlight to your competition and what keywords you would like to rank for. Out of all of the techniques in this article, this one should be put to bed. No excuses. If you are working with an agency that still believes the keywords tag holds any value go into the street and pour your money down the nearest grid you can find.
Meta Description Tag
I am not going to tell you to stop using this tag as it is still extremely valuable. What I am going to tell you is that it is not a vassal to cram as many keywords into as possible. It did hold some SEO value at one point but alas no more.
Today you are better of using the Meta Description tag to entice your audience to click your listing. Increase your click through rate with cleverly crafted meta description tags as this is the only value you can get from them. Apart from your title tag, this is the second thing most prospective visitors will see so make it count. Don’t waste it stuffing it with keywords as your potential visitors will not trust you at all.
Keyword stuffing was the art of putting as many keywords into a page as possible so that it was clear to the search engines what the page was about. People would look at the text on web pages and have no idea what it was about as the content consisted of keyword after keyword.
Since the introduction of Hummingbird Google has become far less reliant on singular keywords to determine the meaning of a web page. It now takes into account related words and phrases. If anything keyword stuffing today would see your site receive a penalty of the Panda kind rather than a reward of higher rankings.
Leave the over use of keywords and focus on quality readable content.
Pages For Every Keyword
I struggled with this one in whether to include it or not. I will put it out there anyway and let you make your own mind up as it kind of follows on with the Hummingbird point I made above.
The tactic used to be to create a singular page of content for every keyword you wanted to rank for so there was no mistaking what the page was about or what it should indeed rank for. However, these days the general rule of thumb is to try and cover everything related to grouped terms, phrases and keywords into one page as Google is clever enough to make the association and rank it accordingly.
That is the reason to avoid but for this point, I would like to add that in my opinion if you feel that there is enough search volume per keyword despite them being very similar in intent I would still recommend having different pages. The caveat to this is that they both need to add as much value as each other in their own right.
Exact Match Domains
Really. Still. Google introduced a penalty to combat just this. Blatantly telling the world not to bother. SEO world take note, exact match domains no longer work. Oh, but they do.
It’s a shame but yes they still help despite Google saying they don’t. If they still work why should you avoid them? The answer to this is a simple one. They will not work long term. Google will eventually catch up with you and do whatever it has to do to knock you off your perch so why bother spending your time on a site that at any moment could disappear when you could put your efforts into working on a more brand-friendly website.
Let’s be honest, they look terrible and untrustworthy also. Which site would you rather purchase from despite the first ranking higher:
“cheapsecondhandcars.com” or “autotrader.com”
You Must Blog Every Day
Content is king everybody says. You must keep creating content as it will help your rankings and bring in more traffic. The myth that you need to blog everyday was created.
Creating content for content sake because you think you have to has always been complete rubbish. People don’t like poor content so why create it.
Produce content when you actually have something worth saying. It will bring you more respect as well as traffic not to mention help you avoid a Panda penalty. Ditch blogging everyday until you have something worth saying.
Put a HTML Sitemap on your site
I’m not going to argue the fact that this might be slightly useful for the user but in all honesty do people really use them. The argument here is that they will not help your onsite SEO efforts one little bit.
The reason behind people believing they will was the fact that Google should hit the site find the HTML sitemap and be able to crawl all of your pages, index them accordingly and reward you with rankings.
This is possible I guess but your first thoughts should be on your main navigation and making that user and search engine friendly. If Google can crawl your site freely and easily through your navigation, then this is all you will require to help with rankings.
Make Sure Your Latest Blog Post Appears On Every Page
This tactic was adopted by a lot of webmasters in order to increase rankings. The thought process behind this was that if you are blogging everyday or at least very often each page on your site where your latest blog posts appear will get updated.
Google rewarded fresh content and this was an easy way to fool the search engine giant that your whole site was being updated with fresh content every day (or at least every time you added a blog post)
Put this on every page of your site by all means but only if it makes sense to do s from your audiences’ point of view and not to increase rankings. Try and make sure each page on your site is link worthy in its own right and earn links to them. This will help you more rather than a script that tells Google a page has been updated.
Heavy Use Of Internal Anchor Text
OK, this is an easy one. If you wanted your red cup page to rank for red cups, make sure as many pages on your site pointed to it using the anchor text “red cups”
Google looks much more closely at anchor text today and whilst I agree it makes sense to use exact anchor text I would argue that it should only be used where it was absolutely relevant. Remember associated terms work well these days too so mix it up a little. Only use exact anchor text where you can safely do so. If it looks even slightly out of context leave it well alone.
Continuously Re-Submitting Your Sitemaps To The Search Consoles
Let’s keep doing this so that Google notices that we have new content and honours us by visiting it. That makes sense but no need anymore. If you are doing your job properly and have a nice decent site Google will crawl your site even if you don’t keep pestering it to do so.
You will receive no benefit from continuously pinging Google with your sitemap. Honest.
There are many more techniques I could have covered such as sculpting page rank, keywords in the URL, more text on pages, only link out using no follow to name a few but the point here is that these methods all take time to implement and that your time could be better spent doing something more productive.
Instead of focusing on the search engines my main advice as been the advice for many years but is more true today than it was is to really focus on the user rather than the search engine. Keep your users entertained and satisfied and Google will reward you far greater than if you make a few onsite changes (don’t neglect them though)