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Is Out of Date SEO Holding You Back?

Andy Williams

by Andy Williams on 7th March 2012

Video Transcript

Your site’s gone live. You’ve carried out all the SEO techniques that you believe to be true. You’ve even started link building and working off page. But after a while you find that your rankings simply aren’t appearing. Why could this be? Well, maybe you’re using out of date SEO techniques.

Sometimes we have people ring us up, asking us to look at their site, to look at their campaigns, and see why they’re not ranking. And sometimes we find that the SEO techniques that have been used are very much out of date and very much “old school”. Usually, you find that the customer has picked up this information from that friend who knows a bit about SEO, or perhaps they’ve read some old blogs and some old articles, believing that the SEO techniques spoken about in those articles are still true.

Well, today I’m going to look at some of these techniques that a lot of people in the industry believe to be old hat and out of date. Hopefully, we can give you some pointers as to some of the things that you shouldn’t look at when you are optimising your site.

The first one is duplicate sites. You’d be surprised how many people believe that having more than one site means that they’re going to get double the amount of traffic or double the amount of rankings. This simply isn’t true. This is something that Google absolutely don’t want you to do. More often than not, if you set more than one site live, this is going to cause a duplicate content issue. If this is the case, then more often than not, both sites or however many sites you’ve got live will be held back. This also backs up the Panda update that Google brought about last year, which is looking for quality content. Obviously, if you are duplicating your content, this will hold you back. You only need one site. You only need to focus on one site. So make sure you only work with one site.

Keyword tags. Now, these are the meta keyword tags. A lot of people still swear by these and often ask us why we don’t focus on them. Basically, search engines have stopped looking at them. They hold no value. The information that’s included in them is no longer relevant. The only thing you’re going to be doing, if you use one of these tags, is highlight to your competitors exactly what key terms that you are targeting. If you don’t want them to know that information, don’t use the tag.

Hidden text. Again, this is a technique that is still used widely. No matter how good your web developer says he is, he’s not going to be able to hide this information from the search engines. If they hide information in text, behind images, or same colour backgrounds, they’re going to get found. They’re within the coding. You can’t hide them. The fact that you are trying to hide information should be an indication enough to you that you shouldn’t be doing it.

Submitting to search engines. Now this is still offered quite a bit by people who offer this as a service. “If I submit your site to a search engine, it will get found a lot quicker and you will get indexed a lot quicker.” This simply isn’t the case. By all means, submit your site to the search engine. It will have no difference to you at all. If you want your site to be found, simply link to it. That’s the best way to get search engines to find it. The more links you bring into your site, the more chance you have of getting it found.

Another one is linking to Google. Now, this is a very, very old technique, but I’ve still seen it on a number of sites. The idea is that if you link to Google, Google will then pass some strength back to you. Again, this is absolute nonsense, and it won’t get your site indexed any quicker either. If you want to link to Google, by all means do. I’m sure they’ve got more than enough incoming links as it is. You don’t really need to.

Your link building campaign. Now, you are probably carrying out your link building correctly. You are getting loads of links from loads of different sources. But if you are only focusing on one set of anchor text, then this could be holding you back. Of course, you want to rank for certain terms, and using an exact match anchor text is going to be beneficial to you. But if that’s all you’re doing, that could be holding you back. Google likes to see a variety of different links and different anchor text being used. So look to use the exact match, variations, other terms that you’re targeting within your site, and, of course, your company name. You’ve got to mix things up a bit. Don’t make it so obvious.

PageRank. Now, a lot of people believe that the higher your PageRank, the higher your rankings. Again, this simply isn’t true. And, more often than not, when you try to prove to customers that this isn’t the case, you will find a site ranking above them that has got a lower PageRank. PageRank is a very good way of making sure that you get some kind of score back to your site. It gives you an indication that your links are working and being found. But, beyond that, there isn’t a lot of focus that goes on PageRank anymore. It’s not an exact science. If you’ve got a high PageRank, that’s fantastic. It doesn’t mean or guarantee you’re going to get higher rankings.

Keyword stuffing. What the search engines want these days is really good content, really valuable content. If you’re going to just stuff it with keywords, then it’s not going to read correctly. It’s not going to give a good user experience, and it’s going to highlight to the search engines exactly what you do. Make sure the content is relevant to the people who are going to be visiting your site. Don’t worry so much about including the keywords on a regular basis. Make sure that it reads well, it reads correctly. Therefore, you’re probably going to engage your audience a lot more. Don’t overfill it with keywords that you’re trying to target.

And finally, I’ve put link directories. This is about sites that have got embedded link directories within their actual site. I’ve seen this a few times, and I’m still mystified as to why anyone would want this within their site. If anything, it just completely highlights to the search engines that you are trying to gain incoming links by having an embedded link directory. It also brings up the reciprocal linking argument. Is it worth doing? Is it beneficial to you? Personally, no. Every time a customer has turned up with an embedded link directory, we’ve advised that they get rid of it. There’s no point having it at all.

So there are some techniques that I feel are out of date. If you are using any of them, read up on them, make your own mind up. Personally, I don’t think that these hold any weight at all anymore, and you should avoid.

So thanks for listening. I hope that’s helped. Make sure you check our more of our videos on YouTube. Like us on our Facebook page, and, of course, there’s our blog for more information. Thanks a lot.

Andy Williams

Andy Williams

Andy Williams, our DADI award winning Digital Marketing Manager will be giving you useful insights into local search and the overall SEO landscape. Andy has over 9 years experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with a leading Web Design company.

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  • Mark 7th March 2012

    Great video

    whats left?!!

    Reply to this comment

  • Andrew Fishwick 7th March 2012

    Great video, its mad to think people still try these techniques. One thing though, If you had 2 duplicate sites, would both really be held back? I thought one would be ignored and one would rank (as best as it could) ? Other wise people would duplicate other peoples sites to destroy competitors rankings?
    Cheers Andy

    Reply to this comment

  • Andy Williams

    Andy 7th March 2012

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I have seen on a number of occasions sites being held back because duplicates are also live. Yes Google is clever enough to decipher which site/page was created first and does claim that it holds back the duplication. However I am yet to see a site that hasn’t suffered from duplication in some form, especially after the Panda update.

    More often than not you will also find that these duplicate sites all sit on the same IP using the same contact details.

    Simply don’t have two sites live unless you are targeting different geographical locations. Even then make sure your hosting and domain extensions are in line with the guidelines set out by the likes of Google. Otherwise why run the risk?

    Reply to this comment

  • Pingback: Just How Much is Too Much SEO?

  • ben 26th April 2012


    I agree with all of what is said other than when you want to rank high for a particular phrase such as broadband repair in my case.

    The way I have gotten my site top for this term is by keyword stuffing, I mention broadband and repair as much as possible and SEO Centro says all meta tags are 100% and the density for these words are high. This appears to have paid of.

    I only wanted to see how high I could rank for a search term that isn’t almost impossible to get on the first page for but one that also isn’t all that easy, in theory to get on the first page with. It was just a test.

    I recommend naming pages after your main chosen target phrases as this has helped me on this occasion and others.

    A good XML sitemap is good as well as a good structure to the website with links to all pages on the index page and if this is not possible make sure the missing link pages are located in your XML sitemap.

    I have other websites that have very similar, although not identical content to my main one but do not rank as well so the theory that the site that is indexed first takes priority could be the case or it could be a case of my link building strategy making my main site rank higher.

    Enjoyed watching this video, thank you.

    Reply to this comment

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