Interested in SEO? Start By Ditching These 6 Bad Habits

SEO is always changing.

The best practices you learned when you first built your site may no longer be relevant. if you’re still using any of these tactics to boost your SEO profile, it might be time to rethink your life. Or at the very least, your SEO strategy.

1. Article/Link Directories

The days of directories are over. In the old days, you could score some easy SEO points by submitting your content to industry directories and hoping that you’d get a few SEO-boosting links back to your site, but this is no longer the case. The strategy got too big too quickly. Directories quickly became overrun with low-quality, spammy, and downright trashy material. This led to the de-prioritization of directories in SEO algorithms—and to the death of this practice.

2. Flat URL Architecture

This one may be of particular interest to you WordPress users. WordPress’s default URL architecture is to place each page’s unique URL directly after the domain name:

  • www.example.com/page1

Now, consider the improvement—nested URL architecture:

  • www.example.com/theme1/topic1/page1

The idea is to give search algorithms information on the hierarchy of your content and how pages relate to one another. Establishing this hierarchy is an important part of SEO, but it doesn’t come standard on WordPress. Make sure you adjust this as you publish.

3. Keyword Stuffing

This one’s a given, so we won’t harp on it. Don’t even think about trying to improve your SEO by oversaturating your content with keywords. Search engines are too smart for it and will slap your wrist for trying to pull a fast one.

4. Commenting and Linking

Once upon a time, site owners realized they could get some easy and free publicity by posting comments and links on a separate website’s comments section—essentially piggybacking on a competitor to try to get a piece of their audience. And while this is still a relatively common practice, it’s a waste of time. Few people bother to comment on industry articles as it is, and when a comment is accompanied with a “Visit my website!” link, it always looks spammy.

Now, is it possible to gain followers this way? Of course. But is it an effective way to spend your time? Not by a long shot.

5. Creating Separate Pages for Keyword Variations

The idea was simple. Ranking in search means creating pages with targeted keywords, but what about the keyword variations that you overlook? Couldn’t you create new pages that include these variations to cover all your bases?

You could—but you’d be making a mistake, as history has shown us. You don’t need multiple pages for each keyword variation you’re targeting. Search engines are clever enough to detect intent and similarities in search terms these days, and you’re not gaining any ground by increasing your total number of website pages. If anything, the opposite will occur. If you host multiple pages that are similar in content to one another, you may get slapped with a duplicate content SEO penalty.

6. Stressing Over Meta Descriptions

This one’s not an outdated tactic per se, but rather a fundamental misunderstanding of how meta descriptions impact SEO. They don’t. Not directly, anyway. While it’s true that an optimized meta description can drastically improve your link’s click-through rate, the description itself isn’t factored into search engine rankings.  Of course, a higher click-through rate can improve your page’s ranking, but the text itself is more of an advertisement for the content than any direct SEO tool. Don’t waste too much time trying to over-optimize this field.

Master Modern SEO Tactics

In our experience delivering SEO services, these are the biggest offenders that companies still make. They devote their limited resources to ineffective practices that fail to generate results—or any measurable ROI. Bear this in mind as you work on improving your SEO.