is an industry that is constantly evolving just like any living organism over the course of time.
methods that were state of the art in 1998 or even 2010 have long since fallen out of favor, much like second stomachs or tails have become deprecated as mankind has evolved.
Accordingly, failure to discover and implement new SEO methods may render you an Unfrozen Caveman SEO! This is truly a frightening prospect for anyone striving to claim top positions in search engine results. In short, adapt or face extinction.
Now, I can see you asking ‘How can I avoid this fate? How can I avoid being an Unfrozen Caveman SEO who is frightened and confused by Google’s strange and modern ways?’ Fear not! I have a short list of things you can look for to test yourself against being an Unfrozen Caveman SEO.
#5 – Does your site have a great deal of duplicate content?
Years ago duplicate content was more a nuisance for SEO than something you would ever be penalized over. Google happily crawled websites and chose the “best version” (at least according to them) of a particular page and indexed it. No fuss, no muss.
Nowadays, however, duplicate content will lead to a trip to the Google penalty zoo where you will need to deal with various Panda updates and utilize new tagging structures such as the “canonical” tag to put yourself back into Google’s good graces
#4 – Do you make reciprocal link requests to other web masters?
In the middle part of the last decade reciprocal linking was all the rage. I recall doing it myself at the agency I worked with at the time. Webmasters would exchange links back in forth in a kind of digital marketing quid pro quo. Those days, Google (to a degree) even encouraged it. These links were often exchanged by web sites within particular verticals, as well as industry specific directories.
As directory sites fell out of favor as sources of links, so did reciprocal linking. This happened for the main reason Google constantly shifts its algorithm, black-hatters figured out how to “game the system.“ Modern link building is much more of a PR play these days. Digital marketers reach out to thought leaders, bloggers, etc., in their space to write about and point to their services and products. These methods can also be amplified through social media.
#3 – Do you operate a huge selection of web sites linked together in a link network?
This is another kind of link building method that was all the rage 7-10 years ago, along with mesh trucker hats and faux-hawks. Essentially, companies would create a large number of websites and link them together so that they can share page rank. It was a little like link building using sites that you owned. All of this was perfectly legitimate. However, like so many other things, it was abused and black hat SEO’s began stringing together thousands of sites, many with little to no valuable content, in an effort to beef up link building activities.
Today, misuse of this method can land you with a Google Penguin hit, as described in a previous Penguin-related post. Link building using “mini sites” can still be valuable if in the right hands. For instance, if you run a real estate web site, you may want to market these “mini sites” for a variety of towns where you are showing homes. This is fine -- provided that you develop only a limited number AND each publishes original content and are linked together only when appropriate
#2 – Still populate the “keywords” meta tag on your site?
The “keywords” meta tag was an important component of a site’s meta data portfolio in the early days of search engine algorithms. It was here digital strategists would inform search crawlers of the key terms they intended to optimize a particular page for. As years went by, this tag became “stuffed” full of key terms in an effort to gain false favor with search bots.
This kind of key word stuffing led to the end of its use as a search signal entirely by Google. While it is still supported by Bing, it’s use is not a big part of their search formula. And while its use won’t really help you, its misuse can hurt you greatly.
#1 – Do you believe that any SEO markup method can replace persuasive content?
Through the years as search evolved and new methods became available to “markup” pages for SEO whether it was H1 tags, Alt tags, cleaner code or new linking techniques, some SEO's began to take their eye off the most important thing: creating engaging content.
As the industry began to hang on every Google update, Penguin, Panda, etc. attention was taken away from the ability of great content that people wanted to engage with and share with others. This is the backbone from which everything else is possible.
Some best practices are tried and true, and much like arms and legs will be a central part of your SEO anatomy no matter which era you are in. Among these are things like Title Tags to drive rank, Meta Descriptions to drive CTR, and yes…great content.
Keep up to date with new SEO methods and rules, keep best practices in mind. Checking in with Bridgeline Digital’s SEO blog is a great way to avoid becoming an Unfrozen Caveman SEO.
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