SEO is a constantly changing game. One can’t just stick to a particular set of rules or techniques and expect them to work forever. In fact, nowadays, it seems that the search engines have started waging war against those who try to manipulate it by resorting to tricky link-building practices. As a result, most of the SEO techniques that used to work pretty well a few years back are now completely obsolete.
However, that’s never a reason for people really passionate about SEO to give up on what they do. After all, as mentioned earlier, the rules of the SEO game keeps changing, meaning that one simply needs to be flexible enough to adopt them according to the changing requirements.
Coming to the current situation, we have witnessed quite a lot of significant changes in the way SEO is done. The old and probably “easier” techniques no longer work, and may instead fetch you a massive penalty.
With that said, let us take a look at some of the most important SEO do’s and don’ts of this year, which are expected to remain the same at least till early or mid 2016.
The Important SEO Do’s
Relevancy is key
It’s no longer possible to get links from completely irrelevant sites, regardless of how powerful they are, and be under the radar for a long time. Such an approach may help you get a quick bump in your rankings which may last for a while or maybe even a little longer than that, but may eventually fetch you the highly undesirable penalty.
Google has decided to be quite stringent when it comes to relevancy, and hence your focus should be on getting niche relevant links. You can consider reaching out to reputed sites in your niche and offering to post an article with a link to your site. You might as well go on to offer a small fee in return of being allowed to do this. This may turn out to be a bit expensive initially but may pay off well in the long term.
Content is STILL the king
We doubt if this is ever going to change. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of having high quality and well researched content on your site. After all, Google and other search engines seem to be focusing the most on content nowadays, and unless it’s of a great quality, your link-building efforts may not achieve the desired results.
Furthermore, content that is well researched, useful, and engaging, always manages to attract the target audience through social media and other mediums, encouraging them to share it. This, in turn, results in a lot of natural social shares, something that Google definitely loves and which will turn out to be a huge advantage over a period of time.
Using the keywords wisely
Gone are the days when keyword stuffing would help you rank better in the search engines. Nowadays, it may instead result in a penalty.
Hence, you need to be quite cautious while using your keywords. An ideal approach would be to:
- Use your main keyword in the title, meta description, and a few times in your body text
- The keyword density shouldn’t be too high, and to discover the ideal keyword density according to your niche, you may consider doing some competitor analysis
- Generally speaking, an ideal keyword density may be anything less than 2.5-3 percent, though we would recommend sticking around the 1.5-2 percent mark at the most.
- Sprinkle long-tail keywords throughout, as this would show the search engines that your content covers quite a lot of useful stuff in the niche
- Don’t include too many keywords in an article, especially if it’s a shorter one
Guest blogging becoming more influential
If the recent ranking trends are anything to go by, guest blogging seems to be getting more and more influential. This is probably the reason why there has been a sudden and surprising increase in the number of people looking to guest post on reputed sites.
Your best bet would probably be to find a bunch of highly reputed sites in your niche that allow guest posting, and contact them with an offer to post great quality content with a link to your site. Niche specific sites would work best, but the ones closely related to your niche shouldn’t hurt as well.
However, you may also want to note that such sites have also become increasingly picky about the content they post to their site. So this is again something where the importance of content comes into play. Hence, you would need to offer them well research, useful, and highly engaging content that would actually interest their readers and be worth posting to their sites.
Ensuring a clean backlink profile
We know that SEO guys are always fond of doing experimentation and finding new ways of tricking the search engines, but you also need to know that it has now become increasingly challenging, not to mention risky as well.
Hence, if you want to find out whether a particular technique works well for not, you may just want to use it on a not-so-important site, or your tier 1. Blasting shady links straight to your money site is probably the last thing you would want to do in today’s rather highly challenging SEO environment.
The important SEO don’ts
Avoiding quantity over quality
From a really long time, the belief of the SEO community has been going for a ton of links and blasting them straight to money sites, regardless of their quality. However, it’s high time to change this approach. Besides not working well to achieve the desired rankings, building a ton of low quality links to your money site is actually like inviting a Google penalty.
Instead, the focus currently has to be on the quality rather than the quantity of links. It’s probably a much better idea to have a handful of high DA/PA, TF/CF niche relevant links than hundreds of links made using software such as Xrumer, SeNuke, GSA SER, and so on.
We aren’t against using such software, so don’t get us wrong. However, with the exception of GSA SER, you may not be able to use most of the other such software out there effectively for building tier 1 links. You can still probably use them for tier 2 and tier 3 though.
Also, even while using GSA SER, if you are pointing the links directly to your money site, you may want to use most of the filtering options it comes with in order to filter out the bad links. Despite this, we still don’t recommend pointing links built using it straight to your money site. Using a buffer site may be a much better option instead.
PR is dead indeed!
If you don’t know already, Google has stopped updating the PRs of sites as long as over a couple of years ago. Hence, it would be foolish to still use the metric to analyze the quality of backlinks.
However, it can still be used as an indicator of the quality of backlinks a site has. After all, a PR5 domain usually won’t have low quality backlinks, as if it did, it wouldn’t have been given a PR5 status by the big G.
Be very careful while using PBN links
Well, despite how powerful they are and how quickly they show impressive results on a site’s rankings, PBN links also seem to be the easiest and quickest way to get a penalty. Nowadays, manual penalties have become surprisingly common, and there’s hardly a PBN out there that would last a manual penalty.
Hence, even if you still want to use them, consider being as careful as you can. Avoiding footprints, same hosting providers, same themes, and so on, are just some of the things you need to keep in mind while using them.
Never link to penalized or spammy sites
We know we are talking about inbound backlinks, but there’s also something worth noting about outbound backlinks as well. When you link to spammy or penalized domains from your site, Google may crawl back to your site when checking out the link profile of the penalized website. If it does, it may as well end up sending a penalty your way too.
Hidden text and links are a big NO! NO!
They used to be effective like ages ago. Nowadays, there are a big NO and if you value your site, you should never consider resorting to using anything similar.
Building backlinks only to your homepage
This is a common mistake most of the new Internet marketers fall for while starting out with SEO. Pointing all the links to your homepage obviously looks strange and highly unnatural. This increases the chances of a penalty.
On the other hand, this also doesn’t help much in ranking your other important posts that target some specific and important keywords. Hence, it’s a good idea to point a good few links at your inner pages as well.
A final word
The above given are indeed some of the tried and tested things that have emerged recently. If you need to do link-building in a safe yet effective way, you should definitely consider following them.