Timotheus Update: This post was originally published on 29 July 2019 on this website – Passive Online Revenue. Due to rebranding and consolidation of the two sites, the post is now on this website – https://timotheuslee.com/digital-marketing/what-are-the-17-off-page-seo-techniques-to-avoid-like-the-plague/
In the previous article, I shared about 11 Off Page SEO Techniques to improve the search ranking of your website. Even as high as 1st Page. There are also some Off Page SEO techniques that are outdated, and some that you should not do at all. Today, I would like to share with you What Are The 17 Off Page SEO Techniques To Avoid Like The Plague.
This article is part of a series that spun off from the main article – How to Learn Digital Marketing Online – The Ultimate Guide. It is a section dedicated with digital marketing information, to help people who wants to make a career as a digital marketer, or for business owners who needs to know how to market their businesses online. I highly recommend reading the main article, too. It will help you get the overall picture.
What Are The Off Page SEO Techniques That You Must Avoid?
1. Automated link building
There are sites out there that offer to build links for you automatically. All you do is enter your website address, website name, site title, description of website, and a few other details. Hit submit, and their software will blast your details to numerous sites to build links.
Avoid this like the plague! Here’s what Google warns about automated link building.
This old and outdated Off Page SEO technique creates poor quality links that have very little relevance value. Search engines are aware of this black hat SEO tactic, and have laid down very clear guidelines against this practice. Continue to do this at the risk of your website being penalized or banned.
2. Link exchange
Few years ago, a naive young woman asked me if I would like to exchange links for our websites. I promptly informed her that this is now a black hat SEO tactic. It is totally useless and ineffective. Plus, there is the danger of search engines punishing sites that do this.
She didn’t believe me. She continued to say that she just attended a digital marketing seminar, and the trainer taught the entire group of attendees this SEO tactic.
I could not believe what I heard. It was the 2010s, and people are still using this outdated and harmful Off Page SEO technique. Worse, they are teaching others to do it. I don’t know if it is lack of knowledge or they are just giving misinformation.
Link exchange is when one website links to another website, and the other website also links back. It is also called a reciprocal link. In the past, this was a way to manipulate the algorithm and get lots of backlinks.
Today, avoid this like the plague! See what Google warns about link exchange.
3. Paid links
On Google’s page that warns users against link schemes, this is at the top of the list of tactics that can impact a site’s ranking in search results negatively. Paid links are as the name said – when you pay to get a link from another website.
Again, this is an outdated tactic that used to be done to manipulate the algorithm and get high search results. Now, search engines’ algorithm have improved, and they can easily find out such paid links.
The search engines are constantly checking for link buyers and link sellers. Any site found to be involved in this will get heavily penalized.
4. Linking on other blogs
This is different from the white hat SEO tactic where you add a comment on others’ blog posts. The difference is that here, the tactic is to comment on other blogs and add a link within the comment itself.
Usually, this is done with poor quality comments. This is because the person doing this does not take the time to read the article. They will just add comments for the sake of a comment. For example, ‘Great post’ or ‘This is a well written article’. And that is all.
And they will just add a link to that comment that makes no sense. Or write an additional few more words that is awkward plus adding the link.
Once again (you guessed it!), this is an old and outdated technique to do Off Page SEO. It is no longer effective. In fact, it is considered as black hat SEO. This means your website will get penalized or banned by search engines when they detect you doing this.
Wanna know how to do Blog Commenting right? Read my article about Off Page SEO Techniques that still work, and even get your website or web pages to the 1st Page of search results.
5. Link quantity vs link quality
It’s great to get backlinks to your site right? And even better when you get lots of links? Cos plenty of backlinks means that others find your website good and valuable. And this will result in higher ranking on search results. Wrong!
Sure, it is great to have as many backlinks as possible. That is why, in the past, many marketers engage in link building strategies to build lots of backlinks. But search engines have caught on to this black hat tactic.
Now, the relevance of your backlinks are more important. If most of your backlinks lack relevance, you are doing more harm than good to your website. Focus on natural link building. Build quality and relevance links rather than quantity.
6. Over-optimized anchors
SEO is the way to rank websites or web pages for keywords. The goal is to reach the 1st Page of search results. Over-optimized anchors is when one uses the same keyword over and over again to link back.
Marketers went overboard with this tactic in the past when it worked and they were able to get their websites or web pages on the search results 1st Page. As usual, eventually the search engines caught on. A change in algorithm and today those caught using this method are punished.
So, can you use keywords to link back? After all, you need to use those keywords to get higher ranked. Sure, you can still use the keywords. Just do not overdo it. And do it naturally.
For example, when you do guest blogging, do not force the keywords into a sentence for the link. Write naturally. And when you find it is possible to fit the keywords into a sentence naturally, then do the backlink.
And do not forget that there is such a thing as LSI – Latent Semantic Indexing. Using related words and terms to link back to your website helps to improve search engines’ understanding of your website. And as such, to rank your website for related words and terms, too.
7. Keyword stuffing
This is a very very very very very old SEO tactic that no longer works. It is black hat SEO. And will get your website off the search results.
Eons ago, I had a business owner who came to me begging for help. His website was banned from Google’s search results. I did a quick check, and I immediately found the problem. Whoever was doing SEO for his website used keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is a means where a website, an article or blog post is filled with lots of the keyword. Here is an example of keyword stuffing:
We are a digital marketing agency in Singapore that prides itself to be the best digital marketing agency in Singapore. Our team provides SEO, PPC, and SMM services at reasonable prices, which makes us on of the most competitive digital marketing agency in Singapore. So, if you need to promote your business, please consider our digital marketing agency in Singapore.
Never ever do this! Unless you enjoy jeopardizing your website, and ultimately your business.
Write naturally. Find other words to express what you intend to say.
8. Spammy guest blogging
This is when a guest post is irrelevant to the topic, niche or industry of the website where the post is featured. It is also spammy when there is use of over-optimized anchor text – see above point 6. One thing to watch out for, when you write a guest post that has low quality – see below point 9, it will be considered as spammy, too.
Guest blogging can still be a very effective Off Page SEO technique. But you have to make sure that your article is of high quality and relevant to the niche and industry of the website. Also, make sure that your article is unique and helpful. Do not spin an old article from your website as a guest post.
Do Guest Posting the right way. Here is a Free Training Video about the Complete Blueprint on Guest Posting. Watch now and learn how to do Guest Posting without incurring the wrath of Google and other search engines.
9. Low-quality content
You need amazing content for your SEO efforts to be effective. Google has said so. So, avoid producing content just for the sake of publishing something. Stop fulfilling the ‘at least one post every 3 days’ goal just for the sake of being perceived as a website that has regular updates.
I don’t create low quality content. Low quality content has very little value and is not helpful to my readers.
It takes time for me to create high quality and unique content. And I am OK to take the time to do that. The results are worth the effort. Again, write naturally. What do I mean by writing naturally? – See point 10 below.
10. Writing for search engines, not for people
Continuing from the above point, write naturally. This means when you write, you do it with your readers in mind. Write for people. Not for search engines.
Articles should be engaging and well written. They should not be awkward. For example, forcing keywords into a sentence. Or writing in a way that does not make sense. Or adding unnecessary text or headings just to squeeze in keywords.
Your sentences should flow from one point to another. Like you are having a conversation with your readers. This also enhances the user experience.
Your readers will enjoy reading the article, and will stay longer on your web page. The longer they stay, the better for SEO ranking factors. And eventually, it leads to higher ranking on search results.
11. Exact-match domain name
Exact-match domain are websites with URLs that contain keywords.
E.g. Years ago, when I was thinking of a domain name for my travel blog. I wanted to share all the best places to visit in Asia. So, I thought of getting bestplacestovisitinasia.com.
I know. A mouthful right?
Back then, exact-match domain names were hot. They were seen to be great for SEO, and could rank far more quickly than a traditional branded domain name.
Fortunately, I knew better. And I chose the domain name – asiatravelgems.com – for the brand, Asia Travel Gems.
Today, exact-match domains does not have the edge over any other domain. They may even have the potential to be flagged for spam, and risk being penalized or suffer low rankings. They are viewed as less trustworthy. When building links, using such domain names can be a problem.
In addition, it is hard to do branding for such names. Can you imagine me branding Best Places to Visit in Asia? Thank goodness I had the foresight to use Asia Travel Gems. Much better for branding, don’t you agree?
12. Classified Ads
This is one of the most outdated and overrated Off Page SEO techniques. It was to find Classified Ads where you could create a free ad. The idea was to list your business for others to find.
It was also counted as a backlink. Back in the early days of SEO, when it was still a new thing. Not today. It does not work anymore.
In addition, these days, very few people actually use classifieds anymore. As such, doing this has very little value.
What Are The Off Page SEO Techniques That Are Outdated
13. Directory Submissions
Directory submissions happen when you submit your website to online directories.
This is an outdated SEO Strategy. But it is not totally harmful. So, that is why this technique and the following ones are in this section. You can consider using this but know that it will have very little effect for a lot of effort.
Firstly, do not pay for a service to automatically submit to directories. Most such services can do harm to your website when they submit to directories that are not relevant to your niche or industry.
Do it yourself. Find relevant directories, and submit your site to them. Yes, you can see it will take you a lot of time and effort to do this. The end result? The backlink may not be of much value, too.
14. Article directories
Article directories started as a way for sites to share quality content with a large audience. It was also a great way for sites to earn links. But these days, the readership at these sites are getting lower and lower.
This is because the article directories have been abused. Articles of low quality flooded them. As a result, today, search engines find them to be no longer of value.
All said, you can still do this tactic. You just have to find article directories that have high authority and of high quality. Also, take note to share your articles only to directories that matches your niche or industry.
Need more info on how to do this technique the right way? See this Free Training from the founder of the best training platform that many digital marketers and I learn from:
15. Social bookmarking
Fewer and fewer marketers use this technique. This is because there is not much value to be earned. Social bookmarking is when you use social bookmarking sites to bookmark your favorite site or content. In the past, this used to create backlink juice. Today, not so much.
Nevertheless, sometimes there may be some value. At the very least, you can drive traffic to your site when people discover your bookmark. Here are some all right social bookmarking sites: StumbleUpon, Scoopit, Pocket, and Digg.
16. Forum marketing
This is when you answer questions on various forums. When you do that, you can mention your brand and create a backlink.
This is very time consuming. You have to find forums related and relevant to your niche and industry. You have to join them, and engage with the people at the forum. You have to build relationships and authority. As I said, very time consuming.
And all for what? For very little SEO juice. Better you spend time on SEO Techniques that are more important and can improve your site’s ranking.
17. Too many social media
The idea here is to be on as many social media channels as possible. After all, social signals are now getting more and more relevant and important, right?
No, this is not good. It is better to find social media networks that work better for your niche or industry. And also, social networks that are relevant.
For example, Asia Travel Gems is a travel blog. Travel is a niche where there can be lots of nice images that people can appreciate. Videos of travel are also crowd pleaser. So, an image based social network like Pinterest will be very suitable. And a video platform like YouTube will be ideal to share travel videos.
So, I focused on these two social platforms, and I am getting increased traffic from them. Every week, I get more and more followers on Asia Travel’s Pinterest account as well as increased viewers and traffic from Pinterest to my website.
So, avoid being on too many social media platforms. Be on a select few. It is a much better strategy. Also it can lead to better and more social signals which helps your SEO efforts.
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