SEO is nothing like it was ten years ago. In fact, it has evolved tremendously over the past few years, making it a completely different game altogether. Using the same methods and strategies that worked back then would get you penalized very quickly today.

Aside from the fact that links are still the number one ranking signal, everything else has changed to the point that aside from staying on top of new components of ranking, you need to learn what has become obsolete and worthless. Wasting your time on the wrong things not only costs you time and money, but it can potentially put your website in harms way. And by harm, I’m referring to a Google penalty.

Nobody wants that.

Since Google is constantly changing how they analyze and use the data in their algorithm to display the organic results it’s important to know what doesn’t work any longer. While it’s hard to be 100% certain what does work it’s much easier to pinpoint what isn’t effective any longer.

Using the strategies that I highlight below will have a negative on your SEO, which will directly result in a negative impact on your business. Search engine optimization is such an important piece of any businesses marketing strategy.

Knowing what is currently working and what you need to avoid can help you avoid a complete disaster.

Hopefully this blog will help you eliminate any irrelevant SEO strategies that you’re still using today.


1. Quantity Over Quality Content Strategy

Back in the glory days of SEO, there were countless number of article scraper and spinner programs, and websites were literally posting content around the clock, to the tune of dozens and hundreds of pages a day.

You would type in your main keyword, and an article to spin, and it would spit out several “unique” versions of the article. Back then it gamed the system and it was effective. It was definitely considered blackhat SEO, but nonetheless it worked.

Google’s algorithm wasn’t as advanced back then and if it saw the same keyword or phrase mentioned throughout the article and in sections like the title and heading, then it assumed it was highly relevant.

Artificial intelligence is now so advanced that it can read content on a webpage with human-like understanding. So, while many people say write your content for humans that actually read your website, you need to understand that Google can actually read your content on the same level when it crawls your pages.

A quantity game these days will not work, unless of course every piece of content you publish is long-form and well researched, providing value to the reader. Most businesses don’t have the time or resources to do that. Quality needs to be your focus, and if that means just publishing a single blog post per month, so be it.



2. Focused on Position #1 (Position Zero is a Reality)

For years if you asked any SEO what their goal was their response would have been, “To reach position number one on Google for all of our target keywords.” How times have changed, because position number one isn’t the top dog any more.

There is something now, which is being referred to position zero within the SEO community. It’s the information box that appears at the very top of the SERPs, and it’s essentially what Google thinks is the best answer to your search query. The interesting thing is that it’s not always information for the top positions.

I’ve seen data in position zero that comes from the lower positions at the bottom of the first page. The common occurrence is that the pages they are pulling position zero information from are very thorough and almost reference-like. They are not thin pages by any means.

If you are trying to go for position zero make sure you are creating in-depth resource pages. Go above and beyond to provide as much information and references as possible, showing Google that your page is the authority on the subject matter.


3. Giving Any Thought into Keyword Density

If the term “keyword density” is still in your SEO vocabulary remove it right away. Keyword stuffing died years ago, and now this type of strategy will get your slapped out of the SERPs quickly.

Back in the day there were all kinds of ridiculous theories, like 4.75% keyword density being the best optimized content. So, that meant for every 500 word article (you know that was the common word count if you are an OG SEO), the keyword would appear almost 25 times in the article.

Looking back, that seems insane and so spammy.

Mix it in naturally a few times and if you can include it in the page title without it reeking of spam, then go for it. Your supporting content and related long-tail keywords also help to tell Google what the page is about, so don’t go crazy with your main keyword. The tip is to find ways to help explain what the page is about, without jamming it full of one keyword.

Linking out to authority resources on the topic and including media (infographics, images, charts, etc.) that are properly optimized also help.


4. Using Low Quality PBNs (Private Blog Networks)

Private blog networks (PBNs) were the talk of the industry a few years ago, and these networks were popping up at an alarming speed and being offered on forum marketplaces and gig sites like Fiverr for crazy low prices.

Because there was so much hype around PBNs and how it was the next big way to rank, it caused everyone to jump on board. Great for those sellers, but bad news for those that jumped on that bandwagon.

When a PBN is selling links publicly, then it’s no longer private. Also, since the price was so low, everyone was ordering these links, resulting in blogs within the networks slammed full of low quality content full of random links. Don’t get me wrong we also sell them here, we take A LOT of precautions.. but at the end of the day it’s still a big risk and we don’t shy away from admitting that.

Google can sniff these out link a champ, and with a push of a button penalize all sites that are linked out, as they know without a doubt that they are all participating in shady SEO.

PBNs work and some of the best SEOs use them, but you will never know they exist and you surely won’t ever get the chance to buy links on them. Build your own PBN if you want to take advantage of their effectiveness and keep it private.


5. Interlinking Your Main Website with Landing Pages

One of the oldest tricks involves linking to all inner landing pages from your home page using keyword anchor text. This is a major NO these days. Let me explain and give you an example.

Imagine a local insurance company located in Los Angeles. They provide everything from homeowner insurance to car insurance. They create landing pages for every keyword they are targeting and then link to each one within their footer, which then looks like:


  • Los Angeles car insurance


  • Los Angeles home insurance


  • Car insurance Los Angeles


  • House insurance Los Angeles


  • Cheap car insurance Los Angeles


I could go on, but you get the point. I still see websites that have several dozen links like this in their footer and it’s not good. SEO has advanced so far since that worked. If you are still doing this, remove those links from your footer and then go optimize each of those landing pages so they don’t appear spammy. Focus on making each one a strong resource page.


6. Insisting on Exact-Match .com Domains

I am still an advocate for .com domains over all of the new TLDs (top level domains) simply because most people just naturally think dot-com when it comes to domains. While the new TLDs might sound cool, the reality is that most consumers and customers will forget the extension and go to the dot-com.

This can send competition free traffic and customers. But, you don’t need an exact match. So, a criminal attorney in Los Angeles doesn’t need to have “” to rank for that term. If anything, that domain name looks spammy in today’s world.

I would also stay away from expired exact match domains, as many have been coming up on the auctions. The trouble is that most are spammed to death and you would just be creating a website on a toxic domain.



7. Duplicating Your Pages to Create Slight Keyword Variation Targeted SEO

I remember seeing a WordPress plugin a few years ago that would mirror a specific page and just alter your main keyword, which would then create thousands of pages. The trouble was the content was almost identical, minus the keyword.

With one push of the button, you could have thousands of pages of content. But, once crawled, Google will slap you out of the SERPs. While you might be able to pull in some traffic before that happens, this strategy is a death sentence for your domain. Once you are penalized you might as well just burn it to the ground and start over.

While it’s possible to recover from a penalty, it’s not guaranteed and the time and money needed can be applied to starting a new domain instead.


8. Guest Posts on Non-Relevant Blogs

Guest blogging still works today, but the approach needs to be a bit different than it was in the past if you want it to be effective. If you own a website that compares credit cards and discusses rewards points, then you would want to target personal finance blogs to write for. You have to stay very niche-specific these days. If not, it becomes very clear to Google that you are just trying to game the algorithm and secure links from any website.

If your credit card review site is linked to from a pet blog or a dental website, for example, it also makes it look like you could be potentially buying those links or renting them.

Guest blog for links, because it still works, but only do so on niche-relevant blogs to avoid any problems.


9. Submitting to Low Quality Link Directories

DMOZ is gone. So is Yahoo’s directory. Those were the only solid link directories left, and they are both just memories of the past — the golden days of SEO — gone forever. If you’ve been in the SEO game for some time then you know how hard a DMOZ link was to secure. It was the holy grail of link acquisition.

Aside from those two directories, there were and still are thousands more. You can go to any SEO marketplace and find gigs that will auto-submit your website to thousands of directories. The problem is that these are not even used by humans and offer no value. The links here are pure spam and will put your link profile in a bad position if ever manually reviewed.

There are some directories you want to be listed in. Facebook, Google, Yelp, BBB, etc. Real directories. Links there are great, but unless it’s a nationally known directory that is used by millions, avoid it.


10. Fiverr Automated Link-Building Packages

If you type in “SEO links” into the Fiverr search here are just some of the gig names that pop up:


  • “I Will Do 100 Pr7 To Pr9 SEO Links For 2016 Google Rankings”


  • “I Will Do 5000 Safe Powerful SEO Link Building”


  • “I Will Create 35000 Xrumer Links For Professional SEO”


  • “I Will Provide 50,000 SEO Backlinks, Quality Links”


  • “I Will Make 1 Million Xrumer Forum Profile Links For Google SEO”


And people are buying them. How crazy is that? Those gig titles are exactly how they appear on Fiverr — and some of those have thousands of reviews!

Do not buy links or any other SEO-related service on Fiverr. There is nothing more I need to say than that.



While this list is fairly long, there will no doubt be more things that become irrelevant when it comes to ranking websites in the near future. SEO will never stay still or become stagnant. It’s always changing and Google will always be rolling out updates and changes behind the scene.

They do this to prevent people from manipulating the search results and they do it because they genuinely want to provide the best possible results for their users.

Think about this for a minute: Google has ruled the search engine category for a long time. While Yahoo and Bing have made attempts and they are great products, they have never come close to Google. They are a very distant third and fourth place (don’t forget that YouTube is the second largest search engine).

Their domination is the reason they make so much money. If their users turn to other options it will impact their numbers, so they put a lot of energy into engineering an algorithm that returns the best possible results. It’s not always to “kill SEO” like many complain. They make changes to improve their product, which impacts SEO.

Now that we touched on SEO strategies that you should stay away from in 2019, I want to know what search engine optimization strategies you intend to focus on. Let me know in the comments below — I’d love to know as I’m planning on covering it very soon too!

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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