I purchased my first book on SEO back in 2010. I only read that book for a few months before throwing it out. The world of SEO changes so quickly that a book on the topic is almost obsolete by the time it makes its way to the bookstores.

It was very surprising to see how quickly the SEO profession changes. It is equally surprising to see how slowly many people in the profession adapt.

It can be difficult to discern the valuable tips from those that are totally useless. You need to recognize that some of the older strategies simply don’t work anymore.

Here are some outdated SEO strategies that will either be a waste of time at best or actually hurt your SERPs. You will want to avoid them at all costs.

Focusing on the wrong factors when buying domain names

You will find that buying a domain name can be a very important part of starting a blog. However, you need to know what to look for when you are purchasing one. You might need to work with a domain broker service if you are unsure what to look for.

In the past, many people obsessed about finding domain names that had target keywords included in them. These domains were quickly registered, so they had to purchase them through domain brokers.

This is not what you should focus on these days. Google no longer places a lot of value on domains that are stuffed with keywords. These types of domains could actually hurt your website.

You should buy domains that have a good history and a decent domain authority. You should see what their historical traffic has been with tools like SEMRush and look for signs that traffic has been stable. You should also look at the link profiles of these sites to make sure that the domain isn’t at risk of getting penalized in the future for a natural patterns or spam.

You can always consider working with a domain expert to assist you. This might save you a lot of headaches if you don’t know what to look for yourself.

Relying on article directories

Article marketing used to be one of the most popular link building strategies. In fact, it was so popular that entire courses and software programs were dedicated to helping article marketers do their shopping more efficiently. Some software applications allowed marketers to do bulk submissions to hundreds of different directories at once. You can still find some of these applications on sites like ClickBank to this day, even though many of the sites that they supposedly submit to are defunct.

You can also find lists of the most popular article directories that marketers used to submit articles to. These blog posts were written around a decade ago and are now little more than nostalgic relics of the early days of SEO marketing. Again, most of the directories on these lists are no longer in existence.

However, many lesser-known article directories have continued to pop up over the years. They should be avoided like the plague. Google recognizes that these types of sites are usually filled with low quality articles and unnatural links. Your website has a high chance of getting penalized if you use them.

Writing guest blog posts that have no relevance to your niche

Guest blogging was originally a higher quality alternative to article directory marketing. It is still a good offsite SEO strategy to this day, but it needs to be used appropriately. This means that you must find high quality sites to pitch guest posts to.

It didn’t take long for many SEO companies to start abusing the strategy. They created articles that had little relation to the websites that they were linking to and tried to stuff the links in wherever they could. High-quality websites quickly got frustrated with this and either discontinued allowing new guest articles or only accepted them from people that they had close relationships with.

As a result, guest blogging started catering to the lowest common denominator. People using the strategy started working with lower quality websites that were more tolerant of spam content with unnatural links.

Former web spam expert at Google, Matt Cutts, declared that guest blogging was dead. This turned the profession on its head, which forced SEO professionals to either start writing higher quality and more relevant posts or give up altogether. Despite his warning, many SEO strategists still use the spammy approach to guest blogging, which gets their sites penalized.

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