SEO or search engine optimization is the process of getting more visitors from Google by making sure that your website appears on top of your targeted keywords on Google and other search engines. Even though Digital marketing has changed aggressively in the last 5 years with the popularity of Facebook ads, Google adwords and other ad platforms, SEO still provides the best return on investment among all other digital channels of 32% followed by content marketing and Email marketing.

The reason SEO still works and will work for time to come is because of its nature of highly targeted traffic. People coming to your website already are in need of your product, which is why they searched about it on Google in the first place. Compared to Facebook ads, people click on your ads not because they necessarily need your product but they just so happen to click anything that pops up when scrolling their newsfeed.

But just like anything in digital marketing, SEO has changed a lot in the past few years. What used to work in 2011 does not work in 2018 anymore. In fact, if you keep using the same strategies you will be doing more bad than good. Following are 5 strategies that you must avoid in SEO in 2018.

#1 Avoid Using Exact Match Domains (EMDs) If Possible

Exact match domain is a domain that matches exactly with your keyword, So if your keyword is “How to lose weight fast” your domain would be EMDs used to work wonders in past. It was even possible to rank your website with an EMD within days and with very little efforts.

By no means I am saying that EMDs does not work now. They still work, but you have to be much more careful with EMDs than usual branded domains. So if your EMD is then you should not use the same keyword “how to lose weight fast” more than once in the meta title, description, headline and even in the body copy of your website.

Moreover, when making backlinks for your website you should be extremely cautious when creating anchor text, and even more cautious when you have an EMD. You don’t want your anchor text always to be “How to lose weight fast” in normal cases, more so when you have an EMD.

You do have to keep in mind that Google is after spammy EMDs since 2012. See the tweet from Matt Cutts.

#2 You scratch my back, I will scratch yours

We call them reciprocal links. In simpler words, it means you will create a backlink of someone’s website if they will create a backlink of your website. This is link trading and it has been dead for years but still people use it on totally irrelevant websites.

As Google says on its own wordsAny links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.”

So as a smart marketer, avoid link exchanges. There are better ways to generate results.

#3 Avoid Guest Blogging The Wrong Way

Guest blogging used to work great and still do. However you have to keep in mind some of the facts due to which Google penalized millions of websites due to guest posting. To help you better understand that, let’s start with the basic idea of what is guest posting.

Let’s suppose your website is about “Digital Marketing trends” and you want to reach more people by submitting an article related to digital marketing on a website that is about digital marketing or marketing in general. So the website that will accept your article as a guest post will get a brand new fresh article and you will get a link back from a totally related website. Not only that, you will also get new exposure to the right audience.

As marketers, we don’t keep things straight for long. People starting abusing it by submitting their guest posts to websites that are not related to their website and hence Google started penalizing those websites.

This doesn’t make Guest blogging bad, you can still use guest blogging and achieve great results both in terms of ranking and getting traffic from related websites. The thing to make sure before attempting to write a guest post for a website is that the website should be related to your website and is of high quality that does not accept guest posts from everyone who happens to write for them.

#4 Avoid exact-match anchor text

That doesn’t mean you should never use the exact-match anchor text. However, if you keep your marketing brain aside for a moment and think, any website with natural backlinks will have a small percentage of exact match anchor text in their backlinks profile. So let’s take an example of IDMPakistan. If our backlink profile shows that the anchor text “digital marketing course” is used 90% it definitely means that we are manipulating Google and hence welcoming a penalty as well.

So keep your anchor text diversified as shown in the figure below



#5 Content is Still King and Will Always Be

Do you write articles for your website visitors or Google? Is your content readable or you are using an article spinner to save time? Do you get any shares or comments for or against your content? Content will always remain king in SEO World. Writing engaging, compelling, well-researched, thorough, long and optimized content for your website will pay off both in long and short term.

So, there you go, if you are a seasoned SEO professional or a newbie, these 5 strategies should be on your “Not to-do List”. As mentioned in the article, you can use some of these strategies with some care. In 2018, we are so used to getting quick and instant traffic (thanks to Facebook ads) that we sometimes forget to invest our resources in building up organic traffic. A content published on your website and a backlink generated today, will yield returns for years to come.