7 Obsolete SEO Tactics You’re Wasting Your Time On


SEO has changed over the years, and what worked once doesn’t necessarily work now. Some of the old tactics you are using not only will keep your traffic stagnant, but they may actually cause your traffic to drop.

What should you do?

You should stop using the tactics I discuss below and start using the new solutions I’ve outlined for you:

Obsolete tactic #1: More links means higher rankings

According to Search Metrics, the 3rd most determining factor in your rankings is the number of backlinks you have.

Although more backlinks used to mean higher rankings, it’s not necessarily the case anymore. These days, you’ll notice new sites with only a handful of links outranking old authoritative sites.


Because their backlinks are more relevant. With Google’s Penguin algorithm update, relevancy of the links is more important than their quantity.

Just look at the example below. I Googled the phrase “business credit cards.” As you can see, Nerd Wallet outranks Chase and American Express sites.

business credit card

The Nerd Wallet URL in the first position has 176 backlinks from 136 referring domains, according to Ahrefs. The Chase URL has 293 backlinks from 69 referring domains, and the American Express page has 90,000 backlinks from 343 referring domains.

If you look at the root domain names, both Chase and American Express have more links from more unique domains than Nerd Wallet.

According to Google PageRank, Nerd Wallet is at 6, while Chase and American Express are at 7.

This just shows that you don’t need to focus on backlink quantity. Instead, you need to focus on quality links, which is what Nerd Wallet did.

When it comes to your website, don’t try to go after quantity in link building. Focus on building highly relevant links that are topical to the content on your website.

Obsolete tactic #2: SEO is about writing keyword-rich content

If you want to rank for a term like “business credit cards,” you would need that phrase on your web page, right? That used to be the case, but Google’s algorithm uses latent semantic indexing.

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text. LSI is based on the principle that words that are used in the same contexts tend to have similar meanings.

In other words, Google sees the phrase “corporate credit card” as being similar to “business credit cards.” That means if you use the word “corporate” instead of “business,” you would still rank for both terms.

Instead of trying to write keyword-rich content, write content that is user-friendly. If you put your users first and you write what’s best for them, Google will naturally figure out what terms you should rank for and will place you there.

Plus, no one wants to read keyword-rich content. If I mentioned the word “SEO” 100 times within this post because I want to rank for SEO, you’d get tired of reading Quick Sprout and probably stop linking to the site, which would hurt my rankings.

Avoid writing keyword-rich content as it doesn’t help with rankings anymore.

Obsolete tactic #3: SEO is just links, code, and content

That’s what SEO used to be 5 years ago. The sites with mediocre content, tons of links, and good on-page optimization used to rank well.

That’s not the case anymore. These days the sites that do well tend to also have a large social following.

Whether you believe or not that social media has a direct or indirect impact on rankings, it does impact rankings.


The more popular your site is on the social web, the more eyeballs you will draw to it. And the more people see it, the more backlinks it’ll get.

Plus, social media is a great way to seed content and get the initial traction you are looking for.

If you want better rankings, don’t just focus on link building. Also focus on building up your social profiles. Check out this guide to get you started.

Obsolete tactic #4: Tracking rankings

I used to track my rankings religiously. When I had an SEO agency, I used to track them for clients as well.

But that’s the old way of doing things.

Rankings are irrelevant. Sure you want better rankings, but search has changed into a long tail game. Just look at the data: search volume for head terms is down by 8%, and sites are starting to see the majority of their traffic coming from long tail phrases.

long tail

And if that isn’t convincing enough, consider this: 90% of my traffic on KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout comes from long tail phrases, which also account for 87% of the conversions from search.

Instead of trying to manipulate your rankings for head terms, which has become very difficult after the Panda and Penguin update, you should focus on long tail traffic.

The beautiful part about this is that you no longer have to track your rankings. Instead, you need to focus on creating a long tail strategy by using content marketing, which I break down in this guide.

Obsolete tactic #5: More pages means more traffic

Wikipedia is a great example of a content rich site that gets more traffic. So, if you want more traffic you should create more pages, right?

If the pages aren’t high in quality, you won’t rank well. Instead of actually helping you, adding too much content, especially mediocre content, can hurt you.

Google released an update called Panda, which targeted sites with low quality content. Such sites got penalized, and their search traffic dropped.

A good example of this is Wise Geek. They once dominated the rankings due to their large quantity of content, but they got hit hard by Google’s Panda update due to low quality content.

Don’t create sites with thousands of pages. Focus on creating high quality content. KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout are great examples of this. Both blogs can generate well over a half a million visitors a month, and neither of them have thousands of blog posts.

Obsolete tactic #6: You need a lot of text to rank well

Data has shown that you need to write 2,000 words on each web page if you really want to rank well. But Upworthy has proven the data wrong.

It’s one of the fastest growing content sites on the web, and it’s beaten out Huffington Post and Buzz Feed in growth rate. Yet, it has very little content per page.

Just look at this page on tattoos:


That’s literally all the text the page has. Yet, it ranks at the top of page 2 for the keyword “tattoos”.


And that’s not the only keyword the website ranks for. According to SEMrush, it gets up to 750,000 visitors a month from search engines.

se traffic

This shows that text isn’t the only form of valuable content. Videos and images also do well in the rankings, which is what Upworthy typically uses within its posts.

If you want high rankings, use different types of content to reach this goal. From podcasts to videos and quizzes, the possibilities are endless.

Obsolete tactic #7: Higher rankings means more traffic

There is a big misconception in the SEO industry that higher rankings mean more search traffic.

Sure, more people will see your listing, but it doesn’t mean you will get more clicks.

Why? Because the keywords you are targeting may not get much search volume. Or your meta tags may not be appealing, which will cause people to not click on your listings.

You can solve this by doing two things:

  1. You need to start using the Keyword Planner tool by Google to find the right keywords to go after.
  2. You need to follow the steps in this post to optimize your click-through rates.


Stop wasting your time on obsolete SEO tactics, and start focusing your energy on strategies that will boost your traffic.

If you follow my 7 solutions above, you should start increasing your search traffic within 30 to 60 days. It’s not rocket science. It’s actually really simple as long as you are willing to give it the attention it needs.

So, what other obsolete SEO tactics are people still using?


  1. Lewis - Marketing Bees :

    I think the best thing to do these days when it comes to SEO is to forget about SEO. Focus on your visitors and giving them what they want. If it’s what they want then they will link to it, share it, comment on it, get it active and so on…

    Your visitors will then make it loved by Google and help you to rank.

    Start writing for your visitors and NOT for Google!

    • Totally agreed Lewis, totally agreed!

      Everything happens naturally when your visitors are happy.

      Don’t forget people, at the end of the day, “word of mouth” is what matters the most to your brand.

    • That’s very true, to a point. There are plenty of great websites out there with great content. The difference between ones that rank high those that don’t are the ones that spend the extra time optimizing their content for the search engines. Obviously we can’t just write for the search engines, but we can’t ignore them either.

    • Lewis, I definitely agree. It’s all about providing value to your visitors and filling a need they have. The value exchange is what is essential.

      I also like the points that were mentioned about writing for visitors rather than search engines. That is crucial!

      • Hi Neil and everyone else,

        I absolutely agree with you guys. Value is what I always strive for when sharing with my audience. However, I’m beginning to think that we’re bias towards what we consider as “value.”

        For instance, I believe my post (link below) has value; but I have yet to receive any comments on it (good or bad) — and I don’t know if it’s actually reaching the masses. I obviously thought I provided value, but maybe I didn’t?

        Link: http://www.pursuingpassiveincome.com/rebirth-future-development-pursuing-passive-income-part-1-2/

        Anyway, I would love to hear your guys’ thoughts on it. Maybe I am doing something wrong?

        Keep inspiring,

        • I get your concern totally Warren. Content discovery is a problem that all webmasters / bloggers / content creators face when they start with a new website.

          Some proven strategies for content discovery that always work are:

          1. Community involvement – be active in forums, blogs in your niche

          2. Post short and useful comments (long comments are read often is a myth, comments need to be useful)

          3. Paid discovery is also a great option like using Stumbleupon (Neil has talked about this at length in one of his free marketing courses)

          • I loved Warren’s point. More should be talked about what “value” really means.

            I have seen tons of bloggers who keep publishing the same old school content again and again and still think that they are creating value. (This is partly because they are earning money via ads. If money comes in, they fool themselves into believing that they are creating value. Not so.)

            I know for a fact that good, in fact, better money can be made by *really* creating value. Kinda like what Neil does 😉

          • Thanks Debjit for your input. I’ll definitely apply what you said =).

            Keep inspiring,

            • I agree, but only to an extent. All of the metrics listed are just that; metrics. Happy visitors is quickly becomming the biggest way to achieve Google greatness, but one mustn’t ignore links, citations, schema markup, page speed, and all the other rankings signals Google uses.

      • Neil Im surprised you agree with Lewis? Ignore SEO, really?!!

        Write content for visitors and make search engines understand!

        • Hey Brian, I think we’re all talking about the same thing here.

          Your last statement is exactly correct. “Write content for visitors and make search engines understand!”

          That’s the best approach, in my opinion. Hey Neil, I think this is the “mixed” approach you were talking about in the below comment 😉

    • Provide interesting content and they will follow, share and convert.

    • Wow guys! I think the point Neil is trying to make has been taken to the extreme – SEO is by no means dead! It is by no means against Google guidelines!!!! You get good and ESSENTIAL SEO practices and BAD SEO practices – same as online marketers/ developers, car salesmen.

      SEO is about optimizing content for Search Engines to understand (they are not human – even though it is a learning machine). Learning machines (in this case the hummingbird algorithm) is just that, a machine. It relies on massive amounts of data to teach itself relevance and correlations.

      You can have the prettiest and most useful blog/ site in the world but to ignore SEO best practices? Do so at your own peril – if you aren’t bothered about search traffic, forget about SEO.

      SEO is about meta data, site structure, interlinking, external links, content, images, videos…. you guys are referring to a small sphere of SEO. All these tasks are absolutely necessary and its all about QUALITY!!!

      Neil, I think you need to state the importance of SEO in the marketing mix. Neil uses SEO practices for his marketing (this blog and site are carefully optimized) – that and countless other traffic and branding techniques. His business is, you guessed it SEO (and many other services obviously). He is advocating SEO in the positive sense – not saying it [SEO] is obsolete.

      To put the value of SEO into perspective. We operate in a highly lucrative and therefore highly competitive market. If we didnt focus on SEO we wouldnt feature anywhere or be able to compete – we would immediately lose 30% of our revenue. (this is millions of $ lost) – I wont even get into the impact on brand awareness.

      If you believe SEO is not important look at these figures. We currently make around 700% ROI on our SEO spend. We make 8 digit figures (in $) with a budget of a few $100 000. If that doesn’t make business sense to you then, well…

      I often want to defend SEO as it gets blamed for all the crap out there (although webmasters/ “online marketers” should be blamed for this) but maybe its a good thing that everyone believes it [SEO] should be ignored – the more people who think like that the less the competition, the smaller the budget required, the higher the ROI.



    Neil, seriously, thanks a ton for writing this post! It was really needed.

    Bloggers and web publishers nowadays make too much fuss about SEO. I almost started hating the field because of it.

    They put so much “effort” on building links and writing longer but not useful posts and what not!

    It’s good to see you writing about this, as you are a well known name in the industry and people will listen to what you say.

    Not only listen, they’ll consider what you say.


    Your content/service/product is what matters to most. Put efforts in that. Stuff like SEO and marketing is secondary. Important, but secondary.

    • “A good product, that solves an actual problem and adds value – does marketing for itself”

    • Hi Raj,

      Just wanted to comment on your point:

      > Your content/service/product is what matters to most….Stuff like SEO and marketing is secondary

      In my opinion, it is not so, unfortunately, in almost all cases.
      Although I wish you were right.

      However, only if you start something revolutionary new, and as long as it is new, you don’t need to care about marketing – people will spread the word.

      But as soon as you get competitors, it is very hard to stay the first and make decent profit without marketing (which includes SEO).

      Just a small vivid example. There is of such lucrative niche as web hosting. There are good companies that are not known until someone makes a research. Until that time, most of them search in the web “best web hosting” and they find (and buy) guess what? The hosting that has the best marketing, not product.

      And the really good and best companies just rest in the dust behind the marketing leaders.

    • Raj, Great points. However, I do not think SEO is obsolete I think a mixed approach is still necessary. While you should write for your visitors and not for search engines you still need to be mindful of certain best practices.

      Michael, brings up a great point in regards to competitors. SEO allows you to see what they are doing. You can gain key insights in regards to where they are linking, what their content strategy is and how large their reach is.

      Very few companies have the liberty of abandoning SEO. Word of mouth plays a big role, but not everyone has that liberty.

      Loved the input from everyone!

      • Aah, that’s a great point I hadn’t considered before.

        When your niche has competition, you need SEO to bring that edge and make it possible for people to discover you in the first place!

        Edge can also be brought by design. Which is what’s happening nowadays with web-based startups. Everybody is trying to out-design each other 😉 But that’s another story to tell.

        I guess what bothers me the most is people who give SEO/marketing the first priority and put most of their efforts in that instead of making their blog/product/service useful. And there are people like that.

        I hope this post by Neil helps such people be wiser 🙂

  3. It always amazes me the amount of people still practicing obsolete tactics. nice post.

  4. Good insights Neil. The power of Long tail keywords in your content is same as the power of Compounding in financial investments.

    Finding Long Tail keywords is so easy using Google Adwords (and Free) and it also removes the guess-work from your blog posts.

    You wont believe, I wrote a blog post about some decent gadgets to buy during the holiday season and the amount of traffic I am getting to that post just from the use of long tail keywords is just unbelievable!

    • Debjit, you are definitely correct. If you master your long term keywords they can definitely provide a lot of value. It’s all about finding a strategy that works and going from there. Sounds like you are on the right track!

  5. I would think using Google Keyword Planner tool would be listed as an obsolete practice. I honestly hate it. The search volume it offers is not at all accurate, and that can be very misleading for people that don’t understand that.

    • Ralph, I can see why you feel that way. However, the estimations the planner provides are usually on point. It’s all about using all the tools at your disposal to make the right choices.

    • Thanks Neil. Plenty of information as always and lots of good references to help build on the knowledge.

      Hi Ralph. I’m interested to know about your thoughts on keyword planner and am surprised to hear the data is inaccurate. Is there another tool you’d suggest?

      Thanks in advance.

  6. Spot on Neil!

    I love the SEO myth busters approach in this post. Search engines and their metrics evolve and with so many new metrics emerging, using deprecated practices like keyword density, Pagerank sculpting or backlinks for SEO will only distance your efforts from the top 10.

    Love the examples and thanks again.

    You Da man!

    • Jeffrey, glad you found it helpful. I think a big takeaway from this post is to stay ahead of the game because the metrics that mattered yesterday don’t necessarily matter today 🙂

  7. Massimo Chieruzzi :

    Totally agree Neil, but you should update your Site analysis tool accordingly, since the first two metrics it tells you on SEO are exactly the number of pages and links with a warning they are too low 🙂

    • Massimo, good suggestion. However, these metrics — as I mentioned — are not obsolete. They just aren’t as relevant.

  8. Hey thanks Neil for the reassuring article. Since I’ve begun my observation of the seo world a lot of it has been superstition and blind groping at what some may consider the wrong things.

    It seems SEO is becoming more about who can help the most for a particular query- and that is AWESOME.

    Spam is and was the bane of internet marketers for so long and now, at least if you’re reaching for Google rankings, forced to provide a quality service and decent content for the searcher.

    Cheers Neil!

    • Ken, Thanks for the insightful feedback. I totally understand your point about blindly groping around in the field of SEO. It’s tough to know what tactics work and what doesn’t. That is why it’s important to stay informed on all the algorithmic updates and industry trends. It sounds like you are on the right track though.

  9. Great job Neil,

    This post really cleared up my mind, i am doing link building for my blog these days and to be honest i was running for more and more backlinks and you just opened my eyes. i am glad that i read this post and now will only target quality backlinks.
    Thanks a ton.

    • Rohit, glad I could help. I am sure if you follow the blueprint above you will see sustained traffic that will surely convert 🙂

  10. Great post, which made me exhale a sigh of relief. It’s starting to click more for me that writing to our visitors, their potential challenges/needs, etc. is where we need to focus more of our efforts. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. There seems to always be diversions from core focus on the topic of SEO. Business principles always exceed short lived marketing tactics. I agree that the best strategy is writing content that people will enjoy and value.

    Word of mouth marketing never goes out of style, gets slapped or beat down. Thank you your help here Neil.

    • Shane, great points. At the end of the day it’s all about having a competitive advantage in your niche. The best way to go about that is to use all tools and tactics at your disposal.

  12. Greg Strandberg :

    It’s like Batman taking that leap of faith to escape the pit of Ra’s al Ghul – only when you stop caring about rankings will you ever get any.

  13. What about content curation / content aggregation? Is that a waste of time?

  14. Hey Neil,

    These are seven great SEO advices that are worth following.

    I can believe many marketers still fall into these traps.

    You have been able to backup your points with data. I Love that.

    How i wish that most of those guys that are still practicing this obsolete techniques know about your website.

    Anyway i will help them by sharing the article on my social network.

    Oloyede Jamiu

    • Oloyede, Thanks for the feedback. I think if people follow a blueprint they will definitely see results. Looking forward to hearing more from you!

  15. ahem… Guilty of a few obsolete practices. Thanks for the checist and to do list, need to rework a few strategies.

    I am not sure why you say google keyword tool shld be used… Isnt it obsolte?

    • Latha, it still provides valuable insights. You should use it in conjunction with other tools. Looking forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  16. Again an awesome article to read and apply!

    This is right.

    Just SEO is not enough, writing effective meta

    description to boost CTR. And presence on Social Media is

    really a required thing.



  17. Well said, Neil. Yes, I believe you are right in each of these points, especially #1. More and more link building is becoming about quality.

    Yet regarding point #2 keyword rich content; I still feel Google is a long way off determining the relevance and topic of some words in the context they’re written in. I believe I may have seen Gianluca Fiorelli mentioning this on Twitter too, especailly with non-English words!

    However, as Google gets even smarter I’m sure they’ll have this working perfectly soon!


    • Great points.
      I agree with number 2. It’s always going to be hard for AI to determine the relevance and context of some keywords. That’s why it’s important to help search engines out by maintaining site architecture that is relevant and properly linked. Thanks for the great feedback 🙂

  18. Lol Neil, I literally published this last night: http://brianleejackson.com/12500-visitors-month-without-building-backlink/ I love seeing your #1 and knowing we are on the same page 🙂 In my recent efforts I don’t even bother link building… I spend that time instead on content marketing and links follow.

    • Brian, awesome 🙂
      I guess great minds think alike. I think you are on the right track — content marketing is always going to work, when done right.

  19. Neil, You are absolutely correct. We should start focusing on the real strategies and should not waste time on the things which you mentioned. Thanks for this wonderful article!

  20. Hi Neil / great article as always.

    Just catching a typo: Obsolete Task #5, paragraph 3:
    Google released an update called Panada, which targeted sites with low quality content. Such sites got penalized, and their search traffic dropped.

    Believe you were once again referring to “Panda”/


  21. Great read Neil,
    So what is the optimum number of text? Yoast SEO Tool pushes editors to include at least 300+ before it says you are “Green” however including a couple pictures, infographs or videos helps and you can achieve green with as few as 160-180 words.

    Niel, On another note, have you written about “how to optimize Images” such as pictures, infographs videos for the best possible search results.? What image coding characteristics help the page rank higher?

    • Sorry about that image question Niel, I should have just assumed the Professor would have already prepared a lesson plan and use the SEARCH function, duh!

  22. Absolutely correct reader friendly content is a must these days.
    Thanks a lot Neil for keeping us updated and preventing us from facing the downfall. 🙂

  23. I am very confident that long tail keywords work really well and the competition is lower too. One of my blogs get 80% of it’s traffic from a single blog post which ranks for a long tail keyword. The post enlightened me further, kudos!

  24. Hi Neil

    I am big fan of your’s and I am regularly following you and I will
    read all your posts word to word.I found one typo-error in
    Obsolete tactic #5: More pages means more traffic:
    3rd paragraph:Google released an update called Panada:
    I guess you’re taling about “panda”..please dont mind for correcting your error.

    Rest all is well


  25. Hello Neil,
    I want to increase my traffic, is it possible without backlinks? Let me know a practical way please.

  26. This was really right on time as I’m planning my new content strategy. *thumbs up*

  27. Great post. I suppose the only question I still have (and have always had) is how ling do you wait, or what intervals do you suggest before evaluating your content/seo strategy to say “yes it’s working” or “no its’ not?”

    Looking at the SEMrush traffic chart you use for example, it clearly takes a while for any strategy to really kick in, but how do you suggest people wait until re-adjusting?

    • Jason, glad you enjoyed it.

      To answer your question: That’s the challenge. It’s all about testing different strategies and having patience with the process. As long as you are following al the correct guidelines you should see results.

  28. Hmm.. NYC said.. The fist part where the comparison begins, i just know that we don’t need just a back-links but also we need the quality back-links for quality contents and blogs… Thanks for Post… KUDOS!!

    • Akash, great point! It’s all about having quality over quantity. I think that is one of the important things I wanted to stress in this post. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  29. Neil, Totally agree with you.

    I already using same approach on my websites and blogs, and really I got very good results on search engine. I got google first page rank on lots of keywords.

    These tips really worked.


  30. Maximillian Heth :

    Great article as usual, Neil! =)

    Regarding #2, I would add that it’s more about keyword prominence than it is about creating keyword-rich content.

    As for LSI terms, all you really have to do is rip the keywords from the related search section of the SERP for your main keyword and use them in your content if they fit. (For even more LSI goodness, rip the related keywords of those related keywords and you’ll have a nice pile of keywords to analyze and sort through.)

    They’re there because Google thinks they’re relevant for that keyword, so why not use ’em?

    • Maximillian, thanks for the additional tips.

      Keyword-rich content and relevance is definitely important. I think the main takeaway is to make focus on being contextual with your keywords. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  31. Hi

    How many words a long tail keyword should have?
    Are 3 words enough?

  32. “Avoid writing keyword-rich content as it doesn’t help with rankings anymore.”

    Are you saying that we should stop using keyword plug-ins/tools completely? It *sounds* like that’s what you and other SEO experts are saying, but I’m not actually seeing this happen in practice. Why?

    I’d love to stop writing for keywords and forget word count, but in the “real world,” these practices just doesn’t seem accepted yet.

    • Thats the risk of posts like this. People quickly think SEO should not be done as its damaging – not doing SEO can also be damaging (in terms of opportunity)

      Hummingbird is nowhere near advanced enough to determine semantics accurately – at least enough to rely on the fact that they will understand your content.

      Neils points are spot on but what must also be stated is that it depends on your niche and competition.

      SEO should not be your sole focus (do not put all your eggs in the Google basket) but its a crucial step in getting traffic to your site. If done correctly also benefits the user (smart site structure design, etc)

      Do not write for Search engines BUT your keywords MUST EXIST on your site for Google to fetch your page as a result for that search term.

      Perhaps for the newbies the distinction between White hat and Black hat should be defined.

      Also if you not driving traffic to your site through other means (maybe you new in the game with no return traffic or reputation) how could visitors indicate the quality of your site to Google if you have no traffic. Your other strategies better be very solid if you arent bothered about organic search traffic

      • Brian, thanks for clarifying my points. I am suggesting people abandon traditional SEO tactics, I am only suggesting that they integrate them into a content marketing strategy that contextually target keywords.

        I also agree with your statement that “SEO should not be your main focus” You really have to have an integrated approach.

  33. Great work, Neil.

    Love the way SEO is moving, becoming more and more user centric – it’s good for everyone.

    How long do you think it’ll be before we see user signals becoming a much larger driving force?

    • Joe,
      I think SEO is witnessing a stage where there is more parity and the playing field is becoming level — which is great!

      Can you clarify what you mean by user signals?

  34. I am grateful for your tips, as I have been wasting my time on a couple of them … I plan to make this my career and don’t want to waste any time.

    Thank you so much.

  35. Thanks Neil for this informative post. I especially liked what you shared about obsolete tactic #5: more pages means more traffic, and tactic #6 about having lots of text to rank well. That used to form of my thinking until I read your post. Great job Neil.

  36. Great points, especially with a more holistic long tail approach – i think a happy medium is needed and client education is key to content creation, therefore an SEO’s perspective will undoubtedly always help the process along…(fully optimized, great content, that is).

    • Dom, great points. I think a SEO strategy that focuses on long tail keywords is essential. It’s important to impress this on client’s as you mentioned.

  37. Mark F. Simchock :

    Hey Neil

    Thanks again. There are certainly a handful of people I will be sending this link to.

    I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again:

    “At the end of the day The Google just wants to be human.”

    That is, with each update in the algorithm it is moving closer and closer to mirroring real human decision making. For example, the shift away from simple quantity (of inbound links, for example) to an evaluation of quality. This is what humans do. This is what the The Google wants to do – but automated and at scale.

    The only thing I kind of take issue with are some of the “case studies” / generalizations. For example, Upworthy and tattoos. Yes, that might be true but as we all agree The Google uses A LOT more than just a single signal at a given moment.

    In other words, what works for Upworthy and – this is key – its combo of signals might not be as true for another site with a different combination of signals. Is less more? Maybe. Maybe not. For Upworthy and tattoos it is – for now.

    Mind you, I get your point. On the other hand, I’m so sure we should making major assumption on just a couple examples – especially when many of us aren’t necessarily minding the Upworthys of the world. Of course, the exception being: Do those cases / exceptions make sense in the context of The Google wanting to be human. Or might they be closer to flaws in the current algorithm that will be mitigated in a future release? Know what I mean?

    All that said. You’re The Man. Thanks again.

    • Mark, thanks for the great feedback. I completely agree. That’s why the recent algorithm updates have been focused on contextual signals. The human component is what makes Google a powerful tool. People want to pin-point their interest when they use search, which makes sense. As hard as Google tries, however, it will never be completely perfect — which goes without saying. That is where marketers step in to help out 🙂

  38. Hi Neil,
    Honestly speaking seo is always a big confusion for me.This is a never stable target so I always prefer to concentrate on the content rather than seo.when it about traffic building I do use my social network profile too instead of search engines like google.

    • Mich, you definitely are on the right track. At the end of the day great content will provide the best results. Keep up the great work!

  39. Good points Neil 😀 Very Informative.

    Thanks for sharing!

  40. I got fruitful tips about today’s SEO after panda and penguin updates. Thanks Neil.

  41. Thanks Neil, Yet another a Master Piece…You are a Gem

  42. Locum Tenen Jobs :

    Awesome Article. It’s really a helpful for any newbie.

    Thanks for share Neil.

  43. Hello Neil,

    I am agree with your 7 Points. It is true man.


  44. Priscilla (Book Blogger) :

    Boy, am I glad I’m not doing these tactics. I gotta admit, it’s pretty hard to keep up.

  45. You’re right Neil, I agree to all of the 7 points. And you’re damn right about social media signals. They really can improve rankings by a lot.

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

  46. Hi Neil,
    Most of the techniques are turning to be obsolete with Content turning to be king and yes i do follow most of things you mentioned. Writing good content which users are interested in ensures that you have a following like you do.
    I am bit curious about the Upworthy tactics. Can you do a case study on same. It would be really interesting.

    • RJ, thanks for the feedback. I have been getting a lot of feedback about Upworthy. I’ll definitely see if I can put something together 🙂

  47. These are some great eye opening points. It’s great to see some updated information about SEO tactics. Thank you for sharing!

  48. Good points explained indeed. Focus on visitors not on search engine.

  49. Neil, you literally nailed the obsolete SEO practices.

    I hate backlink building. If building backlinks were the main job of a webmaster, then he could surely not concentrate on content creation. I am happy to see that the Nerdcards is outranking American Express.
    Few of the backlinks from related sites is best than a plethora of backlinks from irrelevant sites.
    I think the upcoming Penguin 3.0 update,will stress more of backlinks relevency.

    And I felt FTW the moment I came across that Tattoos stuff. I immediately checked on Google. But the Upworthy is no more ranking for the keyword.

    Coming to word count. Readers tend to stay longer on posts with high word count, thus increasing page visit duration. So it gives an impression that the ranking is more for posts that are lengthy.
    Very high quality content with less word count also helps in retaining visitors for long time and thus increasing. Therefore the only reason for higher word count performing well, is increase in average page visit duration.

    Akshay Hallur.

  50. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for giving one more good read. I totally agree with tactic #4 and i really had good traffic with long tail keywords.

  51. Interesting stuff, as always, but I’m getting the impression most of the stuff espoused by Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin would come under the heading of ‘obsolete’ according to your post.
    Even some of the pointers on your own QuickSprout SEO analyser suggests the QUANTITY of backlinks is important, rather than the QUALITY.
    Any thoughts?

  52. Hi Neil,

    Had to stop reading after the NerdWallet example. That was an extremely overly simplified explanation of why they could be outranking the other sites and I didn’t see ANY evidence that their links were more relevant.

    What about the fact that NerdWallet’s page is ridiculously well optimized for the search term in question while Chase’s page doesn’t have a single mention of the keyword phrase?

  53. Great share again Neil. I agree with what you say and also would add that if you deliver great information that takes care of a readers needs and offers kick ass value and resources, especially with videos, pictures and infographics, people will eat it up and share it. Throw in a contest while you’re at it, ha.

  54. Hello Neil Sir,

    I often love to do seo experiments with my blog as we all know in the matter of seo what is wrong today maybe they became right on next algorithm update.So I believe it’s worth spending time on seo sometimes as well.Anyway thanks for the post.


  55. Agree! Let’s focus on making visitors happy not spiders. Top notch info, happy to be one of the subscribers. Thanks for sharing these seo tactics with us Neil.

  56. very useful and complete information, people are not aware about latest changes and keep on concentrating on keyword stuffing and link building, i have seen this in case of jobs and career related websites, that last only for few months and become dead, i think they should consider about quality.

  57. thank you for sharing!

  58. Thanks for the great info Neil. Question: What about video- well optimized video uploaded to Youtube and then embedded on a website? I’ve heard that when embedding a youtube video into a site it doesn’t have as much ranking power as straight off of YouTube. Didn’t used to be this way, and wondering if you have any inside scoop on that?

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  60. Result Driven SEO :

    Agreed with most of the points raised in this article. Thanks for great post!. We applied the social promotion for a client’s account and the keyword ranking jumped from page 4 to top of page 2 in a month time.

    However, I still think that higher keyword ranking means higher traffic with the assumption that meta description is written well and right keywords are selected.
    We ran a AdWords campaign and identified through the campaign good selection of keywords; we based on the Keyword Tool and AdWords campaign and found the keywords we really want to rank high. We also noticed the quality of traffic (right type of prospects) increase when we rank highly for those terms.

  61. The term “quality” can be different for you and me. It can have different magnitudes as per each persons expectation. I got a website, I have 100% unique content in it, and I do checks on the content to make sure similar sentences is not present anywhere else in the internet.
    I have 15 posts(800-1200 words)and nearly 30 followers so far for my website and most of them are just my friends (so dont really counts).
    I got 0 backlinks, and I don’t focus on keywords at all. I don’t give great care to optimize my site (may be only once in a while).

    I’m I doing anything wrong? Don’t you think having good content is just not enough, coz I do. I can see people saying all around in these comments like ” if you got great content, you get more visitors, and thus great google rankings”. I feel this to be just BS.

    There should be a lot more to it that you all commenters are missing, may be Neil can explain it.

  62. (Love the post Chuck, Neil’s spot on.)

    #8. Fresh content = Better rankings

    Fresh content doesn’t have a 1 to 1 correlation with better rankings. Fresh content only matters for CERTAIN verticals on CERTAIN keywords (semantically of course).

    If you don’t sell something, provide news or current event updates or social exchanges, in most cases fresh content doesn’t matter for your website and can even hurt your ranking if you confuse the search engines with what a page is about — they quit trusting that page in SERP.

    Current, correct data is fresh data in most cases. For most businesses, what you do, where you’re located & what hours you’re open don’t change. Don’t “refresh” that content for the sake of refreshing the content. It’s fresh already.

    If you sell something or fall into the category that fresh content matters in, you still have to do everything else right for it to matter. Google SERP placement is a puzzle. Put the most pieces together in the correct position and you’re more likely to win. In addition to crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s, make sure your content IS fresh. It isn’t a silver bullet.

    Current pricing, current specs… The most accurate, recent content is a better result.

    If this isn’t you… don’t bother rewriting good content needlessly.

  63. The only reason upworthy are ranked high is they have a huge following from facebook.

    Roughly around 40% of their taffic comes from facebook vs the 8% they recieve from Google.

    Because that page has probably been shared a million times by many jobless £20 tattoo lovers Google would protray it as a trusted page.

    Oh and not to mention the 7,153,541 likes that page has.. links vs content not thin content vs thick content in that metric

    And rather than looking at the quality of the links people need to adapt to the fact they need to be linking from websites they will recieve clicks from, without the clicks what is the link worth? its like been on the 1st page of Google for something that is never searched.

    Forget the metric’s of quality of over quantity you need links that will attract customers otherwise they are pointless too.

    And this can relate to blog posting its not dead, its just not been done right by 99% of these SEO Guru’s who think they know Google algro

    we all sign up to webmaster tools, they know our traffic sources better than we do.

  64. So if I get this right, this weeks advice is to do nothing… That’s the kind of advice most people want to hear. 🙂

    No, on a serious note, great content as always. Social media is definitely a pain point for me.

  65. What can you say about manual link building?

  66. Whoa! Truly, quality beats quantity eh? Google surely has a thing for “”innovativity”” which could give us(SEO’s) a headache. Thanks for the information it could and will really really help us.

    – Jay

  67. Tiffany D. Bullins :

    hii NEIL PATEL…

    Fantastic write-up. Offer fascinating information and they’re going to adhere to, discuss and also alter.
    Thank you regarding expressing…

  68. I am so excited to tell you how much I LOVE your Content Strategy Planning Guide.

    I can’t believe how much I’ve learned so far and I’m only on Chapter two.

    I have to tell you that exercise where you have me identify with my unique buy was awesome I can’t believe how much I understand about my targeted audience.

    I hope you don’t mind if I make references to you and quote you.

    You defined everything so well I embraced it!

  69. Some great advice and guidance Neil thanks!

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  71. What do you think about

    “SEO Backlinks pyramid:
    I will blast aneminent seo backlink pyramid (EBP) with 5000 Profiles. consisting of 300 Site about site/domain PR 4+ among which there’re varied from 10 to 20 edu / gov (edu.xx gov.xx) profiles randomly in tier 1 and then 4700 profiles built to 300 high PR sites above-mentioned as tier 2, 300+4700=5000 .(its 2 layers backlinks, We will send 300 to your url then we will send 4700 to the 300 links that link to your url , 4700=>300=> url”

    I see this kind of service on Fiverr for example and the vendor has many customers. It’s working, is good for SEO?

  72. This is a great post.
    thank you for sharing!
    really learned a lot.
    Now i see SEO in a new way.

  73. True I totally go with you…By the way great research Neil 🙂

  74. Great post. Two days ago I talked about SEO with someone who actually doesn’t know anything about it (she admitted it!), but she asked me how to get the top ranking position with an html code modification. “I don’t think you will reach that position with a simple code modification… you have to do this, this, this… and wait”. She answered me: “Maybe later… now I want to modify the code”.
    I’m translating your article in italian… hope that someone will understand me… you… us! 😀

  75. dellon stefanus :

    “90% of my traffic on KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout comes from long tail phrases” – how do you know? Unless you have the magic key to unlock “not provided”, it’s a big guesstimate at best.

  76. I don’t really agree with point number one, because many of the sites that rank well with few links use shady techniques ( cloacking for example ), that google’s engineers have no ideas about, they went after link building, when black hat techniques are way more advanced than that…. You just can not trust ahrefs or majestic data alone, for competitive queries nobody does white hat seo anymore, ( except big brands that don’t need to do anything to show up of course )

  77. It`s seem that your post will lead into success if I follow them. So please allow me to try your tips. Especially the tips number 7 because I can not write so many phrase or text in all my posts. Thank you dear sir.

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  79. Neil,

    The one thing that sucks when I read your blog posts….is that I can’t keep up with all the bookmarks I have done on every single post I’ve read of yours lol. Excellent post man!

  80. Neil,

    The one thing that sucks when I read your blog posts….is that I can’t keep up with all the bookmarks I have done on every single post I’ve read of yours lol. Excellent post man!

  81. Christopher Mercando :

    Thanks for the guide… its nice and easy! 😉

  82. Glamorous Bite :

    Great tips Neil, we are happy to know that we can take the focus of these tactics and focus on relevancy!

  83. Neil,

    Anything you would change/update in this post?



  84. warda farooq :

    such a wonder full article.you article information is so useful. you have done a good job. thanks for sharing this

  85. Sayoni Halder :

    I totally agree with you.Neil. This article can help to others to understand what is modern SEO.

  86. Neil, Thanks again for such an awesome post. Was curious why do you use video transcripts in your posts as opposed to what you mentioned in obsolete tactic #6 that you don’t need to add a lot of text to rank well.

  87. Hi Neil

    Do you offer consulting services? I filled out the form on your site already.

  88. What kind of link are safe in 2015?, are they must come from high PR domain, Thanks for the great post.

    • As always make sure your links are contextual — that’s where you’ll get the most value. Make them flow with your content.

  89. hi neil,

    Does unique ip address or hosting affects seo ranking.

  90. I’ve a question on Obsolete tactic #1. That is, Based on this, A highly relevant back-links without PR, DA, PA how much perfect or useful? May I take them, Please.

    Thanks in advance.

    • If a page doesn’t have any value, then that link is garbage/useless. Like the saying goes, quality is better than quantity, unless you have a quantity of high quality back links 😉

  91. Symond Wilson :

    SEO changing over the time.. We really need to be updated with latest trends.. Thanks Neil! You keep us updated with latest trends

  92. Hello,
    This article is very informative and very useful to me for rank well in google thanks for sharing

  93. Food for thought. Great article Neil. Definitely time and again some or many of these tactics are common place. Hard to change paradigm of some agencies.

  94. Hi Neil Patel i have a problem my website is showing on second page for some keywords and next day it’s going back 8th to 10th page why this will happen yesterday one of my keyword was shown on 1st for 1 hour and again it has gone to 4th page how to solve this problem please help me out.

    • How often are you writing and sharing new content?

      Which pages are falling off the home page or a specific page on your site?

  95. I love the efforts you have put in this, appreciate
    it for all the great posts.

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  99. Hi Neil,

    I have read a few thousand patents from Google to try to learn about the algorithms they use, and no where do they admit to using latent semantic indexing. Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI was invented by Bell Labs and patented by them in 1990. That would have kept Google from using LSI if they could have. The Bell labs patent provides and example of indexing a set of 9 books (It is limited to small document set that don’t change much). Under LSI if you add new content, you need to reindex all of the content in that index, which would be really difficult to do with the Web, since it changes so quickly. Please look into this and consider changing your statement about Google using LSI. I am afraid you are misleading some folks. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Bill, for your feedback. LSI keywords and related keywords are all about context. Google’s RankBrain suggests that Google looks for LSI keywords in content (words and phrases related to the primary keyword) to better understand what the content is about. For instance, if someone searches for “cars,” are they looking for vehicles to buy, the movie “Cars,” or maybe car models? Through LSI keywords, writers can give context to their work and help Google better understand user intent.

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