8 Old School SEO Practices That Are No Longer Effective

8 Old School SEO Practices That Are No Longer Effective

MOZ – Excerpted article was written By: Rand Fishkin

Are you guilty of living in the past? Using methods that were once tried-and-true can be alluring, but it can also prove dangerous to your search strategy. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand spells out eight old school SEO practices that you should ditch in favor of more effective and modern alternatives.

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about some old school SEO practices that just don’t work anymore and things with which we should replace them.

Let’s start with the first one — keywords before clicks.

Look, I get the appeal here. The idea is that we’ve done a bunch of keyword research, now we’re doing keyword targeting, and we can see that it might be important to target multiple keywords on the same page. So FYI, “pipe smoking,” “tobacco smoking,” “very dangerous for your health,” not recommended by me or by Moz, but I thought it was a funny throwback keyword and so there you go. I do enjoy little implements even if I never use them.

So pipes, tobacco pipes, pipe smoking, wooden pipes, this is not going to draw anyone’s click. You might think, “But it’s good SEO, Rand. It’s good to have all my keywords in my title element. I know that’s an important part of SEO.” Not anymore. It really is not anymore an important . . . well, let’s put it this way. It’s an important part of SEO, which is subsumed by wanting to draw the clicks. The user is searching, they’re looking at the page, and what are they going to think when they see pipes tobacco, pipes, pipe smoking, wooden pipes? They have associations with that — spammy, sketchy, I don’t want to click it — and we know, as SEOs, that Google is using click signals to help documents rank over time and to help websites rank over time.

So if they’re judging this, you’re going to fall in the rankings, versus a title like “Art of Piping: Studying Wooden Pipes for Every Price Range.” Now, you’re not just playing off the, “Yes, I am including some keywords in there. I have ‘wooden’ and ‘pipes.’ I have ‘art of piping,’ which is maybe my brand name.” But I’m worried more about drawing the click, which is why I’m making this part of my message of “for every price range.” I’m using the word “stunning” to draw people in. I’m saying, “Our collection is not the largest but the hand-selected best. You’ll find unique pipes available nowhere else and always free, fast shipping.”

I’m essentially trying to create a message, like I would for an AdWords ad, that is less focused on just having the raw keywords in there and more focused on drawing the click. This is a far more effective approach that we’ve seen over the last few years. It’s probably been a good six or seven years that this has been vastly superior to this other approach.

Second one, heavy use of anchor text on internal links.

This used to be a practice that could have positive impacts on rankings. But what we’ve seen lately, especially the last few years, is that Google has discounted this and has actually even punished it where they feel like it’s inappropriate or spammy, manipulative, overdone. We talked about this a little in our internal and external linking Whiteboard Friday a couple of weeks back.

In this case, my suggestion would be if the internal link is in the navigation, if it’s in the footer, if it’s in a sidebar, if it’s inside content, and it is relevant and well-written and it flows well, has high usability, you’re pretty safe. However, if it has low usability, if it looks sketchy or funny, if you’re making the font small so as to hide it because it’s really for search engines and not for searchers and users, now you’re in a sketchy place. You might count on being discounted, penalized, or hurt at some point by Google.

Number three, pages for every keyword variant.

This is an SEO tactic that many folks are still pursuing today and that had been effective for a very long time. So the idea was basically if I have any variation of a keyword, I want a single page to target that because keyword targeting is such a precise art and technical science that I want to have the maximum capacity to target each keyword individually, even if it’s only slightly different from another one. This still worked even up to four or five years ago, and in some cases, people were sacrificing usability because they saw it still worked.

Nowadays, Google has gotten so smart with upgrades like Hummingbird, obviously with RankBrain last year, that they’ve taken to a much more intent- and topic-matching model. So we don’t want to do something like have four different pages, like unique hand-carved pipes, hand-carved pipes, hand-carved tobacco pipes, and hand-carved tobacco smoking pipes. By the way, these are all real searches that you’ll find in Google Suggest or AdWords. But rather than taking all of these and having a separate page for each, I want one page targeting all of them. I might try and fit these keywords intelligently into the content, the headline, maybe the title, the meta description, those kinds of things. I’m sure I can find a good combination of these. But the intent for each of these searchers is the same, so I only want one page targeting them.

Number four — directories, paid links, etc.

Every single one of these link building, link acquisition techniques that I’m about to mention has either been directly penalized by Google or penalized as part of an update, or we’ve seen sites get hit hard for doing it. This is dangerous stuff, and you want to stay away from all of these at this point.

Directories, well, generic directories and SEO directories for sure. Article links, especially article blasts where you can push an article in and there’s no editorial review. Guest content, depending on the editorial practices, the board might be a little different. Press releases, Google you saw penalized some press release websites. Well, it didn’t penalize the press release website. Google said, “You know what? Your links don’t count anymore, or we’re going to discount them. We’re not going to treat them the same.”

Comment links, for obvious reasons, reciprocal link pages, those got penalized many years ago. Article spinners. Private link networks. You see private and network, or you see network, you should just generally run away. Private blog networks. Paid link networks. Fiverr or forum link buys.

You see advertised on all sorts of SEO forums especially the more aggressive, sketchy ones that a lot of folks are like, “Hey, for $99, we have this amazing package, and I’ll show you all the people whose rankings it’s increased, and they come from PageRank six,” never mind that Page Rank is totally defunct. Or worse, they use Moz. They’ll say like, “Domain authority 60-plus websites.” You know what, Moz is not perfect. Domain authority is not a perfect representation of the value you’re going to get from these things. Anyone who’s selling you links on a forum, you should be super skeptical. That’s somewhat like someone going up to your house and being like, “Hey, I got this Ferrari in the yard here. You want to buy this?” That’s my Jersey coming out.

Social link buys, anything like this, just say no people.

Number five, multiple microsites, separate domains, or separate domains with the same audience or topic target.

So this again used to be a very common SEO practice, where folks would say, “Hey, I’m going to split these up because I can get very micro targeted with my individual websites.” They were often keyword-rich domain names like woodenpipes.com, and I’ve got handmadepipes.net, and I’ve got pipesofmexico.co versus I just have artofpiping.com, not that “piping” is necessarily the right word. Then it includes all of the content from all of these. The benefit here is that this is going to gain domain authority much faster and much better, and in a far greater fashion than any of these will.

Let’s say that it was possible that there is no bias against the exact match domain names folks. We’re happy to link to them, and you had just as much success branding each of these and earning links to each of these, and doing content marketing on each of these as you did on this one. But you split up your efforts a third, a third, a third. Guess what would happen? These would rank about a third as well as all the content would on here, which means the content on handmadepipes.net is not benefitting from the links and content on woodenpipes.com, and that sucks. You want to combine your efforts into one domain if you possibly can. This is one of the reasons we also recommend against subdomains and microsites, because putting all of your efforts into one place has the best shot at earning you the most rankings for all of the content you create.

Number six, exact and partial keyword match domain names in general.

It’s the case like if I’m a consumer and I’m looking at domain names like woodenpipes.com, handmadepipes.net, uniquepipes.shop, hand-carved-pipes.co, the problem is that over time, over the last 15, 20 years of the Web, those types of domain names that don’t sound like real brands, that are not in our memories and don’t have positive associations with them, they’re going to draw clicks away from you and towards your competitors who sound more credible, more competent, and more branded. For that reason alone, you should avoid them.

It’s also that case that we’ve seen that these types of domains do much more poorly with link earning, with content marketing, with being able to have guest content accepted. People don’t trust it. The same is true for public relations and getting press mentions. The press doesn’t trust sites like these.

For those reasons, it’s just a barrier. Even if you thought, “Hey, there’s still keyword benefits to these,” which there is a little bit because the anchor text that comes with them, that points to the site always includes the words and phrases you’re going after. So there’s a little bit of benefit, but it’s far overwhelmed by the really frustrating speed bumps and roadblocks that you face when you have a domain like this.

Number seven — Using CPC or Adwords’ “Competition” to determine the difficulty of ranking in organic or non-paid results

A lot of folks, when they’re doing keyword research, for some reason still have this idea that using cost per click or AdWords as competition scores can help determine the difficulty of ranking in organic, non-paid results. This is totally wrong.

So see right here, I’ve got “hand-carved pipes” and “unique wooden pipes,” and they have an AdWords CPC respectively of $3.80 and $5.50, and they have AdWords competition of medium and medium. That is in no way correlated necessarily with how difficult they’ll be to rank for in the organic results. I could find, for example, that “unique wooden pipes” is actually easier or harder than “hand-carved pipes” to rank for in the organic SEO results. This really depends on: Who’s in the competition set? What types of links do they have and social mentions do they have? How robust is their content? How much are they exciting visitors and drawing them in and serving them well? That sort of stuff is really hard to calculate here.

I like the keyword difficulty score that Moz uses. Some other tools have their own versions. Doctor Pete, I think, did a wonderful job of putting together a keyword difficulty score that’s relatively comprehensive and well-thought through, uses a lot of the metrics about the domain and the page authority scores, and it compensates for a lot of other things, to look at a set of search results and say, “This is probably about how hard it’s going to be,” and whether it’s harder or easier than some other keyword.

Number eight — Unfocused, non-strategic “linkbait”

Last one, some folks are still engaging in this, I think because content strategy, content marketing, and content as a whole has become a very hot topic and a point of investment. Many SEOs still invest in what I call “nonstrategic and unfocused link bait.” The idea being if I can draw links to my website, it doesn’t really matter if the content doesn’t make people very happy or if it doesn’t match and gel well with what’s on my site. So you see a lot of these types of practices on sites that have nothing to do with it. Like, “Here are seven actors who one time wore too little clothing.” That’s an extreme example, but you get the idea if you ever look at the bottom ads for a lot of content stuff. It feels like pretty much all of them say that.

Versus on topic link bait or what I’d call high quality content that is likely to draw in links and attention, and create a positive branding association like, “Here’s the popularity of pipes, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and cigars in the U.S. from 1950 to today.” We’ve got the data over time and we’ve mapped that out. This is likely to earn a lot of links, press attention. People would check it out. They’d go, “Oh, when was it that electronic cigarettes started getting popular? Have pipes really fallen off? It feels like no one uses them anymore. I don’t see them in public. When was that? Why was that? Can I go over time and see that dataset?” It’s fundamentally interesting, and data journalism is, obviously, very hot right now.

Source: MOZ

CDN’s are in the dark about managing the care & finances of their aging parents

CDN’s are in the dark about managing the care & finances of their aging parents

While the vast majority of Canadian adults with a parent over the age of 65 feel it’s important to discuss elder caregiving and financial support, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) admit they have not yet had that conversation mainly because it makes them uncomfortable, a new CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) poll finds.

“Families shouldn’t wait for a health emergency or unexpected event to force a hurried conversation about caregiving and financial planning,” says David Nicholson, Vice-President, CIBC Imperial Service. “These can be tough conversations, but creating a family playbook with clear plans and expectations can help reduce the emotional and financial strain to ensure everyone feels well-prepared for the years ahead.”

Key poll findings:

  • One in four (26 per cent) of all Canadians are concerned about helping to manage the finances of their aging parents. That jumps to a third (31 per cent) for those aged 35-54.
  • As many as 42 per cent of all Canadians are worried about losing their independence due to illness or aging and 31 per cent worry about becoming a financial burden to their loved ones.
  • Among the 45 per cent of Canadians with a parent aged 65+:
    • 90 per cent say it’s important that parents discuss how they’d like their finances managed in case they’re not able to do so themselves
    • Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) have not had a conversation with their parents about how to manage their financial affairs in case they aren’t able to do so on their own
    • Two-in-five (40 per cent) say they’re uncomfortable discussing it, or worry about appearing disrespectful or only ‘after their money’
    • 73 per cent believe it’s really up to their parents to start the conversation
    • One-third (33 per cent) say their parents rely on them regularly for some kind of assistance.

With nearly one in six Canadians at least 65 years old in 2015 and the growth rate accelerating as the baby boomer generation ages, elder care and financial planning is becoming a growing issue for Canadian families, says Mr. Nicholson.

Aging boomers expect their adult kids to step in

The poll results also reveal that 46 per cent of boomers aged 55+ expect their spouse and 31 per cent look to their children to manage their financial affairs if they became incapacitated due to advanced age, illness or disability. That said, the vast majority (89 per cent) with children, who expect their spouse to take care of them, also want their adult kids to be prepared to step in to provide care and financial support if needed.

Yet, only two in five (43 per cent) of boomers have actually discussed it, and even fewer (22 per cent) have taken any steps to formalize their wishes because they haven’t made time for it, don’t think they need to, or feel they don’t have enough wealth to warrant planning ahead.

“An outside expert or professional can help facilitate a family dialogue around what can otherwise be a tough conversation and help you create a financial plan that meets your needs and ensure your have the proper documents in place,” says Mr. Nicholson. “You don’t want anyone to scramble trying to find important documents, pay bills, or be unsure of what their mom or dad would’ve wanted.”

“Now is the time to have that heart-to-heart and put the right documents in place. A little bit of planning early on goes a long way and will help you provide your parents with the care and support they provided you,” he says.

A will won’t cover everything

The poll also finds that some Canadians with parents aged 65+ know they already have the power to provide financial or personal support, and others don’t. Less than half (43 per cent) of adult kids say their parents have either a Power of Attorney (POA) or Mandate in Quebec, or a personal care POA in place, compared to 68 per cent who say their parents have a will.

While a will is often the initial step and an effective tool in your estate plan, the planning shouldn’t end there, adds Mr. Nicholson.

With Canadians on average living longer, the likelihood of needing some help with banking, health or personal care is something many families will need to consider, especially for those at risk of debilitating cognitive diseases which could leave them vulnerable to fraud or abuse.

“It’s important to appoint someone you trust to tend to your health, personal care and finances,” says Mr. Nicholson. “Providing them with instructions and a financial plan for your senior years, will help you age with confidence knowing your needs will be met.”

Five steps to creating your family playbook:

  1. Have a conversation – include all or key family members to minimize any confusion or family conflict later
  2. Know where to find key documents and financial assets – Build a file with contact names and key documents, such as medical, legal and financial documents, including bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, investments, insurance, recent income tax returns, business interests, assets, liabilities, financial and personal care POAs. List your monthly bills/expenses.
  3. Write down plans and expectations for caregiving
  4. Create a financial plan that considers caregiving arrangements and costs
  5. Seek financial and legal counsel about building your estate plan

Click here for more information about creating your family playbook.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at www.cibc.com/ca/media-centre/



Lawyers Financial is new brand of CBIA, providing insurance and investment products for busy lawyers

Lawyers Financial is the simplified and updated go-to-market brand for high quality insurance and investment products, created specifically for the needs of lawyers, their families, and law firm staff across Canada. Lawyers Financial is a trade mark of The Canadian Bar Insurance Association (CBIA).

“Outside of major national law firms, there are thousands of lawyers across the country who don’t have access to group insurance coverage for life insurance, critical illness, and disability insurance, as well as financial products such as group RRSPs and pension plans,” says Henry Kugler President and CEO of CBIA.

For mid-sized and small law firms as well as solo practitioners, the demands of running a practice are huge. It is often a case of the ‘cobbler’s children’ that lawyers don’t look after their own needs first with adequate insurance coverage should the unthinkable happen.

“Our target markets are sole practitioners and lawyers from small- to mid-size firms because they are the least likely to have access to sufficient employee group benefit plans. And, all of our individual insurance products are completely portable, they stay with you wherever you go,” says Kugler.

CBIA is a not-for-profit organization; any surpluses are funnelled back into programs. Programs are open to all lawyers across Canada, including their families and law firm staff – there is no membership requirement.

“However, membership in the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has its benefits,” says Mr. Kugler.

For RRSPs, account balances between $50,000 and $499,999 enjoy an investment management fee (IMF) reduction of 0.15%. Account balances of $500,000 or greater enjoy an IMF reduction of 0.25%. On top of these already significant savings, CBA members receive an additional discount of 0.40% off IMF fees.

Underlying insurers for Lawyers Financial products include Manulife, Desjardins, and The Personal. There is a network of about 30 Authorized Independent Advisors who serve lawyer clients for insurance and investment products.

“The time was right for a makeover. But our core values and benefits to our lawyer clients remain constant,” says Mr. Kugler.

For decades, CBIA and CBA Financial Services (CBAF) operated as separate entities with separate websites and go-to-market strategies. [CBIA’s roots go back to the 1950s; CBAF was formed in 2002.] In December 2016, the two entities were amalgamated into CBIA that continues to operate as a not-for-profit.

Currently, CBIA has more than 30,000 lawyer clients across Canada. There are about 85,000 practicing lawyers across the country.

Lawyers Financial offers 10 insurance products and four investment products specifically for lawyers; additional insurance products are planned for 2017.

SOURCE Canadian Bar Insurance Association (CBIA)

What to know when shopping for financial advice in a sea of titles and credentials

By David Hodges


TORONTO _ Choosing a financial adviser is a big decision, yet few investors realize that in most provinces there’s a lack of specific, harmonized regulation of professionals who provide that type of service.

An expert panel set up by the Ontario government has made several recommendations to deal with major concerns, including the myriad of confusing titles and credentials and the lack of an explicit obligation to act in a client’s best interest.

However, that hasn’t stopped investors from increasingly relying on financial advisory services.

A 2016 study by the Canadian Securities Administrators found that 56 per cent of respondents were working with an adviser, up from 43 per cent a decade earlier.

For those considering working with an adviser, experts recommend taking these steps before making a choice:

Check registration

Marian Passmore, director of policy for investor advocacy group FAIR Canada, says securities regulators will only register firms and individuals if they are properly qualified. So check an adviser’s registrations.

“A lot of people don’t do that,” Passmore says. “If they had done so, they may have not lost their money.”

A good place to start, says Passmore, is the CSA’s AreTheyRegistered.ca site, which allows you to search for any licensed investment adviser. Keep in mind, however, that insurance and financial planners won’t be on that site unless they’re also licensed investment advisers.

The CSA website also allows you to see if your licensed adviser has ever been disciplined for misconduct.


Ask about products and services offered

Not all advisers offer the same products and services and not all have the same expertise, so it’s important for consumers to understand the differences.

For instance, most investment advisers are licensed by either the Mutual Fund Dealers Association or the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. But while most MFDA-licensed advisers deal only in mutual funds, IIROC advisers can also offer other products including stocks and exchange-traded funds.

In the case of financial planning services whether that’s to reduce taxes, save for a big purchase or to retire in comfort there are dozens of designations and investors will likely have a hard time distinguishing between them.

“IIROC has over 30 credentials that people have but that doesn’t really tell you how difficult or onerous those credentials are,” says Passmore.

The certified planner certification is a reputable designation for those who want a combination of sound investment advice and financial planning know-how, says Ken Kivenko, an investor advocate who is also chairman of the Small Investor Protection Association’s advisory committee.

“They can go beyond the straight investing phase,” Kivenko says. “They do holistic plans.”


Assess the cost of advice

Because advisers can be paid by salary, commission, a flat fee or a combination of methods, it’s important to make sure you understand how your adviser is paid, how much their services will cost, and how this may affect the advice you’re given.

For instance, many advisers are paid a commission for every product they sell, which may influence an adviser to recommend one investment over another, according to the CSA.

But keeping fees and other investment-related costs low has been proven to be one of the best and easiest ways to help your savings grow.

A fund with low fees, such as indexed mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, has an automatic head start over higher-cost rivals for returns and compounded over years the advantage can grow even more powerful.

B.C. emergency programs receive $80 million for protection efforts

VICTORIA _ The British Columbia government will spend $80 million this year in emergency programs, up from the $65 million it spent last year.

Naomi Yamamoto, minister of state for emergency preparedness, says $32 million will go to the Union of B.C. Municipalities to establish a fund that supports disaster response and recovery programs, including mapping evacuation routes.

She says the government will provide $10 million to numerous public safety groups, including Vancouver’s heavy urban search and rescue team, to support skills training and purchase equipment.

Yamamoto says the $80 million comes from the government’s budget surplus and money in its emergency preparedness fund.

She says spending in community emergency programs will help the province cope with floods, fires and earthquakes.

Bill Adams of the Insurance Bureau of Canada says there are estimates that a major earthquake in southern B.C. could cause damage valued at $75 billion.

Alberta insurance broker accused of defrauding $540K from employer

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A former insurance broker in southern Alberta has been charged with defrauding his employer of more than $540,000 over a period of almost nine years.

Police in Lethbridge say an investigation began last October after an employee at Schwartz Reliance noted discrepancies in accounts managed by one of the partners.

Investigators allege that between January 2008 and last September someone created fake accounts and altered existing accounts to generate higher commissions for personal gain.

Police say no clients suffered any losses.

Stephan James Evanson, who is 36 and from Stirling, Alta., is charged with fraud over $5,000 and money laundering.

He has been released from custody and is to appear in court on March 27.

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