7 Dead SEO Strategies in 2019

7 Dead SEO Strategies in 2019 & What to Focus on Instead?

Stop On-Page and Off-Page Over-Optimization in 2018-2019, these strategies will kill your SEO Efforts

It’s the year 2018 and we’ve seen lots of changes in the world of SEO over the last 10-15 years, all for the betterment of the user experience.

The beauty of SEO today is in order to do well, all you need to focus on is fulfilling the searcher’s intent, which is how it should have been all along.

Provide the searcher with valuable unique content and your page will rank well. Unfortunately, there are still some people using tactics that have long been expired.

7 examples of SEO tactics that need to die in 2018-2019

  1. Unsavory UX
  2. Keyword Stuffing & Over-Optimization
  3. Spam Comments
  4. Duplicate Content
  5. Unnatural Links
  6. Anchor text overuse
  7. Intrusive Interstitial Ads

#1 – Unsavory UX

Ultimately, a webmaster’s goal should be to provide a good user experience by fulfilling a searchers intent. Google gauges a page’s ability to do that largely on usage data.

The basically means, how a person interacts with your site and how long they stay on it (this is also known as your bounce rate and dwell time). Google will know if you’re not providing good content based on how quickly someone leaves your site after clicking on it.

If you have a high bounce rate, your SEO will take a hit, your page will likely start to drop, and your business will suffer financially.

Google and other major search engines also base the quality of the user experience you provide on how long it takes for pages of your site to load and if your design is outdated. This could be attributed to old and outdated plugins that are providing forward facing errors. Some of these errors might include forms that don’t work and image sliders that aren’t sliding.

These are ranking factors that, if not executed properly, will make it look like the lights are off, and will result in page 3 rankings in the SERP’s.

What do I mean by the lights off? The website owner isn’t home. No one is around making sure the features and functionalities are working.

#2 – Keyword Stuffing & Over-Optimization

This is a tactic that is absolutely archaic and should have died a long time ago. Yes, Googles algorithm was much simpler back in the day and easier to manipulate.

Thankfully, that isn’t the case any longer. No longer are the days where marketers would try to get a 5% keyword density stuffing a keyword into a page as much as possible despite running the risk of making their content almost unintelligible.

Now it’s all about elaborating on keyword topics. Utilizing long-tailed keywords and pulling out all the semantically related information on them (LSI Keywords – Latent Semantic Indexing). Also creating sub-topics and sub-headers will vastly improve the performance of your content.

Building a web of content will be dramatically better for not only your page but the overall user experience and will border-line ensure you never hit with a penalty for an algorithm update.

Over-optimization in 2018-2019?

Over-optimization is a serious problem in 2018 and most SEOs don’t even realize it yet.

We had an experience with an algorithm update back in March and early April of 2018 where a personal affiliate marketing website dropped about 50% in organic traffic. Guess what we had to do… clean up over-usage of keywords, key phrases, and heavy anchors.

We combed through about 200 pages of articles thinning out keywords and keyword heavy anchor links (internal and external) in order to spike rankings back up.

We literally had to read through every single page, fix it, fetch as Google, and wait. It was pretty painful. The whole time, profits were down. Yes, down a whopping 50% in net profit.

Going from $3000 a month to $1500 a month is not fun.

This was an absolute nightmare, a valuable lesson, and experience that only a true SEO will experience, understand and have the know-how to fix in under 4 days.

Over-optimization is a problem and it is important to ask your SEO guy the important questions.

If you have a scare like this, a good way to see what is going on with the Search Engine is to watch the SEMrush sensor (https://www.semrush.com/sensor). This is a great tool for checking current algorithm fluctuations.

#3 – Spam Comments

This is an ugly practice and debatably the most annoying of them all for anyone that comes across them. Seeing spam comments can sometimes send even the most centered and calm people into a lip quivering rage.

Luckily, commenting platforms like WordPress now automatically no follow these links as a means of policing this annoying tactic.

This has made it so that now, search engines will give no credit and pass no authority to links they detect as a spam comment.

So, don waste your time because this will now yield zero results!

What to focus on instead? 

Write genuine comments that are engaging not only the blog owner but the community as well. Ask quality comments instead of making dull statements.

And most importantly, if you have nothing nice to comment, comment nothing at all.

#4 – Duplicate Content

One of the primary ranking factors Google looks at is if your content is original.

Bots scan your page in a matter of microseconds and will immediately detect plagiarism if there is any.

So copying and pasting content from other sites is a bad idea because you will certainly be penalized for it. It’s even a bad idea if you have the same content showing up on multiple pages of your site.

What happens is Google will split the credit distributing it amongst your different pages resulting in you losing out in the long run. Or, Google will put all the weight (credit) on one page and no weight on the other page.

You want content on every page on your site to be UNIQUE and ORIGINAL.

What to focus on instead? 

Write original content. If you have to hire someone, just do it. This content will exist in the search engines forever and once the article takes off, you are sure to see an ROI on content marketing.

#5 – Unnatural Links

Again, this all ties back into the kind of user experience is provided.

Links that aren’t enhancing the user’s experiences by fulfilling their search intent will not award you any points and will likely cause our SEO to take a hit.

These are most often seen in widget or footer links. These may be considered doorway pages that are built out to rank for multiple keywords within local markets.


  • Plumber Oakland
  • Plumber San Francisco
  • Plumber San Jose
  • Plumber Marin

You get the point.

Stop building doorway pages on your site. You will eventually get penalized for doing this.

What to focus on instead? 

Start getting creative in how you can target local markets. Do case studies on homes that you fix.

One idea would be to set up a camera and show yourself fixing a sink at a home in Oakland, CA. Then write a blog post called “Case Study: Fixing residential home sink in Oakland, CA”.

SEO is not only about hiring an agency. Business owners need to start doing some of the work if you want to win in 2019.

#6 – Anchor text overuse

Google sees when you use keyword-heavy anchor text for internal or outbound links, you’re not fooling anyone!

The problem with doing this is you put yourself at risk of being in a spammy territory. Google knows that you know that anchor text is used by search engines to understand what the linked page is about and what the topics the page is being called an authority on.

So, it is highly advisable not to use an exact match for keywords in your anchor text as it will not yield good results.

What to focus on instead? 

Instead of building links to internal pages with heavy keywords, link using large phrases that will help the user.

These are just example links and will not go anywhere.

These longer anchor links appear more natural to the user and the search engines and will often lead to better ranking.

#7 – Intrusive Interstitial Ads

Ask yourself a question from the perspective of the user.

If you are reading through content, how annoyed do you get by a pop-up ad that covers all the information on the page you are trying to read? Annoying right. This impedes visitors and will land you in hot water.

Google has already issued warnings for annoying ads stating there will be repercussions for a website. Granted, there are some, good aspects regarding SEO tactics vs. conversions.

Pop up adds do tend to drive lots of conversions but if they take over the whole screen and offer no value to the searcher, you can definitely get hit with some penalties. It all ties back into the experience you are providing the user.

Rule of thumb is to disable pop-ups on tablet and mobile devices. Then, limit the number of pop-ups on desktop.

Incessant pop-up ads are annoying.

What to focus on instead? 

Offer specials on the footer of your website or at the bottom of each blog post.

Where to focus your SEO efforts?

Here’s the great news! The tactics you acquire, and master today may not be effective in 2020. Why is that good?

The goal in SEO is to keep learning. Learning about new strategies and testing will keep you ahead of the curve.

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on new emerging updates. SEO is much less complex these days and times than it once was. No keyword stuffing, no keywords in anchor text, no pop-up ads to generate leads in overused quantities.

Keep it natural, keep it enjoyable for the reader, and your SEO will be successful.

What should you focus on going into 2019?


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