Linkbuilding, keyword stuffing, press releases, business directories, rich snippets spam, being focused on ranking for keywords, buying likes on Facebook, link farms - which strategies you should implement and which ones you should avoid when performing SEO for a franchise or a small business? We have asked proven professionals from all over the SEO world to shed light on the topic.
Clothing Shop Online
Eduard de Boer
Marcus Miller - Bowler Hat
My name is Marcus Miller and I am the owner and head of SEO & PPC at the UK Search Agency Bowler Hat. I am also a regular columnist for Search Engine Land.
The concept of strategies that do or do not work any longer is somewhat problematic in of itself. The goal has always been to get in front of your customers - you do this by being the biggest and best at what you do. So in many ways SEO is no different now to when I first started tinkering in 1999.
However, there are a boat load of strategies that worked when they never should have done. From excessive link building to dynamically generated duplicate content that changes out a single word (or location) to generate blanket coverage. Certainly link building generated lots of exposure but Google largely bought the hammer down on that approach with Penguin and the subsequent updates. We still see some folks ranking on the back of private blog networks and similar approaches however it is just a matter of time before Google deals with these last remnants of a time gone by. I talk a lot more about this in my recent post on the Bowler Hat Blog - Ass Backwards Link Building.
One particular tactic that we still see used and is almost a follow on from the machine gun approach used with links is the creation of hundreds of citations to help with a local SEO campaign. This has never worked great but there is this thinking with links or citations (and even content) that more must be better. This is not the case and with local SEO creating too many citations creates a situation where maintaining a consistent name, address and phone number (NAP) becomes way more difficult and actually damages local visibility.
The biggest change that needs to be made by SEO agencies and clients is to move away from excesses. You don't need more links you need the right links. You don't need more citations you just need the right citations. A check list approach may look good on your agencies pricing page but this will often lead to the path of SEO pain and suffering.
Lachlan Wells - Optimising
Doorway Pages If your business serves a large area, you might be tempted to create a different landing page for every city, town or suburb you cover. These local landing pages are used to try and rank for a huge range of location-based terms. However if there's no other reason for each page to exist, for example, you have no physical presence, or each location receives exactly the same service, then you could be slapped with a manual penalty.
Fake or Incentivised Reviews I've seen plenty of Google reviews for small businesses which are clearly written by the owner/family/friends, or paid for. They're not just easy for your customers to spot, they can also be picked up by your competitors who might have no hesitation in reporting them. It's also not a good idea to incentivise your customers to leave reviews. That means you can't offer them a discount or free product in exchange for a good review, it has to be genuine if you want to avoid the risk of a penalty or even a steep fine depending on where you live.
Rich Snippets Spam Also known as schema, rich snippets are additional pieces of information that appear in some search results such as review stars or event dates. Some webmasters try to game review snippets by creating pages with fake reviews of their products or adding schema to a page of testimonials to misrepresent them all as 5-star reviews. Google's getting a lot better at detecting this spam and users are much more savvy when it comes to reporting them too!
Sam Williamson - Aims Media Glasgow
SEO is a fast moving industry that requires constant reading and learning to ensure that you're not left behind. If you're not willing to spend your time hanging around the relevant blogs and keeping up to date with the industry, then you'll quickly find yourself out of the loop. Although the basic principles of SEO have always remained more or less the same, the way that we do certain things have evolved enormously, and every year our industry becomes more complex.
An outdated tactic that we still see from time to time is exact match anchor text interlinking. Interlinking can help to spread link juice around your site, but shouldn't be seen as an opportunity to use exact match anchor text. Partial match or generic anchor text should be used, as this will keep your site from being over optimised but still passes valuable link juice.
Tory Kalousek - Blue Compass
My name is Tory Kalousek, and I am a Digital Marketing Associate at Blue Compass. Today’s SEO is very complicated and requires digital marketers to continually evolve their tactics and best practices. Some SEO’s still use some dated strategies, like creating a landing page for every variation of a keyword because they’re so focused on precise keyword targeting.
Although this tactic worked for quite some time i.e. years, it created a poor user experience for website visitors. At present, Google has gotten so smart that their algorithms focus more on a user’s intent and topic-matching. Because of algorithms like RankBrain, creating a separate page for keywords that are only slightly different from one another is counterintuitive. Instead of having multiple pages focused on one keyword, it’s more beneficial to fit the keywords into the content in an intelligent manner. This not only helps your page rank higher in search results but creates a better user-experience.
Stuart Cole - Juicy SEO Limited
Whether it is in your blog posts, Title tags or within your pages content, adding the keyword you are targeting many times over is not good for your current day SEO. Creating Title tags like: 'Nike Shoes | Nike Trainer | Nike Sneakers' will not only look spammy to people looking for Nike shoes but also to Google.
A few years ago generating links to your websites was quite simple, it didn't matter where they came from and the more you had the better it was. In today's world of SEO it is completely different, generating links from within a link network which creates huge amounts of links is a sure fire way to get your website penalised.
Exact Match Anchor Text
Search engines like Google and Bing still use today the words within Anchor text to help them rank pages. This is common knowledge so anchor texts were over used to try and help target keywords. Today creating many links with the same exact anchor text will be seen by search engines and they will penalise the website for breaking their guidelines.
Uwe Dreissigacker - InvoiceBerry
I'm the founder and CEO of InvoiceBerry, an online invoicing software for small businesses and freelancers. One of our marketing strategies is the use of SEO.
Anything that can be replicated easily without a lot of effort or that is based on bots or that is easily scalable is not working any longer. Trying to get away with bad quality content on other blog comments or on your own blog won't help you at all and most likely will harm your ranking on Google & co. SEO based on quantity rather than quality is completely dead and by hard work and putting in enough sweat equity a SEO strategy can work these days.
Kristoffer Howes - Weal Media
Mass producing content to build links and stay "relevant" is no longer a recommended strategy. Nowadays it is paramount that businesses and brands focus on creating and sharing content that is better than good; it must be "epic" and "elite." To be successful in your SEO efforts, replace quantity with quality.
April Jimenez - Huemor
I've been an SEO for the better part of the last 10 years and while there are always rumors about what's dead:
- SEO is dead! (Not true)
- Guest blogging is dead! (Not true)
- Link building is dead! (Not true)
But what I will say for sure is that Google is smarter than ever before. Between Rankbrain's AI technology and the general computer savviness of the new generation old, black hat spammy techniques are definitely dead (and they can bury you if you continue to use them).
- Spammy blog commenting
- Link farms (hard to believe but companies still use this technique)
- Link exchanges
- Keyword stuffing
There are other even more spammy things SEOs used to do (all of us, I'm not guilt-free) but I'm pretty sure nobody uses super black hat tactics like invisible keywords , cloaking or using doorway pages.
Elizabeth Venafro - True Exec
Keywords are very important, but keyword stuffing can now harm your SEO campaign. You are actually more likely to improve your standing with search engines by writing relevant and engaging content, rather than a keyword-heavy article.
Tanner Rankin - Source Approach Inc.
We help small business, entrepreneurs, inventors, & nice people grow their business. The red flags I look for when going through a client’s link profile or websites are things like link networks, where the client essentially links to themselves from a multitude of micro sites that they own or had put up just to link to them as well as links from article submission sites. I also look for keyword stuffing in their content and meta descriptions. Content should add value to the reader and look like it’s written by a human and the meta description should essentially be an elevator pitch for why the person should click through and read your content or visit your website.
Kalpesh Guard - Actonia Inc./seoClarity
Being in the SEO industry for so many years, as per my experience link build has evolved. Following are few of the link building techniques that are outdated.
Article submission - SEO used to submit articles to multiple article directories to get some quick links back to your site. Instead of this in my experience, this has been changed to building a relationship with bloggers and work on a guest post that can add value to their sites and community.
Press release without news - Press releases without any news are just one way to get links alone and is probably just as close to a waste of time as article submission. Google has updated his guideline, that all links from press releases should be no follow.
Reciprocal links and link exchanges - Link exchanges are just another way to try to get cheap links, In 2004, What SEO used to do is swapping links with another site. It's like a you link me and I will link you back.
Bill Henderson - UnProtectedSec
Keyword stuffing is a tactic that used to work back in the good ole days before Google updates were common. Nowadays keyword stuffing is a sure sign of spam and will make your site's rank drop fast.
It is now considered good practice to only mention the target keyword a maximum of 3 times in your content to avoid looking like a keyword stuffing attempt.
Bill Henderson is a SEO and information security enthusiast based in Pittsburgh,PA with a bachelor's degree in Information Security from Robert Morris University.
Elena Lockett - FM Outsource
An outdated SEO tactic I think you should include targeting a page for a single keyword. You used to be able to choose a high traffic, low competition keyword and use that throughout your content but this often ended in low-quality sites ranking while high-quality less so because they didn’t properly use keywords on their site.
Since the release of Google’s Panda, this type of content gets a much lower ranking. Webmasters now need to ensure content does a great job of covering every angle, with a range of strong keywords to represent every page (using articles and blogs).
Ike Paz - I.M.G.
Most I.M.ers are still practicing outdated Off page SEO.
By that I mean backlinks. There was a time when backlinks (especially do-follow ones) from one authoritative site to yours had value, that's because it was like a vote. (One site vouched for another).
Not to say that backlinks have no value anymore but the landscape has changed with social media making it easier for google to see what sites get shared more (votes: like, pins, tweets etc...).
Also google puts more weight on bounce rate (how long a visitor stays on your site).
Another thing about backlinks, you'd be hard pressed to find do-follow links anymore (this is where one site passes 'authority' to another site.) these days, most backlinks are no-follow (no authority passed).
That best thing one can do is create useful content that keeps visitors on your page, videos help a lot in this regard.
Mike Crimmins - FSC Interactive
Here’s my top two dated SEO strategies that don’t work anymore.
Keyword stuffing – It used to be that if you used the keyword in the headline of page, the first paragraph and certain percentages throughout the rest of the content, you would rank well for that keyword. Now, that strategy at best doesn’t work. At worse, your site could be penalized for low quality content.
Interlinking your own sites – In a lot of ways this doesn’t work anymore. A webmaster used to be able to create a small empire of websites that each only had a few pages and a some slightly unique content, then link them all together for good results. Google and the other search engines frown on this, to say the least.
Keyword mis-optimization in one form or another is the most commonly used outdated SEO technique I’ve seen. One of the greatest SEO misunderstandings for a lot of website owners and businesses surrounds keywords, however it's not just keyword stuffing. That's just one symptom of the misunderstanding. It's more about not understanding how Google and the other search engines decide which web pages to show at the top of the search results. Just using a keyword over and over in the body of an article won't automatically make an article rank higher.
Christian Sculthorp - AgencyAnalytics
One strategy that used to kill it over five years ago, but is useless now is: making individual landing pages for each keyword. Now that Google is smarter with semantic search this type of practice won't succeed and may actually hurt you.
Ex. if you are an auto shop in Toronto.The way many websites were set up a few years ago:
- /tire-changing-etobicoke (suburb of Toronto)
Now Google can understand that context of your site. It may make sense to make an individual /tire-changing page but even that may not be necessary. Include these LSI keywords throughout the content instead and set up proper Google My Business accounts.
Luke Rees - AccuraCast
Paying for links is a tactic that seems to be still very much alive, despite Google’s assurance that this often lands websites in trouble. Google’s quality guidelines state that any links that are paid for should include a “nofollow” attribute, but many unethical link builders continue to offer payment to webmasters in return for do follow links. By allowing advertisers to pay for search-friendly links, all publishers risk incurring an algorithmic or manual penalty, which could mean a disastrous loss of site traffic.
Chris Denny - Lead Optimize Outsourced Marketing
Here are some outdated SEO tactics I still hear about people doing every now and then...
- Listing a bunch of keywords at the bottom of the page
- Buying links from India or whatever
- Buying "likes" on Facebook
- Regularly submitting to search engines (typically, this is someone who signed up for a service like 15 years ago that never updated its methods)
- Reciprocal links and/or "Industry Links" pages
- Being focused on rank of [the most competitive] keywords -- longtail are where the best results come from
Patrick Mchugh - PatrickMchughDigital
Relevant Domain Names e.g. plumbers-in-new-york.com, locksmiths-brooklyln.com
We have found this no longer works, you will see examples of these names ranking high but it is because some of these domains is using multiple SEO tactics, we still use the technique because a relevant domain name is smart, people in brooklyn will pay attention to brooklyn-locksmiths.com however google knows a national locksmith company may have bought up thousands of similar geographic domain names. So their value has greatly diminished.
Backlinks: Millions of dollars have been spent building backlinks and now millions are being paid to review these and in some cases remove them. Spammy backlinks have always been frowned upon, but it came to google’s attention that people would build bad links and point them at their competition, so the competition would incur penalties. So the theory now is… if you have thousands of backlinks, google will ignore most of them and count only those it sees as relevant and natural. The days of link building are numbered.
Duplicate Content: Google doesn’t like duplicate content on your site, so don’t copy and paste things into your blog or include it in several sections of your site. Don’t copy articles from other sites either. It may not always incur a penalty but Google most likely won’t include that page or section of your website in the google directory.
Submitting Regular Sitemaps: Overtime if you increase the size or change the dynamic of your website it is smart to update your sitemap.xml file, however do not keep submitting it to google. It may incur a penalty. Google knows where your sitemap.xml file is hosted, it will check it regularly.
Optimised Anchor links: It was smart in the past to make sure any links pointing at your website had keyword rich anchor text. However Matt Cutts has thrown a little cold water on this, hundreds of links pointing at your website with the same anchor text is now considered likely to be black hat. SEO companies had widely used this trick. The link text used to link back to your site should be varied and natural and appear on good relevant content websites and pages.
Gabriel Kuperman - Huge Impact
Guest commenting: Leaving short messages within the comments section of a blog post with a hyperlink and spammy anchor text is a strategy that doesn’t work and will only get you penalized.
Buying backlinks: Even though Google has repeatedly said that you should not buy backlinks, there’s still a big market online selling garbage backlinks that are generally purchased on low quality sites and placed within the footer, menu or somewhere on the page that’s out of context.
Article Submissions: Submitting an article to article submission sites to get regurgitated by 100s of other low quality article engines is another bad idea that should be avoided as well. Focus on adding quality content to your own site, and doing the occasional guest blog post on another authoritative site instead.
Alex Kemmler - eBoundHost
One SEO tactic that doesn't work anymore is old fashioned "quantity above all" link-building. While inbound links are a key signal for Google, it's no longer as simple as having a large number of links pointing at a page. Link farms and PBNs (private blog networks) are no longer effective.
Some people also seem to believe that META tags are still important for SEO. While they have some effect, they're really only important for clickthroughs on the search results page.
Michelle Rojas - Commercial Industrial Supply
Here is my list of what you should not do when it comes to SEO:
Do not use paid general directories. Do not pay for general directory links. Years ago, the easiest way to rank highly on search engines was to acquire as many backlinks as possible for your site. People would easily submit listings to general directories and pay a small fee to do so. These directories typically accepted almost any site that paid for a listing. Today, the quality of your backlinks carries a lot more importance. General directory links can appear as spammy to search engines when they crawl your backlink portfolio.
Do not use H1 for your logo. A lot of older websites and some content management systems will default to using an h1 tag around your website’s logo. Make sure you check your code to make sure this is not the case. There should only be one h1 tag on every page and this should be used for text. Your h1 tag is an important ranking factor that helps search engines know what each page on your website is about.
Han Chang - InvestmentZen
Old SEO strategies that no longer work include:
- Valuing a site's authority through PageRank; Google has long since disabled the metric so you'll have to rely on third party estimates like Moz's Domain Authority / Page Authority, Majestic's TrustFlow, or Ahref's Domain Rating.
- Spun content; Google hasn't gotten better at detecting auto-generated content, but instead they're measuring how people react to the content - if they click through to your site in a search result but quickly hit the Back button, Google knows that your content is probably not good and will reduce your rankings as a result
- Keyword density, keyword stuffing, exact match keywords, and latent semantic indexing and all that jazz don't really matter now either, again because Google is paying more attention to how users react to your content by tracking bounce rate, time on site, and whether they return to the search results after landing on your page.
- Link exchanges, where site owners would post a link on their site in exchange for a link on someone else's; Google can detect this and basically cancels out the link equity.
- Link wheels, which strung together blog comments, social bookmarks, and forum links to point to Web 2.0 properties like Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress.com that would then point back to the main website - Google effectively ignores these links now or at least places very minimal weight on them, rendering them cost ineffective.
Terese Kerrigan - FreightCenter
Keywords in H1 tags are becoming less popular. They could even be cause for Google penalty. Paying for links from any site. Stop ignoring your technology issues. (Page load speeds, bounce rates, pages viewed, hard 404 crawl errors, mobile-friendliness). 301 redirects pass "link juice"; however, they can wreak havoc on your sitemap and backlink strategy. Focus more on content that engages the eye and gain SEO through title tags and alt tags rather than a huge block of keyword-optimized copy. Pay more attention to your social metrics, and don't forget the power of G+ at this time.
Brianna Bell - Relios, Inc.
I'm Brianna Bell, an SEO Analyst for Relios, Inc. and it's jewelry brands Carolyn Pollack Jewelry and American West Jewelry.
One of the most outdated SEO tactics I consistently come across is purchasing links. It's astounding how many people, especially those involved with small businesses, still look to buy links rather than earning them organically. No matter how high they quality they say the links are or how much increase in rankings they say you'll get, it's never worth it. Those rankings are typically only seen for a short period of time before you start falling for your ranked keywords and that's if Google doesn't catch you first. This is because ranking isn't solely about a high link count. If you haven't earned the spot organically, you probably don't deserve it and you'll see that with an increase in Bounce Rates and decreased rankings from fewer people click-through to your site. And that's just the start of your problems if Google catches you buying links and penalizes you. You can't buy your way out of a penalty.
AJ Saleem - Suprex Private Tutoring
Over Optimizing- In the past, the more key words you used, the more likely the search engine would pick up on your site. However, now Google’s web crawler has gotten smarter and if you over optimize your website, you will be penalized in the search engine. Rather than being in the top 10 results, you might be in the top 150.
Creating backlinks on unrelated topics- In the past, the more backlinks you had the more likely your website would be ranked higher. However, now this is no longer the case. Backlinks that are unrelated to your business industry now have a small impact on search engine ranking.
Matthew Mercuri - Dupray
My name is Matthew Mercuri and I am the Digital Marketing Manager at Dupray. We sell steam cleaners and steam irons in six countries, on six different domains. Among other things that I do, I am an SEO and SEM specialist with 10 years experience, with specific focus on PR and Social Media. We spend 2 million dollars plus a year on Adwords and I have a small team of SEO/SEM-specific employees under my purview. Under my leadership at Dupray, I’ve increased web traffic by 500%.
Dated SEO tactics that won’t work anymore:
- Link dropping in comment sections. This hasn’t worked for a good half dozen years. The Google magic sauce knows what you’re trying to do and you will either get banned by an editorial administrator or google will manually penalize you.
- Linkwheeling with microsites. Attempting to increase the authority of your site by creating offsite SEO through microblogging services is something that will put you under review. Google has improved leaps and bounds in terms of identification and banning.
- Automatically-generated content. If Google senses any lack of originality, you will suffer.
- Guest blogging. Matt Cutts said himself that guest blogging was dead. Too spammy. The best SEO tactics are those that are 100% natural and editorial. Guest blogging counteracts the natural component because of its forced emphasis on link building and thin content.
Stuart Edwards - Ideas Made Digital
No. Just no.
- Do you generally thinking you can cheat your way to the top? That's a paddlin'.
- Do you buy links from private blog networks, using over optimised anchor text? That's a paddlin'.
- Does your site have unnaturally large ratio of unbranded and commercial anchors? That's a paddlin'.
While some think link buying still works, is it really worth the risk to your business, or your clients’ business? The boffins at Google are pretty clever dudes, and their machine learning prowess is going to become a much bigger deal in the next few years, bolstering the already eagle-eyed web spam team.
Focus on high quality creative content, become god-like at keyword research, and perform epic targeted outreach to influencers.
SEO is the long-game. Don't cheat!
Sam Hoober - Bigfoot Gun Belts
Here are two that don't work and one that still has some life:
Blogging about what's trendingThis practice is just bad for a number of reasons. Using this tactic for social media engagement works like a charm, but don't do it with blog or other website content. You'll get a spike in traffic for a few days, but that's it - which leads to having to come up with the next trendy topic and so on. Eventually you need a constant churn of content. Quality will suffer, domain authority will suffer and it just doesn't lead anywhere good. It's kind of like how a heroin addict chases the next "fix." Stick to evergreen and you'll do alright.
Keyword stuffingJust don't. You'll get penalized.
Meta tags/KeywordsIf you just focus on Google, don't bother. However, if you're trying to optimize for other search engines, go ahead. Yahoo and Bing still use them. Google, being something around 60 percent of all web search traffic, is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but Yahoo and Bing together represent close to the remaining 40 percent. There's still some value there.
Jack Carey - toinfinity
Using bots to spam blog comments and forums that link to your site will give very little value to your site. These types of sites will only produce no follow links anyway, which do not pass any ‘link juice’ from the source site and as such will not serve much purpose to your website. That being said no follow links are not considered negative by Google, in fact if you do any affiliate work (for example sending free product for review) the links provided by their sites should always be no follow this is because with an affiliate you have effectively ‘bought’ a link, which Google does not allow to be a benefit to your site.
Avoid posting images without proper names and relevant geotagging. Google has crawled images for years but many still miss the opportunity to optimise their site further by following the recommended guidelines. This is essential if you’re a local business, all images of your store and products should have the relevant location embedded this is easily done with programs like Picasa which allow you to add a map marker for where the image is taken. In addition when naming your images follow this simple tip, imagine you're describing the picture to a blind person using clear descriptive language. If you have a Google My Business Page add a suite of high quality images with these elements and you can expect a relatively quick win in terms of SEO.
Create a diverse link profile using your activity as an influencer in your field. If you are in a Niche field then find your customer base (this could be in a forum or blog) and establish yourself on these platforms. You can use this audience to produce link generating content, a great example would be posting requests for a response to a controversial question posted on your website, you can then link to these peoples websites and they will likely share the content (prompt them if they don’t) because it shows them as an authority in your field. This can generate multiple links with very little work.
If you’re an ecommerce site ensure your product descriptions are unique for every product, if you have multiple colour variations listed on your site for example you need to avoid using the same phrases over and over as search engines consider this duplicate content. In addition no matter how boring or one dimensional your product may be you can still develop your descriptions further, what can the customer use this for? What’s it made of? Why is it made of that material? Are there alternative products? Why pick this one over a similar product? These are just a few easy questions you can answer to ensure your descriptions are as optimised as possible, helping your site health and giving the user a better experience.
Avoid repeating your target keywords repeatedly across your website, this includes on page content and off page content like Titles and Meta Description. A simple way to diversify your phrasing is to Google your phrase and scroll to the bottom of the results, here you will find related searches which are terms Google has deemed related to your search based on previous searches by users. Implement these words and phrases across your site and you’ll begin to rank for more terms and have a much healthier website overall.
James Rice - WikiJob
I'm Head of Digital Marketing at WikiJob and was formerly Head of SEO at Moonfruit. I've previously been quoted as an SEO expert in semrush.com, Search Engine Watch and Huffington Post, among others. My LinkedIn profile is here.
Here's what I would never do these days:
Stuff keywords, or target a single keyword rather than a topic. Metrics such as keyword density, or publishing meta keywords, are meaningless in 2016. Plus any attempt to over-use keywords is likely to create content that doesn't read naturally and looks over-engineered. Equally, you shouldn't identify a single keyword in Keyword Planner and focus only on that. Look at a base of keywords instead (a topic) and think who the user is, and what they will want to discover.
Justin McIntyre - Perfect Search Media
Digital marketing--and SEO in particular--has certainly evolved over the years. While many tactics remain tried and true, there are a few that may get you in the dog house with Google:
Keyword Stuffing: Previously, repeating the same target keyword over and over again in an attempt to game search engines into attributing more relevancy to your page is a duplicitous tactic of the past. Not only are search engines better at reading between the lines, users may also catch on to these antics.
Pay per Link: In the early days of SEO, it was believed that the more links, the better. And all you had to do was toss some coins to a company that would do all the link building for you. Welp, Google proved that indeed, too much of a bad thing is...bad. Search engines are able to pick up on paid link schemes and you'll get caught eventually which is going to do much more harm in the long run.
Duplicate Content: An adage in the digital marketing world that has proven its worth in visits is that content is king. As such, boilerplate content is all too common, but the secret is that this is doing nothing for your rankings. In fact, following recent augments to the Google algorithm, duplicate content could actually hurt your rankings.
Keep these three aspects in mind and you'll be well on your way to being a paragon of digital marketing.
Ria Fiscina - Active Web Group
Today’s SEO may be more complex, but creating a user experience that is not contrived for SEO purposes alone remains true. Site content will always be manipulated to conform to current SEO practices on some level, but it must always be authentic. Give users a nugget, some takeaway of value to them. With this in mind, here are several formerly effective SEO practices that no longer fulfill SEO campaign objectives due to Search Engine algorithm changes.
Backlinking: Getting large volume of links all at once was a key part of any sound SEO strategy, but this practice often created links that were not relevant to site visitors or pointed to questionable websites. While natural backlinks created via genuine sharing is still relevant as they are built up over time and link to quality websites of value to site users. Backlinks cannot be purchased or farmed any longer without risk of being delisted.
Duplicate Content: Spinning and online intellectual property theft are commonplace. A few years’ ago, Google would blacklist sites that were found to have duplicate content. Today these pages are simply not indexed. That is the equivalent of being invisible to the potential site visitors the online business owner is seeking to attract. Since the content’s originator may be impacted by having its content used without permission elsewhere, the best way to counter is to keep optimizing and freshening site content.
Single Keyword Stuffing: Only a few years ago it was an acceptable practice to work one keyword into two or three paragraphs of content as many as ten times. Not only was this excessive, but site users found it irritating and often left websites that stuffed their content for competitors who did not overuse keywords in their content.
Article Submissions: Used by some agencies as link bait, many articles were just a couple lines of copy, much like a meta description, and did not always attract quality linkage. Google’s Panda put a stop to this practice in favor of establishing relationship building as the slow, but steady way to create relevant links.
Focus on Rankings: For some agencies this meant working on rankings that may not have been relevant to the client’s goals and objectives. Other agencies focused on rankings as the sole way to draw quality site traffic to the exclusion of other valid means to attract site visitors seeking the target site’s goods and services.
John Turner - QuietKit
Website copy that is just an excuse for keyword stuffing, and provides no real benefits to a human.
This might have worked in the past, but especially since Panda and Googles efforts to incorporate user experience into their algorithms, this type of text won't help you.
And more likely than not, it will hurt you if any human actually reads it, as it was never intended for a real person. Spend time creating rich, helpful and readable content without worrying about keyword stuffing or density will lead to better long term success.
SEO has evolved substantially over the past few years, and as a marketing manager, it's been an exciting challenge to try to keep up. The biggest change I've seen has been the development of content strategy. 5 years ago successful content was an easily achievable algorithm using keywords in a 1% ratio. Now that Google's crawlers factor in social media, share-ability trumps keyword-stuffing. Content strategy has replaced mass content production. Traditional PR has replaced low-level link-building. To sum it up: Google has evolved from requiring quantity to requiring quality, which means it's a very exciting time to be a creative professional.
Hardeep Matharoo - The Idle Man
Mass Building Spam Links. Currently I'm doing a lot of analysis on our competitors. The main thing I have notice is the amount of spam links to websites. In order to improve your rankings on Google some websites have a lot of links that are hidden links, forums, comments and websites built just to link out. This method of link building doesn't work any more and Google will penalise you for it.
Daniela Arango - Wisertoys
Some SEO tactics that don’t work anymore are:
- Cloaking or hiding text that a normal visitor can't see in the HTML code of your website.
- Being part of a reciprocal link exchange program.
- Paying sites and pages to place your link or being part of massive directory links, link farms or link networks.
- Search engines used to have submission forms that were part of the optimization process. Site owners would tag their sites and pages with keyword information, and submit them to the engines. This process didn't scale very well because the submissions were often spam and very few sites still use it.
Something which was quite a popular technique when I was starting out in digital marketing, finding open source article directories which had very stringent acceptance rules, even I was guilty of this and the company I started my career with encouraged it. Now article submissions and this form of link building has taken on another form, tiered link building. A glance at black hat world or even fiverr and you can see an abundance of people offering this service, 10,000 tier 2 (blog comments, forum links etc) all pointing to 500 tier 1 links (articles, weeblys, zendesk articles etc) which all point to your “money site”. Not only that but the majority do this with exact and phrase match anchor text, all of this combined is a massive no from Google, especially their Penguin algorithm.
Over optimised pages
There is a fine line between optimising a webpage and over optimising one. You sell shirts, go to keyword planner and start collecting keyword information. Loads of different terms will crop up, colour variations, short sleeved, long sleeved, tailored etc. Once you have all the terms, you create a page for each one with each term being at the start of the meta title, start of the meta description, H1 tag, a keyword density of 2-4% all images alt text mention the keyword, URL is the keyword, internal linking every reference of they keyword across the website and the list goes on.
Yes a webpage should be optimised with the keyword in mind but a lot of the time when a page is created like this, the user gets neglected and ends up reading the same phrase over and over. This leads to a higher bounce rate should a user land on the page. Google can differentiate optimised and over optimised pages, too many pages which are optimised this way can also lead to duplicate content or a really poor structure.
A lot of SEOs thrived off this a few years back. Searching for followed links from articles on .gov websites or high authority sites, posting something to pass approval and having a link through to their website. Now we are advised to never comment on blog posts or post links in forums which is killing a lot of communities.
Blog post and forum posts aren’t bad for SEO unless they are abused. Infact when done naturally the referral traffic far outways any ranking increase that you might hope to gain. If you come across a relevant blog and enjoyed reading it or have some advice, comment away so long as it’s not with the intention of trying to earn a backlink.
I suppose the final SEO technique that comes to mind is rankings. People or SEOs who focus solely on rankings. It’s not only time wasted but it’s no longer that relevant. I’ve worked with clients who wanted to rank first for their main term, the fact they had a 60% organic traffic increase, a better conversion rate and a lower bounce rate after 6 months didn’t matter to them, they were still ranking towards the bottom of page 1 and wasn’t happy.
Natalie Henley - V9SEO
- Meta Keywords
- Bolding or Capitalizing random words in your text to demonstrate keyword emphasis to Google...please, just stop doing this.
- Listing out a lot of locations in the footer
- Creating doorway pages for all of your locations
- Using Keyword Density to Optimize Content
- Caring about “keyword density” at all
- Over-using internal links
- Anchor text that sounds forced/optimized
- Putting links in Footers on unrelated sites, e.g. “This is site was designed by amazing web design company blah”
- ANY LINK BUILDING…like seriously, if you pay for a link or trade favors, you need to disclose that & no-follow that link.
- Link wheels & exchanges! Boy those days were fun.
- High quantity, low quality blogs posts targeting long tail keywords
- Microsites for specific keywords - ie creating a bunch of Microsites with keywords in the core domain url with thin content to gain extra rankings.
- Cheating on your website and building a bunch of links, then just setting up a new site with the same content when the old one gets penalized. #GoogleWillFindYou
James Mawson - Handsome Genius
My name is James Mawson and I'm a web marketing consultant from Melbourne, Australia. I trade as "Handsome Genius" and my website at http://www.handsomegenius.com.au/
The 'regularly updated blog' is absolutely an outdated SEO strategy. To be clear, I'm not saying that you shouldn't have a blog, or that you shouldn't update it. But those blogging strategies based around adding a 300, 500 or 700 word post every week or every day are a bad idea. They used to be a brilliant way to magnify a website's PageRank by steadily increasing the website's size, while providing great opportunities for internal linking as well.
Since the advent of the Panda algorithm, it's now a very bad idea to load your website up with a large number of pages with little or no quality signals. Instead, update your blog with feature content of lasting value and interest - give people resources that other websites will want to link to, and that speak directly to your customer's motivation for being on your website. This will usually mean publishing updates that are rather longer than a given minimum word count. Instead of wondering about the minimum number of words you can get away with, make it as long as it needs to be to be truly excellent. This will probably mean publishing updates less often, because each update will be a lot more work.
Eduard de Boer - REPUTATIECOACHING
One of the many dated tactics I see in local SEO is that businesses try to hide their real address and locate them in the centroid of a city. This used to help with ranking higher in the local results years ago, but it's not of much influence anymore.Another one is acquiring fake reviews for your business. This might help short-term, but will turn against you long-term. I was quoted about fake reviews in the travel business in USA Today on Dec. 27th, 2015. I am Eduard de Boer, a Netherlands-based reputationcoach. I help local businesses increase their findability, visibility and reputation in order to increase turnover (and profits). My site can be found at http://www.reputatiecoaching.nl/What is also interesting is that as of about one week ago, Google changed their guidelines, stating specifically:
"Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking." (see here) Until now, it seemed that reviews didn't matter much (or: at all). And although we don't see any significant changes in the local search results, I expect this to be of influence of the local rankings.
Another "tactic" from the past regarding regular ranking, was that the ideal content length of an article / blog post was about 300 - 500 words to rank. This is history. Anyone can write 300 - 500 words! What is way more difficult is to write an article of 2,000 words or more! And that seems to be the content that is ranking way higher nowadays.
What many business owners tend to ignore is the importance of the correct opening hours in their Google business listing. Imagine losing a tooth due to a fall on the streetwalk and you look up a local (nearby) dentist who's currently open (acc. to Google local listings). You go there and the practice turns out to be closed: the owner didn't manage the opening hours properly. That is a very negative user experience!
Google is all about user experience and it seems also that maintaining the accuracy of your Google My Business listing is taken into consideration by Google. Same as continuously acquiring reviews as well as responding to the reviews by the business owners. These are all signals to Google that the business (owner) is active and cares about this customer experience. That this all becomes more important, seems logical.
Brandon Loures - Brandlift Digital Marketing
Hi, My name is Brandon Loures and I am the owner of Brandlift Digital Marketing and an expert SEO. I would like to contribute to this because it is something I am passionate about. The internet and popular SEO forums are cluttered with services that just don't work and can get sites penalized.
Low quality, manual back links. Search engines still use links as a part of the search algorithm. However links from unrelated websites, meaningless posts and article submission sites will have little to no effect on your rankings and put you on your way to a google penalty. I have seen these exact tactics advertised on some of the most heavily trafficked SEO company sites and have met many customers who have wasted their time and money on packages that offer these as a part of the value.
Spamming of blog comments and just about any content that is auto generated. Many SEO's still use auto bots to post auto blog comments with keyword rich anchor text. While normal blog comments that are structured well could help drive more traffic to your website. Spammy blog comments will have no effect and could easily red flag you. Also many SEO's still distribute content that is auto spun to lower costs which results in grammatically incorrect and spammy content that search engines can recognize. At the beginning of 2012 the penguin update targeted many prominent sites were blasted out of the top ranking spots and slapped with manual penalties. I am working with one entrepreneur who suffered a manual penalty and it has cost him upwards of 150k in revenue that he was getting before the penalty. Bottom line is that while it is alluring to purchase inexpensive services from people that promise fast high rankings, it is not a sustainable business practice and could cause you to need to start from scratch on your web presence, change your domain name and many other headaches. It could even cause someone to go out of business if they are relying on their organic foundation.
Timothy Backes - Timothy Backes Digital Marketing
Search engines are way more sophisticated now than have been in the past. That means many old SEO tactics won't work, and can in fact harm your site. One such outdated tactic is to build a new page or post for every single variation of a keyword.
For example, if you're working on a website that promotes motorcycles, in the past you might create a page for new motorcycle, new motorcycles, used motorcycle, used motorcycles, pre-owned motorcycle, and so on. This type of approach will lead to a lot of overlap and outright useless and most likely very thin content.
On top of that, search engines are getting better at understanding plurals and synonyms of certain keywords are all representing the same topic. Instead of creating a new page for each variation, keep your page topics logical (using the example above, make one page for new motorcycles and one page for used) and keep your language natural, using variations of your main keyword when it makes sense to within the same piece of content.
Jeremy Levy - Mars Med Supply
In overseeing e-commerce marketing for the past 5 years at various companies I've had a front row seat to watch the rise and fall of many tactics. If I can choose just a couple that are pretty much dead here they are:
- Press Releases for Links: When I was at CardCash.com we signed up for a 12-month unlimited press release plan with a reputable company. This was at the beginning of 2013-the reason we did it is because our CEO, who when the company was founded in 2008 ran everything at the company-still lived in his 5 year old outdated research on what works and what is a waste of time. We sent many press releases with a decent amount of links and got little SEO boost from it. We actually saw the drop in effectiveness over the course of 2013 and we just dropped it towards the end.
- Directories: It's a complete waste of time to get yourself listed in a low quality directory that no one would ever think of using. We once put ourselves on a local directory of businesses that gets updated if there is a closure due to the snow or other inclement weather. I don't even think it got indexed by Google even though it was a pretty reputable news site.
Hilary Young - Hilary Young Creative
I've been working with content and SEO for the past five years and have even helped one small business get out of a penalty with Google. I've learned a lot along the way, including:
- Spammy lead-only sites are out. Google's current algorithms support the notion that brands and businesses are there to provide their customers with some sort of actionable service, and so the user experience is now heavily taken into account when considering SEO.
- Keyword stuffing is out and Content is in! The more you can help to educate and provide additional value to customers, the better it is for your SEO and your brand awareness. People love to share interesting pieces of content with family and friends.
- Spammy guest blogs are definitely out. This is a big no-no with Google now. Instead, business leaders should strive to become thought leaders in their field and businesses should build valuable relationships with like-minded brands and blogs.
Dallas McLaughlin - The James Agency
Dallas McLaughlin, digital marketing strategist at The James Agency, a Scottsdale, AZ-based full service ad agency.
The most dangerous SEO strategy that continues to be implemented is artificially boosting search rankings through backlinks that are purchased or earned on link exchange networks. Unfortunately, for white hat SEOs this has been an easy black hat strategy to execute for many years. Most businesses or clients paying for SEO don't understand the severity of the penalty that search engines issue when a site is caught manipulating rankings. With Google's Penguin algorithm rumored to run in real time by mid-year, the likelihood that a site will be caught implementing this strategy will increase dramatically. We have been publishing weekly blogs for 2 and a half years now, and we help property management companies embrace the idea and keep up with the current trends of content marketing.
Sarah Vandenberg - Vandenberg Digital Communications
I am the founder and CEO of Vandenberg Digital Communications, a firm that builds analytics-guided digital marketing strategies and campaigns for SMBs and nonprofits.
In reference to your query on dated SEO tactics, I can provide several tips - here are the top four I've found to be the most common outdated practices:
Don’t submit your link to every directory you can find. It’s good to have your site listed on certain directories - particularly ones for local businesses - but many are just repositories and paid directories that are filled with garbage URLs and don’t do anything to help boost your search engine rankings.
Don’t accept guest posts from spammy or irrelevant sources. In addition to an unending stream of low-quality articles, two of the most common “guest post” pitches received on websites I manage are for auto insurance and online casinos. If you’re hurting for content, you can do better than to accept an article from a website that’s unrelated to your niche, or that isn't up to your editorial standards.
Don't endorse every site you link to. Apply a “nofollow” attribute to links you don’t trust fully, or to ad links. This informs search engines which links you endorse and which ones you don’t. This is also helpful if you have a large number of outgoing links on your website - the more you have without a “nofollow” attribute, the more you’ll look like a link farm.
Don’t duplicate content on your website or on multiple websites that you own. Search engines want to know which pages to prioritize on your site, and having several URLs with the same content on them (such as “Services” vs. “Our Services”) is confusing to search engines and it’s a waste of your time. If you’re afraid people won’t find that page, make your user experience better - don’t offer up 15 different gateways.
Nathan Cavicchi - Samanage
John Bykowski - Fourandhalf
Tagging your posts
Search engines no longer look at tags because spam companies have abused this in order to rank for keywords that are not relevant for a given topic. The only reason that it exists now is that it is helpful in organizing content on a site. The same goes for Categories as well. It's simply a matter sorting the content for your site.
Nitu Sidhu - Fourandhalf
This is something that is fairly obvious.. We have a client who stuff's the keyword on their website with "[city they service] property management." It had the same keyword 25+ times on their homepage. We advised this client that not only its unnecessary but also dangerous to have it on their website but their local SEO guy insisted upon it. Safe to say they had their site drop out of the first page when it comes to that keyword and they have been struggling since.
Alex Osenenko - Fourandhalf
Buying Backlinks in Bulk
Buying cheap links that link to your website is very dangerous and if Google hasn't caught you yet, they will catch you and punish you harshly. We had another client in the US who hacked their way to the first page for that search, until Google discovered their methods and penalized them down to page 18. It has taken them 16 months and progress has been made but they haven't been able to regain their position on the first 3 pages.
Rahul Alim - Custom Creatives
Buying links & low quality links are a killer to a great SEO strategy. Google has release multiple algorithm updates to plug the hole to prevent companies from using link building to gain rankings. This is a black hat technique that can kill your entire budget and domain from being indexed.
Buying followers on social media to boost organic traffic and social proof. Many companies fell prey to the social media frenzy and the desire to show more “fans” on their social websites. This not only is getting removed by social sites, it sends a bad signal with disengaged visitors as your circle of influence. To top it off if you start running ad campaigns on these social sites, your budget could get eaten away by the followers that are not real potential customers.
Amy Medeiros - Broadband Search
My name is Amy Medeiros and I am the Marketing Manager at BroadbandSearch.net. I am responsible for the digital marketing and SEO for our organization and wanted to submit my thoughts on outdated SEO.Keyword stuffing in content and adding meta keywords in your HTML. There is still a large emphasis on keyword research because of it's importance in paid media campaigns and although it helps with organic it isn't necessary to add keywords to every page of your website and heavily optimize it. It's also not wise to add these keywords within your meta tags because it isn't really a ranking factor. Google is smart enough to find what your site is about and rank for the content that is available.
Beth Bridges - J - DIGITAL IDENTITY
Don't comment on blogs with your URL thinking to get an easy, free, inbound link. This is an old, outdated strategy that STILL has some grey-area SEO "experts" touting, even down to publishing lists of "follow" blog comments. The vast majority are "no follow" now for exactly that reason - people post irrelevant links wherever they could find an opportunity.BUT, if you've got a link to one of your own blog posts, your website, or other resource that is very relevant, answers a question, or adds to the conversation, by all means, post it. You'll get traffic - RELEVANT traffic - and that helps your SEO while adding value to the blog post you're commenting on.
Jessica Elle - Localturf
I've been working directly in an SEO capacity since 2010 and am co-founder of Localturf, a website builder for local businesses. LT's platform is specifically built for local SEO - we take this stuff seriously. Here are my tips/warnings:
- Submitting to link directories. This is an extremely old tactic that used to work when the quantity of links trumped the quality of links. Nowadays, it's the fast track to a Google penalty due to the low quality (and likely spammy) links. Many directories actually charge for removing links, so don't even try it!
- Keyword stuffing in any capacity. This looks bad for both the user and search engine bots. If you're a local business, such as a general contractor, do not put "Sam's Contracting Window Repair Roofing Construction HVAC Carpentry". You won't rank and you'll look silly. Stick to what you actually do and make sure to indicate both in your meta and site copy about where you're located!
- Virtual or P.O. box addresses. This is actually a big one that many local businesses miss, especially when they're service-based. If you do not have a physical address and rely on virtual address services or P.O. boxes, you're going to have a very tough time ranking locally. If ranking for local queries like "city + business type" is important to you, know that websites with Google-verified physical addresses will always outrank virtual or P.O. box-based addresses. And with listing services like Google Places, using a virtual/P.O. box address is actually a violation!
Doug Fowler - Waypost Marketing
Content is the KingThere is one simple logic that drives all SEO trends today: good content is the key. Google's updates are always aimed at delivering relevant content to the searchers. In fact, if digital marketers around the world understood that content is everything, their job would have been much easier. The key of being good friends with Google and boosting your SEO is publishing relevant, valuable and unique content regularly. Understanding the direction the SEO industry is headed to will help you avoid changing your SEO strategy every 6 months.
Keeping It Relevant to the NicheStaying within the limits of your niche applies not only to your own blog, but also any other guest post you attempt to publish. Guest posts are still effective, but only if the guest posting website has good rankings, reputation and is relevant to your industry. Going the easy way and contributing to websites in other niches will only confuse Google in what exactly your website is about.
The Deadliest Sin of SEO is Duplicate ContentWe are not talking entire websites or pages; it should go without saying that there is nothing more meaningless than promoting a duplicate website. We are talking paragraphs, sentences, product descriptions, blog articles, images … any piece of content that could earn you good rankings can also negatively impact your organic rankings if it is duplicated.
Any Backlink is Not a Good BacklinkMany websites might fall into the trap of backlink frenzy, thinking that the more, the merrier. That is not the case anymore. Quality matters over quantity. Gaining quality and natural backlinks is hard work and it does pay off. Because of this, it is no longer the job of the SEO expert to cover this area. Winning valuable backlinks pointing back at your website is the job of the marketer and the SEO expert, i.e. teamwork. There are so many easy ways to increase the number of backlinks, link farms, paid links, spammy links … all these methods can and will earn your website a penalty next time Google rolls out an update, so keep the quality in mind.
Collin Slattery - Taikun Inc.
- No keyword stuffing. Google is smart, and it is true that having the exact keyword phrase in areas like your title is helpful, you don't need to keep jamming it in everywhere on the page. Natural language use is better. Better user experience is good.
- No single keyword targeted content. You don't need to create new pages for variations on the same keyword phrase or similar phrases. Keywords are still important but targeting a specific topic and a number of phrases on one page is the way to go.
- No bad links. That means link farms, article directories (really any directories) 99% of "guest posts" web forums etc.
Eric Bowen - BroadBand Search
My name is Eric Bowen and I am the Content Coordinator and Digital Marketing Specialist at BroadbandSearch.net.
I'd love to answer your query with one of my least favorite "link building" techniques. Forum Links: Are they easy? Yeah. Can you build thousands of them very easily? Sure. Will they actually help your site? Hardly. Are they actually dangerous? Yes. To see a real impact from Forum Links takes hundreds of hours of link building on usually small, low authority forums that much of the time have little to do with your site. This is not a good use of time and if you are using keyword rich anchor texts with these, you will actually eventually hurt your site. There was a day where using keyword rich anchors on forums would boost you to the top, but not any more. I urge people daily to RELY ON CONTENT. If you are producing good, solid content (blog posts, guest posts, infographics etc) then people will naturally link to you. For the best results, be genuine and create good content that is relevant to your website.
Vlad Rascanu - 80 Proof Digital
Here's a list SEO strategies that people used that used to work but no longer do that I thought of off the top of my head:
- Meta-keywords tag
- Using PageRank as a SEO evaluation factor
- Using automated link building software like senuke x
- Public guest posting networks like my blog guest
- Blatantly buying and selling links - link exchange
- Blogroll links
- Widget links (with do follow)
- Keyword stuffing or enhancing (like bolding and italicizing each kw) duplicate/spun content
- Using exact match domains to rank for keywords
Geoff Hoesch - Dragonfly Digital Marketing
As a result of the Penguin update, exact anchor text links are definitely out. Whether you’re getting links from directories, link pages, or guest posts, creating a link profile with an unbalanced number of exact match anchor text links that aren’t your company’s name will most likely get you penalized. I have a lot of new clients come to us and say they were doing well and suddenly stopped ranking, and this is almost always the reason. It was once an easy way to rank; now it’s just dangerous.
Paco Darcey - Clutch
I'm a business analyst at Clutch.co. We are an independent research and reviews company for IT service providers, including many leading SEO firms.
Here are some of the SEO tactics that used to be highly effective, but have fallen out of favor:
- It used to be fairly standard for websites to suggest link trades, where they give each other a link by mutual agreement. However, Google considers these types of transactions part of a link scheme, and therefore a violation of Google's Webmaster guidelines.
- A similar tactic that was popular in the past was building micro-sites that link to each other. This is extremely frowned upon nowadays, for obvious reasons.
Keyword stuffing and unnatural anchor text are probably the most recent techniques to fall out of favor. Google's algorithms have gotten a lot better at detecting pages that are abusing keywords by inserting them in every possible place, even when they don't make sense. As far as anchor text goes, conventional wisdom used to be that having the exact same phrase in many different external links was the best way to rank for that search term. However, most SEO experts currently recommend that you pursue a more natural distribution, because Google does a better job of recognizing synonyms now.
Lastly, one quirk that was exploited was the concept of authorship. For a time, Google was displaying and prioritizing content that was "authored by" somebody. However, this led to many websites abusing that concept by putting an "authored by" line on every page, even when it wasn't relevant. As a result, this tactic is apparently no longer rewarded by Google.
Of course this should go without saying, but buying links is a huge mistake, and in the long run, any site that does this will end up getting hit with a penalty.
Abrar Patel - AP Web Solutions
Link Quality Vs Quantity It used to be just a few years ago that Google gauged your authority based on the number of links coming to your website. Think of this as the number of people endorsing you for your services or products. This is no longer the case. Google now goes by the authority of the websites that link to you AND if said authority is in the same industry as yours. So if you are just going to be building links to your website thinking you are eventually going to get to the top, you might be in for a surprise!
Impatience & Aggressive Link Building The days of quick ranking are long gone. Movement in the search engines is now slower than it has ever been. In simple terms, this is because there is so much good stuff on the first page already! Ultimately, this is great for the User because Google is trying to make sure that everything you see on the first page is established authority websites that have been around for a while and are not "churn and burn" sites. Even if you do everything perfectly, you're still going to have to wait for a certain amount of time before you see significant results. And once you get to the first page, movement can be even slower up that page.
On-page User Interaction Almost all of Google's updates for their search engine are geared towards improving the user experience. This is not going to change anytime soon. So it only makes sense that if a multitude of users are no liking the page they clicked on to and are leaving almost as soon as they get there, that page or URL is going to get penalized. Not necessarily a penalty that sticks, but it will drop in rankings for the keywords that those users searched. The lesson here is to make sure that your pages are built to be interacted with. Videos and blogs are a great way to do this.