Ghost of Digital Marketing Past: Old SEO Techniques You Shouldn’t Be Using

Ghost of Digital Marketing Past

Article submissions were dead, to begin with. As dead as…well, a handful of other highly dated practices in the world of search engine optimization. SEO is a volatile field, constantly changing and evolving quickly enough to leave the heads of many digital marketers spinning. These changes, unfortunately, lead to several outdated methods clinging on as “tried and true” techniques that many SEO specialists today continue to use.

Here are the top four SEO techniques of years past—all of which should absolutely stay in the past.

Link Exchanges

There’s nothing wrong with affiliate marketing and link building—in fact, you should always be on the lookout for high-quality affiliates within or closely related to your industry. Note those qualifiers, however, because that’s where the old methods fall flat. Web crawlers of years past may have felt all links were created equal, but that view died a long time ago.

The key today is to make sure that you don’t just do link-for-link trades with other businesses, blogs and websites unrelated to your industry and which don’t offer some value to your own SEO efforts. A high-traffic, well-known local film company probably won’t get a lot of benefit from linking to a seedy dive on the edge of town. Exchange links with people and groups that deal with the clients you have or the kind of clients you want; this makes the exchange into a symbiotic relationship instead of just a game of pong played with web spam.

Pointless Press Releases

They say no news is good news, but in SEO that’s rarely the case. Your business should be active online, working to gain new visitors, leads and customers by the most powerful means. One of the best is the use of press releases. When free article submissions open up with your local news and industry specific news sites, submitting a press release can be a great way to get your business’ name out there—but only if you actually have something to report. Submit enough press releases with nothing worth actually releasing to the press and before long you’ll find your business on your local news’ blacklist. It’s spammy, tacky and just plain unhelpful.

Thin Content

You’ve heard over and over the importance of “sticky” content; focusing on high-quality and valuable content inevitably brings rise to SEO campaigns with a much greater focus on quality than quantity, which is exactly what you should be doing. However, until recent years, quantity often won out over quality in the world of SEO. From keyword stuffing to cross-posting blog posts all over the Internet, the content pool was thinner than a teaspoon of butter spread over a dozen slices of toast.

Thin content is the opposite of sticky content, and it’s one method that many digital marketing companies and SEO specialists of lower quality continue to practice even today. You may want your content all over the web, but that should be achieved organically through social media and online shares. Today, churning out 3000 words of weak content and posting it to ten different sites will hurt your search rankings; 500 words of high quality, industry-relevant content that’s shared by a half-dozen people, meanwhile, can make a world of difference in the long run.

Guest Blogging

When the head of Google’s Web Spam team, Matt Cutts, posted about this back in early 2014, it sent the Internet into a panic. Until recently, guest blogging has been considered one of the best ways to build links organically, affiliate with leaders in your industry and more. Why would one of the top search engine specialists on the web declare the technique had decayed?

As it turns out, Cutts was referring specifically to thin, spammy or irrelevant affiliations and blogs. This kind of guest blogging is essentially a combination of the three previous dead techniques that is somehow even worse than the sum of its parts.

These are just the top four big offenders when it comes to dealing with the ghosts of digital marketing past. Are you doing any of these? It may be time to meet with a professional and modernize your SEO efforts!


4 Step Studio is an online marketing agency that specializes in website design and redesign, SEO, social media and more. Our team of experts focuses on helping small business get found online, while educating them on what will make them successful in the digital world. To learn more about what we can do for you, visit our website at

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Posted in Digital Marketing, SEO

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