SEO

7 SEO Tasks That Are Wasting Your Time

SEO Time 7 SEO Tasks That Are Wasting Your TimeAs a website owner or SEO, your time is limited. So why on earth would you waste on outdated tactics that are entirely unnecessary in today’s digital marketing environment?

If you’re still carrying out any of the following SEO tasks, stop. There are too many other important areas to focus your attention on than to waste time using these techniques!

Task #1: Checking Your Traffic Every Day

While the number of visitors arriving on your pages is a useful metric to measure, it’s easy to find yourself sucked into the rabbit hole of obsessively monitoring the entrance and exit of every single visitor that checks out your site.

Not only does this limit the amount of time you’re able to spend on the Web marketing tasks that actually have the potential to improve your site’s traffic, endlessly checking your visitor counts doesn’t really provide any meaningful information for your promotional campaigns.

After all, you could receive thousands upon thousands of visitors to your site, but if you aren’t actively engaging these visitors, they aren’t likely to result in sales or leads.

Instead, look at traffic from a trend standpoint. If you’re doing things right, your visitor numbers will go up; if you’re doing things wrong, visitor counts will fall. Use these general trends as a barometer that lets you know whether or not you’re on the right course—and nothing more.

Task #2: Buying Backlink Packages

Nope. Just stop.

Even though recent Google algorithm updates have made it pretty clear that the search giant intends to stamp out and devalue the worthless backlink schemes that have helped plenty of unworthy sites gain top positions in the SERPs, there are still companies out there that are selling “10,000 backlinks for $10” packages.

It can be tempting to take this easy road, instead of spending hours upon hours chasing the few legitimate link building opportunities that are available for any given site. But don’t let yourself be swayed! Putting all of your link building eggs in this unstable basket is only going to lead to disappointment when your backlinks are devalued and your site penalized in the search results.

Task #3: Monitor Keyword Density

In the past, plenty of SEOs went around proclaiming ideal on-page keyword densities of everything from 1 to 20 percent. As a result, gullible SEOs spent hours using automated tools to measure existing densities and rewrite content to some sort of arbitrary standard—all in an ill-fated attempt to secure top search ranking positions.

Obviously, keyword density as a ranking signal has no merit in today’s SEO world. Is it a good idea to include target keywords in key places, like your title tag and heading tags? Sure!  But otherwise, it’s a far better idea to focus your attention on creating content that sounds natural than to worry about the number of times you’ve included your target keywords in your site’s body text.

Task #4: Submitting Articles to Directories

Old school SEOs should be well familiar with the promotional tactic of submitting articles to directories for the purposes of building both traffic and backlinks.

Over time, though, a number of different factors have come together to completely invalidate this strategy. First, plenty of article directories—conscious of the way webmasters were abusing their services for personal gain—switched over to “nofollow” links, negating the link building benefit of article directory submissions.

Then, Google came along and knocked many of these directories’ articles out of the SERPs as part of the Panda update, minimizing the amount of traffic webmasters utilizing this technique were able to receive. The result? A promotional strategy that no longer offers a real SEO benefit and that should be wiped from your SEO task list entirely.

Task #5: Checking Your Rankings Obsessively

Yes, we all know that achieving high rankings in the natural search results is a primary objective for SEO marketers. However, if you’re spending all of your time monitoring your current search placements, you’re wasting time that would be better spent on the techniques that will actually make a difference in your ability to rank highly!

Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that high search rankings are only one part of a website’s success. Earning a Top 10 spot in the Google results doesn’t mean much on its own, especially if you aren’t effectively converting the traffic that results from this placement into leads or customers!

So yes, check your rankings periodically, as movement up or down the SERPs is a good general indicator of whether your marketing techniques are positively or negatively affecting Google’s perception of your website. Otherwise, leave off the obsessive rankings monitoring to focus on the techniques that really matter to your success.

Task #6: Spinning Articles

Spinning articles used to be a big deal to digital marketers, with website owners investing tons of money in tools to automate the process and writers who could draft content using the unique syntax required by spinning programs.

But if you’re still allocating your business’s limited funds to article spinning, it’s time to stop! Spinning articles rarely produces anything other than the thin content that’s likely to land your site on Google’s chopping block. It’s an outdated technique. Plus, it’s one that’s entirely unnecessary, given that a single, well-written article published as a reputable guest post will do more for your site’s performance than a thousand spun articles published on devalued article directories ever will!

Task #7: Sculpting Your Site’s PageRank

Finally, another outdated SEO task that should be cut out of your Web marketing “to do” list entirely is the obsessive sculpting of on-site PageRank.

Now, I’m not saying that you should pay attention to the way you’re using “nofollow” tags on outgoing or sponsored links on your site (especially since failing to handle the flow of PageRank to paid ads that link out from your site correctly can result in penalties for the advertisers).

However, if you’re still engaging in the practice of meticulously redirecting the flow of PageRank from your “unimportant” pages to your “important” content, you’re wasting your time!

And just in case you don’t want to take my word on this, check out information published by Matt Cutts as early as June 2009, indicating that this strategy wasn’t a useful one for webmasters. Take the time you’ve been spending on this unnecessary task and redirect it to strategies that’ll actually make a difference in your site’s performance.

Once you’ve eliminated these seven tasks from your SEO activities, use the time you’ve freed up on the strategies that actual will produce a measurable improvement in your website’s results, including everything from split testing to legitimate link building techniques and more.

By realigning your efforts in this way and avoiding the outdated tactics that can actually bring your website harm, you’ll stand to see much more online success over time.

What do you think? Are you still engaging in any of these outdated SEO tasks? Or are there others you’ve given up on because they don’t produce results for your site? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Evlakhov Valeriy

 7 SEO Tasks That Are Wasting Your Time
Sujan Patel is a passionate internet marketer and entrepreneur. Sujan has over 10 years of internet marketing experience and started the digital marketing agency Single Grain. Currently Sujan is the CMO at Bridge U.S. a company that makes the complex immigration process easy and affordable.

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29 thoughts on “7 SEO Tasks That Are Wasting Your Time

  1. I also frequently check my blog posts after they are indexed. I’ll stop this. After reading this article, I realized that most of TIME WASTING actions, which you have discussed here, are committed by me also. Thank you for your nice suggestions. I’d like to say V7n forum also from where I followed this link.

    1. Its good to know these 7 points that we have to know when doing SEO to any page or any website.I glad to know that these things are now useless, i applied on my way previously but after reading this article i left doing that it help me a lot.

      I little want to know #3 task where you tell that there is no meter of keyword density in today’s SEO, but you are saying for to much searching in density counting words and then rewriting it right ? . Its really removed in today SEO and just came into spam.

      Well all the way i say again it help me a lot in SEO. Regards

  2. While these tips might sound simple and natural, reading through them has helped make me realize the mistakes I’ve been making. I can relate myself to several of these well thought-out points. I’m a newbie in SEO and this is one of the most valuable posts I’ve read while searching the web for good information.

    Thanks Patel!

    Kind regards,
    Andraz

  3. #7 – although pagerank sculpting isn’t as powerful as it once was, it’s been replaced by restructuring your navigation layout. If you have your entire sitemap in your footer and change your navigation to something more hierarchical (linking to important pages from all pages, less important pages in a silo format), you will see changes in your rankings. Although I wouldn’t call it pagerank sculpting, there are many similar practices/techniques.

    #1, #5 can be automated.

    #3 is a one time deal per page – I know there is no target keyword density but I’ve seen people trying to rank for keywords that don’t even appear in the content! Just shooting themselves in the foot. The holistic view is definitely better but you can’t forget the fundamentals.

    #2 is a mix. There are good ones (e.g. press release, local citations) and plenty of bad ones (e.g. xrumer, bookmarks, comment spam). Link building will only be worth it if you have great content to build links to.

    #4,#6 – time better spent elsewhere.

    Cheers,
    Oleg

    -Oleg

    1. Thanks for your helpful comments. Re: your comment about #7. I will look at my website with new eyes and take note of linking between my pages. Thanks for the tip on navigation to something more hierarchical .

  4. #7 – although pagerank sculpting isn’t as powerful as it once was, it’s been replaced by restructuring your navigation layout. If you have your entire sitemap in your footer and change your navigation to something more hierarchical (linking to important pages from all pages, less important pages in a silo format), you will see changes in your rankings. Although I wouldn’t call it pagerank sculpting, there are many similar practices/techniques.

    #1, #5 can be automated.

    #3 is a one time deal per page – I know there is no target keyword density but I’ve seen people trying to rank for keywords that don’t even appear in the content! Just shooting themselves in the foot. The holistic view is definitely better but you can’t forget the fundamentals.

    #2 is a mix. There are good ones (e.g. press release, local citations) and plenty of bad ones (e.g. xrumer, bookmarks, comment spam). Link building will only be worth it if you have great content to build links to.

    #4,#6 – time better spent elsewhere.

    Cheers,
    Oleg

    1. you tell with nice way that these 7 tactics are not now came or configure in ranking these are now useless. article rewriting or spinning, sculpting site pagerank, submitting articles to articles directories these are only aggressive way and not now counted in ranking, cos google is now more powerful in ranking point of view.

      But what is the google friendly way for seo task to increase the ranking. i know the ways of getting social votes some linking to related contents etc. Is there any new way to do that ,?

  5. Well, there are some tasks you can automate. Advanced Google analytics report can save your time. Also one can check the rankings on autopilot. For WordPress users, there are many good free and paid plugin which can measure keyword density.
    Spinning article and the remaining staff are definitely a time waster. Also obsessive measurement of traffic, ranking data should be stopped.

  6. I agree with a lot of these. I obsess over traffic sometimes. The reality of it is, if you have fresh content to write about, spend time doing that. The traffic, revenue, etc. will all follow. Nothing beats fresh and unique written content!

  7. Iam not agree with your task no.4
    submitting articles are still work if you submit real and natural articles that is written on your services that you provide .Common man should understand your article according to his need.let me know what you say…..

  8. Sujan are you sure article marketing is dead?
    #4: you are saying it is old SEO technique and stop distributing articles
    #6 : you are saying stop it and well-written article published as a reputable guest post will do more for your site’s performance than a thousand spun articles published on devalued article directories ever will!
    What do you mean by devalued article directories? is Ezine Article directory devalued? or how to know that particular article directory is devalued by Google?
    I’ll be happy if you can sort out my doubts…

  9. Thank you Sujan, great overview of time wasting tactics, and I will actually agree to disagree with the Task 4 meaning, article submission is actually still valid (Matt Cutts says so as well (I can’t remember which video he mentioned it in YouTube webmasters channel, but he did)) as long as the article is written for the readers best interest and is original.

    Also, I would like to share a secret about keyword density, meaning, keyword density will change depending on the website, and also the online niche the website is in. Therefore, no one can successfully attach a percent % figure on keyword density, but nonetheless, keywords should also be included in the body text (apart from the usual places like title, meta description, h1 etc (yes, meta description is still important, especially with Google’s dynamic snippet preview) and only after the web copy-writing has been written (first with conversion out weighing the importance of keyword density) then keyword should still be squeezed without destroying the web copy.

    Your insights are great I will check back for more of your content

  10. I totally agree with the wording used in #2. Buying link building packages for cheap amounts is very counterproductiv. I do have to say though, that I’ve had very good experiences with high quality links from different marketplaces like Teliad or Textlinkads.

    I’ve gone through #5. Checking ranks is almost like an addiction, until you realize that you can invest valuable time somewhere else. Checking ranks once a week should be more than enough.

  11. I couldn’t agree more with the tips you presented. I may add that writing content for Google and over-optimizing is also time consuming and not useful.

    Plus, creating backlinks that share the same anchor text pattern. These days, it is way important to diversify your anchor texts and use some actionable anchors such as: “click here”, “read more”, “visit this page” and more in order to get traffic from those links – especially since Google can measure the traffic sources among websites.

    Cheers,

  12. This is an excellent list. I know I’m certainly guilty of a few of these.

    #1 – I check my traffic every day. Guilty!

    #4 – I agree with the others that there is some value to Article Directories. Whether that lasts or not is an open question. I suspect the value will decline.

    #5 – Ranking is useless if the KW doesn’t generate converting traffic.

    Regarding articles, what do y’all think about re-writing and updating articles to include additional, new information? My thought is that by keeping the same URL, you’re better off instead of writing a new article that’s close to the original, simply to generate a new URL. Thoughts?

  13. Don’t know if this helps anyone, but I have turned my internet marketing focus towards creating communities around the products, brands and businesses. In other words, rather than trying to marketing products on an entire internet level, I want to focus on building online communities and taking care of the customers and fans we already have. I’ll let the organic search take care of itself, but as they say a bird in the hand…

  14. Sujan, I first want to give you credit as I actually agree with most of you point, it is a total waste of time doing most of these tasks, and I often use data pulled for my clients as times to look at rankings and potential opportunities to capitalize on. However I do have to disagree with #7 a little bit as I do think you shouldn’t obsess with it, but it is still a valid way to improve your site’s usability and success in the SERPs.

    Recently I started reading Paddy Moogan’s new link building book(http://www.linkbuildingbook.com/) which I might add is quite valuable to ANY link builder. Having talked with Paddy at SEOmoz, he is an awesome resource for great link building tactics.

    Anyway, back to my point, his book touches on link sculpting or rather pagerank sculpting. Often if you do link earning with content creation you may want to also consider listing relevant pages to this so users can easily investigate your website making the important content on your site easily accessible . This isn’t just good from a SEO standpoint but also for the users to find other important content that is relate-able to the topic. Though I don’t think you should obsess by any means with your onsite SEO I have had many clients that have seen ranking improvements from subtle changes and helping distribute authority across their websites.

  15. #8 Obsessing over Google. Once you achieve a good results with Google, its time to pay attention to other search engines and avenues of traffic. Spinning your wheels trying to get incremental increases in the SERPS takes away a huge amount of time and energy from gaining in other places online.

    By the way, I am not totally convinced “Page Rank Sculpting” doesn’t have benefits. The whole idea of Page Rank is another SEO term descending from Google, simply supplying support for an argument from one Google Employee isn’t enough. There are even search engines beyond Bing and Yahoo with giant territories to explore, so ….

    Basically, too much obsession and concern with Google is going to hold you back.

  16. Well its really a good article to know that what you want to remove linking techniques when you doing seo to your site. I have my some of blogs where i am doing this type of links previously but after reading this Now i stop doing that. Thank

  17. Nice post with a lot of valid points on contemporary SEO works. I personally agree with much of the top 3 points, i.e. #1, #2, and #3. Hard work repays itself as any sort of dodgy outsourcing of low-quality backlinking packages would do more harm then help with the traffic of a site.

    Another tip I would like to advice online marketers would be to build your links organically, rather than wasting precious time seeking the least expensive links submissions deals. It works wonders and helps improve your SERP over time. Give it a shot guys!

  18. It’s frustrating that all of my competitors basically just buy links from Findlaw and are rarely penalized. The content is vague and uninformative but tends to rank well.

  19. Sujan,

    Some great tips! I often checked my analytics using various tools many times a day and slowly it became an obsession. I stopped that and I am a “healthier” website owner; I stopped being over-conscious about my sites’ health, and instead of focusing on the problems, I seek for opportunities to better my sites.

    Cheers!

  20. I love reading articles saying things that still work are dead. Article spinning, is not inherently bad. I have seen some well known people in the industry write on their own blog, and then essentially rewrite the same post to publish on another site. There is nothing wrong in creating unique content that is a rewrite of something else. Spinning is a way to scale that process.

    What is dead, is spinning content to article networks that have been infiltrated by Google. What is lame, is low quality spins. There is no reason however, that you can’t set the bar high on the quality of your spins and limit the number of articles produced from one version, and build backlinks with it.

    No, it does not trump the one awesome article you can work very hard to get posted on a high authority domain, but lets face it, not everyone has the time or ability to get that done.

    Also, I have personally gotten great information from checking and recording my positions manually on a regular basis. I have also gotten information about our competitors, as well as good information about the PPC landscape.

  21. Thanks for all the advice on what to eliminate from your SEO strategies, but can you now talk about the strategies that actually will produce a measurable improvement in your website’s results. You mention including everything from split testing to legitimate link building techniques and more. Can you elaborate or point me to another blogpost that describes in detail what SEO strategies we should be focusing on??