What to Stop and Start Doing in SEO in 2020

Many bloggers obsess about SEO and trying to appear first on Google. While it is not a bad thing to want your article to be seen by people, it’s a bad thing when you are more interested in your Google ranking than the quality of your content.

Google has become way smarter. So, just having one SEO optimized post on your website and expecting it to appear first on Google the next morning is an easy way to the bottom.

SEO is not dead, but worrying about it now isn’t right. Why? Everybody is trying to rank, and people are using the same strategies — useful ones and useless ones alike. SEO is a long-game that new websites shouldn’t bother too much about.

80% of website owners are using the same strategy. The remaining 20% have understood that extra steps need to be taken to rank. That’s why it always seems like the same people rank on the first page of Google

Dead SEO Strategies

Putting your website in directories and stuffing your posts with links

This was a good idea in the past. Where the off-page SEO efforts were just as basic as putting your website links into directories and in forums.
While for on-page SEO, you just stuffed in backlinks from various sites and wait.

There weren’t as many websites, and people were not trying to rank as much either. So, whoever knew these strategies sat comfortably at the top. There are still many people putting their websites in directories, but you have to be smart about it. Put your website links in niche-focused directories.

Keyword Stuffing

Adding keywords is still a top SEO ranking strategy. But it is way different now. Google is like a delivery man that tries to deliver quality content to whoever makes an order for content via Google search.

So naturally, they would show the best article for the particular search term. When the Google crawlers check your page and see the keywords and what’s it’s about, you would rank, but if your article is not easily readable, Google will bury your article. Why? Because you didn’t produce quality. You should focus on putting out the best quality and relevant content rather than trying to rank.

Stuffing your post with keywords is dead. You should just use about two keywords and mention them not more than five times in the post. Google is more sophisticated, and they can tell if you stuffed in keywords. So, an article with stuffed keywords wouldn’t even be given a chance.

Paying for backlinks

This has more disadvantages than benefits. In an attempt to try to play on Google, people used to pay for backlinks so they could rank.
But when you do this, you put yourself at risk of getting blacklisted.

Blackhat SEO Practices

People used to get away with Blackhat SEO practices in the past. Not anymore. Some of these practices include:

  • Cloaking involves showing one piece of content on the search engine while having another article on the page.
  • Comment spamming. This is one of the oldest tricks used by digital marketers. You know those links on your comment sections that look like if you click on them, you will get hacked? When you continuously do this on different sites, your page and website, in some cases, would be blacklisted.
  • Sneaky redirects. It is keeping links that redirect you to results other than what you wanted to get. Most websites that use these are download websites which have been paid for an ad or something.


Blackhat SEO practices automatically make your website blacklisted. So, you shouldn’t expect to rank doing them.

What Should You Do Instead?

Why did you start your blog in the first place? Wasn’t it to create value for your readers, so that they can become customers?

That’s all you need to worry about when writing content for your readers — value. Your readers would keep coming if you can provide consistent value to them. It’s that simple.


You cannot start a blog today and think that you would get to the first page immediately. It’s not possible. When you give your readers value, they will share your content.

How do you Produce Shareable Content?

Appeal to the values and beliefs of your audience

Your website’s analytics would be useful here. You know the articles that your audience from particular locations like to read. Capitalize on them.


Maybe your audience believes that 9–5 is better than working from home. Use it! Create a post that favors 9–5 work over WFH. Your audience would see their beliefs as correct because a credible source (you) believes it’s true. But don’t overdo it. Try to create a balance between controversial and agreeable.

Give out Practical Information

People share content that instructs and informs. You would wonder why we get WhatsApp broadcast messages from friends and parents. It’s because they think that the piece of information would be helpful to you.
When people see content that their friend may need, they quickly share it, as a way of helping each other and improving their relationship.

Tell Your Story

If you’ve been reading my content, you would see that I’m a big believer in storytelling. I am for it because it is one of the easiest ways to get connected with your readers.
When people see that you have passed through what they or their friends are facing, it would spark up the need to share with their friends via whatever social media platform.

Involve your Audience in content creation

Everybody loves feeling like a VIP. Dale Carnegie, in his book“How to Win Friends and Influence People,” talked about how everybody desires to feel important. Make people feel important by involving them in your content creation.
You can use your email subscribers to achieve this: organize surveys, encourage them to tell you their personal stories, and then get it featured in your blog.
When you can make your readers feel important, it’s almost certain that they would share your content with their friends when it’s published.

Leave share buttons

This is a bit obvious but underestimated. Make them visible.

Why Do People Share Content?

  • To teach and entertain their friends.
    • To create an impression of who they are and what they stand for.
    • To help others.
    • To improve relationships.
    • To advertise an event or brand.

If you can understand why people create content, you will be able to position your content better.

Tochukwu Okoro is a professional content writer. He can be found on medium at @tochukwuokoro and on his website www.tochukwuokoro.com