Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and the reason is simple—to improve user experience. The most recent change occurred on September 23, 2016—the Google Penguin update. If companies don’t adapt or change with these updates, their SEO will suffer.

What worked a year ago or ten years ago (even if they were considered “best practices”), does not mean they will work today. Some companies pound their chest saying that “Google trusts our site” or that we have a “high TrustRank” with Google. Some SEO marketers still measure their website success by having a “high” PageRank. Another SEO strategy still common today: submit a website to as many online directories—the quantity over quality approach. So let’s take a look at these 3 SEO strategies that once were the norm:

The term TrustRank appeared in a paper written in 2004. TrustRank seeks to combat spam by filtering the web based upon reliability. Actually, the new Penguin algorithm that was rolled out in September 2016 will take care of this. There are several articles and blogs online regarding TrustRank, but Google has never backed or supported this so-called “algorithm” (as some marketers have called it) in any articles or publications yet many companies rely on this “trust” factor and claim that Google “trusts” their site. In a 2011 video, Google’s Matt Cutts says there’s no such thing as TrustRank—at least not by that name.

3 SEO “Strategies” That Once Worked

PageRank aka “Link Juice”
PageRank, named after Google’s co-founder Larry Page, has been around since the inception of Google in 1998. It’s what distinguished Google as a search engine. What is Page Rank? “PageRank is the number of and importance of links pointing to your website.” At one point in time, SEO marketers believed that Google’s PageRank was the end-all be-all to gain a high search engine ranking or positioning on the SERP. However, Google has never come out and stated this. According to Google’s search philosophy, there are over 200 factors that determined search relevancy and PageRank is one of them.

Google’s Matt Cutts says there’s no such thing as TrustRank.

PageRank was the first algorithm introduced, and it’s the most well-known. In the mid 2000’s, SEO marketers focused on Google’s PageRank. In 2007, SearchEngineLand wrote an article on What is Google Page Rank? The article explains Google’s PageRank and clearly covers updates/removing PageRank in their technology section as well as the philosophy section. The most recent update occurred in April of 2016, when Google removed its external Tool Bar Page Rank.

Directory Sites
At one point in time, Google encouraged webmasters to submit your site to the website directories. Well, in 2008, Google removed this best practice from Webmaster Guidelines. In 2012, Moz did some research and found that 20% of web directories have been penalized/banned by Google. If you submit your site to numerous site directories, Google could see that as spamming. Web directories used to be a great way to build back links but again, what worked several years ago will not work today. If you are going to submit your site to a directory, I recommend the top 5:

Google My Places
Bing Places
Yellow Pages

So in conclusion, keep up to date with changes or updates that could impact your SEO. Adapt and make the necessary changes. Keep in mind what your customer or consumer is searching for on the web. You can never go wrong with good quality content.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Greg Hahn

Greg Hahn is known for entrepreneurial vision and translating vision into revenue generation and productivity, thriving in a diverse and fast-paced executive environment. Throughout his sales management career, he has led several sales teams toward positive growth. His most recent accomplishment was with The Blue Book Network. In just two years, he was able to reverse an under performing region to one of the top regions in the company in 2015. Greg specializes in online marketing including website consulting, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and social media marketing.