Go to almost any internet marketing forum and ask for SEO advice, I bet you will get at least 20 different answers, and chances are most of them will contradict each other. Likewise go talk to a few different SEO companies, ask them about the strategies that they follow, if you listen closely you’ll realize that most of them go against Google’s TOS and stopped working years ago.
It’s a big problem these days, there are lots of people claiming that certain strategies work, when the reality is that they just plain don’t. Today we are going to go over the top 11 tactics that you need to avoid as far as SEO goes.
SEO Tactic 1: Spammy Guest Blogging
Back in January of this year (2014) Matt Cutts shook the SEO world. He came out and basically said that Guest blogging was on its way out, and that the Google Spam Team had decided that it was not producing quality results in the search engines. So naturally a lot of SEO guys ran around claiming that the sky was falling, there was a lot of panic, and some people claimed that SEO was dying.
But that’s not the case, in fact, if you’ve read the updated version of Matt’s blog, you would know that he has edited it. He explains that Spammy Guest Blogging is on its way out. Basically if you’re trying to publish articles on every blog available then you probably are not going to get good results. But if you’re looking for high quality blogs in your niche and you’re forming a partnership with them, you can get a lot of good work done. In fact, guest blogging hasn’t really been hit yet, I haven’t seen anyone who has had their site tank in the serps yet.
What this means is if you want a website that survives you should avoid spammy looking services that promise guest blogging. Form relationships with people in your niche and offer quality content, don’t out-source to sketchy firms and you should be fine.
SEO Tactic 2: Optimized Anchor Links
Oh boy this is a big one, I can still remember back in 2009 when you could build thousands of optimized anchor links back to your website and rank it within a few weeks. An optimized anchor link is just a link pointing to your website that uses the keyword you want to rank for. For instance, if you want to rank for “how to train your dog” you would link back to your site with “how to train your dog” sounds simple enough right?
It worked really great until Google warned against this practice in its “Link Scheme” document.
It was simple, and spammers abused the system, Google has changed their algorithm, in fact if you link back with too many optimized links you won’t rank for that one keyword at all. What should you do now? Use the naked URL to link back to your site, or a description, don’t link back with optimized links, Google now decides the optimization based off of your content.
SEO Tactic 3: Thousands of Links
We’ve all seen the ads for the latest “Backlink master 5000” which promises to rank your website in just 3 weeks. Wow! Imagine, 3 weeks, sounds too good to be true right? That’s because just like always, it is too good to be true. Building thousands of backlinks at a time does nothing but drop your site in the serps. Want real results? Build high quality relevant links back to your website and keep adding content, then sit back and watch as you rise above all of your competition.
SEO Tactic 4: Stuff those Keywords
Back in the day you could stuff the same keyword that you wanted to rank for over and over again in your content, then you could build thousands of optimized backlinks and rank quickly. There are a lot of SEO firms that try to do this these days, and there is a reason that they don’t see results. Keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore, and it was destroyed by the “zoo updates”
Want to know the secret of content optimization? Look at your competitors that are in the top 1-, how many times do they mention the keyword you want to rank for? The easiest way to rank quickly on Google is by looking at what the top 10 are doing and copy it, and then just add a few more powerful backlinks and you’ll be at number one in no time.
SEO Tactic 5: Backlinks, backlinks, more backlinks
Unfortunately if you aren’t ranking for a keyword a lot of SEO “Gurus” will advise you just to build more backlinks. Backlinks are not the answer to every problem, in fact in our experience usually backlinks are not the issue, the issue is that you don’t have enough optimized content, and you aren’t updating your site enough. You need a content optimization plan, and you need to build a proper website that Google loves. Once you get these two your website will start to rank high, I can promise you that just building more backlinks will end up with you ranking at the bottom of the serps.
SEO Tactic 6: Poorly Written Web 2.0 Links
This is a tough one, a lot of SEO businesses will build web 2.0 links (links from blogs such as blogger, or locations such as squidoo or hub pages) these links can be good, if you build them correctly. For instance, a good web2.0 link will have a well written intriguing article, one that will help your audience out and intrigue them to visit your website. A badly set up web2.0 will be a bunch of nonsense that has usually been spit out by a machine or a low paid out-sourced worker. These links don’t do anything to help your SEO at all, and usually get taken down. Once they are taken down that means your rankings will start to go down, don’t let anyone build these types of links to your site. If you find out that your SEO guru is spamming poorly written material towards your page you should fire them and find a new firm to work with.
SEO Tactic 7: Private Blog Links
This used to be a huge one, truly private blog links are hard to find, but a lot of “private” blog links really aren’t all that private. If your SEO guru is building “Private” blog links to your website you may want to get rid of him. Chances are he’ll head over to the closes forum and pay for a few links, these links can work at first, but these networks are often shut down by Google. When they are shut down your website is red flagged and then you can say goodbye to your rankings for forever, it can be really difficult to recover from a penalty because of one of these links.
SEO Tactic 8: Dirty Link Exchanges
Normal link exchanges that are used properly can help your website, if you are doing it with websites in your niche and providing each other value. The problem occurs when SEO “Gurus” start exchanging links with everybody they can. This creates a huge surge of links to your website, and may even increase your traffic for a short amount of time. Just wait a few weeks though, then your website will drop down never to rank again. If you find that your SEO firm is doing link exchanges from websites that aren’t related to yours, get rid of them and find someone who knows what they are doing.
SEO Tactic 9: Fiverr SEO
Believe it or not some SEO firms will out-source all of their work to a website called Fiverr. They can purchase services for only 5$, and unfortunately they get exactly what they pay for. Fiverr is infamous in the SEO world and for good reason, the SEO work that you get there at best won’t do anything to your website, at worst it can tank the whole thing. If you find out that your SEO firm is sending work to Fiverr go get somebody else who is willing to put good work and money into your website.
SEO Tactic 10: Guaranteed Rankings
I see these all the time, “We will rank you in the first position or your money back!” don’t listen to them, these people are scammers and thieves. Notice that they won’t tell you what keyword they will rank you for, a lot of times if you don’t receive results they will just show you keywords you were already ranking for that have no competition or traffic.
No one can give you a number one ranking promise, they can come close and show you their past history, but be careful around SEO firms that promise too much, just remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
SEO Tactic 11: Sape Links
Sape links were all the rage for a little while, you could pay $100 a month and get some pretty good rankings for some decent keywords. Of course most of the links were hacked and illegal, but a lot of SEO firms didn’t seem to care.
Google took notice to what was going on and started wiping out sites that use Sape links. Now-days it is referred to as the electric fence of SEO, you can hang on for a bit but you’re bound to get fried sooner or later. If you find that your SEO company is using Sape links run away. Don’t stay to get fried.
Keeping ahead of the times in terms of SEO isn’t too difficult. The basics of SEO, content, natural backlinks, on-page optimization, are what works. Stick with SEO firms that know what they are doing, if you want to sign up with an SEO firm that isn’t willing to give you any on-page optimization advice or help you gain natural backlinks stay far away. The cheaper SEO firms may seem attractive but beware, often they use strategies that don’t work, and can actually lower the amount of traffic that you receive.