Yes, I’m dating this post title because guess what? Things change so rapidly in SEO that things that are working now may not work tomorrow. Until somebody takes the giant food dish away from the BIG dog, we’re all pretty much at Google’s mercy. So, we have to think about Panda and Penguin and whatever other animal comes out of the box to thwart us.
Here are some things you definitely DO NOT want to do now, if you want to see your web pages showing up anywhere in search results:
1) Content spamming
If you haven’t gotten the word, those days are over. No more crappy content, people! That means, no spinning, no duplicate content, and no unsubstantial articles that are generic and probably private label rights. Google knows these things, and if they don’t, they’re human evaluators, do.
You need to produce well-researched content that will be helpful to users. That means, if you want to write, do it properly. Spell properly. Format properly, and know your grammar and punctuation. Slapping articles together is not cutting it anymore, not with users and not with search.
Videos, on the other hand, can’t be parsed by Google’s or any other search spiders. You can post them on every video directory — as long as each place you put your video has a completely different title and description. 100% different. Or, you can save yourself some effort and just post a transcript with one video that you upload to YouTube. A transcript will give you great advantage.
2. Spammy anchor text
Automatic is not good. Neither is putting the same anchor text everywhere because you want to rank for a certain keyword. Google knows! Yes, they’re really that smart. If your anchor text doesn’t vary, or if there aren’t some “click heres” or “mores” interspersed, your linking pattern just doesn’t look natural, and that’s really what Google wants. If you create bomb content that people enjoy and learn from, those links will come, but for the links you place yourself, be sure you’re not using the same words over and over and over again.
3. Buying exact match domains (EMDs)
We talked about this a couple of weeks ago. Now, when Google sees a page with a domain that matches what you’re selling they may classify your page as spam. It has to be a thin site (without much content) to be affected. So, if you’re going to buy an EMD, get content on it right away and keep adding content to it, if you want to rank in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Squeeze pages on an EMD won’t rank anymore, and neither will one-page sales letters. If you’re doing those things, add a blog on the back end.
4. Links in inconspicuous places
If you think that adding footer links is smart, it’s so 2006! Adding a bunch of keywords, misspelled keywords, and such to your footer used to work great. Not anymore. Google says, “Nyet.” Same thing with links in your sidebar. If your links are anchor text, you may get a kick down from Penguin. Change them to bare URLs.
5. Not following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
Google makes things really simple for webmasters and tell you what they consider to be good and bad practices in their Webmaster Guidelines. If you’re not paying attention, a change may occur that you’ll know nothing about and then wonder where the traffic went. Spending a lot of time doing stuff that Google hates (and people are still out there selling products about doing these things, which is so wrong) will just get you in trouble and may even get you booted from the index.
I’ve heard several of the big-time marketing crowd say that SEO never made anyone money or that it just wasn’t important. Well, a) they’re wrong and b) if you start with a solid SEO base, your free organic traffic will just follow. Use a really great site to send traffic to a squeeze page, for example. Or, instead, add the squeeze page to that site. It’s really easy to get a theme that allows you to have a squeeze page in front of your blog these days. Most definitely think like a marketer, but start thinking like an SEO person, too. You’ll be glad you did when that organic search traffic starts converting into sales.
The only thing I use to get referrals for my business is this blog. I’m building reputation here and search rankings, Google traffic, and a client base. Becoming an expert in your niche and showing others that you are one goes a very long way. And if you’re selling “make money online,” and you haven ‘t made a ton of money from it, give it up. It’s so 2010. Find a niche that you love, can show people how smart you are in, and build your reputation. When it comes right down to it, that’s really all that matters.