SEO is an industry in constant metamorphoses. A tactic that is working one day may be completely useless the next day. There was a time when all of the techniques listed below were able to improve a site’s ranking in the search engines but that is not the case today. Search engines (especially Google) are getting very smart in differentiating spam from quality in not only webpages but also the backlinks of webpages. Here are 5 SEO techniques that are now, in my opinion, obsolete:
1. Blog Networks: Earlier this year, Google was on a war path against blog networks, deindexing the thousands of sites of all the major networks. According to Matt Cutts, the head of the webspam team at Google, they are developing tools to find and deindex blog networks. Matt Cutts has also stated that there is almost ALWAYS a footprint in any network, and I have to agree. In almost every blog network that I have run across, I have always found a footprint; some common footprints are: two links in every post, zero nofollow links, all posts are approximately the same length, all blogs linking out to the same exact sites, and all blogs hosted on the same IP address. There is also evidence that Google has implemented changes in its algorithm to account for these footprints and devalue any links that fit a certain criteria. There is also evidence that blogroll/sitewide links have been devalued. I can testify for that because just a few weeks ago, I bought a blogroll link from a PR 4 site and soon after doing so, my site went from being ranked 12th to 38th. I quickly asked that the link be removed and soon after it was removed, my site jumped back up to ranking 26th. Coincidence? I doubt it.
2. Keyword Stuffing: There once was a time when stuffing keywords in the footer and making them the same color as the background so that they are unnoticeable to visitors actually helped improve rankings, but those days are long gone. Google has begun penalizing sites that blatantly stuff keywords (especially after the Penguin update). Keyword density is something that webmasters should monitor every now and then to make sure it is not too high. Keyword stuffing in the content of a webpage is not the only thing that can hurt your site. If the keyword anchor texts of your backlinks are too much of the same or too “keyword-rich”, that is also something that can possibly hurt your site. So be sure to have at least a few generic words like “click here” or “learn more” in the anchor texts of your backlinks.
3. Profile Links: Profile links were once considered an important part of any link building strategy. These days, they are essentially useless. Contextual links are what Google loves most. Links on pages with little to no content on them have been becoming less and less valuable and this trend is likely to continue.
4. Link Exchanges: About 5-6 years ago, link exchanges were the most popular form of link building. Instead of blog networks, there were link exchange networks. But in recent algorithm updates, Google has penalized sites with too many link exchanges and devalued reciprocal links. If you really want to do link exchanges, do them with only a few, high quality, relevant sites.
5. Meta Keyword Tag: The meta keyword tag was once used as a ranking factor in Google’s search rankings but because of too many people abusing and spamming it by putting in as many keywords as possible, Google no longer considers it as a ranking factor. It does consider the meta description tag now, but it has very little importance.
Rob Maynard is a webmaster, writer, and online marketer who has been working in the SEO industry for almost 10 years. He is currently working as a writer for a website hosting reviews site.