The point of this post is to minimize your to-do list by covering 32 SEO tactics that you shouldn't focus on. If any of these buggers have made it onto your 2011 task list or are still lingering in the queue from years past, go ahead and cross 'em off. They won't help you reach your goals and some of them can even hinder your progress.
If you are still looking for things to do, check out these New Years post for ideas.
- 2011 SEO and Social Media Checklist by Jennifer Horowitz on SEJ.
- 7 Predictions for SEO in 2011 by SEOmoz's own Rand Fishkin.
- 10 Google Adwords Features for 2011 by Kunle Campbell at Fuzz One.
Alrighty then, lets get on with the list of things for you to take off your list.
32 SEO Tactics to Avoid in 2011
Hiding Stuff On-Page
There are a hundred ways to hide keywords and links from your users' view and still have them reside behind the scenes on a web page for the search engines to crawl. Some of these methods are smarter than others, but the collective mind of Google's web spam team is smarter than all of them. From just plain silly to downright sneaky, numbers 1-5 in this list of SEO tactics to avoid, we cover off some of the most well known methods for hiding copy and links. At best, you could experience a small, temporary boost from some of these tactics. At worst, you'll land yourself a penalty.
1. White text on a white background (I know what you're thinking, but black on black won't work either.)
2. Hidden text over an image
3. Hiding text with CSS
4. Linking/keywording in tiny text (font size '0' doesn't work either, smarty pants)
5. Linking from a hyphen, period, comma, or any other little character
There are a number of ways to overdo your keyword usage beyond the hidden methods mentioned above. Here are a few to give you an idea of the type of things to avoid.
6. Use the Meta Keywords tag. This is a giant waste of time.
7. Use your Title Tag as a place to list keywords.
8. Fill up your Meta Description with keywords, forgetting about click-thru rates
9. Name your images with the character limit in keywords
10. List every city and zip code within a 10 hour drive
11. Put 2000 words of keyword rich content below the footer
12. Keep track of your keyword density (Thankfully, I've heard a lot less from eager website owners on this topic in 2010 than I did in 2009.)
Link Network Schemes
If your link building plans involve any of the following, you need to do a little more research on link building. :)
Do not sign up for...
13. Link Schemes
14. Reciprocal Linking
15. Link Farms
16. Link Wheel
17. Link Exchange (unless it is a real and substantial business partnership or relationship)
18. Three Way Linking (or Two-way, Four-way or any other way)
Other Link Types to Avoid
Ah links. It isn't just the networks that are a waste of time. Here are some other link acquisition tactics to avoid.
19. Forum/comment spam (thanks Rob)
20. Submit to thousands of directories for $12.42.
21. Segment your content and launch sub-domains so you can link to yourself
Publish/Index as Many Pages as Possible
Just because you have 4 million pages doesn't mean they should all be indexed. Just because you have come up with a list of 800,000 keywords and misspellings to describe pepper mills, doesn't mean your e-commerce site should have a web page to represent each. Quantity is not quality. More pages in the index does not mean more traffic. Here are a few SEO tactics to remove from your to-do list.
22. Try to get the search engines to index all of the search result pages on your site.
23. Publish a new page for every single keyword target.
Google Local Tricks
Google Local is still fighting spam that works, which I won't be covering here. Lets not perpetuate the issue, right? Here are a few things that they've figured out and should be avoided altogether.
24. Place location keywords in your places page categories.
25. Create a bunch of Google Places pages that all list the same physical address.
26. Torment your customers so you'll get plenty of (negative) reviews. (this one got a lot of attention late last year)
27. Provide different keyword rich business names to local sites.
Take these ideas straight to the curb. No recycling please.
28. Measure your website's strength or success with PageRank.
29. Find out which pages are ranking well and never touch them again.
30. Blindly target keywords just because your competitors are.
31. Submit to hundreds of search engines automatically for $9.99.
32. Use robots.txt to control robot access (I've harped on this before)
If anything here is on your 2011 SEO tactic list, go ahead and cross 'em off. See how I'm helping you out?! No doubt I've missed a bunch of old-school spam. For example, I'm certain I haven't covered every type of link scheme that has ever existed. Let us know what I've missed in the comments below.
I'm a tweeting machine as I put together blog posts. Thumbs up to the tweeps who helped me out with ideas on this post - TomSchmitz, gfiorelli1, pizzaseo, hyderali_, leadingdir, AlanBleiweiss, randfish, clairecarlile, JSBANZ, Joe_query, RobOusbey, bryantdunivan, and lyena.
Happy To-Do List Trimming!