SEO is a landscape that changes quickly. And it seems the change is a constant thing. Nowadays tactics that worked before can now spell doom for your website. That is: perfectly sound and “white-hat” techniques as far as 2 to 3 years ago are now branded as spam. So many panicked when Google unleashed Panda. Even more panicked when Google unleashed the fearsome Penguin. Many small SEO firms closed their doors as a result. And many websites had to properly recover as well.

Websites that used to do these practices were hit hard. Not only will your rankings go down, you are also in the position to be given a manual or automatic penalty from Google. So what are these SEO practices that one should now avoid?

Spammy Posts and Article Marketing

Any low quality writing used to pass as good articles before Google became hyper intelligent and actually became able to recognize bad writing. As a rule, Google likes seeing that a blog has content, before giving its inbound as well as outbound links any credence. This was abused when people used badly written blog posts just to have content. Article marketing on the other hand used to be a very solid strategy for building links. Article markets such as E-Zine articles survived through post submissions that contained links. However of course, the quality of these articles was not really that good. The article markets that took in any submission without screening the quality of the submitted articles really had a lot of bad content. Most of the time, these were simply keyword stuffed content.

Exact-match Anchors

Exact-match anchor texts used to be the bread and butter of link building. Now, they are being disavowed by website owners (who need to audit their website because of a Google penalty). In the past, anchor texts have always been the easiest way for Google to see how relevant a website is vis-a-vie a keyword. This is not to say that you shouldn’t use this, sometimes it comes naturally when sharing a link. But if you do it all the time, this sends a signal to Google that you are inorganically building links around one keyword.

Exact-match Domains

Before, naming your website give search engines a clue to what your topic is about. Hence, they use the url to see what related keywords a website should rank in. But now, websites buy a domain with a name that is exactly the same as the keywords that the site wants to rank in, even to the point of naming the website unnaturally (such as “cheapestpipesonlinechicago.com). Also trash websites are being created with domains bought for a dime a dozen. These sites are created just to direct link juice to a single money site. Google has decided that this is now a spammy way to rank for a keyword.

Of course anything that is overused to the point of abuse should be labeled as spam. Some debate that Google is being too hard on the issue, citing that all they really want is for websites to advertise instead of overuse SEO for organic search traffic. In any case, these bad SEO tactics should now be avoided at all costs.