There are many SEO tactics that could negatively influence a sites’ ranking. The tactics presented in this article are 7 of the most important ones, that I consider you should avoid, as to the 2012 events (Penguin/Panda/other Google updates). They are both onsite and offsite tactics. (Note: LQ = Low Quality)

1. Directories (LQ)

This is one of those “Post Penguin” tactics to avoid. Of course there are still, great human-edited directories that will give you quality links (even if paid). botw.org is one of the oldest and still high standing human-edited directories online.

The ones that you should avoid are the ones that are fitting some of the below patterns:

- they ask for a link exchange

- totally automatic (NO human review exists)

- tons of links on each category page.

- is not to be found in the Google index. Just do a site:directorysite.com to find out. Google started a de-indexation campaign post penguin and they started removing low quality web-directories from their index.

2. Paid Links

This is one of the oldest tactics used in SEO. It still works. Though, if you want a 99% safe flight you should avoid it. Google got better and better at detecting paid links.

If you still want to do it you should focus on finding sites that don’t normally sell links (so no patterns exist)

- avoid blogrolls ( and any other types of groups of links)

- avoid sites that sell a high number of blog posts and do not disclose that.

- avoid footer links

3. Guest Posts (LQ)

Don’t jump just yet. This is only about Low Quality Content. Well written “guest posts” are a one of the best tactics to achieve both customers and links.

This tactic has been abused in particular cases, and this is what you should avoid when writing guest posts and searching for sites to post them on:

- avoid low quality sites. Double-check their content quality and Google indexation.

- double-check your post for duplicate content issues. You can easily use copyscape.

- don’t write for search engines first or all. Optimize for SEO, after you wrote the content from a human perspective. Do not over optimize or keyword stuff.

4. Over-optimization

When building links to your site don’t always use keyword rich anchor text. Doesn’t look natural to the Google Algorithm. Instead use variations of brand, navigational queries (click here etc) and money keywords.

In the end you should get a natural looking anchor text cloud like this one.

5. Spammy Links

That is mostly about the Penguin update. These low quality links would fit in one of the below categories:

- massive blog commenting with the sole intention of getting baclinks.

- massive forum posting with the same reason as above.

- automatically generating links using link networks or any similar concept.

- easily patternable link scenarios ( multiple links from the footer of various pages/sites, multiple blogrolls … etc)

6. Low Quality Content

Similar to what we have in the Guest Posts section, but this refers to content on your own site.

- double-check for duplicate content issues.

- don’t write for search engine, first of all. Optimize for SEO, after you wrote the content from a human perspective. Do not over optimize or keyword stuff.

7. Ad Stuffed Content

This is “Post-Panda” advice. As “Panda” is mostly focused on User Experience we should avoid annoying the visitor. This could influence your rankings, if the “Panda” or any other similar update would hit our site.

- do not stuff your page with Ads.

- have enough content to sustain the Ads on the page.

- do not put too many Ads above the fold.

Do you know any other SEO tactics that could fit in these spots ?

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