13 SEO Tactics that are now just a Waste of Time!

Published: Nov 03, 2011

There are a ton of SEO strategies and tactics that used to work well, but now have little to no value. SEO changes on a constant basis, and what worked even as little as six months ago might be completely useless today. Some of these strategies might still provide a tiny bit of juice, but they aren’t good for long-term, sustainable SEO. Here 13 old tactics that might have been great back in the day, but should no longer be used.

Outdated SEO Tactics

1) Link Exchanges

Link exchanges were an old favorite that used to work extremely well. You’d put a link on your site pointing to the site you are exchanging with and in turn they would put a link on their site pointing back to you. Google got wise to this – it doesn’t work anymore – at all. Some people even try and do three-way and four-way link exchanges, but Google can recognize this strategy and doesn’t look kindly on it.

2) Search Engine Submission

Google has an option to submit your site to get it indexed, but it’s not necessary. If you are engaged in an internet marketing campaign then you don’t need to do this. A few quality links and your entire site should be indexed in less than a few weeks. If your site isn’t getting indexed and garnering some decent links, you have a much bigger problem at hand.

3) Meta Keywords

Meta Keywords used to clue in search engines to the content of your site. At one point search engines valued the meta keywords tag, but they don’t even look at it anymore because it was spammed on such a regular basis. It is a waste of your time and a sure fire way to give away your keyword strategy to your competitors.

4) Alt Tag Stuffing

The alt tag is intended to provide text descriptions to image, audio and video content, and using alt tag attributes is awesome! It literally allows the hearing and visually impaired to understand your website. But use this tag tastefully, don’t try and stuff in a bunch of unnecessary keywords into these attributes in an effort to appear more topically relevant to the keywords you are targeting.

5) Title Attribute in links

When you write a link in html you can use a title attribute to stick some keywords into the code of link. This used to be a decent way to tell search engines what the link was about, but it is no longer believed to hold any value because it was abused.

6) Keyword Stuffing

If you want to rank well for a keyword, you need to have that keyword in plain text on the page. Search engines latch on to text content because it is easiest for them to process and interpret. However, using the same keyword over and over again in an effort to feign topical relevancy can get you penalized. Don’t try and jam pack every relevant key phrase into your on page text over and over again – it looks horrible to human users and it looks fishy to search engines. Instead you should go for natural writing in your on page text that just so happens to utilize variations of your keywords in a frequent but tasteful manner.

7) Hidden Text

If you think you can get away with keyword stuffing by adding your keywords on page and hiding them by making the text the same color as the background – you are sorely mistaken.

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8) Online Press Release

Doing a press release is by no means bad, it can help raise awareness of your company and get you some attention. However, doing press releases just for the links is not a good use of your budget. The links that come from press release sites have extremely limited value because these sites do nothing but post links all day long. A website only has so much link power to give out, and when all it does is link out to hundreds of different sites on a daily basis it isn’t going to have a whole lot of link juice left for you. Don’t get me wrong, the links in press releases still provide value, but they are not the best bang for your buck.


Post Panda

The Panda update shook up the SEO world. The emphasis of SEO changed from creating links to providing value – it was a major shift for the entire industry. With this update a host of tactics became instantly outdated, here are the top 3:

1) Blog Commenting (only for the sake of a link)

Most blogs allow you to comment, and some blogs will even throw you a link for commenting on their site. This used to be a solid way to build links only a year ago – but it got abused. Blogs published very thin content filled with AdSense and people would comment on very poorly written articles all day long. After the Google Panda update sites publishing thin content took a huge hit, and so did the value of the links they were giving out. Blog commenting in and of itself isn’t bad, it helps you build your digital voice and your site gets links from new domains, but these links (on their own) wont do a lot for you when it comes to ranking.

2) Article Marketing Directories

Article marketing directories (ezinearticles, articlebase.com etc…) used to be agreat way to get anchor text links that resulted in strong rankings. These sites published hundreds of articles a day and they allowed you to stick a few links into a bio section under your article. However, most of the content on these sites were pretty flimsy and Google’s Panda decimated these content farms. It was easy, simple, quick and powerful – Google hated it. Panda laid waste to article marketing directories – steer clear of them unless you enjoy wasting your time and not seeing results.

3) Publishing Thin Content

I get it, writing content that is engaging and interesting is hard. Especially if you are trying to rank for a term like “Plus size sun dress”, I mean, how do you even begin to make that interesting? Unfortunately, if you want to rank well, you need to have good content. Just writing a few lines of text about every product or service your site is selling and trying to have those pages rank well is a recipe for disaster. Panda went after thin content and product pages for online stores are thin by nature. If you really want to have your product or category pages ranking well you need robust content that is going to earn your site powerful links.



As you can see, most of these practices are still widely used to this day. One must take note of the newer techniques that will get your website indexed and ranked properly. If you are trying to pull one over on the search engines (hidden text) or take link building shortcuts (low quality blog commenting), it’s not going to go well for you. With strong SEO comes a lot of hard work, and most of the tactics listed here were of questionable value to begin with. If you want to rank well, you need to put in the effort and earn it.

John-Henry Scherck is an Organic Web Strategist with Digital Third Coast, a Chicago internet marketing company located in the Wicker Park/Bucktown Neighborhood. He is passionate about link building, long term SEO and local search. When he isn’t ruining his eyes going over inbound link profiles in excel, he spends his time running, cooking and hanging with his two awesome cats, Carter and Wilson.