Search engine optimization evolves at a much faster pace than what most people expected a few years ago. As a result, many of the strategies used in the pasts became obsolete. Unfortunately, this does not mean they are not still used.

Most of the old SEO strategies are no longer effective. As a matter of fact, many can easily damage your website and lead to penalties.

While there are so many strategies that we can highlight and that you should avoid, some are much more dangerous than others. These are the ones I want to highlight, together with some that are simply a waste of time.

Exact-Match Domains

For quite a long time, EMDs (exact-match domains) were very popular. This was because they were a very effective shortcut for fast rankings. Basically, the idea was to launch a microsite with an EMD and then rank really fast. Sometimes, this was possible in just days.

EMDs quickly disappeared as Google figured out how many were overusing them. This is why, right now, any site has the possibility of ranking for any keyword, regardless of domain. Actually, nowadays, using exact-match domains is risky since they are not easy to brand. As a result, they are seen as being less trustworthy. This makes link building difficult and conversions lower.

Reciprocal Linking

Reciprocal linking was highly used in the past. The practice of exchanging links was quickly stopped by Google. Then, the so-called A-B-C reciprocal links appeared. This mean that site A links to site B and site B links to site C. When done right, this evolution of the reciprocal link can work. However, the regular reciprocal link is not great, especially when the exchange happens between websites that are not relevant.

It’s been over 10 years since this strategy stopped working. It is a shame to see that it is still used today.

Article Directories

Years ago, there were countless article directories on the internet. SEO specialists were rightfully adding articles in them to get backlinks. Nowadays, they are mostly useless, a complete waste of time. Obviously, this is only the case when the article directory is not relevant or does not employ strict quality control methods.

The exact same things can be said about link directories. Whenever you use such directories, it is very important to focus on relevancy. The directories you publish content on should be niched.

As an extra thing to consider, remember that profile creation websites can be of very good quality but not when they are used as link directories. These fall into the same category, are used a lot in modern SEO, and can be the downfall of a campaign when not done right.

Random Guest Blogging

Guest blogging can be incredibly effective for ranking purposes but not when done randomly. The old strategy was to get a backlink through a guest post on practically any website you could find. Nowadays, you have to be very strict with your choices.

Remember that guest blogging is practically an advanced public relations campaign. Its goal is to leverage an existing, larger audience through publishing articles on established publications. You can thus get increased exposure, build trust, credibility, build your personal brand, and demonstrate your industry expertise.

Writing For Bots, Not For People

For us SEO specialists, it is very easy to notice articles that were written for bots, not for visitors. I personally see this as one of the worst possible SEO mistakes you could make. It is really important in modern search engine optimization to first please the visitor. Then please the search engines.

Ranking algorithms are nowadays much more complicated. They understand things that they couldn’t in the past, including how happy a visitor was with the content they saw. This is why we now have access to statistics like bounce rate or time on site. Focus on these and you will get much better rankings in the long run than when you write for search engine bots.

Author's Bio: 

Adrian Cruce, marketer by day, gamer by night, human always, a highly experienced marketer with over 15 years experience. Get in touch on Twitter.