Site icon Bill Hartzer

Half the SEO Techniques Used 5 Years Ago Are Now Spam

$250 a month for SEO

Wow, how times have changed. The search engine optimization industry has changed. And I bet it will continue to change and evolve as it has been over the years. Did you know that half of the search engine optimization techniques that were used only 5 years ago (maybe even 3 years ago) are now considered to be spam? Most of those SEO techniques are now listed in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines as being unacceptable. The are grounds for an algorithmic penalty or even worse: a manual penalty from Google.

I’m still amazed that so-called SEO firms are sending out UCE Spam (unsolicited commercial email) spam advertising their SEO services for higher search engine rankings. The problem is that half of those techniques that they’re so proud to say they’re using are, in fact, against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. And the ones that are acceptable won’t necessarily boost a website’s search engine rankings by themselves. Still others have nothing to do with SEO. Let’s take a look at an email I received this morning that is advertising SEO services. It’s from someone named “Mahek Tiwari”, who, most likely, is not based in the United States (I can tell by his name and the fact that he used the word “fortnight” in his email).

Hi,

I am Mahek Tiwari, Marketing Manager.

We have a “SEO Discount offer ‘’going for the following package: –

Monthly Task and responsibilities: – Package For 25 Keywords:-

1. 20 Search Engine Submissions
2. 200 Manually Directory Submissions
3. 60 Article Submissions (1 Articles Submit in 30 Top Directories)
4. 10 Press Release Distributions (1 Press Release submit in 10 Sites)
5. 5 Web2.0/Blog postings (Using pre-written articles)
6. 30 Social Book marking Submissions
7. 5 Forum postings
8. 3 Unique Article writing (400+ words)
9. 1 Press Release writing (350+ words)
10. Keywords Mapping
11. New pages suggestions
12. Keywords research1
13. Competitor Analysis
14. Title Tag changes suggestions
15. Meta tags changes suggestions
16. Alt tag changes suggestions
17. HTML Site Map
18. XML site map setup
19. Anchor text optimization
20. Google webmaster setup
21. Google analytics setup
22. Fortnightly Ranking Report
23. Fortnightly Full Detailed SEO Work Report in Excel

We use only white hat SEO techniques for each website: –

If you would like more details about our SEO Discount offer or would like to ask me anything regarding this matter then feel free to write me an email.

Please let us know in case you are interested.

Thanks & Regards,
Mahek Tiwari

Okay, Mahek, let’s take a look at your “package for 25 keywords”. First off, for the past 10 years or so, it hasn’t been recommended that you target a specific number of keywords. It’s just not possible, since a properly marketed site (using SEO best practices) will not rank for 25 keywords. It will rank for “thousands” of keywords. So targeting a low number like 25 is just not appropriate. It hasn’t been appropriate in 10 years.

Here’s a list of the 23 “services” that comes with the “package of 25 keywords”. I’ve made a comment below each one:

1. 20 Search Engine Submissions
This is search engine spam. We haven’t submitted to search engines in over 10 years, or has it been 15 years? Submitting to search engines isn’t necessary anymore, as search engines crawl your website without you having to submit to them. And don’t ever pay to submit to search engines, either!

2. 200 Manually Directory Submissions
This is spam, and I’ve been having to clean up these links ever since the Google Penguin algorithm update(s) started a few years ago. Submitting to “directories” is one way to get your site penalized very quickly. Now, directory owners are charging $1,000 to remove links. Why would you want to add those links to your site?

3. 60 Article Submissions (1 Articles Submit in 30 Top Directories)
Again, this is spam. Article links and submissions violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. These links are the ones I try to get removed when working on cleaning up links to a site.

4. 10 Press Release Distributions (1 Press Release submit in 10 Sites)
Again, these are considered to be spam by Google since it violates their webmaster guidelines. You’re not trying to get press, you’re trying to get links. That’s why it’s spam.

5. 5 Web2.0/Blog postings (Using pre-written articles)
These are just low quality links from “pre-written” (duplicate content) articles. Again, these links are the ones to remove, not to add to your website.

6. 30 Social Book marking Submissions
No one uses the social bookmarking sites anymore except for maybe Reddit.com. Or Pinterest. Even so, those sites don’t necessarily help your site’s rankings unless, of course, your content is so good it goes viral. And even then, your content will rank well while it’s being shared. After a few days, you will lose those search engine rankings.

7. 5 Forum postings
Again, this is spam. It hasn’t been good to self-promote your own website or “drop a link” to your own site since, let’s say, 1997. If you spammed your site even back then the forum moderators would delete the post and most likely ban you from their forum. Why would you want to possibly pay someone to post on forums for you?

8. 3 Unique Article writing (400+ words)
They might be unique articles, but someone who doesn’t know your business is going to write an “article” about a keyword and insert some link into the article to your site. It’s not natural. And if it was an article about me or my services, I would want them to be intimately knowledgeable about my company. Not just drop a link in an article that has nothing to do with me or my site. Besides, no one is going to end up reading that junk anyway.

9. 1 Press Release writing (350+ words)
Again, most likely they will not understand your business but write something about it. A press release that is supposed to get media attention? Hardly. Most journalists don’t read the press releases anymore, they get their news ideas from other places.

10. Keywords Mapping
Keywords mapping? I’m not even sure what the heck this is and I’ve been in the SEO business for 20 years.

11. New pages suggestions
Okay, so adding some new content to your site is okay and recommended. But I would hardly take serious recommendations from someone who doesn’t know my business. I bet they recommend a new page based on a keyword, with thin useless content. Not something that is a serious product or service, or even a blog post that might go viral or be shared on a social media site.

12. Keywords research1
Basic keyword research is essential, yet you can do this yourself using the Google Ad Planner tool or even SEMRush.com.

13. Competitor Analysis
Who determines the competitors? You or this firm? And what does the competitive analysis include?

14. Title Tag changes suggestions
If your site is well optimized, then the site’s title tags most likely are okay. But I’m always open to suggestions. This one is okay.

15. Meta tags changes suggestions
Hope this is only for the meta description tags, not the meta keywords tags on the site.

16. Alt tag changes suggestions
Filling out the image alt attributes are helpful, and recommended. I’m concerned that they call them “alt tags” as that is not the proper name of them.

17. HTML Site Map
An html site map is sometimes helpful for your users, but a good web designer should have already done one for your site. Nothing to do with SEO, it’s just not needed anymore. A waste of time if you ask me, as it won’t help or boost search engine rankings.

18. XML site map setup
Your site’s CMS, such as WordPress, should auto generate a proper XML sitemap. NO need to manually do this or pay for it.

19. Anchor text optimization
Not sure what they’re referring to, but assuming that it’s internal anchor text and not external anchor text. This is very vague.

20. Google webmaster setup
You should have already verified your site in Google Webmaster Tools. That’s just very basic. And I would hardly give these guys access to your site, but that’s just my opinion. You can’t trust a company like this to give them access to your Google Webmaster Tools account, they could really screw up your site.

21. Google analytics setup
Again, your web designer should have set up Google Analytics already. Not sure why this is included in an SEO package. Has nothing to do with SEO, really. But they should be setting up goals for you if you haven’t set them up yet in Google Analytics.

22. Fortnightly Ranking Report
There’s really no need to track search engine rankings anymore. And with Google being so customized now, changing rankings based on someone’s location, search history, etc. there’s no way that all of the search engine rankings in those reports can be accurate.

23. Fortnightly Full Detailed SEO Work Report in Excel
It’s acceptable that they give you a fully detailed report of what they worked on. But it should be more than just in MS Excel. Typically a fully written MS Word document with time reports and phone time (a conference call) to discuss the work that was done and what needs to be done next month is recommended.

So, as you can see, while there are 23 things on this list, I have found about half of those items to be completely useless. A good number of them will actually contribute to a loss in search engine rankings, and not a boost. And there are some that are so bad that they’ll get your website penalized. Oh my have search engine optimization services changed, even in the past 5 years.

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