ImageThe web is full of outdated SEO advice. The search engines update their algorithms every single day, sometimes shaking up the industry with major overhauls. These updates are intended to combat destructive optimization practices – unfortunately, many well-intentioned website owners are receiving penalties alongside the spam sides.

The problem often goes back to outdated SEO. Bad links and bad content don’t just disappear on their own. If you haven’t updated your content for a while or if an inexperienced SEO has managed a campaign for your business recently, your site may be seeing the negative effects.

This quick guide will list three of the most prevalent of the harmful SEO practices that still harm websites today. If you recognize any of these “bad practices”, you can take steps to eliminate the problem and regain those lost rankings.

1. Over-Linking

Links are a delicate situation, and the large emphasis on backlinks over the past couple of years has led to a few very aggressive penalties by search engines. Websites have been stuffed with internal links creating a maze from page to page, commen sections have been spammed with URLs in an attempt to bolster numbers, and deceptive anchor text has been used to fool the search engines into ranking websites highly for the wrong keywords.

These tactics are all very destructive, and can result in extremely harsh ranking penalties. Linking is still extremely valuable, but the anchor text must be relevant to the content and the content itself must be highly relevant. The links need to look natural and helpful, not forced and spammed.

2. Article Spinning

Have you ever wandered across an article on the Internet that seemed almost incoherent? Does your website have links coming from any pages that are written using weird synonyms and unreadable sentence structures? That type of spam content is often created using “article spinning” software that just replaces words from existing articles with other words in hopes to trick search engines into thinking the article is unique.

Fortunately, search engines have advanced way beyond that point. Most spun articles are discarded and penalized on the spot. Unfortunately, thousands of website owners purchased these spun articles while this tactic was still popular and now they’re paying the price. If any links are pointing to your website form one of these low-quality articles, the search engines might be penalizing you for it.

3. Keyword Stuffing

Article spinning and keyword stuffing tend to go hand-in-hand, but not always. Sometimes well-meaning website owners and old-school SEOs make the mistake of trying to jam too many keywords into one page (another equally harmful variation on this theme is to stuff the same keyword into a website over multiple pages). Not only does this dilute your targeting power, but – you guessed it – search engines have caught on to this one too.

All keywords need to relate to the content on the page. Use them sparingly, make sure they look natural. Take a quick read through your website and the pages that link to it. Keywords should read naturally in the page; a reader should not realize they are keywords.

What Can I Do? How Can I Reverse the Penalties?

If you suspect that your website may be suffering from penalties due to outdated SEO, don’t start worrying just yet. Recovery will require hard work and research but you can get your website back to the top of the SERPs as if nothing ever happened. A skilled optimization firm can get you there. Don’t wait – contact us now for help.

Experienced optimization firms know that SEO requires a natural, dynamic approach. Working with the search engine (instead of against them) is the only way to ensure consistently positive returns. Are you excited about salvaging those negatively affected rankings? Updating that outdated SEO is one of the best optimization investments you could make.

image: naughty SEO/shutterstock