Garbage in- Garbage out.... There are no short cuts in SEO. Do things correctly the first time and then you won't suffer the penalties inflicted on sites who think they can out think or game Google. Google says they are trying to "level the playing field". They want only the sites that "deserve" to have ranking to hold the cherished ranking positions on first page. All the methods to RANK your site and also all the methods that can HARM your site and banish your site to the realms of page 11 on the SERPs. Google is trying to create a list of companies that satisfy a consumer query in an order that best answers the "intent" of the question or query asked.
Links are still the best way to rank your site; let that be perfectly clear, however, if not done with utmost care and considerations - links can kill ya! If you have affiliations with related industries or services as your business, and they are willing to link to your site to verify you do what you say you do well...then acquire those links. They are real and genuine and will help prove your value to the Google Bots
Writing junk articles and syndicating them throughout the web with links back to your site do not count as anything genuine and cannot add value to you, as a source of information; or value in Google's opinion of your site or the value of your services.
3 Directory Submissions
Don't just flood the internet with NAP's of your business. Name, Address & Phone number references are important to show that you do have a brick and mortar location. It also indicates that you are able to service that specified area, perhaps better than a competitor located in another city. But, if you just blanket the internet with name, address, phone number references in low to no value directories they bring no value to you or your verification.
4 Link Wheeling
Not a new tactic but a new cool name. Link wheeling involves building backlinks to your site by creating multiple blog posts on many different sites and interlinking them creating a "wheel" effect. A niche version of a link network. Why is link wheeling bad for your SEO strategy? .... Because it is! Any link strategy that is not "natural" or able to build as a course of doing business is viewed as false or forced and viewed by Google as a penalty waiting to happen.
5 Buying Links
Buying links is a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Google calls them Link Schemes. This is defined as the buying or selling of links that pass PageRank. Excessive link exchanges or sharing links (link to me and I'll link to you) or pages that are set up exclusively for the sake of cross-linking are also frowned upon. Anything that looks "un-natural" should be avoided. "Do-Follow" Text or Image advertisements that pass PageRank for a fee will also putting your site at risk. However, there are cases where purchased links are acceptable; when related businesses link back to a site they have done business with or have a business affiliation with makes sense and is not viewed as artificial or in conflict with the guidelines.
Creating content that speaks to your products or services makes sense. Mentioning in that content the areas you provide business to can assist your local representation. Creating content just to create content again just gives false hope to the site owner and is boring to the user/visitor and will not help rankings for non-localized searches.
7 "Borrowed" Content
Some webmasters think that "borrowing" or "scraping" content from other sites with more authority or more knowledge on the subject they are trying to write about is acceptable. But, just like in life, plagiarism is plagiarism. If someone else has written it, it cannot be republished under someone else's name - it may be considered copyright infringement. It is well worth the effort to create original content that speaks to your business and your products or services.
Redirecting is used for several reasons for quite legitimate circumstances - redirecting one URL to another when you move your site to a new address or you consolidate several pages on your site into one page. If you are trying to deceive the search engines or display content to a human user that is different than that made available to the search engine crawlers then your site can be in violation of the accepted Guidelines. This tactic can be called cloaking - what happens is the search engine might index (read and record) the original page rather than follow the redirect - in the meantime, users follow the redirect and receive different information. By displaying different content to the Google Bots and users the site is seen as sneaky or deceptive and may be penalized.
Google struggles to create a fair playing field. Their ultimate goal is to give their users the best experience they can. Google wants to provide the best options on a search results page - giving users the answers to their queries or questions. The best way to make sure you are high on the search results pages is to BE THE BEST in your field of expertise. Trying to "trick" or "scam" Google might work for a while but Google will eventually catch your "trickery" and take your site down.
My job at SEP allows me to be constantly learning, and sharing my new found knowledge with co-workers and clients. Love learning every day. Those who know me know I love to laugh :)