For a bit of fun, let’s take a look back and see what worked, and probably never should have worked in the first place!
Ok, so it’s time for a bit of nostalgia! The one thing about SEO that many people either love or hate is that the algorithm is constantly changing and updating in an effort to provide users with better search results. This keeps everyone in SEO on their toes as old tactics become redundant. I struggle to think of many other professions that are so fast paced; ten years is a lifetime in SEO! In particular, it’s the slightly dodgy tactics that usually suffer from the updates; but once upon a time they did actually work!
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If you dare to do this now, you’ll pretty quickly find yourself in the doldrums with a severe slap on the wrist from Google. But yes, it did actually work when the search engines first started operating. It’s hard to believe that cloaking a ton of keywords would actually fool anyone! This was probably one of the first tactics to die out, and I’m sure it caught many an ‘SEO guru’ out!
Another old way to ensure some pretty good rankings was to go out and buy a ton of exact match domains, and then duplicate the site for each one. The issue here is that you can quickly end up with thousands of duplicate pages, all competing for a ranking and in effect you’re wasting a heap of Google’s crawling time. Many of the algorithm updates in the past year or so have focused on duplication issues, so this is definitely a tactic that is now dead in the water.
Rolling Out 10,00 Pages Of Nonsense
Commonly used by websites aiming to earn a quick buck from Adsense revenue, it used to be possible to auto-generate thousands of pages, point a load of crap links at them, and have the content ranking for long tail terms for a good month or so. Nowadays, Google is much faster at detecting this kind of activity and your site is likely to get burned very quickly if you try and do this.
Roasting Exact Match Anchor Text
Over the past few years, Google has become much better at detecting spam signals via anchor text. It is now absolutely crucial to balance out and effectively manage the distribution of anchors. Even slightly overdoing it can see a huge devaluation in link power, but until not that long ago it was possible to rank fairly well by gaining a large volume of exact match anchors. Like all of the tactics listed, this had a certain time limit to its effectiveness, but Google is certainly much quicker at detecting it now.
Tons Of Footer Links
Footer links started losing their effect a while ago, with Google now devaluing links in footers and sidebars. Some people believe that in large volume, these links can still have a positive effect on rankings. However, it used to be quite easy to build up a large volume of very effective links by giving someone a bit of cash for a ton of site-wide footer and blog roll links. Obviously, all with keyword anchor text!