I figured there are a load of bad SEO techniques been spouted around the forum and even sold to the unsuspecting. These techniques can destroy a business so I thought it will be prudent for SEOers here to each contribute at least one method that will be considered poor SEO practice (on-page and off-page).
Read through the thread before posting your method to avoid repetition. There are enough bad practices to go around so you shouldn't have a problem outlining one of them.
NB: this thread has become a collective contribution by members of the forum who are SEO focused
MORE LINKS = HIGHER RANKINGS
This is not so much of a technique but more of a mindset where people are led to believe the more links they get to their site will equate to more "votes" which will result in higher rankings. This is untrue.
The more links been offered by a supplier only equates to a reduction in the quality of links which means the links themselves are high risk and of low quality. Links are not created equal. Quality always trumps quantity!
A quality link is a contextual/editorial type link on a page that is relevent which has PageRank or will increase in PageRank. The uniqueness of the content and the domain authority also carries a weightage. (check domain authority here: Open Site Explorer).
Page Authority (PA) is also important but only if the link is going to remain on the page that has a good PA score.
If the root domain has PR and the site has good internal linking and slow posting frequency then chances of a new post increasing in PR are high.
posted by me
FORUM PROFILE LINKS
"Stay away from anyone pimping forum profiles, gov, & edu links. That eliminates most of the junk link sellers."
posted by Yukon, post no. 2
PUBLIC BLOG NETWORKS
If you come across a seller offering you a large number of links on a blog network that accepts spun content - STAY AWAY. These type of networks leave a clear footprint and Google will find out about it which means you run the risk of getting penalized by using such links.
posted by me
NATURAL BACKLINK PROFILE
1.4.1) "Adding crap links like profiles, article submission blasts, etc., makes your site link profile look more "natural", so that's a great thing!" (this is a myth)
1.4.2) "Add to that - you must have 20% or 15% or 10% no-follow links to look natural.
I don't know how my authority sites are still ranking with 99.99% of backlinks all passing full link juice - can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?"
Posted by remodeler and jxam respectively, post no. 15 and 17
1.5.1) Another myth: "Readable spun content is just as good as unique written content" or in other words MashedUP content sucks, it increased my deindex rate of my tier 2 network hugely.
1.5.2) Unique content eats spun content and works best ALL the time!
Posted by nik0 and me respectively, post no. 18
Here is another myth that is widely believed even by SEO's... Link velocity and link consistency.
Building links too fast does not harm your site. Building shitty links harms your site.
Also, there is nothing more unnatural than a site getting a consistent 20-30 links a day or whatever other amount of links you come up with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a site getting link spikes. Happens all the time. That's what happens when a piece of content goes viral.
Posted by MikeFriedman, post no. 46
YOU DON'T NEED BACKLINKS
Myth, you don't need backlinks
I get tired of hearing this, if you really want good rankings, you need to get some version of backlinks. In some niches most people won't link to you naturally. In fact pretty much every high ranking site in my niche definitely builds backlinks to their own site.
Backlinking is just part of the game.
posted by Slin, post no. 86
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME
(this is kinda of a continuation from the previous contribution by Slin)
The premise of just building a site well and it will take-off is flawed. The philosophy is a myth.
I see many many sites in the various niches that I am in that are built well with awesome site design and content. These sites deserve to rank high but they don't. There needs to be some sort of initial promotion to get the ball rolling and for people to notice these type of sites.
Perhaps one will not need SEO but rather some sort of social media marketing (SMM) to get these type of sites noticed by people and the search engines.
This is Google's philosophy btw... create compelling content and the links will follow but links can't be built to great content if no one is actually seeing it.
posted by me, post no. 89
1.9.1)Social signal myth is absolutely nonsense! I personally didnt see any benefit of social signals on SEO campaigns.
1.9.2) I just want to add that I too did not see much value from social links. I did see some positive SERP movement from retweets but even that has lost its punch. Although social links do not carry much of a weightage at this point in time I still believe it is important to have these type of links for diversity and possible future value.
Posted by Hossain and me respectively, post no. 90
1.10.1) Paid Backlink: Google hate paid backlink. But i saw Paid directory word very nice in SEO. Why Yahoo directory charge huge amount of money for directory submission for a year. Yahoo directory submission work super in SEO.
1.10.2) Just to add to the above: buying links is against Google's guidelines and they hate anyone who buy links to manipulate pagerank but the truth is that it is very difficult for them to detect a paid link. A paid link on a relevent page with PR will do wonders for your rankings but staying under the radar by choosing how you acquire these links is essential.
The Yahoo directory above is an extreme case of a paid link that Google knows about but does not penalize.
posted by arshadul, post no. 102
2.1.1) Many people talk about a certain keyword density that will help with on-page optimization and rankings. You will hear some say 1%, others 2% and I have even heard people talk about 5% keyword density.
This is all BS and ancient SEO. There is no perfect keyword density! Over doing this may actually hurt your rankings.
What is important is having your KW in your title tag and LSI type keywords in your content (this increases relevence). Many times the LSI KWs in the content will appear naturally if one is writing naturally.
2.2.2) SEOpressor is a myth!
Or in ohter words, maintaing a certain kw density, putting your keywords with underline, bold tags, place them in h2, h3, h4 is a big myth, as it can easily lead to a Panda penalty.
Posted by me and nik0 respectively, post no. 20
Myth: Not cloaking your affiliate links is showing to Google that you run an affiliate site.
That's really the biggest nonsense myth ever, like Google bot doesn't know where it ends up on when it crawls that link. In fact it raises a red flag. Matt Cuts even admitted that but people remain stubborn and cloak all the way.
posted by nik0, post no. 93
DUPLICATE CONTENT PENALTIES
2.3.1) My apology if Duplicate Content myth is already covered! If not then I think this myth should be added on OP as lots of newbies still believe google will punish their sites if there are any duplicate content.
There is no duplicate content penalty at all! As a webmaster you have enough right to publish same article/graphics/videos on multiple pages of your site. Google will index duplicate pages. May be sometime duplicate pages will be preserved in supplementary index but that doesnt mean Google impose penalty on the pages.
posted by Hossain, post no. 98
Here is a giant freaking myth. Putting Webmaster Tools or AdSense on your account somehow gives Google added information that they didn't have before about your link building activities and they will punish your site faster/harder/easier if you are using WMT or AdSense and using anything less than high quality links.
Posted by Mike Friedman, post no. 9
COPYSCAPE PASSED ARTICLES/CONTENT
3.2.1) "here's a quirk i hate, if it passes copyscape then it's good unique content - well it might be unique, but any basic spinner can get past copyscape, heck a bit of magic ansi manipulation can get past copyscape, when did copyscape become the the standard for good content? it shouldn't be. copyscape is junk used by article spinning ppl to pass off their work as legitimate."
3.2.2) "Oh and here is another one. If something passes Copyscape, it is original.
Sorry, but Copyscape does not have anywhere near the resources to crawl and index the internet as Google, or most other search engines for that matter.
On top of that, Copyscape is in no way associated with Google, so what they see as "original" does not mean that Google has the same view on the same content."
Posted by Lanx and Mike Friedman respectively, post no. 11 and 12
Many believe certain on-page factors such as uniqueness of content and consistently adding new content will help a site's pagerank. This is untrue!
PR of a page or root domain is determined by the PR of the backlinks to the page or root. If there are high PR links pointing to your domain expect the domain to increase in PR.
posted by me
Myth: Google resets the link value when a domain gets dropped!
Question by me:
Do people actually believe this? I did not know about this myth...
Answer by Nik0:
Yeah if you Google on the subject you see it mentioned more often then not.
The idea to esarch about it started when I saw that the dropped domains from my broker were a lot cheaper then the expired ones. Then I started to read a lot of stories that Google would reset the PR of those or reset the old links but I was like wth I'm just going to try it and they seem to work just as good as expired ones. I also asked the broker what he thought and he only said: People don't like dropped ones (and obvious they are also cheaper to achieve for him, not sure what method he uses but it's not Hayden's). Anyway a domain is as good as the back link profile it has, whether it's expired or dropped.
posted by nik0, post no. 85
SEO IS DEAD
3.5.1) Oops I think you guys missed the biggest myth flooding after each and almost every google updates! After every algo update some headless chickens star running screaminng SEO IS DEAD! I personally believe White Hat SEO cant be dead as SEO is not all about manipulation. Google was, is and will be continuing devaluation of spammy links, websites, methods etc. but that doesnt mean sooner or letter SEO gonna be found on history books! In fact there are tons of legitimate white hat methods are still available.
Posted by Hossain, post no. 88
3.6.1) One big myth that i remember rite now is that google keyword tool can tell you about the competition of a particular keyword. i've seen a lot of people say "this keyword is easy to rank coz google keyword tool shows its low competition".
3.6.2) Even bigger myth is that the number of competing pages shown in google can determine the level of competition. Utter nonsense!!!
posted by Ben Acharyaa, post no. 92
3.7.1) New domains are difficult to rank so start with old aged domains. I saw this types of garbage opinions from so called gurus on SEO forums. Domain age has very little impact on SEO campaigns. I ranked just 1 month old domains which outranked even 10 years old domains. When it comes in SEO perspective authority comes first.
3.7.2) Just to add to the above: it is not the age of the domain that matters but the trust and the authoirty that was built to the domain via the backlinks and PR it has gained over time that makes the aged domain valuable. An aged domain with no backlinks is pretty much as good as any new domain.
posted by Hossain and me, post no. 100