In the SEO world one thing is certain: the “best practices” come and go. Due to excessive spamming or because of the appearance of new technologies and methods, these practices are abandoned.
Most of the techniques in SEO are based on the following principals:
- Spiders are stupid: Help them parse your site. Use the tools you have efficiently.
- Spiders are clever: Create quality content and they will find you and rank you well. Do not use black hat techniques because you risk getting banned.
- Focus on the user experience: Design the websites mainly (but not only) for users and give them what they need. This is how you will get links and receive more traffic.
In this article we will not elaborate on the details of the principals mentioned above. Instead we will reveal 3 practices that used to be very popular in the past, but now are abandoned or they do not influence the search rankings as much as they used to.
PageRank Sculpting by using rel=nofollow
This PageRank Sculpting technique was heavily used by many SEOs, as it helped them manipulate the PR flow of their sites. Google never recommended this technique. They characterized it as “not very efficient” and they stated that it has second order effects.
Few months back Matt Cutts announced that rel=nofollow does not work any more the way it used to. Please note that this information is included in a previous article (The PageRank sculpting techniques and the nofollow issue). Our team suggested an alternative PR-Sculpting method by using rel=nofollow and a special script (check the article PageRank Sculpting: You can still use rel=nofollow).
Submitting sites in Directories
Submitting a site in as many directories as possible was a very popular method to boost the rankings of a site in the past. Even Google had a guideline in the webmaster quality guidelines page, which suggested that submitting a site in quality Directories (DMOZ and Yahoo Directory) is something that can be very helpful.
Recently Google removed that guidelinebecause, according to Matt Cutts, “People got obsessed with it”. Submissions in quality directories has still positive effects on the SEO status of a site, but SEOs have finally understood that submitting a site to 1 trillion link farms is something that will not help. Surely though, it will NOT hurt a site and it will not lead to any bans.
Use of Meta keywords
The Keywords Metatag is not used any more by Google. Additionally it has almost no effect on the rankings for the other major search engines. Ten years ago where we had meta-search engines it used to affect the search results. The fact that users misused this tag, by spamming or by adding irrelevant keywords, lead to its abandonment.
On the other hand Meta Description is still important as it affects the snippets that appear in the search results. So make sure you use META description tags properly.