What Do I Need To Unlearn From My SEO Days From 5 Years Ago?

Jul 1, 2014 • 8:46 am | comments (47) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

SEOThey often say, learning new things is way easier than unlearning old things.

A WebmasterWorld thread has an old SEO who hasn't been in the game for five or more years, asking to be caught up quickly on what has changed.

The answer is, a lot. With all the various algorithmic changes at Google around Pandas, Penguins, Hummingbirds and so on, things have changed.

No longer is it easy to manipulate Google based on their ranking factors, now you need to be real. Here are some quotes from the thread that stand out to me:

Put your users first. Make your site as USEFUL to your users as possible.

I don't focus on "SEO" and do OK.

Things of the past to no longer do: Press Releases (Panda victim), Keyword stuffing, source code order, footer links, site wide links and being unconcerned about page speed.

It is often amazing looking back at how far SEO has come, how Google has forced it with their algorithms, for better or worse.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for seo image

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07/01/2014 01:38 pm

Google's Webmaster guidelines have changed little, but Google's ability to slap those who abuse it has improved greatly. Mainly their ability to detect paid / spam links and anchor text.

Michael Martinez

07/01/2014 01:58 pm

"It is often amazing looking back at how far SEO has come, how Google has forced it with their algorithms, for better or worse." Good SEO doesn't have to change.

Yo Mamma

07/01/2014 02:30 pm

MM, and you consider a follow backlink from sites you may manage, 'good seo' lol brother "What Do I Need To Unlearn From My SEO Days From 5 Years Ago?" YES SEO is dead. If you do SEO you are stealing money and should be ashamed. (so sayeth G$$gle who hateth SEO)


07/01/2014 02:34 pm

Not really... blackhats don't care about Google's penalties... You have to have long term interest in a site's future for Google's penalties to have meaning. Its just a game of whack-a-mole for white hats.

Dave Fogel

07/01/2014 03:07 pm

If you are doing anything you did 5 years ago, you will probably end up with a penalty eventually.


07/01/2014 04:36 pm

I wouldn't be scared of a follow link from a site which I had a relationship with. Not at all.


07/01/2014 07:00 pm

Google would advise you against this as it is not editorially given. You are basically giving yourself a vote. Feel free to link amongst your properties but make sure you nofollow them. Otherwise when the rankings drop you will be scrambling around trying to figure out where it went wrong. Right now you have the stable door open with the horse ready to bolt. There is not a single person of any merit on the google forum that would back your stance of linking with a followed link to your own property.


07/01/2014 07:28 pm

Viacom does it with all their properties... They even got #1 for games by doing it... Google doesn't punish them for their link wheel.


07/01/2014 07:56 pm

How do you know they are not being punished? For all you know they are being held back. Without those follow links they could be doing better or maybe because they are a big brand the pendulum does not swing far enough over to make a difference. The point is you don't have the information one way or another. Only google has that. This is not a recommendation to do it because a massive brand does it. Massive brands tend to have a lot more trust than small networks of sites linked together by thew owner.


07/01/2014 08:56 pm

I just called them, they arent being punished... so they now have plans to spit in the direction of the plex while deploying a plugin/widget embedded with anchor rich links to all their third party sites and affiliates. true story bro.


07/01/2014 09:00 pm

Being #1 on Google for the keyword "games" is not a punishment. That is how I know they aren't being punished... everyone has that information.

Davis Johnson

07/01/2014 11:37 pm

"No longer is it easy to manipulate Google based on their ranking factors" I beg to differ. In fact it is easier then ever to rank if you know what your doing.

Michael Martinez

07/02/2014 01:19 am

I don't know what you have been practicing all these years but it certainly does not sound like SEO. Search engine optimization cannot die; only bad practices masquerading as SEO.

Michael Martinez

07/02/2014 01:20 am

"Google would advise you against this as it is not editorially given. " Nope.


07/02/2014 05:10 am

There is not a single person of any merit on the google forum fullstop. There is nothing wrong with footer credit links, they pre-date google. If you imagine Google cant handle them then you are wrong. Look at wordpress, blogger and tens of thousands of other examples.

yo yo dine

07/02/2014 07:36 am

Hi Davis, Seems you did it a lot. I need some quick tips from you. Could you please? Yo Yo Dine


07/02/2014 07:45 am

Oh Michael, you have really let yourself down with your outdated understanding of what google finds acceptable and what google finds as unacceptable. See here for what google deems to be a link scheme. You will see footer links as one example and you will see EDITORIAL GIVEN as another and manipulating page rank as another ... voting for yourself could quite easily fall in to several of these examples clearly given. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en&rd=1 So Michael, rather than saying "NOPE" which is pathetic by the way, why not tell us or show us an example of where google finds this practice acceptable. That way you will turn from a pathetic creature looking to score points and confuse people to someone who is making a positive contribution. Are you capable of that Michael?


07/02/2014 07:51 am

So John Mu and Matt Cutts who post on the forum are worthless? Most of the TC's are extremely knowledgeable and do have access to insider information via google employees when needed. Also, your idea of do follow fotter links being OK is outdated. See the page here to see what google thinks about footer links in particular: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en&rd=1 Now show me a google post or someone in authority saying that dofollow links between your own websites is OK. Can you show me that?


07/02/2014 07:56 am

So what makes you believe that the links are responsible for the games ranking? My guess would be there is a lot more to that ranking than those links. Seeing as google uses over 200 metrics to rank a page I would suggest those links are not the only metric at play here and it is still possible that google is not counting those self given links at all. It is also possible that they have an algo penalty on those links and can still rank number 1 for that term. There are far too many variables at play here and as I said earlier, the only people who can really tell you are google themselves.


07/02/2014 08:00 am

PS..I never said there was anything wrong with footer links. Have as many as you like. Just make sure if they are to your own property or are a paid by money or paid in kind link then they need to be nofollowed. Having these links that are benefiting your own sites is seen as manipulation of pagerank and is not favored by google. So nofollow those links and google will not punish you for them.


07/02/2014 08:18 am

Sorry, I am not buying into the fud and I suggest others don't either. Genuine footer credit links don't need to be nofollowed. If you are embarking on a campaign of "Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites" then yes- you do need to nofollow the links. 'Widely distributed has been shown to mean things like wordpress free templates. And you can find examples of them around the internet eg "sponsored by xx" used to be popular. You will not find any confirmed examples of a simple benign footer link to eg a web design company causing any problem for either party. It is actually really daft to suggest that Google doesn't know how to handle footer links and dafter still to post like you don't understand the difference between spam tactics and genuine entities on any given website.


07/02/2014 10:38 am

I agree with you, but black hat sites get nuked by Google somewhat quicker than they used to.


07/02/2014 10:39 am

There are some clues to what he's been practicing in his Twitter feed. Some of it is quite unsavory. https://twitter.com/YoMamma51087092


07/02/2014 11:50 am

Tell him. don't come back :)

Yo Mamma

07/02/2014 11:53 am

Really? So why not acquire old expired domains and put a little follow backlink to your money site on each one. Sounds like a plan. I have at least 2 of you so-called geniuses doing that

Yo Mamma

07/02/2014 11:59 am

I wouldn't ask you what your definition of SEO is MM. I have seen it and don't like it. But thats just my opinion. What I meant about SEO being dead is that when SEO's constantly keep using failed/banned techniques that are high risk of failure, that tells me you all have given up, that SEo is truly dead, you have no option but to continue to cheat the system, even though you know it will wipe out your customers


07/02/2014 12:07 pm

That sounds like a spammy & non-genuine technique to me, seems you are mixing up normal stuff with spam seo.

oh, so very wrong

07/02/2014 12:57 pm

It is a well known fact that many web designers and large sites have been penalized for follow footer links. These links are fine if they are no followed but they are toxic if you leave them as followed. You do not seem to understand what you are talking about my dear fellow. I know, why don't you have a new back passage ripped out for yourself by posting the crap you just posted here over on the official google forum. See how ridiculed you become in under 10 minutes flat. Go on, I dare you :) No, I double dare you!

oh, so very wrong

07/02/2014 01:04 pm

See if you can get your brain round this google forum post where someone asked about webmaster links on peoples sites: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/webmasters/pX0sI1KOnTM As you can see, and it is clearly pointed out by a TC that these links are paid links and as such should be nofollowed. So may I suggest before you go around giving bad advice you actually get some real information to base it on.


07/02/2014 01:14 pm

Well known fact ? There are lots of well known facts regarding Google penalties and you can easily back them up by posting links to forum where Google staff have confirmed the penalties. Threads of these ilk are huge in number. For example, if you asked me to prove there was a Google penalty for paid links then I would be able to produce "hundreds" of links where it clearly showed a penalty and Google confirming that. You cant do that with footer credit links because there is no penalty for innocent footer links. You can get a penalty for links in the footer and indeed anywhere else if the links are spam/spammy. Now unless you are going to come back with some substantial evidence in the form of Google clearly confirming a penalty then I suggest you go and blow your hot air in that forum you seem to like very much, from the sounds of it - you will be in good company.


07/02/2014 02:00 pm

Go ahead and link how you like. It is your site and you own it. Im sure anyone with more than a single brain cell will take the information given here and use it in the right way. I don't see too many people being stupid enough to ignore the information but I do see some because the world is full of people with different levels of intellect. Have fun with your non spammy (SPAMMY), non paid for (PAID FOR), PR manipulating links. I see a just reward coming your way in the not so distant future :)

Michael Martinez

07/02/2014 04:37 pm

Well, I'll just get on the phone to Automattic and let them know that all those "Powered by Wordpress" links are doing them lots of harm. I am sure they'll appreciate your deep insights into these matters.

Michael Martinez

07/02/2014 04:40 pm

Well, I'm sure his 17 followers appreciate his wisdom and experience. Very clever of him to use a proxied domain for the redirect, too. That should fool Google's spam team.

Michael Martinez

07/02/2014 04:43 pm

"when SEO's constantly keep using failed/banned techniques that are high risk of failure" Like redirected proxy domains that oh-so-cleverly hide your intentions from Google? Yes, I can see what you mean by "SEO" after all. Surely you should be building some more shadow domains rather than arguing with people, right?


07/02/2014 05:10 pm

How do you know they are not being penalized for this? You mention this Michael as if to say well if they are doing it then its fair game for everyone. What you are neglecting to take into consideration is the power of their brand overall inspite of these links. These links may well count for absolutely nothing. As I mentioned earlier for those smart enough to follow along is that google is not ranking pages based on 1 metric but over 200. So even if they have an algo penalty on these links the rest of the brand power is likely pulling them through. The stronger the brand the more resilient it is. This is why you hear all the time that brands are the new thing in google. The reality is that brands are more resilient to algo penalties and might not even notice they have them because of all the other metrics pulling them along. I really thought you were a bit smarter but it seems this subject has exposed your lack of knowlege

Michael Martinez

07/02/2014 07:41 pm

"You mention this Michael as if to say well if they are doing it then its fair game for everyone." You're obviously not paying attention to the details. Here's some advice: If you want to be a Blackhat Spammer, rule no. 1 is ALWAYS KEEP A LOW PROFILE. Rule no. 2 is don't assume that you have it all figured out. Rule no. 3 is whenever someone disagrees with you, consider the possibility that they might know something you don't. Rule no. 4 is don't believe all the nonsense you read in blackhat spammer blogs and forums because there is someone there always trying to sell you something. I, on the other hand, have no interest in doing business with you. I have no incentive to mislead you.

Very Wrong

07/02/2014 08:13 pm

Michael, Michael, Michael... Rule number 1.. Don't assume because it makes an ass of U. Rule number 2. Just because you don't understand something does not make your warped view correct. It makes it less likely to be correct. You clearly have a knowledge gap and it has been well exposed. Rule number 3 It is unlikely with your knowledge gap that you know more than YoMamma. Rule number 4. I don't go to black hat forums. I am not looking to buy anything nor sell anything related to SEO in any way, shape or form. Like you I am a website owner. So I point you back to Rule number 1.

Michael Martinez

07/02/2014 10:09 pm

You're very toxic and bitter and you attack a lot of people in the Disqus community. You should really take a deep breath and reconsider your priorities because they are obviously not guiding you on the right path.


07/03/2014 08:13 am

You are pretty toxic yourself Michael and I would even add bitter. Let me tell you a little story and perhaps you might open your mind a little. I got taken out by google for past indiscretions because I employed a leading SEO company who royally screwed my site. So, over the last 3 years I have made it my business to understand as best as possible what it is that google really wants and what can be considered risky. Now I have a better understanding than 99.9% of scammer SEO's which is about 99.999% of them and I get pretty pissed when I see stupid comments like the one above about interlinking your own sites without using a nofollow tag. So let's put this one to bed once and for all shall we... Yes, you can interlink your own sites. If you do, use the nofollow tag because google MIGHT consider this as a paid for link. There is enough information on the net and in the right place (namely the google forum) to suggest this is a high risk thing to do if you leave it followed. I am not saying you get an automatic slap for this but if you have other issues on your site this could contribute towards a slap. All sites on the net have issues to one degree or another so if you know of one possible high risk tactic you are using it does not make sense to leave that unchanged unless of course you are hoping to gain something from it (namely the link juice). Let me ask you this simple question Michael, what benefit do you get from leaving these links to follow links? What is the actual reason for leaving it as a follow link when you know there is a possibility this could be seen as a paid for link?

Yo Mamma

07/03/2014 12:00 pm

You and I both know the answer to why he follow links his own network of domains. The reality for MM is that he has to rethink this linking strategy. It was imo a calculated risk for him to post his info online then debate BH issues, because now he is no longer 'low profile'. The bad in this is to publicly, constantly, to say this link scheme is ok. I would say that if someone had 5 interlining domains with say one follow link in the footer, its not considered spammy, but the follow is there to pass link juice to YOURSELF, and that is a problem. One the other hand 200 domains doing the same can easily be considered spammy. So its a matter of comfort and dealing with the reality that PEOPLE complain about interlinking, not code. Hence MM's reference to keep a low profile. IE, do it and hope nobody notices. Which is daft because if ur on PG1, u will be noticed. lol. So its a self-defeating strategy

Michael Martinez

07/03/2014 02:45 pm

Unlike you I don't rampage through online discussions attacking people right and left so your accusation of toxicity falls flat.


07/03/2014 03:26 pm

If you say "rampaging through online discussions" means correcting bad advice and showing idiots up for what they are, as opposed to blowing smoke up their skirt, then yes you are correct. I point you out as an idiot Michael and if that means toxic then I am happy to wear that tag. My toxicity does not make you less of an idiot. So Michael, how about answering the question I posed to you about your followed links between your own properties. Why are you avoiding the question? I know, you can call me bitter and toxic again so you can avoid the question....AGAIN...

Michael Martinez

07/03/2014 05:36 pm


rakesh kumar singh

07/04/2014 01:47 am

go with the acceptable old one that still does matter with the latest seo updates and factors, now we have panda, penguine, hummingbird, penguine, payday loan etc. seo is not going anywhere it has just changed into digital marketing trends from internet marketing.


07/04/2014 07:10 am

I think we can all conclude Michael that your avoidance in answering the simple question I posed to you says a lot about your real intention with those links. Sometimes when you say nothing at all you reveal everything.

Michael Martinez

07/04/2014 08:16 am



07/08/2014 07:18 am

I just note that in last five years spammers and spamming has good impact on ranking but after updates we say that google look at them and said just "get lost Spammers" with great charge of penalty!Thanks !

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