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Stop Demonizing Every SEO Tactic That Gets Abused

Ever since the rise of black and white animals over at Google the SEO industry seems to be in a constant state of paranoia. Every other day there seems to be a new post being spread about how this or that is going to kill your SEO efforts in the near future.

 SEO that works

It started with “the death of anchor text”, then it was “the death of infographics” the cycle is never ending and as time goes on its as if the SEO industry is consuming itself. The fact of the matter is any technique you use maliciously or as a means to game the system will ultimately come back to bite you, that doesn’t mean that legitimate use of these tactics are dead.

Keyword Rich Anchor Text

Ever since Penguin hit it seems that SEO’s are regularly telling folks to stop using keyword rich anchor text. They say to use generic anchor text is best in a post penguin world. But what they fail to realize is that anchor text and links are still at the heart of Google’s algorithm.

Sure, there are a number of other factors that will help you, but anchor text still has its place. The key, as with anything great, is moderation. When you can control it, get that kick ass anchor text you want to help your site rank. When you can’t don’t sweat it. Let those be the “natural” links that you get where you don’t control the anchor text. Don’t turn your back on good anchor text because you’re afraid of the algorithm. The only reason to fear keyword rich anchor text is if you bought the links at 5,000 links for five dollars on Fiver.


The death of infographics were foreshadowed after the infamous Eric Enge interview with Matt Cutts. In the interview Matt Cutts discussed infographics a bit and stated, ” I would not be surprised if at some point in the future we did not start to discount these infographic-type links to a degree.” The key here is that Matt said “to a degree” and before that he made positive statements about infographics as well:

  • ” I do agree that there are ways that infographics can be created and that represent an OK form of promotion”
  • “In principle, there’s nothing wrong with the concept of an infographic.”
  • “Any infographics you create will do better if they’re closely related to your business, and it needs to be fully disclosed what you are doing.”

The above statements from Cutts are very pro-infographics when you consider using them properly and with quality in mind. When the graphic doesn’t align with your business goals and is of poor quality that is when you need to be concerned about the value of your graphic in the future. You might even consider checking out my five reasons your infographic sucks post.

Guest Blogging

This resurfaced more recently thanks to a post on problogger that got some extra attention on The problem wasn’t so much Jeff Foster’s message in the post, in fact he was pretty spot on in terms of things to consider when it comes to guest blogging, but his fear mongering title, “Why Blogs that Allow Guest Posts Will Be Penalized in 2013″ left a bad taste in my mouth.

I think there are two ways guest blogging will hurt bloggers in 2013, first blogs allowing low quality guest posts that are irrelevant to the blog topic or audience full of spammy or affiliate backlinks are sure to be hit. On the other hand bloggers contributing to these and using the same anchor text repeatedly across a number of blog posts could see a hit from these practices later this year.

Again, the key is quality. If you are writing quality content and providing it to a source that aligns with your business or the topic you are writing about then by all means guest blog away.

The Art of Link Building

Jon Cooper did a really good job at breaking this down in his post, The Inevitable Demise of Link Building…or so they say. In it Jon explored a number of timeless link building efforts that have been looked down upon in the wake of Penguin when in actuality they still have legitimate uses. Some of the practices listed by Jon include:

  • Reciprocal Links
  • Directory Links
  • Blog Comments
  • Forum Posting
  • Press Releases

None of practices are bad if used in a way that isn’t aimed at gaming the system. If the links obtained in the above methods are topical, add value to the community or the internet and will actually benefit your business then they are in no means dead, because they contribute to your bottom line and ultimately to the community you are trying to nurture.

Ultimately none of your SEO practices will come back to bite you unless you are intentionally using them for SEO gains. Think of the practices you use on a regular basis, are you practicing them strictly for Google or are they actually benefiting your business? Would you still use the time and resources to complete the task if Google wasn’t in the picture?

If you want to get the most out of your SEO efforts its time to, as Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive put it, do “real company shit”. The sooner you start doing legitimate business work, the quicker you’ll reap the benefits in SEO.



  1. dave February 20, 2013

    I am just starting to get into marketing my site and while looking at elance for SEO experts to aid me I started to get paranoid about getting penalized by google. There seem to be quite a few “experts” and everyone thinks their method is best but you have explained why that is very well. As long as people do not abuse any single tactic they should be okay.

  2. Alan Bleiweiss February 20, 2013

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! (and no, that was not keyword stuffing my gratitude!) Mike, dude, seriously. “But x said we shouldn’t use keywords in links anymore…” #headdesk

    I swear – it’s literally a case where “magic-bullet” SEO has become “don’t use this magic bullet anymore” SEO. Both of which are pathetic myopic and within the realm of the worst possible things on earth to recommend to clients and site owners…

  3. Steve Gerencser February 20, 2013

    We been trying to teach people this for years. SEO, and marketing in general, is not a yes/no proposition. It is about balance and thresholds and audience.

    Some directory links? Great. A little guest blogging? Perfect. Have a killer infographic? you bet. Maybe even publish a great article to a few ‘gasp’ article directories.

    But going out and get 10k directory links and a few hundred 200 word blog posts and maybe an xrummer run and you have an issue using the exact same tactics.

    And just because the rules changed over the years, does not mean that the people who built reciprocal links 10 years ago were “black hats” or “crap hats”. They were doing what was a normal, accepted, practice for that era.

  4. SEO Marseille February 25, 2013

    The advices we give for food also apply to SEO : everything but with moderation and “natural” is your best friend !

  5. Courtney THein March 10, 2013

    SO many good points in this article. Seems like if you just do internet promotion and act like there is no Google, it will all work out.

    Not completely sold on your statement “Ultimately none of your SEO practices will come back to bite you unless you are intentionally using them for SEO gains.”

    I think that is generally true, but you must be aware of what Google’s changing to not get caught accidentally in some new penalty.

  6. Rick Bucich March 10, 2013

    Now if we could only get every SEO guru and expert to read this post. Beware the self anointed.

    Well done!

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