I’m easing myself into work by doing a couple of blog posts before I start work on our clients! Along with neglecting blogging have have neglected reading Sphinn and other blogs recently. One of the Sphinn topics I noticed was by Copy Brighter on SEO techniques Google has smashed in 2007. One of the reasons I like posts like this is because I see so many SEO companies still practicing these techniques or advising their clients to use them. I have no doubt many of these companies will continue using the techniques throughout 2008 and onwards. One of the key jobs as an SEO is to actively read Blogs, Forums and other information sites in order to keep on top of the regular changes search engines make to their algorithms/rules. While it is impossible to know the exact Google algorithm it is often publicly announced when Google make an important change. Some of these changes include:

  1. Reciprocal linking. This is an out of date technique still widely used by many SEO companies and webmasters and it is important to realise that it is no longer a valid technique. In May of 2007 Realtors who relied heavily on reciprocal links were hit with a -30 penalty from Google, severely harming their business. If really need to do a reciprocal link it is best not to use a links page but to embed the link within an article or news item, this makes the link look more natural. Google also say it’s the excessive reciprocal linking that is not allowed, so swapping links with select sites that have a good authority within your industry should be fine.
  2. The “site: *** -sljktf” command (to show the supplemental index results). It used to be common practice to check which WebPages were in the supplemental index, as it would identify which pages needed some extra work doing to them. However Google has now merged all the pages into the regular index making it harder to identify which pages are under-performing.
  3. Directory Links. Another outdated technique still widely used. During 2007 Google hit many directories with a reduction in Page Rank. Sites using the directories should not be directly affected / penalised but have the value of the links from the directories reduced.
  4. Sponsored blog post networks. Google made quite a controversial move in 2007 when they penalised Bloggers who accepted payments to provide blog posts about websites, products, services and companies. Many websites had their Page Rank completely stripped away and has upset many Bloggers that generate some extra money from their Blog.
  5. Paid for links / Sponsored Links. Similar to the Sponsored Blog posts Google hit many sites that sold link placements on their site. This is due to people trying to increase their Page Rank artificially by paying for links from high PR websites. This is another move that caused much upset as many sites had a big drop in PR, many of the site did not even sell links.
  6. Dominating the SERPs with sub domains. Often used as a Reputation Management Technique allowing companies achieve multiple results from several different sub domains. This technique was devalued with Google making it more difficult for each sub domain after the first 2 to good achieve rankings.
  7. 10 Blue Links. This is not really a penalty but Google has shifted from provided strictly 10 website search results on page 1 to a mixture of results including Images, Videos, Blog posts and News Items. Google is making a big push towards relevancy and quality of search results making it harder for websites to rank in the top ten. This will mainly effect website with little content and deliberately made for Adsense.