Google recently changed its algorithm to punish content scrappers and some of my friends see traffic levels like this.
But that is not the end of the world and Good content sites like IMTips saw completely opposite
So it is important to understand things that can (and should) work in SEO and also things you should avoid.
1. Manipulating Content
I still see many sites use things like same colored text as background. If you are thinking to differ the color slightly (Black background and grey font color) and put 1000 keywords rich content below the footer you should still avoid that.
Apart from plain hiding if you think you are smart enough to get the hidden text behind an overlay-ed image or hide content with some CSS tricks it is time to think more from user point of view in 2011 and not search engine point of view.
If you are avoiding content manipulation the next thing that may come to your mind is about keyword density. Isn’t it? You may have even started to think about how you can increase your keyword density but make sure you have user as a reference point in your mind and not a search engine. If you think few extra times a keyword is something that is going to help your user it should be (and must be) done or else it is nothing more than waste of time.
It is time to think beyond link building techniques like link farms, Link Exchanges, Link Wheelers, 3 Way link Exchanges or even n way link exchanges. If you think your user will not benefit from the link on your site there is no point in having that link just to gain SEO and Google ranking. Google has been working (read punishing) a lot on sites that impact the Google algorithm un-naturally.
Next thing that may come to your mind is link from other related forums and blogs. Being a webmaster of Programming and SEO Forum I will suggest you to avoid spamming and be helpful in forums. More or less every blog and forum allows you to promote your site with a link but make sure you know what is allowed. Don’t forget that a user for life is much more valuable than thousands of guests for few seconds per day.
Apart from the normal link cloaking techniques if you are thinking to can get the manual directory submissions done for as low as $1.99 it is like wasting your hard earned money and a penny saved is a penny earned.
3. Auto Content
Don’t go for some automated script which can create content for some of your site from other sources it is time to re-think on the same. Auto Blogs may have worked in the past but the recent step of Google towards copied content means you should focus more on things which in the long run can work in your favour rather than focusing more on things which has worked in the past.
Again getting the perfect Meta keywords and description will not make a hell lot of different from getting the right Meta keywords and description. They are nothing more than just a waste of time and so never used more than few minutes on getting them right. If you think you are giving too much time on them it is better to not to have them as well. I will also not waste too much of my time writing about them.
Last but still by no means least is to think about PageRank. Google itself is devaluing the Toolbar PR and so if you are still looking at Toolbar PageRank I think it is time to shift your focus on better things than Toolbar PR.
What is your strategy for SEO in 2011?
Further Reading …