SEO tricks continue to get devalued. Google keeps getting better at picking up tricks and rendering them valueless.
So how do you know what's a trick that is a waste of time or at worst will get you penalized?
Here's a simple rule.
Anything that can be repeated and scaled can be automated.
Anything that can be automated can be detected and discredited by Google.
It's very easy to buy into a bot network and spam links across the web. Google caught on and has applied massive penalties to people who do so. It's very easy to hire massive numbers of people through services like Amazon Mechanical Turk or Fiverr to mindlessly create links in blog comments or social networks. Google can catch those, too. It's very easy to buy an absurd number of press releases and stuff them with links. Google caught on and slapped penalties liberally to companies that behaved badly.
If you're considering a marketing tactic, if it can be automated and scaled, it can be caught by Google. They have more robots, more machines, more Ph.Ds, more networks, more everything than any one SEO company or marketing department.
So how do you know what won't earn you a punishment from Google?
Google values what doesn't scale. Google values great content, which is exceptionally difficult to scale. Google values innovative ideas, and heaven knows innovation is a struggle. If it's unique and difficult to do, Google will probably value it. Being a great content provider? Hard to do, even harder to scale - ask anyone with a successful website or team blog just how difficult it is to consistently crank out great content. Being an innovative developer? Very hard to do, exceptionally hard to come up with consistently great new ideas, and incredibly hard to scale well.
Do what's unique. Do what's hard to replicate, hard to scale, hard to automate. And every proposal, pitch, or offer you get that says they have an easily automated system to do X, you now know to be a trap just waiting to happen.
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