Many affiliates rely on organic traffic to drive their business. Sound familiar? If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you learn as much as possible about the best SEO practices. After all, if your site loses its rankings you are going to lose traffic. And when this happens, a decrease in revenue is sure to follow.

Remember, just because something worked in 2010 and 2011 does not mean it will continue to benefit you today. With the recent Panda update by Google, as well as many other algorithm changes, the SEO landscape has evolved.

Here are eight outdated SEO practices that you no longer need to rely on:

1. Using Meta Keywords

Gone are the days when using meta keywords helped your site rank higher. In fact, this has nothing to do with where your site ranks. Contrary to popular belief, meta descriptions have no bearing on your rankings either. Although a good description can attract a visitor who is reviewing search results, it does not play any part in whether or not your site ranks.

Tip: if you are spending too much time generating meta keywords you are not doing yourself any favors. Spend your time on things that actually matter, such as your title tags.

2. Footer Links

Remember the days when footer links were all the rage? While exchanging links is still an important part of higher rankings, these are now seen as spammy. In other words, you can avoid this type of linking strategy.

As you actively pursue inbound links, it is best to get those that are above the fold – or better yet included in the content.

On your own site, footer links are best for site information and outbound links to other sites.

3. Chasing after PageRank

From the moment Google announced its PageRank system this obsession has been growing. But did you know that PageRank is only one of more than 200 details that are considered when determining rank? Along with this, Google only updates its PageRank information a couple of times per year.

Yes, a higher PageRank is better than a lower PageRank. That being said, you don’t want to spend all your time and resources attempting to increase this number. Focus more on ethical search engine optimization, traffic and conversions. If you do this, your PageRank will naturally increase over time.

4. Forum Links

With thousands upon thousands of forums, these are often times a breeding ground for webmasters. In short, they visit these sites and do whatever it takes to get a link back to their site – even at the expense of the forum itself.

Yes, these links are still useful to a certain extent. However, many people believe that they are not nearly as powerful as they once were.

If you are going to practice this method of link building, make sure you add something useful to the forum. Not only will this benefit the community as a whole, but it will go a long way in ensuring that your link stays live as opposed to being marked as spam and deleted.

5. Sticking to Reciprocal Links

There is one reason why people love reciprocal links: they are the easiest to get. When you give somebody a link they are more likely to return the favor. While trading links with another webmaster is a great idea, you need to mix in “one way links” as well.

Are you one of those webmasters who spends hours on end sending emails, asking to exchange links? If so, give up this practice and focus more on organic links through the generation of high quality content. In other words, give people a reason to link to your site without having to ask for it.

6. Quantity over Quality

In the not so distant past, there was a time when more content was the only thing that mattered. In today’s day and age, this is no longer the case. Unfortunately, having a large amount of unique content is no longer good enough. Google does not want your site to simply have content. Google wants your site to have content that is of the highest quality; something that brings value to your readers.

Tip: it is better to add one high quality article to your website than two useless pieces of content.

7. Overlooking the Importance of Analytical Data

Believe it or not, there are still affiliate marketers overlooking the importance of analytical data – this is a big mistake. It is more important than ever to track page views, conversion rates, bounce rates, and traffic sources.

Did you know that Google is now considering some of these factors as they rank your sites? For example, the longer somebody stays on your website the more valuable it appears in Google’s eyes. The same holds true with bounce rate. When a visitor browses multiple pages before leaving, the site is considered to be of higher quality.

8. Submitting to Search Engines

This practice has been dying for a couple years, but it is still worth noting. There is only one thing worse than spending time on this: paying somebody else to do it for you.

Gone are the days when you needed to submit your site and web pages to search engines. Instead, your pages will be found automatically as you begin to build links (social bookmarking sites are a great place to start). Along with this, you can use a sitemap and internal linking to speed up the process.

Can you think of any other SEO practices that you can do away with? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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