HOW not to do SEO?


I am not really sure if you will count this as an advantage or disadvantage but I am living in the part of the world where SEO is highly misunderstood. I have spent almost 2 years of my life learning everything what one should not practice when it comes to SEO.

One of the big reasons why SEO have a bad reputation is because there are many wrong ways of doing SEO and unfortunately most of them are highly famous. Ask any low quality link builder or SEO and he will tell you article submission is one of the best ways of building links.

As I spend some good years of my life doing wrong SEO (mostly forcefully)and worked under different banners who taught me how not to do SEO, I think I am highly eligible to write a post on how not to do SEO.

Today, in this article I will discuss the long list of ways you should not do SEO. Remember you or your SEO agency might be performing any of the tactics so keep an eye on them because these tactics can put you in the danger zone. I think I don’t really have to tell you that Penguin and Panda find their food in the danger zone these days…

So, here I go…


on page SEO

  • Buy a Domain with a keyword

Ok, from this I didn’t mean that buying a keyword rich domain will hurt you but here I mean the ultimate push to the domains that most low quality link builders and SEO recommend to their clients.

Few of the examples are:


I mean literally, there is no ways anyone can justify these kinds of URLs as legit. Mostly spammers buy these domains in order to manipulate the search engine rankings. Remember investing on these URLs will not only hurt your reputation but also put you in the danger zone where you can probably get a kick by panda/penguin and your rankings will be completely gone from the search engine.

It’s good to have a domain name with a keyword in it but buying a domain keeping only keyword in mind will mostly going to hurt.


  • Add Keyword in the Title

Shocked? Yes Title tag is one of the most important parts of all the on-page SEO factors and one should include keyword in it. This is all true, but it never means stuffing. Stuffing has an obvious line demarcated and one should be aware of it.

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Never… and I mean it never put such titles on your web page as it is going to do nothing but disrepute your brand and portray a bad impact on to your users as well as search engine.  Try adding keywords the natural way if you want to convert real breathing people and not machines.

How many times after the panda update you have seen a stuffed title tag in the search results against a competitive key phrases? One in a thousand and you may not be that lucky…

When it comes to title tag for SEO, the ever green rule is to keep it natural and helpful for user.


  • SEO Optimized Meta Descriptions

Just like title tag same rules implies here.  Just remember any one who tells you that this is an essential on-page SEO factor for ranking in Google so it is advisable to add keywords in it is an outdated SEO.

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One, Description is no more an important ranking factor and two adding keyword stuffed description can dent your image instead of helping you get better rankings and business to the website.

Remember, the ultimate goal of the Google is to get close to how human thinks and I don’t think above given descriptions can ever attract a real human. Try to optimize your Meta description the human way.

  • Meta Keyword Tag

Yet another highly important on-page factor for any low quality SEO around the world but the reality is that Google does not count this as a ranking factor at all.

Having a keyword tag does not directly impact the SERP rankings in any way but the reason why you should not use it is because this way you are helping your competitors to know all about your targeted keywords per page.

So Google isn’t going to penalize if I add this? Of course not but why add keywords that help your competitors win over you? Everything you do in SEO should offer benefits to you and not your rivals! Right?


  • Keyword Density Rocks!

Keyword density is the most common misconception. Most of the content creators might agree with me that one out of 4 clients force them to inject keywords in the content copy in order to maintain so called “keyword density”.

Client: I want you to write 1000 words of article with keywords density of 2.7% and my keywords are X, Y and Z.

My reply to this would be:

Dear Business owner,

If your SEO recommends you to maintain keyword density in the content copy up to a certain percentage which is doing nothing but exploiting your content then you should seriously consider hiring new SEO strategist instead of forcing your content producer to write crap.

There is no concept of maintaining certain level of keyword density in the content copy when it comes to modern SEO. Yes, Content is king which means your content should talk and convince your clients through your words in an ethical manner instead of stuffing the document with the targeted key phrases.

Google has clamped down on low quality keyword stuffed content and is very much specific about content quality. So if you are not good, change yourself or Google Panda may come for your KILL!

The wide spectrum of SEO cannot be completed without discussing offsite or off-page optimization. The number of myths and folklores that are revolving around off-page optimization is far more than onsite optimization. Let’s review the following checklist of how not to do off-page optimization in SEO and if your agency or a freelance consultant who is working for you is on it you know exactly what to do.


off page SEO


  • Directory Submission

When it comes to link building, I am one of them who use directory submission as an initiatory step in all honesty but there is a slight twist in the process.

Directory submission still work to an extent but investing too much time on it and submitting 1000s of directories is a total crap; this can even push you in the red zone at times. When working on directory submission you should always focus on the authority of the directory, links pointing to them, their position in search engines and niche before submitting any of your links to it.

The reason why I put this in the category of how not do SEO is because many people find list of directories from websites like Directory Critic and Directory Roll and start submitting everywhere like a copy paste data entry work and this is where people go wrong.

Remember! Directory submission can help to an extent in dine right but if wrong this can be the major reason why you can be the food of penguin update by Google.

  • Article Submission

I hate pre-made SEO packages in general but my detestation just shoot up to next level when I see 100 article submissions per month. I mean seriously?

Yes, content is important, it is the next big thing but submitting one article to 50 article directories will not make you a king but a jack ass. Just use your logic… you are writing one piece of content and then submitting it to 50 article website which means 50 places on the web will offer the exact same shit… don’t you think you are limiting the resource of web a dirty place by making your content duplicated?

Firstly, article submission after the Panda update is almost finished and second, if you are doing it then at least do not copy and paste the same content on multiple places…this will make condition go worse for you.

If your SEO consultant is passing you a monthly report with tons of links to article submission websites then you better know what to do next, no?

  • Blog Comment Links

Once again, you will find a lot of debate over this topic, some says blog comment links are of the spammy link building tactics and a few believe that it can be really helpful if done correctly, so who is right?

In my opinion both! Yes you heard that right, blog commenting if done correctly can help but what about the blog comments that look something like this.

Great Post! I really like your blog design and just bookmarked it. Will surly visit it again.
Comment by Nike <link>football shoes</link>

Do you think this is going to help me endorse my website, a shitty comment about Nike footballs shoes on a SEO blog? I don’t think so…

This kind of blog commenting can be dangerous and can put you in danger zone. A while back I guest post on Jason’s blog a case study of a website that got penalized by Google after the penguin update as their link profile was stuffed with the same…tons of shitty links from blog comments.

Good blog commenting is an art that takes time but shitty blog comments will help you get nowhere but dark abyss of Google so try and keep a good check on what your SEO team is up to.

  • Building Links with eyes closed

Technically this can actually knock your reputation like anything from the business point of view; your brand name can get in to a serious risk. It is generally practiced by most of the “SEO consultant”; what they do is to grab 2 or 3 of your competitors who are currently ranking for the targeted terms, extract their link profile and follow their footsteps blindly while building links, which eventually end up your business in a pitfall.

Remember, there is a greater amount of possibility that the competitor who is ranking above you is not holy and he might also have some bad links in his link profile. If you or your agency will follow them eyeless while building links, then possibly you can get dump in to Google’s junk bin with your competitor above just after the next Google rollout.


  • Link Exchange

In my opinion Link Exchange is valid in rear cases with rear websites but generally I don’t see any point of creating list of directories on every website in order to pass links back and forth. Links exchange is also bad from the UX point of view. This way you are compelling users to bounce away from your website to some other website related to your niche (or may be not).

Why Link Exchange is one of the ways you should not do SEO is because you are not creating any value out of it and investing much of your time in nothing IMO. Link exchange can also put you in danger when exchanging link from every other website without keeping any metrics in mind like Page Rank, Niche, reputation and more.

Remember! If even done correctly, link exchange does not help much so it is advisable not to practice it until you really need it.

Social is not a separate entity, it comes just under the SEO umbrella so here is the one top way how not to do social!


Social Media


  • Get Likes, +1 and Tweets for rankings

Similar to Ethical SEOs, low quality SEOs are also changing and because of the ultra ordinary buzz that Google is counting social in their ranking algorithms they also are adopting social but be aware that the way they adopt social can hurt your reputation and online presence.


Having 1000k fans that are dead is not going to help you or your brand but few and active fans can. Most low quality SEOs will offer you few 100s of facebook fans within days. Check fivver and you will reach to the number you want with the investment of only 5$.

Quick Hack: Focus on quality fans instead of getting excited by numbers.



Twitter is great to spread your message and from my personal experience I can say that this can really help with indexing of new content in search engine but getting tons of followers and RTs in your Tweet though RTing services will again break your brand instead of making it and your voice will never go far and wide even with thousands of followers and tons of RTs.

Quick Hack: Again, create active relationship with people related to your niche and you will see a win coming your way.


What really surprises me was the Plus 1 exchange services in the market right after the announcement by Google that they will/are considering Google + signals in the ranking algorithm. Today you can easily get lot of +1s in almost all the pages of your website but will it going to help is the real question!

Quick Hack: A +1 that does not build any conversation with t targeted audience is nothing but bullshit.

A Kick Ass Tip:

SEO is not easy and it’s going to be more difficult in the coming days so wisely invest your SEO budget at the right place and get a greater return on investment instead of getting ranking and link reports only.


About the author


By profession and by hobby I am a SEO Consultant, a search blogger and a link builder, all in one. I am writing across websites all the time, I love working with people from all over the world.


Leave a comment
  • Good post Moosa!

    You know what I was also doing the same shit for years without anticipating the results & the impact it will have in long run. And I know many who are doing still doing this ShitSEO.

    One more thing you forgot to add is PageRank-Green Toolbar. I still remember the days when my seniors used to say exchange links with High PR sites & increase the PR of our site. They used to say me that it’ll increase the rankings of the site. *Oh Man! First go increase your SEO knowledge*.

    And now also employers are asking this Shit questions “What is keyword density” “How will you increase our PageRank-Toolbar”? “Should we exchange links with High PR or Low Pr?”…I’m fed up of this shitty seo techniques but I don’t know why they are still behind it.

    Like you i’m also trapped here with some *awful* people who don’t know a shit of SEO.

    Thanks for the list, sorry for my words.

  • Ahh,now i found i m on right path dude, yes i can say SEO is a science and not a part time job. Please stop forcing to your keyword to get high rank try to focus on , how to make your brand well known in market make the things viral through natural peoples.

    • Thanks Alan,

      Glad you really you like… I actually cut down few parts of it which I think were less important… I guess I should come up with part 2 of to cover those parts…

  • As you know Moosa, I am not at the level to say anything about this post but I have read it twice and want to say that it is a great and comprehensive post about “How not to do SEO?” as well as i want to advice not SEOs but myself again and again that “The objective is not to make your links appear natural; the objective is that your links are natural”.

    • I give a reference of a post that i write on Jason’s blog…I think it will explain my point a little further! The tactics if working never means it’s the right way of doing it… blog commenting was working for years that end up taking the sites out of the index and give one a great loss in terms of business!

      When doing SEO it is really important to have a long term approach!

  • I think you are pretty much on-point here. The tactics you are calling out are neither viable nor justifiable any more and anyone being told by their SEO company that this is what is happening should be looking for a new SEO company immediately.

  • Are we ever going to stop talking of “ethical” vs “unethical” SEO when it’s only about people being clueless about what they do vs actually knowing their shit?

    • To be very honest it makes lot of sense to me and I should have thought about this before I was writing this piece…

      Thanks for the pointer, will be careful about this in future!

  • Great post, but I have a slightly different view on some of your points:

    1. Article Submission

    If it is 100 or 50 genuinely (well you can spin a few and get away with it I suppose) different articles, that are posted into relative and contextual niches / guest postings with varied anchor text then I would not think that a problem as long as it is consistent, however, to crank out that many unique articles would be quite expensive and time consuming, I could only see it useful for marketing campaigns of larger companies/corporations.

    2. Keyword Density

    While perhaps a moot point, one shouldn’t write for the sake of keywords, but for readers and engagement, however, I think if you kept a 1% ratio of varied keywords to text, so like 1 varied keyword every 100 words or so is not a bad schema, especially since most blog posts now a days are between 400 and 1200 words long. Also, you can fill up that one percent by varying how those keywords are displayed, such as in alt tags and videos. That being said, when I get a chance to write posts on my blog, I never think about keywords, I just write to provide my opinion and viewpoint, (and for fun =P)

    3. Facebook

    Well, I think it’s “legit” (although not ethical) to “buy” likes to reach the point where you can customize the name, and to the point that others see it as something people like…(essentially when you tell a friend to “like” or share a post, you are doing the same thing, just not handing them money is all)…People are suspicious of what they do not know, thus why there are 50 million review sites on everything from socks to carburetors. It may be sneaky, but it ends up being about building trust, or perceived trust, if more people like you, the more trust others will give you. Basic Marketing Psychology.

    Anywho, like I said, great article! I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed responding =P

  • To jump in on the blog comment argument.

    I really don’t think anyone can see them as spammy if you are actively engaging in on-line discussions. Rather than just posting. Great post Thanks! on 20 different blogs!

    • Thanks for sharing your point of view Jeremy,
      I think we are on the same page… I don’t think “Thanks! Awesome past” will work but you have to be actively engaging and leave meaning full comment to make this in your favor!

      Sadly, many people are up to finding do-follow blogs and all they want is to leave shit that contain no value!

  • Hi Moosa,
    I have read many articles of yours on SeoMoz and finally can write to you about how much I enjoy reading your post.
    Your articles are so much in detail that I have never strayed from your post to refer to some words or concept which I am unable to understand.
    I am an aspiring content writer and reading your work always motivates me to improve.
    Thank you for making web a better place to be.

  • Great post Moosa!

    Just goes along the line of anything else in business, where if you keep things ethical you will avoid the pitfalls of changes being made to the system. Loved all the examples.

  • This one certainly resonates with me. I also spent two years of my life learning SEO the wrong way. I didn’t know better when I started, and the results were impressive. But when I started to learn more, I realised that what we were doing was just not sustainable (think article submission). The trouble is, the ‘old’ / ‘black hat’ way was SO cheap and my old boss didn’t want to admit that he was going to have to hire more people and completely (and I mean, COMPLETELY) rethink his strategy. I resigned at the start of February and decided to broaden my horizons by moving to London to work for a different agency. Literally the week after I handed in my resignation, I came in to the office to find 100 manipulative link messages were waiting to greet me. I’m thankful I had that experience (you learn a lot doing things the wrong way) but even more thankful I had my way out already planned! Since I left, some 8 months ago, I think 4/5 people have come and gone in my place. And I can sleep at night working for a company that really do have ethics, are doing things the right way and I will almost certainly not see a manipulative link message again (for our work, anyway).

  • SEO has been misunderstood and interpreted in a bad way because of the never ending spams and some use it the wrong way. Little did they know our value. Im glad this post was published, insights were valid. This will help the most what good SEO is all about.

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