I just want to share this article I read today, which is both a slide deck from a presentation and a summary of SEO advice:
I promise that no hairbrained scheme to manipulate the search rankings by registering thousands of sites or scraping the web for open places to link or contacting 6,000 “friends” for a link exchange are either A) new or B) going to work. Apply your creativity in white hat ways and make sure it passes the Google web spam litmus test. And no, that doesn’t just mean it passes Google’s Quality Guidelines, it means you would happily show it to any engineer on the webspam team content in the knowledge that they’d actually WANT it to help your site rank better.
Great link Dan, I agree that those are some useful lessons. The only issue I can come up with for it is that it’s almost preaching to the choir. Most SEO practitioners who aren’t already aware of the benefits of avoiding those hair-brained schemes simply are just going to carry on regardless because they have spent years convincing themselves that it has to work. Take the whole keyword debate issue for META tags, regardless of the proven ignorance that search engines take towards them, people still keep returning to saying “honestly, all search engines DO use them, they just don’t want you to know about it”.