OK, we get it. Getting your site ranked is really important to your business, and you’ll do almost anything to make it happen. The problem is that you’re not an optimizer — you’re a business owner, and you don’t know the SEO world like an optimizer does. Your information is probably at least a couple of years old, especially if you got it from a forum that focuses on your industry and not on the SEO industry. So today I’m going to go over several SEO tactics that really honestly just need to be stopped, because they rely on the same tired gimmick: cheap, usually bad, writing.
Press Releases for Backlinking
I’ve said it over and over on my blog: there’s no such thing as an industry so boring that you can’t create content for it. But please, stop thinking that “not boring” is equivalent to “newsworthy.” A decade ago, there weren’t a lot of people putting out press releases, so those links were considered authoritative and thus valuable. Today, there are more press releases put out by small businesses looking for a slice of goodness than there are by the Associated Press. 
The point is this: the sheer volume of B.S. press releases has made Google all but ignore links from sources that publish uncurated news…and any site that publishes curated news is going to ignore your press release unless it contains real news.
Articles. At all.
I won’t lie — I’ve got a profile on EZineArticles, and I used to put my content up on it. But that was years ago. Even before Panda hit, the words “article submission” were already starting to reek of SEO poison. Today, spamming cheap articles is literally worse than nothing — all those ‘bad neighborhood’ links coming in to your site will degrade your rankings, not enhance them.
The entire notion of articles as SEO started with a concept called ‘Bum Marketing,’ which worked, when it first came out, for the same reason as above: no one was doing it. The guy who invented it essentially realized that by writing articles and linking directly to pay-per-visit sites, you could make money with no website of your own. SEO people who were looking for easy backlinks got ahold of the idea and decided it was great…and within a few years, Google had taken to discarding links from article directories and content farms.
Blogs and Sites with Thin Content
After the ‘articles’ craze died down, website owners and SEO people had gotten a taste of what it was like to get rankings without having to put effort into their content…and so they figured they’d keep putting zero effort in and see what happened. The result was Panda, and today thin content is — see the pattern here? — worse than no content at all.
If you’re outsourcing your content writing and your writer isn’t actually qualified to be producing genuinely relevant, intelligently written, opinionated content on the subject matter, you’re probably doing it wrong. If you’re writing for the search engines and not for your audience, you’re definitely doing it wrong. Creating valuable content is work, and it should be — that’s what “standing out from the crowd” is supposed to be.
And in the end, that’s precisely what’s happening here: all of these techniques have failed because something that started out as “standing out” — even thin content pages got their start as an improvement over ‘not having content at all’ — turned into “standing smack dab in the middle of the crowd.”
If you want to stand out, you have to put in more effort. It really is that simple, and that hard.