The world of SEO is ever-changing and for those out there who don't actively live and breathe SEO (i.e. do it for a living on a day-to-day basis), keeping up with the contestant algorithmic changes and best practices can be a difficult task. SEO's spend hours reading popular blogs every month in order to keep up to date with the latest updates but this isn't a problem, as they get paid for it. For those who can't afford to spend countless hours reading blogs (or simply have little interest in doing so), we've rounded up a few of the tactics that you should be avoiding at all costs to make sure you don't accidentally make any costly mistakes. If you're embarking (or planning to embark) on any of the strategies below, we highly recommend you rethink your plans and invest in a more sustainable form of SEO. #1 - Content Spinning Let's face it, having a website is a costly business and for most sites, the number one cost comes in the form of content creation. Decent writers are few and far between and often, it can be tempting to take less high-quality and much cheaper alternatives such as content spinning. If you're unaware as to exactly what content spinning is, it's essentially the process of taking one article and changing/rewording it to look as though it's a brand new article. Doing this can be an automated process or you can pay someone a couple of dollars an hour to do it for you. It used to work (to an extent) but these days, Google (and other search engines) are pretty good at spotting this kind of content, and they don't like it. Why don't they like it? Because it's cheating and doesn't offer any additional information or value to the reader. It's for search engines only, and Google hates that, so don't do it. Invest in quality over quantity. #2 - Article Directories Article directories (like Ezine Articles) have been around for a decade or so now, and there are still some "SEO's" selling link building packages that include article submissions. If you see this though, stay well clear, as this will almost certainly do more harm than good. Similarly, don't bother with automated directory submissions either. Pick a few high quality directories relevant to your industry and put some effort into them. Don't do it just for the link either. #3 - Mass Scale Guest Posting Guest posting is actually a legitimate link building tactic when used properly. The problem is, very few people use it properly. Over the past few years, guest posting has become increasingly spammy. Sites have started to charge extortionate amounts for links and SEO's have been building links using guest posting on quite a substantial scale, often on pretty poor quality sites too. We should stress, there's nothing wrong with the odd guest post here and there, especially if it's on a site with an engaged and active audience that will likely be interested in your website/product/service. But, don't go posting on any old site just for the sake of a link, it won't work and will do more harm than good. #4 - Keyword Stuffing This one is a bit 'old school' but believe it or not, a lot of people are still actively stuffing keywords into their blog posts with the hope of obtaining some sort of SEO benefit. The bottom line is that you shouldn't be doing this at all. Sure, add your 'keywords' in your article every now and again or anywhere they feel natural but your top priority should simply be to write high quality content that your visitors will be interested in. If you can do this, your post will get shared, linked to and so forth, meaning that the SEO benefits will come naturally. #5 - Trying to Fool Google All of the tactics mentioned above have one thing in common, they're all tactics to actively try and fool Google and other search engines into ranking your site higher. Google hates people who try and fool them and sooner or later (probably sooner rather than later), they're going to catch you out. The bottom line is that you shouldn't bother with anything that is spammy or clearly tries to game the system. Focus on producing high quality content, building high quality links (quality over quantity) getting your site in front of your target audience through high quality guest posting and outreach.