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bing-2Google isn’t the only search engine waging a war on black hat or manipulative SEO. Every major search engine has been adapting their services to fight against those trying to cheat their way to the top of the rankings. This week, Bing made their latest move against devious optimizers by amending their Webmaster Guidelines to include a stern warning against using keyword stuffing to try to rank highly.

The warning cuts the cheating SEOs no slack, cautioning that Bing may demote or entirely delist sites caught using keyword stuffing. The change wasn’t officially announced, but Barry Schwartz says it appeared in the guidelines sometimes yesterday.

The new section on keyword stuffing reads:

When creating content, make sure to create your content for real users and readers, not to entice search engines to rank your content better. Stuffing your content with specific keywords with the sole intent of artificially inflating the probability of ranking for specific search terms is in violation of our guidelines and can lead to demotion or even the delisting of your website from our search results.

Source: RBertelg/Flickr.com

Source: RBertelg/Flickr.com

Website owners and SEOs have to budget their time wisely. There are a billion different ways you can try to gather traffic, but some are more effective than others. Of course, anyone that preaches that they have a quick way to get visitors is probably pushing questionable or outright terrible practices that won’t actually work, but there are also methods out there that under perform because they have become outdated or just fail to understand the field.

Sujan Patel put together a list of seven of these SEO tasks that waste precious time at Search Engine Journal. Some of these tasks are harmless, but don’t have any actual value. Checking your site traffic every day can be tempting, especially to new site owners. There is a legitimate thrill to seeing people begin to trickle onto your content, and the number of visitors is a helpful metric to keep note of, but checking traffic every day focuses too much on individual visitors and not the overall trends in traffic. Trends in traffic numbers give you much more useful information than seeing every single visitor arriving on your page.

Some of the other tactics Patel points out are downright frowned upon by the SEO community, and the Search Engines are trying to put a stop to them. Buying backlink packages was nothing more than a scheme to get sites to the top of rankings without having any actual value. It was a loophole that many took advantage of, but it has absolutely no real worth, and Google’s algorithm updates have made it very clear that the practice isn’t tolerated anymore.

Monitoring keyword density, unlike the past two, used to actually be fairly useful, but it has absolutely no function in the current SEO climate. Keyword density was never quite as important as some made it seem, but for a period Google’s system did favor sites with a reasonable amount of keywords within the content. That is pretty much completely gone now, and the more advanced search engines favor natural sounding content rather than overstuffed robotic sounding paragraphs.

Patel has even more tasks that are draining your time without giving anything back. It is easy to be tempted by easy paths to high rankings or to fall out of touch with the constantly changing SEO world if you let it happen. The best way to know where to focus your energy is to keep up to date with everything happening in SEO regularly, and to look for practices which offer long-term, sustainable growth for your site.