Published: June 4, 2012
Edited: December 25, 2013
Google has been downgrading over-SEO-ed sites with their Panda and Penguin algorithms since early 2011. Admittedly they're struggling to improve search quality by filtering out poor quality and manipulative sites.
In a previous article, Spark Junction has published and article about the future of SEO being in danger.
Matt Cutts has explicitly stated that Google will be able to determine the quality of a site without any SEO.
Sites that have employed SEO strategies for years have seen a downturn in visitor numbers and profits since Panda and Penguin updates have hit their pages.
Recovery is possible, but you'll have to scrap many of your old techniques and struggle to improve your site further. Less SEO, certainly by dropping old and potentially harmful techniques, but an improvement of services and content is essential.
So, how to do it? Here are some tips:
Don't push harder on your old SEO techniques in order to recover, as it will worsen the situation - drop them and work on implementing new tactics
Stop building links by placing them on sites that have even the slightest content farm or link farm feel
Don't buy many directory links - instead, focus on buying a fewer number, more relevant links on portals that also attract real visitors, not mere platforms for displaying links
Speed up page loading time - sites loading faster score higher than sluggish ones
Be more efficient in separating code from content - better optimized coding is advised (keep in mind: search engines see pages differently from us)
Reduce the number of ads on your site, especially if they have been placed in the header/top section of the page
Re-optimize your internal links: use "nofollow" adequately, eliminate link lists and tag clouds or set "nofollow" for them
Create unique titles, dilute keyword usage - but still use relevant keywords
Rewrite your whole content by taking account of semantic indexing: this means getting rid of scattered keywords, which you have implanted into your text for the sake of achieving good keyword density
Use social bookmarking to attract social signals
Create Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels/fan pages for users to join, then periodically "feed" your viewers with new content, updates, news...
Create a newsletter, stimulate people to sign up, then strive to develop a long-lasting relationship with them
First of all, focus on creating pages for visitors, not search engines - then you will achieve lower bounce rates, visitors will stay longer on your site and more pages will be visited throughout your site
Focus on building your own brand, use real phone numbers, sign articles with real author names and on the long term you will earn more credibility, trust from Google as well