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Sixteen years ago, SEO looked a hell of a lot different than it does today. Those were the days when it was normal to highlight a large blank-looking portion of screen only to learn that there were hundreds or thousands of words hiding there, written in text the same color as the background. That was because, at the time, search engines didn’t really care about things like ‘user experience’ — they just cared how many keywords you could shove onto a given page. These were the days of Lycos and Infoseek, of Ask Jeeves and WebCrawler…ancient history. But there are still a few top SEO tricks from 1999 that still work today.
Spamming Backlinks Still Works
They’re just different backlinks now. Back in 1999, you could spam basically any backlink you wanted, and there were serious bots devoted to doing nothing but automatically submitting your business information to tens of thousands of web directories for an entire afternoon.
Today, you can still spam backlinks like a shotgun, but those backlinks have to be from high-quality sites and it helps if they’re relevant as well. At the far end of the spectrum, you could go so far as to create an entirely self-controlled network of private blogs all feeding into each other in a massive spiderweb of rankjuice, but honestly you’ll do just as well creating links to your site from dozens or hundreds of authoritative preexisting domains.
User-Generated Content is Still Gold
Back in the day, just after The Mining Co. changed its name to About.com, there was a heyday of User-Generated Content — stuff that ordinary people would write about that could have a HUGE impact on how much traffic made it to your website, because About.com ranked like solid gold. Then Wikipedia pretty much kicked About.com’s butt, and it all went downhill because those people have editors.
Today, you can still use huge quantities of UGC to get mad ranking — you just have to do it on these weird new sites called social media. Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, and Pinterest are all massive sources of highly effective ranking tricks. All you have to do is inspire people to write good things about you.