It’s spring. It’s time for a fresh start.

Look around you. Do you see something in your home or office that’s getting in your way? If so, you’ll probably take some time to examine what you have and get rid of any once-valuable things that have become clutter.

And when you’re thinking about your SEO to-do list, there are probably things you’re doing that used to be valuable. But many of those tactics, or tricks, have likely just become clutter on your to-do list.

With so many changes taking hold of the SEO world, and Google’s continual tweaking of their algorithm, it’s a great time for a SEO fresh start. So no matter where you’re at with your business, you might want to reassess and focus on what will benefit you most in the future.

As far as your SEO, here are three tricks you might want to examine more closely. You may have done these at one point, and at that time, they might have been really effective. But now they’re just clutter, taking your focus away from activities that can grow your business and improve your bottom line.

Gathering Cheap Backlinks

There are many ways to get backlinks to your site. You can rely on recommendations from fellow bloggers and fans in your niche. You can list your site in directories and participate in social bookmarking.

But one tactic you might be doing, getting cheap backlinks for a price, or a reciprocal link, isn’t helping you. In fact, if Google suspects that you’re paying for links, as Overstock was recently found to be doing, or participating in direct link exchanges, it could result in your site being penalized.

Remember, it’s not just the number of links you have, but the quality and relevance. Use your energy to focus on quality and you’ll get better results in the future.

Over-Optimizing Your Content

Over the past few years, many SEO experts have advised following a strict keyword density for your content. But over time, as that percentage has gradually shrunk, the percentage of keyword usage is more and more resembling the natural use of language.

So as you’re working on your content, you should be focusing more on using quality information and creating a great experience for your users. While you should make sure to sprinkle in your keywords, spending too much time achieving the perfect keyword density is not the yellow brick road to casino affiliate success.

Instead, focus on creating great content. Then ask your visitors to give you good recommendations on Social Media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Creating great content, and getting others to notice, will do more for your SEO than hours of keyword tinkering.

Too Much Article Marketing

Many affiliate marketers saw a great thing with article farms such as Ezine Articles, Buzzle and Articles Base. Here’s how the formula worked: write some cheap content, make sure it’e keyword optimized, post it with a link to your site, and Google will take notice.

That formula worked. And it worked for a long time. But it’s not going to work any more.

Google’s chief SEO Matt Cutts recently said “I’m not a huge fan of article marketing … these sites are typically not the highest quality sites. And If I had to foresee the future, I would lean away from that and lean toward great content.”

So as you’re looking on where you should focus your time and energy this year, take some advice from Matt Cutts. Focus on your content. Get readers interested in your site.

Do you have advice for content marketers? If so leave your feedback in the CAP forums or in the comments below.

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