What doesn't work:
- I am surprised, even some high-end marketing firms like BlueText still advocate for term density, it's not 1999 anymore. Term denisity is only important insofar as you give enough information for google to understand your content, so on one end of the spectrum is no parsable content (like a flash site) on the other end off the spectrum is a site that spams terms and may get penalized. A good medium is to utilize few pronouns and many specific terms.
- Links from comments, spammy links, controlling how people link. Google strives to keep linking organic so be mindful of inbound links and how you discuss links on your site. One of my clients went from 200k uniques to 2.5m uniques monthly by getting rid of comments about linking from on the site and some careful optimization to meta.
- Following your competitors. In an early meeting I was shocked to hear a guy in Denver talk about his SEO strategy, which was to copy the terms his competitors used. It is dangerous and short sighted.
- Keyword research is still essential. Good keywords can describe what you are writing about or guide you to what your audience wants. There will be both low hanging fruit and medium competition terms with great traffic that you should seek.
- Public Relations is still important.
- Think outside of the box in SEO. SEO extends far beyond the google search bar and works on AVVO, Martindale, app stores, youtube and more.
- Optimized Rich Media.