Don’t Be Fooled By These 5 SEO Tricks
Have you ever been approached by an Internet marketing company promising quick SEO results for your website? When it comes to search engine optimization, words like “quick,” “fast,” and “immediate” should automatically draw red flags. Why? Unfortunately, the only way to guarantee dramatic SEO improvement in a relatively short amount of time is by utilizing what’s referred to as “black hat” tactics.
Black hat SEO tactics are illegitimate means used to essentially “trick” search engines into boosting your website’s rankings. This involves taking advantage of loopholes in search engine guidelines to rank higher than one deserves to be. While some of these tactics may yield positive results in the short-run, others won’t ever influence your rankings in a positive way, and all will eventually be penalized in a matter of time – often severely, such as with a Google Manual Action.
Search engines frequently make updates to their algorithms to combat this exact issue, weeding out spammy websites to boost the ones that have legitimate value to readers. Websites that rely on black hat tactics may think they’re gaming the system, but at a certain point, they will find their rankings have disappeared – sometimes even overnight. The only way to establish an SEO strategy with sustainable results is to use “white hat” tactics and avoid black hat tactics, no matter how tempting they may be.
Not sure what is considered black hat? Take a look at five common SEO tricks of which you should be wary:
“Keyword stuffing” is the act of unnaturally and excessively stuffing your content with keywords. While keywords are important for SEO and increasing your rankings on Google and other search engines, overusing or “stuffing” website pages can have a negative impact. Sites are often penalized for keyword stuffing, causing their rankings to suffer.
Buying backlinks is the process of obtaining paid links by compensating someone in some form or fashion for passing PageRank to your site. Using this method to boost your rankings for your site is in violation of Google guidelines and can often have the reverse effect. Violating a search engine’s guidelines can ultimately reduce your overall rankings.
Creating article titles that entice more readers to visit your article, without providing the relevant information within your actual content is known as “clickbait.” While half the battle of increasing website traffic is getting people to click on your page or blog, this method can be seen as distasteful or misleading. Readers may not return to your site if they have been fooled by a clickbait title once or twice and the content on the page does not match the headline.
Quantity Over Quality
Another unsavory method is prioritizing quantity over quality by adding pages with little information, only to attract visitors searching for a specific word or phrase in hopes they will stay and browse your other pages. While creating the appearance that your website has a lot to say by having an abundance of pages may appear like a good idea at first, your viewership may suffer if those pages do not have useful information to offer.
Duplicating content is when you blatantly steal content from other websites and claim it as your own. This content will often be flagged by Google and other services with the user of the original content being notified. This flagged content can also greatly impact your site’s rankings negatively.
Whether you’re intentionally trying to trick search engines or not, make sure you avoid taking shortcuts for the sole purpose of ranking. Remember, the viewer (or in your case, the patient) is ultimately who you are aiming to please – not the search engine. Every link, every line of text, every page of content you add to your site should be created and optimized with the intention of enhancing user experience and facilitating their time spent on your site. Trust the process, and the rankings will follow.
Additionally, the same goes for your website’s design. The more user-friendly your website is (i.e., responsive design), the more your online visitors will be pleased with your site’s performance. Google and other leading search engines will take note of this and, over time, should reward you in the search results.
If you have questions about to optimize your website – without taking black hat shortcuts that will hurt you in the long-run – please contact Rosemont Media today. Our team stays up-to-date on best SEO practices to effectively build your website’s rankings with sustainable results.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on April 11, 2014.