Search Engine Optimization is something most small businesses want to do, but might not have the time needed to learn it. That being the case, taking a shortcut in the form of black-hat SEO practices might seem like an enticing idea.
Well, we’re here to tell you to kick that idea right where it belongs: to the curb!
SEO isn’t something you’re going to see immediate results from. It’s a long game where the seeds of hard work will grow and flourish months or years down the road. Deploying black-hat SEO techniques might see some limited short-term results, but you’ll destroy your site’s reputation in the long run.
Here are a few things to avoid doing:
From using the same keyword too many times to using irrelevant ones, keyword stuffing is a one way ticket to the back of the Google SEO train.
You definitely want to do your research and find keywords to use (preferably ones that you can win), but don’t just go throwing it on every page and paragraph across your website. Google is way too smart for that to work. Use it for meta descriptions, headings, and the appropriate amount of times for the length of the text (about 1 to 3 per 500 words).
Whether it’s using your own content multiple times, or plagiarizing content from other websites, Google will pick up on it and penalize you for it. Create original content and make sure to add something unique to anything you want to piggy-back from other sites. Gathering ideas from other sites is okay, taking entire paragraphs verbatim is not.
If you have guest bloggers on your site, it’s often wise to check them out yourself before posting to your site.
This one might be a little too technical for most to pull off, but we’ll let you know about it anyway.
Cloaking is basically showing visitors one thing, but search engines another. If a visitor lands on your site and is immediately hit with an ad, the search engine needs to know that. It might seem smart to show Google something else, but when it finds out (and it will), say goodbye to any organic ranking.
If you hear your CTO mention anything like this, squash it before it gets implemented and any permanent damage is done!
If you don’t know already, a visitor to your site “bounces” if they leave without taking any sort of action. Clicks are fantastic, but not if you also have a high bounce rate.
Enticing people with a strong headline is always a good idea, but you should never mislead anyone through clickbait titles. They should see or read exactly what they were expecting, otherwise they leave quickly and take your organic search growth with them.
For effective headline writing, check out this article.
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There are two techniques we like to group together here: link farms and spoofing.
Link farms are simply a spot on your website where you cram links to other websites. They are low quality and have no purpose other than just to trick Google into thinking your site is full of backlinks. It doesn’t work.
Spoofing is doing something like putting a keyword in white text against a white background to try to get extra keywords onto a page. Similar to keyword stuffing, and equally bad for your SEO!