SEO No Nos

There was once a time when search engine optimization used to be pure organic (home grown) and was usually done through unique quality content. Then came the SEO companies who introduced different gimmicks and tools to help temporarily and artificially achieve higher rankings. The SEO marketing industry epidemic caught on and now all of the “SEO gurus” are basically touting the same exact methods.

The great thing about Google is that it keeps a sharp eye on these SEO practices and periodically changes its algorithms to adjust for these SEO tricks. We need to keep in mind that Google’s goal is to bring relevant and quality search results to the users; it does not care about who spent the most money on their SEO marketing.

Before you cave in to one of the doomsday scenarios sketched out by your favorite SEO company, you should investigate exactly how they will get you higher rankings. Google has recently made some changes which will impact negatively on most of the strategies practiced by SEO companies.

So here are some of the big no-nos for search engine optimization:

Keyword Stuffing
(aka keyword spamming and keyword cloaking)

What is it: Keyword stuffing is a practice of artificially adding keywords within the content of your webpage so that the search engines would give your site a higher rank for the keywords you disguised. Keyword stuffing affects the quality of your content because you are building the content around the keywords rather than building the content around your core message.

Why it worked before: It worked in the past because the search engines give higher ranking to those pages which had a higher number of Meta tag keywords in the content of their pages. The matching between Meta tags and the content gave the illusion that the website is relevant to the subject matter for specific keywords.

Why it won’t work anymore: Google has modified its ranking algorithm so that it can check if your content makes as a whole in relation to the keywords you have entered. You will be penalized if your keyword density is too high and appears to be artificial. Besides checking the keyword density, Google will also check the number of people that have clicked your link from the search results and stayed on your website long enough to read your data.

Link Spamming

What is it: Link spamming is basically spreading a URL throughout the Internet by posting comments, articles and link exchanges on different websites. These postings usually have no merit or relevancy to the place they are posted and are done mainly to trick search engine spiders into thinking that since a URL of a particular website is found throughout the Internet, it must be famous (and thus giving it a higher ranking). Another reason some SEO companies practice link spamming is to increase traffic to the website it is marketing.

Why it won’t work anymore: Google has made changes to its algorithm to now check for relevance to any external links it finds on each website. The site is crawled with a toothcomb if there are too many random external links present. So essentially link spamming causes a negative ranking for the spammer’s site and the host site where the links were published.

There are already new methods emerging which are intended mainly to build traffic. They are usually done by posting non-hyperlinked URLs (example below).

Content Quality

What is it: The content becomes a problem when it is not original. The content spamming can occur when you simply copy a press release, an article or a feed and display it on your own website.

Why it won’t work: Google has always valued original content. If your content is not something that will make people come back, you will get a lower ranking. Google’s indexing system looks at the uniqueness of your data and ranks it accordingly.

Content Scrapping

What is it: Content scraping is a form of web plagiarism and is done for the purpose of building new pages for the website. The reasoning behind this is that by adding new pages to the website everyday will increase the search engine crawling and due to the frequency of the new content the search engines will give higher ranking.

Why it won’t work anymore: Google loves unique content and has long indicated that it is highly against plagiarism. Recent changes in Google’s crawlers will now look for content uniqueness and will rank it lower if it is widely available on the net. One thing to keep in mind is that website growth is not a bad thing “if” content that is being used is unique.

The bottom line is that optimizing your website is not a rocket science. You should be able to do it yourself by reading Google’s own code of conduct for SEO, writing good content and developing a working website. If you must hire a SEO company, please make sure that you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.

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