We all know that the average web user is not likely to comb through lots of pages of search engine results to find what they want. The average web user probably won’t look past the second page of search engine results. That’s why you work so hard on your SEO—to make sure your site isn’t just indexed but that it gets ranked highly so people will actually see it.
It’s no wonder you might be tempted to indulge in the dark side of SEO.
Resist this temptation! While some of these “black hat” techniques might help raise your rankings a little bit, they will also ruin your reputation when people figure out what you’re doing.
In case you aren’t sure what will fly and what won’t, here are five of the worst SEO mistakes you can make.
1. Hiding Keywords Is the Bad Kind of Sneaky
This is where you write the body of your content for your audience and then, at the bottom of your page or post, you list your keywords separately—and change the color of the font so it matches the background of your site.
Another trick some site owners pull is “hiding” the keywords behind images. Your readers don’t see them, but the spiders do—and when you get called out on it, your site will be de-indexed.
2. Cloning Freaks Everybody Out
A few years ago, you could write one article and send it to dozens of article databases and blogs without much fear of penalty. It didn’t take long for people to get fed up with how much junk they had to search through before getting to valuable information, and Google adjusted its algorithms accordingly.
Now, publishing duplicate content is enough to get your site yanked from the search engines completely and put you at risk for a nasty copyright lawsuit.
3. Link Wheels Are So Yesterday
Link wheels are popular ways to raise page ranks. You create a number of sites, fill them with basic content, and then have all of them link to each other. This raises your inbound and outbound links and makes you look more popular than you really are. It also makes you look really lazy to the traffic that visits your site. Link wheels are usually pretty easy to identify—even without searching for the domain registry information. They are also why the spiders now put weight on internal sites and one-way links as well as reciprocal links.
4. No Running with SEO!
Unless you have a crazy specific keyword or niche, you are not going to put up a website today and ranked first in Google tomorrow. You also can’t do all of your SEO at once and call it good. You might get a temporary bump, but it will likely happen over a weekend or in the middle of the night when nobody cares.
SEO is something that you need to work at slowly, organically and every day. It takes time to rise up within the search engine ranks and even more time and effort to keep yourself up there.
5. Blasting Is Bad
This is a popular technique employed by SEO companies that specialize in “black hat” SEO techniques. It involves using software to “blast” hundreds or even thousands of blog comments and other content out to as many sites. They target sites that are old or aren’t updated often to reduce their risk of being caught.
The comments and content they send out are terribly written. Often it has been put through several layers of “spin” and is barely readable. The blog comments are filled with multiple links to multiple sites. In effect, it’s turning you into a spammer and that is a nasty label that is nearly impossible to shake—even when you employ the very best internet reputation management services.
The truth is that most good SEO is little more than common sense and basic marketing techniques wrapped up in a fancy moniker. As long as you follow your instincts and avoid mistakes like these, your site should do very well.
What SEO strategies are you using to keep your website in the clear?
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