Ever dabbled in SEO before? You know, Search Engine Optimization? It’s a way to use content to try to get more organic traffic from search engines like Google. If you have, you might have experience with the spectrum that is everything you can do to allegedly help your site rise in the search results and get more traffic. When it comes to SEO, there’s a right and wrong to do it. I want to explain to three SEO tactics who get you kicked out of Google search results. Let me start by explaining “white hat vs. black hat” tactics.
While some “black hat” or spammy SEO tactics might appear to work for your website in the short term, the risk you take in using them is even bigger. You can, and very much will, get kicked out of Google, which means you are manually removed from the search results if you break Google rules. What sort of spammy “black hat” tactics am I referring to?
Here are a few:
#1 – Stuffing a Bunch of Keywords Into Your Content
If you’ve experimented with SEO in the past, you might be familiar with the concept of keyword research. “Keywords” are the words your ideal clients are typing into Google to search for advice/solutions to their problems. If you do keyword research, you’re using a tool like the Google Keyword Planner or Wordtrakker.com to find out which of your ideal clients’ words are getting searched for the most so you can be sure to use those words on your website.
If you’re doing keyword research the “Black Hat” way, you’ll end up with a blog post title like this: “Best Blue Shoes, Blue Shoes, Blue Shoes New York, Best Shoes”
As a user, would you find that enticing? or would your spam alert being going off like crazy?
A better way to optimize for the phrase blue shoes or best blue shoes: “Who Has the Best Blue Shoes In New York? You Asked. We Ranked ‘Em.” The key to using keywords the right way is to put your “real person” filter on. Fold keywords into your content naturally, and the Google penalty bot will leave you alone.
#2 – Auto-Submitting Your Site to a Million Directories
This is another one of those situations where if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.
The days of simply entering your website address into a auto-submitter and coming back with thousands of links from random online directories across the web are over. Even manually submitting yourself to that many directories that have no real business purpose is still not a good idea.
Are some directories still worthwhile? Sure, if you have a business purpose for participating outside of just for SEO. Good examples include: local business directory, professional association membership directories, social review sites like Yelp, chamber of commerce directory… to name a few.
Bad example? If you visit the website and get a shady feeling. If it’s not a place you’d be hanging out otherwise, stay away.
#3 – Spamming Blogs with Comments & Links
Commenting on blogs can have a purpose especially if you are commenting in a way that adds value to the conversation and is used as a networking too with that blog owner and that blog’s audience. Blog commenting gone wrong is something you’ve probably even been on the receiving end of if you have a blog of your own. I call it blog spam!
All of those auto-generated comments that are full of keyword-stuffed messages & shady links that have no real purpose being on your site are bad news bears. When it comes to blog commenting, treat the internet like you’d like to be treated. Don’t spam websites with blog spam comments linking back to your site (and don’t hire anyone that would do so on your behalf).
Penalizing this one is just Google looking out for all of us blog owners out there.
Use The Golden Rule
To make it easier for you to do SEO effectively, you really only have to follow one rule:
If it feels icky, it probably is. Stay away.
Have you ever tried SEO for your site? What’s been your experience? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author: Liz Lockard loves helping small businesses get more of the right kind of traffic to their websites. For more on how to do SEO the right way, check out these tips.