Just like most things, search engine optimization has both a good and a bad side. When it’s done right, SEO can bring significant benefits to a website, including ranking higher to get more traffic. But if certain tactics are used, they can do more harm than good, and there’s a good chance you may be using them – a Weebly study found that nearly half of online entrepreneurs aren’t sure what SEO even means.
Bad SEO practices are referred to as “black hat.” These practices frequently violate Google’s terms of service, such as keyword stuff, spamming, and/or using hidden text, which are shortcuts aimed to rank higher in the search engine results, but in the long run, reduce the ranking on Google and all the other search engines. Good SEO practices, on the other hand, are known as “white hat.” They comply with industry standards, following SEO rules by experts who provide SEO consulting services and anyone else who understands the importance of a long-term ranking strategy. While they can take time to materialize, they’ll generate much better results in the future, ideal for building an online presence for any business.
Taking a more in-depth look to be sure that you know the good from the bad when it comes to SEO can help you grow your business.
Purchasing Links. Buying links might seem like a great way to help your site rank by gaming the system, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to backfire. That’s because search engines are smarter than they used to be. While it was once possible to cheat the system by purchasing links with crawlers more concerned with quantity than quality, that’s all changed. Search engines like Google have evolved into intelligent, honed machines that put more value on quality links. While any site can create spammy external or internal links, it’s much more challenging to earn high-quality links from reputable sites, but that’s what those search engines want. It’s similar to buying followers on Facebook or Instagram, it doesn’t work and makes your brand look bad.
Duplicate Content. It’s long been a major no-no to have duplicate content. High-quality SEO content is what the search engines are looking for, it’s what makes the web run. What the search engines know is that it takes time to do this, and it penalizes those who aren’t willing to invest that time instead of ripping other people’s efforts off. If you duplicate content from another site, author, or source of any type, it won’t result in ranking high, rather a stiff Google penalty. That doesn’t necessarily mean plagiarism, it can be something innocent – people often copy their own content inadvertently, especially when writing product pages, descriptions, and meta titles for similar products. It’s essential that all content published on your site and in the meta feels is 100 percent original.
Keyword Stuffing. Search engines have evolved – while they once paid lots of attention to keyword phrases for ranking sites, today, the focus is on a higher quality user experience. One of the quickest ways to negatively impact quality is to use a keyword or phrase over and over. While keywords are still essential for helping those search engines decipher and categorize pages, keep in mind that the bots are more sensitive than ever to keyword stuffing.
Use Keywords Properly. Although keyword stuffing is out, it’s still important to do your keyword research focused on user attention. That means you can’t simply use a single keyword phrase over and over, you’ll need to make use of answers, synonyms, and content that’s grouped around topics rather than individual terms. Concentrate on boosting the value of your content through the right keywords to become a trustworthy online source.
Earn Links. It’s tough to earn links, but it can be done by creating a volume of amazing and consistent content. That way, you’ll earn them regularly when your content is shared, and it may be picked up and linked to by major influencers too.
Content That’s Indexable. Google must be able to analyze every part of your content, which means even your non-text content should be in HTML text format for optimal performance in search engine listings. Placing them in HTML text on every page is the best way to ensure they’re visible.