(Published in the Reno Tahoe Tonight magazine April, 2013)
-Editor: Sierra Aronson
Black Hat tactics: SEO to Avoid!
So you’re trying to move your website up in search rankings but the work associated with keeping your website on the front page is exhausting, anticipating Google algorithm updates is frightening, and taking time away from your business to manage your website and search engine optimization is just not convenient. You want to improve your search engine optimization quickly and effectively, but taking shortcuts – as tempting as they might be – can do more damage than good. Beware of Black Hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO are techniques used to improve website ranking through deception. You want to make sure that you aren’t using Black Hat methods by mistake or working with a marketing agency that uses Black Hattechniques to garner quick success. Search engines constantly update their search algorithms to combat Black Hat practices and if your website is caught, it can be punished in rankings or may be eliminated from search results all together. Things to avoid:
Hidden text: These are key words that are hidden on your page in a really small font or as the same color as the background. Search engines look for quality content on a website, not just a listing of keywords. It may be more work but it is more important for you to take the time to create content.
Duplicate Content/Mirror Sites: Taking content from another site and duplicating or copying an entire site. Search engines look for patterns and mirror sites are one of the elements searched.
Cloaking: This is the method of serving one site to users and another site to search engines. This is most often used to increase rankings for content that does not exist. This is most commonly used by pornographic sites.
Doorway or Gateway Pages: Creating a page that is stuffed with keywords and little content to improve ranking that will then re-direct to your site.
Blog Comment Spam: This is the application of mass posting on many blogs with links to websites. Don’t post on blogs for the pure purpose of leading readers to your site. If you are going to blog on posts, make the comments engaging and insightful.
Link Farms: These are pages created solely for the purpose of creating lists to websites. Backlinks are important but you don’t want to be listed on a bunch of sites that aren’t relevant to your business. Instead, pick businesses that are high quality and relevant, and request to be linked on their site.
Typosquatting: This is the practice of purchasing a domain that is a popular misspelling of a high ranked URL. Not only will the search engines punish your rankings for this, it will upset potential customers. Build your website for quality visitors who will benefit from your content and services.
Social Networking Spam: Messaging people who you don’t know and leaving deceptive messages leading them to your site. For example, “I took a picture of us and posted it on website.com”. Instead, build your social media sites to encourage conversations. If done properly, you will have an engaged audience who will give solid testimonials for your business.
With the ever-changing online ranking rules it can be tough to keep up. However, if you work to create a classy site that aligns with your business, you will grow your audience. Develop superior content and use that content to reach new customers through social media, blogs, forums, and advertising.
Dragonfly Media, Dragonflymedia.net, (775)746-4690
Amber Howland is General Manager of Dragonfly Media, based in Reno, Nevada. Dragonfly Media works with small to medium size businesses to increase their digital influence through SEO/SEM, social media management, website/app development, and email marketing.