The search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms and SEO today is different to what it was 10 years ago. I started to learn SEO full-time 5 years ago and what I was doing then is certainly not what I’d do today. I was doing so-called “white hat” SEO, by the way, not “black hat”. SEO tactics have changed enormously since then. And as SEO experts we have to too otherwise we put our client’s businesses at risk. However, some SEO companies will still rely on the tactics that were being used in the old days – and some of these still tactics work. But….yes there’s always a “but”, Google and the other search engines have become much more sophisticated. They can now detect spam tactics and so-called black hat techniques much more readily. And when they find them, your website can be slammed with a penalty or be thrown out of the search engines entirely.
So here are the top 5 SEO tactics which, in my opinion, you need to stop now!
1. Paid links. Everyone has seen the option to buy 1000 high quality links for a few pounds in emails or elsewhere. Not all are purporting to be paid links but quickly building large numbers of low quality links does not look natural and could put your website under scrutiny. Your website could be given a Google penalty and drop down to page 10. It is hard work to recover from this.
2. Highly optimised external anchor text. What this means is that every link that goes back to your website from another website is keyword stuffed. It is ok to have a few like this but if every anchor text is keyword rich it can look unnatural. And it is all about looking natural.
3. Keyword stuffed text. This is where the keyword you are trying to rank for is found everywhere in the text and it looks silly never mind being difficult to understand.
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4. Hidden text. This is a tactic some use to add more keywords to a page which won’t make the text look bad or unreadable. This is because the visitor to the website doesn’t see it but the search engines do. So the aim is to provide keyword signals to the search engines without bothering to write any more copy or writing copy which visitors will find meaningful. It is not worth doing as if found out, your website will be thrown out of the search engines.
5. Relying on your SEO consultant to do everything!
We can’t. We need clients to feed us information about their business, what their new products are, who they want to target in the future, what their business is good at, what they’ve been doing recently. This allows SEO consultants to strategise. We can create new content based on previous work or what the client hopes to do in the future and hopefully this will lead to new links. We need the client to send us photographs, information on any business changes, additional teams being created, new offers being marketed. We need the client to get some reviews of their business because without them it is harder to rank. We also need clients to have a social presence and use social channels to drive traffic back to the website. If your SEO consultant is not asking these questions you should ask why not.
Getting websites to rank is not easy and as a company I see my team pull their hair out with frustration as we see a client’s competitor – who is obviously not doing anything good – ranking above our clients. That’s the frustration of SEO short term. But SEO is a long ball game and you’ll reap the rewards if you stick at it.
Caroline Phillips is the owner of Alba SEO Services which offers quality SEO services to SME's. Established since 2013, Alba SEO has a track record of success.
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