SEO is a technique used to optimise your website so that it will organically rank higher in search engine results. SEO is not cheap and requires a long term investment before its true benefits start to show.
Bad SEO promises to deliver positive results instantly and at a cheaper cost. But in reality, it is capable of destroying your Google ranking and potentially your online business.
Bad SEO practices are unethical tactics and hacks that try to deceive search engines into ranking websites higher.
Where your website ranks on Google can make or break your business. With 5.8 billion searches per day, competition is fierce. The race to the top can feel like a daunting task. Unfortunately, this has created a market for Black Hat SEO.
There are no shortcuts in life, and the same goes for SEO. If you cheat your way to the top, Google will penalise your website, which will have severe consequences for your online presence.
Black Hat SEO is not worth the 15 minutes of fame. Real SEO is about delivering consistent results over longer periods of time.
Don't let Google catch you with your hand in the cookie jar. Here is our list of bad SEO practices to avoid:
Keyword density is a vital part of SEO. So the more keywords, the better right?
Well no. While keywords are important, there is a subtle art to including them in your content. By stuffing your content full of keywords, Google will look for you, Google will find you, and Google will punish you
(Liam Neeson, Taken, 2008).
While there are no definitive rules in the SEO bible, you need to balance your content to be appealing and optimised for a pleasant reading experience.
Keywords are a powerful tool. If you intentionally include keywords that are unrelated to your business, your website is susceptible to higher bounce rates.
For example; if your website includes keywords for Edible Shoes (yes it's a thing, Google it!) but your business sells Auto Parts, it will negatively impact your SEO ranking.
You are an expert in your field, demonstrate your authority. By keeping the focus on your products and services, you will attract the right customers to your website, which will help you achieve a higher search engine ranking.
One of your competitors has written a great piece of content about a product or service that you also provide. A simple copy and paste, and now it's on your website, who's going to know?
You guessed it, Google will know, and it's more severe than you might think.
If you are blatantly stealing content from another businesses website and trying to pass it off as your own, it is plagiarism. If you plagiarise copyrighted content and it earns you more than $2,500, you could face up to $250,000 in fines and a maximum of 10 years in jail. So please, think twice before you hit CTRL+V.
Tools like Grammarly include a plagiarism checker, which enables you to keep your content unique.
Strength in numbers? Think again.
Link farms are groups of websites that link to each other, with the end goal of mutually boosting their rank in search results. Automated services generate these "spamdexes" and, you guessed it, spam the search engines for their chance in the spotlight.
If you dabble in the dark arts of Black Hat SEO, prepare to learn some magic tricks.
Developers use cloaking strategies to create "White Hat" webpages to display to the search engines, but once the link is accessed, the website presents something entirely different for the user.
If you have a blog with comments enabled on your website, without the right protocols in place, your website is susceptible to external Black Hat SEO tactics.
Link spamming (or spomments) is when somebody places links in the comment section of your blog posts with the hope of gaining traffic back to their website. These links could potentially damage your website ranking as Google flags this content as irrelevant.
Of course, you can remove these comments manually. However, if you are using WordPress, there are tools like Akismet that automatically filter any spam comments that your website receives.
Play by the rules outlined in Google's Webmaster Guidelines and Google will reward you by helping index and rank your site.
The basic premise of White Hat SEO is to create high-quality content and use keywords that are related to your industry. Content that stays on brand helps educate and inform website visitors, and are great ways to engage potential customers.
However, merely following the rules does not guarantee that your website will perform well. There are other factors at play that will prevent you from moving up the ranks. If your website has slow loading times or is non-responsive, you will rank lower due to poor user experience.
Improving your website load time and making it easier to navigate are quick ways to make your site more Google-friendly.
Have you ever had your car fixed by a cheap mechanic? Well, I have, and as I was driving home, I saw my rear wheel fly straight past my car as I skidded out of control.
Luckily nobody was hurt, but under different circumstances, it could have been devastating.
Not all cheap SEO is shady, and not all dishonest SEO is cheap. However, many inexpensive "SEO" providers rely on Black Hat techniques to generate instant results for their clients, which, as you know, will have negative consequences on your business.
There are providers out there who offer cheap White Hat SEO. However, they will more often than not use a scalable one-size-fits-all strategy that they use on all of their clients.
The purpose of SEO is to make your business stand out from the crowd, not blend in. Find a provider that is willing to learn your organisation inside and out and design a custom strategy tailored to your business.
If you would like to learn more about how you can start your SEO journey, contact us today and book in a free consultation with one of our SEO experts.