Nobody wants to work months and years on their site, and then have Google penalize their page or drop their SERP rankings. This costs money, time and frustration. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll have to start everything from scratch. In fact, it could even mean the end of your business, particularly if all (or most of) your traffic relies on organic results.
Is Google evil? What is the big search engine up to?
In their constant effort to make the search engine a better place for its users and (AdWords) customers, Google’s team has strict Guidelines for webmasters and bloggers.
Anybody who wants to serve up content and rank an article or page on their search engine, needs to follow these rules… Or, they risk getting their rankings penalized or even various pages removed from the index all together.
When it comes to SEO, things have drastically changed in the last 12 months, and they don’t seem to stop. Both, on-page and off-page ranking factors have suffered repeated updates.
You remember Panda, Penguin, Page Layout and EMD, right? These updates were stimulating everybody to create better, more targeted content, avoid black hat techniques and provide site visitors with a pleasing reading experience… in order to boost the return rate and lower bounce back ratio.
Google is not your enemy!
Google wants (just like you and me) to provide its users with nothing but quality content (and relevant ads) so their searchers can spend quality time on each site or landing page. This helps both the search engine users and advertisers return more often to Google, and grow their business – you win, Google wins, and their clients win.
These changes and updates are required in order to keep everybody happy, and at the same time, disallow spammers and mass link-builders to take advantage of or control the Google SERPs.
Dangerous SEO Technique #1
Low Quality Content and Ads Filled Sites
You remember the famous MFA (made for AdSense) websites, and how they got penalized?
Google Panda updates revolve around thin content sites that provide less articles, and more ads for their users. Do you feel like these one page advert filled sites don’t deserve to appear on the first page of Google? I think alike.
2013 is said to be the year of high quality content-packed sites. With great content, you won’t be forced to overly optimize your page, which is another issue that might trigger Google to give you a warning.
What does quality mean?
Google has their definition. Pro bloggers have theirs. I would say that quality content (regardless its length) is first of all information that helps the user get things done (solve a problem) in their life, or business, faster, better or easier than before.
Want to write quality content?
Due diligence is required.
In depth research is a must.
Look up the top 10 blogs in your niche or industry. Target the ones publishing the best content. You know what best means from a mile away, right? It’s not general, it’s specific. It does not share theory, but gives personal insights, case studies and anecdotes.
Analyze the best featured articles, and try to grasp, what makes them hot, viral or high quality.
Then imitate the writing style, and content ideas. I am not saying to blatantly copy-cat your competitors, otherwise how will you stand out? The key is to innovate. Surpass your competitors’ content, or, at least, talk on subjects they’re not covering, or they’re often overlooking. That’s how you become visible, for both your users, and the Google radars.
Dangerous SEO Technique #2
Link Schemes and Black Hat Techniques
Google Penguin updates go against sites not abiding by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They frown at black-hat methods including but not limited to cloacking, keyword stuffing, duplicate content (having the same page identically appear on multiple domains which you own or control), or blatant linking schemes.
A recent example would be the Interflora penalty. Their “advertorial” marketing approach was caught by Google. How they operate was simple: they paid other people to write reviews and post them on other (non relevant) sites, in hopes that they would boost their Google rankings and search engine dominance.
Matt Cutts, recently, sent his followers a Twitter reminder, emphasizing the fact that Google’s guidelines on paid links passing PageRank (PR) apply to “advertorials” as well.
What we can learn from this case study is essential. While low quality back-links might lower your rankings or not count at all, paying for ads or links to boost your PR is against Google’s policy. This does NOT mean you are not allowed to advertise or link-build. Google is against this approach on non relevant web sites, but they like to see value pointing to value.
If you do advertise or insert paid links on targeted websites, at least, avoid keyword stuffing. In fact, diversify your hyperlinks and make them look natural. That means you have to blend in the ad or link within the content, and at the same time, do it on a small scale.
From what I understood, Interflora got penalized because of doing this paid advertising on a major scale, and targeting non relevant sites. That’s like spending your advertising budget on all kinds of TV and radio commercials, expecting to increase your brand awareness and generate sales.
That’s a dumb, and now dangerous marketing approach, as sales are generated when you’re targeting a relevant crowd of buyers or prospects, not a pool of individuals who don’t want to hear from you, yes?
Dangerous SEO Technique #3
Back-Linking Networks and Guest Posting
LinkVana and other similar networks have been hit hard by Google. And that’s well understood. Imagine you’ve been working hard, for the last few years, building a good linking profile, abiding by Google rules, writing good content, and attracting quality links, naturally.
And here comes, some guy, out-ranking you on Google SERP, because they’re using some shady linking farms and networks. The approach was quite simple. You hire someone who could throw up low quality (or even good) articles. You post them on the network, along with all kinds of non relevant sites and articles. Within a month, you’ll have gained probably hundreds of back-links. And the next month, you’re out-ranking sites which have spent years working hard and building a natural linking profile.
Don’t you think Google has to stand out and punish this irresponsible practice? We know Google like to create fear among webmasters and are a known propaganda machine, but they are smart. Make no mistake…
Thanks to them, we now may be able to benefit from all the hard work we have done for all these years, and still remain on the Google radar and get organic traffic. However, this does NOT mean you should overlook the latest Google changes, if you want to stay on top of your game.
Spammers and black hat link builders have caught on to these updates, and now are using the Google Link disavow tool to remove bad links from their site, and some of them are going to take the web by storm with a new method: mass guest posting. This is a new twist on the back-link network method.
You target (more or less) relevant blogs in your industry, you write (good or bad) content for their site, and do this on a large scale. Within a month, you could have 10… 20 and even 50 articles back-linking to your web site or page.
The approach in general is not good or bad. It depends on how you use it. If you guest post with the sole aim to increase your rankings, then Google will hunt you down, and manually or automatically penalize your site. And there you go again, you’ll have to start all over again, from scratch.
These are the top 3 most dangerous SEO techniques we have to avoid for 2013 and beyond.
Be smart, have patience, and outsource (wisely) your content marketing. It’s time we revamp our game, and be friends with Google, or they can easily spray out our web sites from the SERPs. If you really want to get a penalized website site back on the radar, learn how to clone your old domain (and remove the offending domain hosting account) to a new domain. However, seek to build new natural links and learn from past mistakes… In no time, you’ll be ranking again. But remember, visitors first – search engines second!
Guest post by:
John Gibb is a top super affiliate in the health industry and known SEO addict. Download his free super affiliate handbook: “The Road to Success” ($197 VALUE) and learn the free techniques he used to generate 109 sales in a single day.
*Photo via Roku