What NOT To Do

black-hat-seoIn search engine optimization terminology, Black Hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually does not obey search engines rules.

Many people will do whatever it takes to rank as highly as possible, even if that means using so-called black hat methods of SEO. Any site found to be incorporating questionable tactics to get high rankings can and often will be banned by Google, either temporarily (until the site cleans up its act) or permanently. Believe me, you don’t want your site banned by Google! It’s like having your store moved from a prime downtown location to some hidden back alley.

There are no TRICKS in SEO. While some will claim instant #1 placement results or first page listings overnight, that’s an instant flag to any search engine that something is fishy. You can get blacklisted very quickly. Sometimes great results require great efforts.

Don’t spend your money on Instant Results Offers, or on the monthly packages that will create fake accounts all over the web for you. Think about it. If one day you have a few dozen natural backlinks, then overnight you have hundreds or thousands, you’re going to be flagged by Google.

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So, here is a list of search engines tactics you NEED to avoid:

  • Overloading pages with keywords. Just because your site is about magic, you shouldn’t have a sentence that uses the word magic a few dozen times. Yes, use your keywords as much as is reasonably possible, but if your copy doesn’t read naturally – to humans – you’re probably overdoing it.
  • Hidden text. If you’re placing text of one color on a background of the same or nearly the same color (e.g., white or very light text on a white background) or using exceptionally small text, chances are you’re not doing so for people reading your site, but rather for the search engines. Don’t.
  • Hidden links. These are tiny, virtually invisible links to other pages or from other sites to yours. They serve no purpose other than to give Google the impression that your site has many incoming links.
  • Duplicate content, i.e., identical (or very similar) pages. Often this can happen innocently. Usually the worst that will happen that Google will index only one of the pages and ignore the others. But don’t duplicate pages within your site or on other domains just to increase the content or occurrence of keywords.
  • Do not use the same title on multiple pages.
  • Do not exchange links on a large scale.
  • Broken Links can be daunting to monitor, but if you have them, they can seriously damage your ranking.
  • Buying social media likes and followers is trendy right now as well. Don’t do it.
  • Do not create link to a page with some links using “www” and some without.
  • Do not place large amounts of SEO links at the bottom of your pages.
  • Don’t show search engines and humans different content. This is called cloaking and is a HUGE no-no.
  • Doorway pages. These are external pages that exist for no other purpose than to direct traffic to your site. Generally they’re filled with different keywords and links so that it looks like your site is more popular and relevant than it really is.

Even if Google or other search engines don’t automatically catch your site for cheating, people can manually submit sites that use questionable SEO tactics to be checked into and possibly removed from their indexes. If you’re in a highly competitive field, your competitors may be waiting to jump on such an opportunity.

The rule of thumb is this: If it feels like you’re cheating, you probably are and will get caught. Maybe not now, but eventually you probably will and if web site traffic is important to your business (and it should be), that’s not a chance worth taking!

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