I haven’t posted much since March 2011. More on that later, but for now I wanted to say a word or two about using shady SEO Tricks.
My Confession On SEO Tricks
Have I ever dabbled in less than white hat SEO? Of course I have, but not very much and even then only on little experimental sites. Now, with that out of the way,
When it comes to serious sites and SEO, this is how I roll! Ready?
SEO Trickery Analogy
Just a hand-full of years ago I lost 70 pounds and have kept it off rock solid! I used to get asked “So how did you do it and how do you actually keep the weight off?”
My reply to that question is usually goes something like this,
“I started doing activities outdoors like mowing grass because exercise is boring. Also, I simply cut down (not completely cut out) the really bad stuff like Pizza Potato chips and ice cream etc. But more importantly, when I am deciding on what to eat I think to myself,
‘will this food help me to live to be 103 yrs old?’ If the answer is NO, I don’t eat it (unless I’m so hungry that I’m starting to gnaw at my own elbow oops, sorry). I also actually ‘add’ a LOT of food… like raw broccoli, bananas apples etc. And that’s pretty much it”.
Then their faces crinkle up and say something like, “Eating right and exercising. Yuck! That’s boring! Sounds too hard for me!”
SEO is similar to losing weight
Focus on the long term and you can’t help but to do well. We all would like to find an easy button-shortcut to help us get what we want without doing the work we need to do. We make the decision to lose weight, then we think about the difficult low calorie foods and lots of exercise it will require, and then we think, “Surely there’s an easier, quicker way!”
SEO’s do much the same
We want that magic bullet that will propel our sites to dominate the first page of Google and the search engines, we want those coolest bestest, mostest awesomest (fun with grammar) “secret seo tricks” to out-rank our competitors.
And just like these crazy diets, a lot of these secret SEO tricks actually work for a while.
When I started learning SEO in 2008, I noticed that a lot of very respectable SEO Experts were doing and teaching how to use blog comment spamming software, and article spinning (article spinning means taking one article and using software to rewrite it into a hundred or a thousand different articles) and submitting 1000 articles to 1000 different article directories with links in them to get 1000 links back to your site in one swoop…
I always thought from the beginning (even as a newbie in 2008) that this was Very cheesy!
I tried a few of these tactics on unimportant sites that I created just for testing purposes and they actually worked, but I had a weird feeling that someday Google would slap it. Well guess what? That’s exactly what they’re doing.
Weaning Ourselves Off of Short-Term Gains
“SEO tricks” can give you quick results but will almost always cause problems in the long run. Hey, I understand… It’s tempting to use those SEO tricks, and then when they actually do WORK it can be hard to stop.. it’s like I drug!
If your being out ranked by your competitors due to their spammy linking tactics, that stings a bit, doesn’t it? The “if it works then who cares and just do it” attitude actually can get some serious short term rankings for some people. Regardless of my own feelings on whether or not they’re good for webmasters to use, I’m not going to say tricks never work.
The problematic issue with SEO tricks is that they get a site a top ranking spot on Google regardless of whether it deserves to be there. That’s the kind of websites that search engines like Google are continuing to combat, which leads to updates like Panda and Penguin.
Relying on SEO tricks is what causes your rankings and traffic to get wiped out overnight by these updates. Without a working knowledge of quality SEO and practices, you’ll be spending a lot of your time fixing stuff and redoing stuff every time the search engines catch on to your latest trick.
SEO is Hard Sometimes
What’s hard about weaning ourselves off of those addictive SEO tricks is that doing SEO without doing tricks is some Dang hard work.
It seems much harder to build great content and fix messed up code and build linking relationships and get people to share and link to your content and then do all that again, and again and again…
…than it is to submit your sites and content to a bazillion website directories and hire a freelancer or use software to spin some articles and then syndicate them on a bazillion article sites and to put comment spam on neglected blogs and then buy a bunch of links…. INHALE!!!
But if you think about it [and especially for local businesses], it’s a lot easier to build great content and fix bad code and build relationships that get you links and get people to share and link to your content and then do all that again and again, which Never Stops Working – so you never have to fix or redo it, than it is to change and re-do all your work every year or so because your website keeps getting slapped.
And it’s a lot less stressful not to have to explain to your clients why their sites are a total wreck all the sudden.
SEO That Always Works
We talk a lot about how SEO changes so often, but in these 4 years (as of this writing) I’ve been doing this, here are some things that have never stopped working for me:
Find the terms that people are using to search for your products, and then talk about those products on your site using those terms, but without using them so much that it doesn’t read well.
Make sure search engines can find every page on your site that you want found, read the content and figure out what the page is about and use those keywords that you want it to rank for.
- Fix the broken stuff on your site like title tags, remove duplicate content and make the whole site loads faster (actually, this can be a bit technical).
- Create captivating, relevant, content designed to engage readers and encourage them to share it on their own social profiles etc.
- Build links to your pages from other high authority and relevant sites… better yet, build relationships with those sites and that will get more links to your site from those sites again and again.
- Make sure your readers / visitors have a good experience using your site. Make sure that the content they found on your site is the content they wanted to find. That’s what search engines want for “their” users, and that’s what will cause users to give you money.
The specific ways in which we do these things have changed a bit over the years, including a lot of new tools to do them with, but despite that fact the principles are the same, and in that respect a lot has not changed.
Much like with losing weight, doing things the right way may not work as fast, but it will work rock solid in the long run.
Every time your competition gets Google Slapped for their SEO tricks, they have to spend quite a bit of time, money and resources fixing their work and try to regain the rankings they lost when their tricks stopped working.
You on the other hand get to spend that same time on things that make you money or achieve your desired goals. Over time that’s going to make for a solid, well ranked, Google-Slap proof site.
I hope this helps!
Gary Anderson II