Could spending thousands of dollars, and months of effort to improve your page ranking, lead to your URL being penalized or even black listed from a search engines index?
If you are foolish enough to resort to questionable SEO strategies, or hire an SEO consultant who does; the answer is a resounding yes.
There are no short cuts to improved performance at the search engines, no guaranteed formulas for overnight success. Promises of instant results, or a cast iron top listing should be greeting with a healthy dose of skepticism.
If you choose to forego the task of optimization yourself, there are plenty of reputable consultants online to choose from, but you would be well advised to ask what methods they will employ. If you or your consultants are tempted to consider the use of hidden text and keywords, hidden links, keyword stuffing, link farms or cloaking, you might want to think again.
If an SEO consultant suggests submitting your URL to 1,000 search engines and directories wouldn’t you want to know exactly where it will end up? After all, we’re talking about the credibility and reputation of your Web site.
Trying to artificially boost your ranking at the search engines is poor strategy. Their algorithms will not differentiate between a premeditated attempt to trick your way to a top ranking, or your innocent use of a consultant who employs such methods, but the result may be that your site suffers either way.
If you are flirting with questionable SEO methods, you should ask yourself a few questions before you proceed:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Does your strategy add value to your site and does it help those searching for the content you provide?
- Is your site simply a collection of commercial and affiliate links, or does it deliver valuable content and good information to your visitors?
- Would you feel comfortable explaining your SEO strategy with the owner of a competing site?
Google are constantly manipulating their search engine algorithm, in an effort to deliver a better product; Information that is more accurate, more relevant and delivers increased value to their users. Rather than try to do an end run around the Google search engine algorithm, consider embracing that doctrine.
A good, solid and ethical SEO strategy requires plenty of hard work and patience. The potential rewards are not limited to your site alone, but also to those of your link partners and most of all, the internet users who are searching for the service or information that you provide.
You can always fall back on the services of an SEO consultant if all else fails. You may find however, that a sustained effort focusing on some simple fundamentals, delivers the results you are looking for.
Keep it simple…
Make sure your site is well built, easily navigated and that your URL, page titles and headings are human reader, as well as search engine friendly. Simple text which describes the content of your page is most effective.
Content above all else, will start the traffic snowball rolling. Create good, original content, update it regularly and keep adding to it. Not only does this provide your readers with the incentive to refer your site to others and visit you on a regular basis, but it also attracts the attention of search engine spiders. The spiders will return to your site more often if they notice that you frequently update or add fresh content.
Quality content is also a primer for effective link exchanging. Approach other good quality sites related to your theme and explore the value of a link exchange agreement. Search engines don’t just look at the number of links pointing to your site, but also whether those links come from sites containing content which is related to yours.
If you haven’t submitted your sites to the major search engines, do so by following their submission guidelines. You should also consider submitting your site to the Yahoo Directory and the Open Directory Project, but again, be patient, it can take months to get listed and with both Yahoo and DMOZ, a submission is no guarantee that your site will be accepted.
Questionable SEO strategies will always exist, as will the many people who choose to use them, but a far greater feeling of satisfaction will result, through the use of an ethical approach which leaves your credibility and the reputation of your site intact.